Saturday, December 15, 2007

Here We Go...

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?

20 comments:

beginner said...

A reminder to all to live life with Gods grace and a peaceful heart

richie_rich_28 said...

I like that Grace comes before Peace. After using a life line, google, I found that it's very important to experience God's grace or compassion before we can be filled with His peace. I still consider myself a "Baby Christian" but, can honestly say that His Grace and Peace is something that I can FEEL inside. To me, there is no attention getter like a shot to the heart.

Rich Mustard

Joshua said...

I think it was of encouragement, welcome and Thanksgiving.

Paul knew of their love and faith they had for the LORD and wanted to share with them the glory that they have given to the LORD.

Glory meaning faith in the truth of God's grace. That they had been reconnected with God (being saved) through believing and spreading the gospel. They had earned back their eternal lives hence " God's grace"

Peace meaning they were no longer at war with God. For they had been saved from satan and were on a whole new journey to be connected with the people that Father made them to be. Thier lives had been changed and they were going to change lives. The Holy Spirt was with them in thier journey of the kingdom of light hence "God's peace".

That's what it say's to me.

B4 said...

don't know

Yvonne said...

To have grace and true peace is only from/through God. And only then are we ok.

Careythemom said...

I've always thought of it as sort of a generic blessing...although since it is God inspired, I'm sure it is more meaningful than that! Is Steve going to give us the "right answer" tomorrow?? ha ha

Amanda S. said...

Quick question....was the Colossian Church persecuted at the time like the church in Jerusalem? I know the phrase is a common greeting, but if they were being persecuted, could he be praying that they have grace and peace in the hard times knowing that they are serving the Savior?

Pastor Steve said...

Great comments so far (and most of us are still figuring out the whole blogging thing).

I don’t think that the Colossian Christians were facing serious persecution, but they were under assault—assault from false teaching, a form of false teaching that would eventually evolve into what we know as Gnosticism (more on that as we get into the book).

Grace is Paul’s “go-to” word. He uses it over 80 times in his thirteen books. Grace is God's kindness and love shown to us, even though we do not deserve them, (New Century Version Dictionary) and it is the centerpiece of Paul’s theology.

Grace rules out “earning” our salvation or even earning the growth God gives us. And because it’s so crucial, Paul likes to remind us of it at every opportunity—especially at the start of his letters.

As for peace, well, how about I leave you with another question: Is it possible to have true peace apart from grace?

Amanda S. said...

Can a person have true peace when they've cut God out of his life? That's what grace is, isn't it? Getting forgiveness and a relationship with God, even when we don't deserve it? I'd think that without God in your life, you wouldn't have true peace?

Joshua said...

NO NOT TRUE PEACE... I guess some people think they have peace in their lives... but without God's protection it is not true peace and if you have no faith in the Lord or God's grace then you are at war with him... ya gotta step aside and put him in the driver seat of your life in order to feel true peace...

jenny said...

If Gods Peace is our "umpire" or "judge" in our everyday circumstances, then I think we don't truly know Gods grace until we have felt his peace.

Joshua said...

Well Jenny,
I dont belive that to be true. I am not a bible expert by no means but i am positive you cannot have peace apart from grace. The focal point of grace is the cross of Jesus Christ which is our source of peace. Jesus Christ is our Peace.

"Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Romans 5:1 (KJV)

Joshua said...

Another scripture to prove that you have to have grace to have peace

'For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace,and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit"
Ephesians 2:14-18 (NIV)

Joshua said...

OK so we have established what God's grace is and how it is related to having peace, true peace. How it was so important that Paul didn't want us to misws the message. And we covered how you have to have one to have the other.
Here is the question for everyone, How is God's grace and peace relevant in our lives today?

Yvonne said...

I believe that we can have true peace BECAUSE of God's grace. And we have to accept God's grace in order to experience true peace.

richie_rich_28 said...

I agree with Yvonne. Well said.

jenny said...

I agree with you I guess I just did not word my last comment correctly.

Amanda S. said...

Grace and peace are relevant to me today because of the sin and temptation that I go through on a daily basis. It's hard to admit that they are in my life, since my ultimate goal in life is to be like Christ, but I know that because of God's grace, I have been forgiven of the sin. This can lead to the peace that He alone can give, because I know that I can rest in His forgivness.

Yvonne said...

God is always good...He thinks of everything.

Pasty70 said...

I find it ironic that Paul should speak of God's grace and peace so much...

Ironic because he had spent a great deal of his life trying to earn his salvation as a "good Jew" and making it his mission to insure the Christians didn't enjoy peace...until his eyes were opened to the truth.

Yet, it's fitting because that's what God can do in a life that is totally surrendered to him... change it completely. It's also fitting in that two things he didn't believe in , a salvation not earned and peace for the Christians, he was now "blessing" them with.

However, even though his inside man was changed, his outside appearance remained the same. He may have been different, but he didn't look different. With that being said...

Is it possible that Paul greeted in this way to show others that he had changed? That he wasn't the same man he used to be?

To encourage trust in him?

To remind himself of how far God had brought him?

Going off a bit, the churches Jeff and I helped with in South Africa expected to be greeted in such a fashion. We were told that when we gave our testimonies, we were to bring greetings to the congregation first...from ourselves, our church, and the Lord.