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Colossians 3:18--4:1

Exhortation to Households

3:18 Wives, submit to your 1  husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 3:19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. 3:20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is pleasing in the Lord. 3:21 Fathers, 2  do not provoke 3  your children, so they will not become disheartened. 3:22 Slaves, 4  obey your earthly 5  masters in every respect, not only when they are watching – like those who are strictly people-pleasers – but with a sincere heart, fearing the Lord. 3:23 Whatever you are doing, 6  work at it with enthusiasm, 7  as to the Lord and not for people, 8  3:24 because you know that you will receive your 9  inheritance 10  from the Lord as the reward. Serve 11  the Lord Christ. 3:25 For the one who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, 12  and there are no exceptions. 13  4:1 Masters, treat your slaves with justice and fairness, because you know that you also have a master in heaven.

1 tn The article τοῖς (tois) with ἀνδράσιν (andrasin, “husbands”) has been translated as a possessive pronoun (“your”); see ExSyn 215.

2 tn Or perhaps “Parents.” The plural οἱ πατέρες (Joi patere", “fathers”) can be used to refer to both the male and female parent (BDAG 786 s.v. πατήρ 1.a).

3 tn Or “do not cause your children to become resentful” (L&N 88.168). BDAG 391 s.v. ἐρεθίζω states, “to cause someone to react in a way that suggests acceptance of a challenge, arouse, provoke mostly in bad sense irritate, embitter.

4 tn On this word here and in 4:1, see the note on “fellow slave” in 1:7.

5 tn The prepositional phrase κατὰ σάρκα (kata sarka) does not necessarily qualify the masters as earthly or human (as opposed to the Master in heaven, the Lord), but could also refer to the sphere in which “the service-relation holds true.” See BDAG 577 s.v. κύριος 1.b.

6 tn The present progressive “are doing” was used in the translation of ποιῆτε (poihte) to bring out the idea that Paul is probably referring to what they already do for work.

7 tn Grk “from the soul.”

8 tn Grk “men”; here ἀνθρώποις (anqrwpoi") is used in a generic sense and refers to people in general.

9 tn The article τῆς (ths) has been translated as a possessive pronoun, “your” (ExSyn 215). It may also be functioning to indicate a well-known concept (inheritance as eternal life). See BDAG 548 s.v. κληρονομία 3: “common in Christian usage (corresp. to the LXX) (the possession of) transcendent salvation (as the inheritance of God’s children).”

10 tn The genitive τῆς κληρονομίας (th" klhronomia") is a genitive of apposition: The reward consists of the inheritance.

11 tn The form of the term δουλεύετε (douleuete) is ambiguous; it can be read as either indicative or imperative. In favor of the indicative: (1) it seems to explain better the first part of v. 24, esp. “from the Lord” which would then read as: “because you know that you will receive your inheritance from the Lord as a reward for it is the Lord you are serving.” The “for” is supplied to make the relation explicit (it is actually added in many mss – D1 Ψ 075 Ï – but the best ms evidence is against its inclusion). (2) With the imperative, one might expect ὡς τῷ κυρίῳ (Jw" tw kuriw), as for example in Eph 6:7. In favor of the imperative: (1) an imperative resumes the ἐργάζεσθε (ergazesqe) in v. 23a and forms a chiasm with it; (2) an imperative makes more sense of the γάρ (gar) in v. 25a; (3) an imperative relates equally well to the preceding statement; (4) a parallel can be found in Rom 12:11 which uses an imperatival participle δουλεύοντες (douleuonte") with the dative τῷ κυρίῳ. For an elaboration of these points see M. J. Harris, Colossians and Philemon (EGGNT), 185-86.

12 tn Grk “that which he did wrong.”

sn It is a common theme in biblical thought that punishment for sin involves being fully given over to its consequences (cf. Rom 1), and this is also true of believers. Here Paul’s implication is that believers who sin and disobey the Lord whom they serve will receive the consequences of their actions, which is a fitting discipline.

13 tn The Greek word used here is προσωπολημψία (proswpolhmyia) and is usually translated “partiality.” It is used to describe unjust or unrighteous favoritism (Rom 2:11, Eph 6:9, Jas 2:1). When it comes to disciplining his children for their sins, God will treat all equally with no partiality.

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