Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 2 To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse: Grace and peace to you from God our Father. (Colossians 1:1-2 NIV)
I was taking a seminary class on the Greek text of the book of Colossians. It was my eighth (8th!!) course in Greek (believe it or not), so I wasn’t too worried. Then I showed up for the second class and realized we were supposed to have translated most of the first chapter and brought it to class. Oops.
Thankfully, I got a reprieve. He called on me first.
See, Paul had a pattern in all his books. (Check out the openings to a couple of his other letters here, here, and here.) Translating the first couple verses of a Pauline letter is only slightly more difficult than translating a foreign-language stop sign.
So, I free translated the first two verses without any notes and everyone in the room thought I was a genius.
Obviously, there’s not much original material in these first two verses. And most of the first verse and a half speak for themselves. “The guy writing this letter is Paul, Tim’s here with me, and I’m writing to the church in Colossae.”
The ID in verse 1, “an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God”, lets the Colossians know that Paul has the authority to say what he’s going to say.
But let’s look at the last part of verse 2. “Grace and peace to you.” And here’s my question to you. There are thousands of words in the Greek language (And at one time I knew literally dozens of them).
Why did Paul pick those two?