A Commentary on the Greek Text of the Epistle of Paul to the Colossians

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What others have written before me on the epistle I have carefully studied. Neither ancient nor modern commentators in any language have been neglected. But I have not been so lavish, as on my last appearance, in the citation of names, except in cases of momentous difficulty, or where some peculiar interpretation has been adduced. Names, I well know, are not authorities; and such a complete enumeration of them as I attempted has, I find, been sometimes mis understood in its principle, and sometimes misrepresented in its purpose. If my labours shall contribute to a clearer understanding of this portion of the New Testament, I shall be amply rewarded. I believe that the writings of the apostle, whatever their immediate occasion and primary purpose, were intended to be of permanent and universal utility; and that the purity and prosperity of the church of Christ are inti mately bound up with an accurate knowledge of; and a solid faith in, the Pauline theology. I dare not, therefore, in the Spirit of modern rationalism, say in one breath what the apostle means, and then say, in another breath, that such an acknowledged meaning, though fitted for the meridian of the first century, is not equally fitted for that of the nine teenth; but must be modified and softened down, according to each one's predilections and views. The privilege of individual deduction from inspired statement is not questioned — the attempt to glean and gather general principles from counsels and descriptions of a temporary and special phasis is not disallowed; but this procedure is totally different from that ingenious rationalism which contrives to explain away those distinctive truths which an honest interpretation of the apostle's language admits, that he actually loved and taught.viii preface.

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