The message of Colossians can be difficult even for NC scholars. One particularly dense, poignant passage begins following the mention of things “not according to Christ” (2:8). This expression sets up seven “in ____” phrases (e.g., “in Him”) and includes three rather unique words that Paul might even have coined. Each of these words begins with the same prefix–“syn”–emphasizing the believer’s essential identification with Jesus’ death and resurrection. We might call these words the three striking “syns”:
- 2:12 “together-buried” συνταφεντες (syntaphentes)
- 2:12 “together-raised” συνηγερθητε (synegerthete)
- 2:13 “together-made-alive” συνεζωοποιησεν (synezóopoiesen)
Paul focuses in this section on the new life of the believer. We may perpetuate the connection with the core of the good news today: He died; we die. He was buried; we are buried. He was raised and made alive; we are raised out of the grave and made alive.
Another significant word in the text of the letter to the Colossians is mysterion (mystery), which shows up in 1:27 and 2:2. The mystery, Paul says, is “Christ in you.” Significantly, and perhaps paradoxically, in this letter, Paul has God fully dwelling in Christ (1:19, 2:9); Christ living in the believer (1:27), and the believer living in Christ (2:12f, 3:3).
Yesterday, I took Troyte’s Chant No. 1, with the text “By Christ Redeemed, In Christ Restored” and added two stanzas that attempt to highlight a few of these important aspects of the Colossians text. I share them here in hope that they will benefit the larger Body of Christ.