By Robert G. Bratcher
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Additional info for A Translators Handbook on Paul's Letters to the Colossians and to Philemon
22-23). The metaphor "head of the body" represents the supremacy of Christ and the unity of all Christians as a living organism which belongs to Christ. A literal rendering of the statement He is the head of his body may seem not only strange but even rather ludicrous. As a result, one may wish to change the order of the expressions which are in apposition, namely his body and the church. 18 possible to use a tenn such as "head" to identify supremacy over or the governing of some obj ect. " He is the source of the bod's life represents in Greek "he is the beginning" or source .
Which is not an entirely adequate representation of the preposition eis, which indicates purpose or goal. " That is, creation finds its purpose, its goal, its finality in Christ. " The rendering of God created the whole universe through him must be expressed in essentially the same way as the similar statement at the beginning of verse 16. 17 say literally that "everything has its goal in him" is extremely difficul t to express in some languages. One might approximate this meaning by employing a phrase such as "Christ is the purpose for which everything exists," but this likewise may be relatively meaningless.
28). 4-5). 24 And now I am happy about my sufferings for you, for by means of my physical sufferings I am helping to complete what still remains of Christ's sufferings on behalf of his body, the church. 24 Paul speaks of his sufferings on behalf of the Colossians, which can be understood only in a general sense of his hardships and troubles in his work as the apostle to the Gentiles, since he has had no personal contact with the Christians in Colossae. " By means of my phasical sufferings may be expressed in some languages by a clause intro~uced by 'iflecause," for example, "because I suffer in my body" or simply "because I am suffering," in which case a verb for "suffering" should indicate physical suffering.