SECTION I. INTRODUCTION. The Epistle commences, in St. Paul's manner, with a salutation (Colossians 1:1, Colossians 1:2), followed by thanksgiving (Colossians 1:3-8) and prayer (Colossians 1:9-14). Only in 2 Thessalonians, however, outside of the Epistles of this group, do we find a formal opening prayer. The salutation agrees closely with that of Ephesians.
Paul, apostle of Christ Jesus through God's will, and Timothy the brother (Ephesians 1:1; 2 Corinthians 1:1). The apostle designates himself by his office, as always, except in the Macedonian Epistles and the letter of private friendship to Philemon. Timothy shares also in the greeting of the Epistle to Philemon, probably a leading member of the Colossian Church (comp. Colossians 4:9, Colossians 4:17 with Philemon 1:2, Philemon 1:10-12). During St. Paul's long residence at Ephesus Timothy was with him (Acts 19:22), and there, probably, Philemon had come under his influence (see Introduction, § 2), and made Timothy's acquaintance. There was, therefore, at least one link of acquaintance between "Timothy the brother" and "the saints in Colossae" (comp. Philippians 1:1; 2 Corinthians 1:1; 2 Corinthians 1:1-24 and 2 Thessalonians 1:1, where his name appears in the same way). The honourable prominence thus given to Timothy marked him out for future leadership in the Church (1 Timothy 1:3, 1 Timothy 1:18; 2 Timothy 2:2; 2 Timothy 4:2, 2 Timothy 4:5, 2 Timothy 4:6).
To those in Colossae£ (which are) saints and faithful brethren in Christ (Ephesians 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1). "Saints" in respect of their Divine calling and character (Colossians 3:12; 1 Corinthians 1:1-31, 1 Corinthians 2:1-16, where this title is formally introduced); "faithful brethren in Christ" (Ephesians 1:1) in view of the errors and consequent divisions threatening them as a Church (Colossians 1:23; Colossians 2:5, Colossians 2:18, Colossians 2:19; Colossians 3:15; Ephesians 4:14-16; Ephesians 6:10-18; Philippians 1:27 : 2 Timothy 2:19). Grace to yon, and peace: "as in all his Epistles." This Pauline formula of greeting combines the Greek and Hebrew, Western and Eastern, forms of salutation (comp. "Abba, Father," Romans 8:15). χάρις is a modification of the everyday χαίρειν, hail! (Acts 15:23; James 1:1; 2 John 1:10); and εἰρήνη reproduces the Hebrew shalom (salam). Grace is the source of all blessing as bestowed by God (Colossians 1:6; Ephesians 1:3-6; Ephesians 2:5; Romans 5:2, Romans 5:17, Romans 5:21; Titus 2:11); and peace, in the large sense of its Hebrew original, of all blessing as experienced by man (Ephesians 2:16, Ephesians 2:17; Luke 2:14; Acts 10:36; Romans 5:1; Romans 8:6; 2 Thessalonians 3:16). From God our Father. Among the apostle's salutations this alone fails to add "and from our Lord Jesus Christ"—a defect which copyists were tempted to remedy. The omission is well established (see Revised Text, and critical editors generally), and cannot surely be accidental. In this and the twin Ephesian letter, devoted as they are to the glory of Christ, the name of the Father stands out with a peculiar prominence and dignity, much as in St. John's Gospel: "honouring the Son," they must needs "honour the Father" also (verses 12, 13; Colossians 3:17; Ephesians 1:17; Ephesians 2:18; Ephesians 3:14; Ephesians 4:6; Ephesians 5:20).
The opening thanksgiving is full and appropriate. Its content is determined by the state of this Church, and by the apostle's relation to it through Epaphras, and his own present position.
We give thanks to God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. We; Timothy and I. The Revised Text omits "and" between" God" and "Father," following Lachmann, Westcott and Heft, and Lightfoot (who hesitates), on evidence numerically slight, but sufficient; especially as in every other instance of this combination the conjunction is present. "Father" is also without definite article in the better attested (Revised) reading. The words, "Father of our Lord Jesus Christ," bear, therefore, an explanatory, quasi-predicative force. St. Paul wishes his readers to understand that he gives thanks to God on their account distinctly under this aspect, regarded as "Father of Christ." He has just spoken of "our Father," and now adds, "Father of our Lord Jesus Christ," suggesting that it is in this relation that we know God as "our Father," the Author of grace and peace, the Object of Christian thanksgiving. So the sovereign and exclusive mediation of Christ, the ruling idea of the whole Epistle, is thrown into bold relief at the outset; and, in this light, the unique omissions of Colossians 1:2 and Colossians 1:3 explain and justify each other. This fatherhood embraces the entire Person and offices of the Son as "our Lord Jesus Christ." Praying always for you (Colossians 1:9; Colossians 2:1-3; Philippians 1:4; Romans 1:9). The apostle had known from the first of the existence of this Church; and had already been in communication with it (see Introduction, § 2). He had, therefore, a general prayerful interest in the Colossians (2 Corinthians 11:28), that has been quickened to joyful thanksgiving by the arrival of Epaphras. "Always" and "for you"—either or both of the phrases—may be joined grammatically to "we give thanks" or to "praying:" the latter connection is preferable (see Alford or Ellicott); similarly in Philemon 1:4; in Ephesians 1:16 the turn of expression is different.
Having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have ( ἤν ἔχετε, Revised Text) toward all the saints (Ephesians 1:15, B.V.; Philemon 1:5, R.V.; 1 Thessalonians 4:9, 1 Thessalonians 4:10; 1 John 3:23; 2 John 1:4; 3 John 1:3, 3 John 1:4). "Having heard "more immediately from Epaphras (Colossians 1:8, Colossians 1:9). Note the characteristic recurrence of this word: he had heard of their faith and love, as they had heard before the word of truth (Colossians 1:5); from the day they had heard they had borne fruit (Colossians 1:6), and he, in return, from the day he heard of it, had not ceased to pray for them (Colossians 1:9); see note on Colossians 1:8; and comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:5 and 1 Thessalonians 2:2 with 1 Thessalonians 3:6 (Greek). "In Christ Jesus" is attached to "faith" (as to "brethren" in 1 Thessalonians 3:2) so closely as to form with it a single idea; to be "in Christ Jesus" is of the very essence of this faith and brotherhood. "Faith in Christ," "believe in Christ," in our English Bible, commonly represent a different Greek preposition, εἰς (literally, into or unto Christ); only in the pastoral Epistles and in Ephesians 1:15—not in Galatians 3:26 (see Lightfoot) or Romans 3:25 (see Meyer or Beet)—do we find, as here, πίστις ἐν χριστῷ. In Christ faith rests, finding its abiding ground and element of life. In the Epistles of this period the Christian state appears chiefly as "life in Christ;" rather than, as in the earlier letters, as "salvation through Christ" (comp. e.g. Romans 5:1-21. and Colossians 2:9-15). The "love" of the Colossians evokes thanksgiving, as that which they have "toward all the saints;" for as the Church extended Christian love needed to be more catholic (verse 6; Colossians 3:11), and Colossian error in particular tended to exclusiveness and caste feeling (see note on verse 28). The iteration of "all" in this Epistle is remarkable.
(We give thanks) because of the hope which is laid up for you in the heavens (Colossians 3:4; Ephesians 1:12-14; Philippians 3:20, Philippians 3:21; Romans 8:18-25; 1 Corinthians 15:50-58; 2 Corinthians 5:1-5; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; 1 Peter 1:3-5; Matthew 6:20; Matthew 19:21; Luke 12:33; John 14:2, John 14:3). "Hope" is objective—matter of hope, as in Galatians 5:5; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 6:18. St. Paul speaks most of heaven and heavenly things in the letters of this period. Hebrews 6:4 gives the nearest grammatical connection for this clause; and many recent commentators, following Greek interpreters, accordingly find here that which "evokes and conditions" the Colossians' "love" (Meyer, Ellicott) or "faith and love" (De Wette, Lightfoot). But this construction we reject. For it makes the heavenly reward the reason of the Colossians' present (faith and) love, reversing the true and Pauline order of thought; while, on the other hand, the heavenly hope is the last and highest ground of the apostle's thanksgivings and encouragements, and the forfeiture or impairing of it the chief matter of his fears and warnings throughout the Epistles of this group. It is better, therefore, with Bengel, Hofmann, Klopper, Conybeare, Eadie, and others, from Athanasius downwards, to refer verse 5 as well as verse 4 to the principal verb, "we give thanks" (verse 3). What the apostle hears of "the faith and love" of the Colossian brethren moves him to give thanks for "the hope which is in store for them in heaven." Of that hope this faith and love are to him a pledge and an earnest, even as the "seal of the Spirit" (Ephesians 1:14) and the "peace of Christ in their hearts" (Colossians 3:15; see note) are to themselves. Similarly, in Philippians 1:27, Philippians 1:28 and 2 Thessalonians 1:4, 2 Thessalonians 1:5, from the present faith and patience of the saints the certainty of their future blessedness is argued. By singling out this hope as chief matter of thanksgiving here, the apostle enhances its certainty and its value in his readers' eyes. From the general occasion and ground of his thanksgiving in the Christian state and prospects of his readers, St. Paul proceeds to dwell on certain special circumstances which enhanced his gratitude to God (verses 56-8). Which (hope) ye heard of before, in the word of the truth of the gospel; or, good tidings (2 Thessalonians 1:7, 23; Colossians 2:7; Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 4:15, Ephesians 4:21; Galatians 1:6-9; Galatians 3:1-4; Galatians 4:9; Galatians 5:7; 1 Thessalonians 1:5; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-15; 1 Peter 5:12). There is a veiled polemic reference in "the word of the truth of the gospel". The word "before" (aforetime) "contrasts their earlier with their later lessons, the true gospel of Epaphras with the false gospel of recent teachers" (Lightfoot). Others interpret, less suitably: heard already (before my writing), or heard beforehand (before the fulfilment of the hope). It is in St. Paul's manner to refer his readers at the outset to their conversion and first Christian experiences (see parallel passages). Their hope was directly at stake in the controversy with Colossian error. Here we meet the first of those cumulative combinations of nouns, so marked a feature of the style of Colossians and Ephesians, which are made a reproach against these Epistles by some critics; but each is appropriate in its place.
That is come unto you, even as also (it is) in all the world, bearing fruit and increasing, as in you also (Romans 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 2 Corinthians 2:14; Acts if. 47; Acts 5:14; Acts 6:7; Acts 9:31; Acts 11:21; Acts 12:24; Acts 19:20). The words, "and increasing," are added to the text on the testimony, all but unanimous, of the older witnesses. Their propriety is manifest; for the success of the gospel at Colossae was a gratifying evidence, both of its inherent fruitfulness, and of its rapid progress in the Gentile world. Stationary at Rome (see Introduction, § 3), and with his messengers coming and going, and news reaching him from time to time of the advance of the Christian cause, the strong expression, "in all the world," is natural to St. Paul. From Rome "all the world" is surveyed, just as what takes place at Rome seems to resound "in all the world" (Romans 1:8). Bearing fruit (verb in middle voice, implying inherent energy) precedes growing—the first "describing the inner working," the second" the outward extension of the gospel" (Lightfoot). For "bearing fruit," comp. Ephesians 5:9; Galatians 5:22; Philippians 1:11; John 15:8,John 15:16 : and for "growing," 2 Thessalonians 3:1; Matthew 13:31-33; and parallel passages; see also Matthew 13:11. In the last clause the expression "doubles back upon itself" in a fashion characteristic of St. Paul, whose sentences grow and change their form like living things while he indites them (comp. Colossians 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 1:5-8; 1 Thessalonians 4:1, R.V.): the coming of the gospel to Colossae suggests the thought of its advent in the world, and this gives place to the fuller idea of its fruitfulness and expansion, which in turn is evidenced by its effect at Colossae. Since the day that ye heard (it), and knew well the grace of God in truth (Matthew 13:5; Colossians 2:6, Colossians 2:7; Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 4:21; 1 Thessalonians 2:1, 1 Thessalonians 2:2, 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Corinthians 2:1-5; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11; 2 Corinthians 1:19; Galatians 1:6, Galatians 1:11; Galatians 3:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:14). For their progress had been continuous (comp. Philippians 1:5). Meyer and Ellicott, with the A.V., better maintain the connection of thought in understanding "the gospel" as object of "heard." The verb ἐπέγνωτε, knew well, with ἐπίγνωσις (Matthew 13:9, etc.), belongs specially to the vocabulary of this group of Epistles. Knowledge, in 1 Corinthians, is denoted by the simple gnosis. But this word became at an early time the watchword of the heretical Gnostics; and the false teachers of Colossae pretended to an intellectual superiority, asserted, we may imagine, in much the same way (comp. Colossians 2:2-4, Colossians 2:8, Colossians 2:23). The apostle now prefers the more precise and distinctive epignosis ( επίγινώσκω), meaning" accurate" or" advanced knowledge" (see Lightfoot here, and on verse 9). "To hear the gospel" is "to know well the grace of God" (Acts 20:24; Romans 3:21-26; 2Co 5:20—6:1; John 1:17); the full knowledge of which "in truth" (verse 5; Ephesians 4:14, Ephesians 4:15, Ephesians 4:20-24) would preserve the Colossians from knowledge falsely so called.
As ye learned from Epaphras, our beloved fellow servant; literally, bondman (Ephesians 4:20; 2 Timothy 3:14). Only in Colossians 4:7 does the epithet "fellow-bondman" appear again in St. Paul. The dominant thought of Christ Jesus "the Lord" (Colossians 2:6; 3:22-4:1) possibly dictates this expression. That the Colossians had received the gospel in this way from Epaphras, a disciple of St. Paul, was a striking proof of its fruitfulness, and a further cause for thanksgiving on his own part. Who is a faithful minister of Christ on our (or, your) behalf (Colossians 4:12, Colossians 4:13; 2 Corinthians 8:22; Philippians 2:22). He puts his seal upon the ministry of Epaphras, and vindicates it against all questioning at home. Textual evidence for "on our" or "your behalf" is pretty evenly balanced: most older Greek copies read the first person, while the ancient versions generally adopted the second; and the critical editors are similarly divided. The Revisers, with Tregelles, Alford, Lightfoot, Westcott and Hort, prefer "our," which gives a finer and more fitting sense. It was as St. Paul's representative that Epaphras had ministered in Colossae, and to him he now reported his success; and this justified the apostle in claiming the Colossians as his own charge, and in writing to them in the terms of this letter (Colossians 2:1, Colossians 2:2, Colossians 2:5-7 : comp. Romans 15:20; 2 Corinthians 10:13-16). "Minister" ( διάκονος, deacon, in its official sense found in St. Paul first in Philippians 1:1, then in 1 Timothy) is to be distinguished from the "servant" ( δοῦλος, slave) of the last clause, and from "assistant" ( ὑπηρέτης: 1 Corinthians 4:1; Acts 13:5; Acts 26:16), and "attendant" ( θεράπων: Hebrews 3:5); see Trench's 'Synonyms of the New Testament.' It is a favourite word of St. Paul's, and points to the service rendered, while other terms indicate the status of the servant.
Who also showed us your love in (the) Spirit (2 Corinthians 7:7; 2 Corinthians 8:7; 1 Thessalonians 3:6; Philippians 4:10); i.e. your love to us. Timothy and myself, especially if we read "in our behalf" in Colossians 1:7 : so, many interprefers, from Chrysostom to Klopper. Epaphras had conveyed the blessings of the gospel from St. Paul to the Colossians, and they now send back the grateful assurance of their love by the same channel (comp, note on "having heard," verse 4, and parallel passages). This was a choice fruit of the gospel in them (comp. Philippians 4:10, Philippians 4:15-18), and such a reference to it gives a kindly conclusion to the thanksgiving. Ellicott and others understand here brotherly love in general—a somewhat pointless repetition of verse 4. Meyer, reading "on your behalf" in verse 7. more suitably suggests the Colossians' love to Epaphras in return for his services to them. The Spirit is the ruling element of the Colossians' love (Galatians 5:22) Love-in-the-Sprat forms a single compound phrase, like "faith-in-Christ-Jesus" (verse 4). The one Spirit dwells alike in all the members of Christ's body, however sundered by place or circumstance (Ephesians 4:1-4), and makes them one in love to each other as to him (John 13:34, John 13:35; 1 John 3:23, 1 John 3:24). "Spirit" occurs besides in this Epistle only in Colossians 2:5 (but see "spiritual," Colossians 2:9), and some find in Colossians 2:1, Colossians 2:5 the explanation of this phrase (sc. "a love formed in absence, without personal intercourse:" but this is forced, and doubtful in point of grammar).
The opening prayer rises cut of the foregoing thanksgiving, and leads up to the chief doctrinal statement of the Epistle (Colossians 1:15-20 : compare, for the connection, Ephesians 1:15-23; Romans 1:8-17). The burden of this prayer, as in other letters of this period, is the Church's need of knowledge (comp. Ephesians 1:17, Ephesians 1:18; Philippians 1:9, Philippians 1:10). Here this desire has its fullest expression, as the necessity of the Colossians in this. respect was the more urgent and their situation, therefore, the more fully representative of the stage in the history of the Pauline Churches now commencing. He asks for his readers
For this cause we also (Ephesians 1:15-17; 1 Thessalonians 3:6-13). Timothy and I, in return for your love to us (Colossians 1:8) and in response to this good news about you (Colossians 1:4-6). From the day that we heard (it); an echo of "from the day that ye heard it" (Colossians 1:6). Do not cease praying for you, and making request. The former is a general expression (Colossians 1:3), the latter points to some special matter of petition to follow. This second verb St. Paul only uses elsewhere of prayer to God in Ephesians 3:13, Ephesians 3:20 (see Trench's 'Synonyms' on αἱτέω, αἵτημα). That ye may be filled with (or, made complete in) the knowledge of his will (Colossians 2:10; Colossians 4:12; Ephesians 3:18, Ephesians 3:19; Romans 12:2; Hebrews 13:21). On "knowledge" ( ἐπίγνωσις), see note. to Ephesians 3:6, and Lightfoot's note here. "With the knowledge" represents the Greek accusative of specification (as in Philippians 1:11, where see Ellicott); and the verb πληρωθῆτε (comp. note on plēroma, Ephesians 3:19), as in Colossians 2:10 and Colossians 1:25, denotes "fulfilled" or "made complete," rather than "made full"—"made complete as to the full knowledge," etc. "His will" ("God's will," Colossians 1:1; Colossians 4:12) need not be limited to the original purpose of salvation (Ephesians 1:9), or to his moral requirements respecting Christian believers (Colossians 1:10; so Meyer), but includes "the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27) made known to us in Christ (Colossians 1:26, Colossians 1:27). In all spiritual wisdom and understanding (Colossians 2:2; Ephesians 5:17; Philippians 1:9; 1 Corinthians 14:20). Wisdom, in its highest sense, is the sum of personal excellence as belonging to the mind; it implies a vital knowledge of Divine truth, forming the sentiments and determining the will as it possesses the reason, Hence the word occurs in a great variety of connections:
"Wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:3), "and prudence" (Ephesians 1:8), etc. For this Church the apostle asks specially the gift of understanding or comprehension, (comp. Colossians 2:2; only in Ephesians 3:4 and 2 Timothy 2:7 besides, in St. Paul; 1 Corinthians 1:19 from LXX), the power of putting things together ( σύν- εσις), of discerning the relations of different truths, the logical bearing and consequences of one's principles. For the errors invading Colossae were of a Gnostic type, mystic at once and rationalistic; against which a clear and well-informed understanding was the best protection (comp. notes on "truth," in Colossians 1:5, Colossians 1:6; also Colossians 2:4, Colossians 2:8, Colossians 2:18, Colossians 2:23; Ephesians 4:13, Ephesians 4:14). This "wisdom and understanding" are "spiritual," as inspired by the Divine Spirit (comp. the use of "spirit," "spiritual," in 1 Corinthians 12:1-11; Galatians 6:1 and Galatians 5:16, Galatians 5:25; Ephesians 1:17; Ephesians 3:16-19), and opposed to all "wisdom of the flesh," the unrenewed nature of man (Colossians 2:18; 1 Corinthians 2:4-6, 1 Corinthians 2:13-15; James 3:15).
To walk worthily of the Lord unto all pleasing (Ephesians 4:1; Philippians 1:27; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:5, 2 Thessalonians 1:11; 1 John 2:6; Revelation 3:4; Hebrews 13:21); so as to please him in every way. "The end of all knowledge, the apostle would say, is conduct" (Lightfoot). Spiritual enlightenment (Colossians 1:9) enables the Christian to walk (a Hebraism adopted also into biblical English) in a way "worthy of the Lord" (Christ, Colossians 2:6; Colossians 3:24; Acts 20:19, etc.), becoming those who have such a Lord and who profess to be his servants. And to be "worthy of Christ" is to "please God" (Romans 8:29; Ephesians 1:4, Ephesians 1:5, Ephesians 1:11; 1 Corinthians 1:9). This is the ideal and the aim of the religious life throughout the Bible. The characteristics of this walk are set forth by three coordinate participial phrases (Colossians 1:10-12), standing in the half independent nominative case instead of the more regular accusative. In every good work bearing fruit (Ephesians 4:28; Galatians 6:9, Galatians 6:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:17; 1 Timothy 5:10; Titus 3:8; Hebrews 13:16; Acts 9:36). "Good work" is that which is beneficial, practically good (see parallel passages). "In every good work" might grammatically qualify the foregoing" pleasing ', but appears to be parallel in position and sense with "in all power" (Colossians 1:11). On"bearing fruit" (active in voice where the subject is personal: comp. ἐνεργέω in Colossians 1:29 and in Philippians 2:13), see note to Colossians 1:6. While doing good to his fellow-men, the Christian is growing by (or, in) the knowledge of God (Colossians 2:19; Ephesians 4:13-16; 2 Peter 3:18; 1 Corinthians 3:1, 1 Corinthians 3:2; 1 Corinthians 14:20; 1 Corinthians 16:13; Hebrews 5:12-14). His own nature becomes larger, stronger, more complete. Here it is individual (internal) growth, in Colossians 1:6 collective (external) growth (of the gospel, the Church) that is implied; the two are combined in Ephesians 4:13-16. The dative τῇ ἐπιγνώσει (so best copies and Revised Text: the Received, unto the knowledge, is a repetition of Ephesians 4:9) is "dative of instrument" (Alford, Lightfoot) rather than "of respect" (in the knowledge; so R.V.).
In all power being empowered, according to the might of his glory, unto all patience and long suffering with joyfulness (Colossians 1:24, Colossians 1:29; Ephesians 1:19; Ephesians 3:16; Ephesians 6:10; 1 Corinthians 16:13; 2 Timothy 1:7, 2 Timothy 1:8; 2 Timothy 2:1, 2 Timothy 2:3, 2 Timothy 2:9, 2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Peter 5:10). The same word is repeated as noun and verb ( δύναμις, δυναμόω, power, empower) with a strong Hebraistic sort of emphasis (otherwise in Ephesians 3:16). In all (every kind of) power gives the mode, according to the might of his glory the measure, and unto all patience, etc., the end of this Divine strengthening. "Might" ( κράτος), in distinction from power ( δύναμις) and other synonyms (comp. Colossians 1:29; Ephesians 1:19; Ephesians 6:10), implies "mastery," "sovereign sway," and, except in Hebrews 2:14 ("might of death"), is used in the New Testament only of the power of God. "Glory," as in Philippians 3:21, bears a substantive meaning of its own, and is not a mere attributive of "might." It is the splendour of God's revelations of himself, in which his might is So conspicuous. Gazing on this glory, especially as seen in Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6) and the gospel (1 Timothy 1:11, R.V.), the Christian discerns the might of him from whom it streams forth, and understands how that might is engaged in his behalf (Ephesians 1:19, Ephesians 1:20; comp. Isaiah 40:28, Isaiah 40:29; Isaiah 42:5, Isaiah 42:6); and this thought fills him with invincible courage and endurance. Patience is steadfastness and stout heartedness under ill fortune (not a mere resigned patience); long suffering is gentleness of temper and magnanimity under ill treatment (comp. Colossians 3:12; and see Lightfoot, in loc., and Trench's 'Synonyms'). Christ, in his earthly life, was the supreme example of patience (2 Thessalonians 3:5, R.V.; 1 Peter 2:21-23; Hebrews 12:3, Hebrews 12:4), which is "wrought by tribulation" (Romans 5:4): long-suffering finds its pattern in God's dealing with "the unthankful and evil" (