Colossians—word rarities

In my relatively pathetic attempts to unearth important messages in the letter to the Colossians, I’ve come upon some etymological gems.  Here are a few:

  1. mystery (Gk. mysterion) . . . refers simply to something secret that may be, or has been, revealed . . . the mystery among the Gentiles (Col. 1:27) is, quite, simply, the incarnate Christ indwelling them
  2. divinity (Gk. theiotes, Col. 2:9) . . . a word used nowhere else in the NC documents (a similar-but-different one is in Rom. 1:20) . . . often rendered “Godhead,” and that translation seems vague and concocted at best, and deceptive at worst . . . it is not, I would suggest, that the fullness of a three-headed God-monster lives in human form; rather, it is that the fullness of divinity or divine nature is (present tense) (inexplicably, miraculously, cataclysmically!) breathed into Jesus the Christ’s body
  3. elements/principles (Gk. stoicheia, Col. 2:8 and 2:20) . . . a word with the original connotation of a series, row, or rank . . . could imply something like phonemic letters in the alphabet, fundamental elements of creation, rudiments in any area of study or philosophy, or elemental spirits or deities perceived to preside in a region . . . it is this last meaning to which N.T. Wright and other scholars subscribe, which implies that Paul was “pitting” deities against Christ in Col. 2:8, furthering that line of thinking in “principalities and powers” of 2:10 and 2:15
  4. take captive (Gk. sylagogeo, Col. 2:8) . . . an expression that seems to have been mistranslated in every English version available to me . . . oddly, the King James came closest to the meaning, but left out an important word­—for our time, anyway . . . the meaning is “taking spoil or booty,” but the possible word-play is of even more interest, and N.T. Wright has opined that. in using a unique word that’s a single consonant away from “synagogue,” Paul is combating Judaism here more than Gnosticism

Words speak.

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