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Colossians 2:6 AMPC

As you have therefore received Christ, [even] Jesus the Lord, [so] walk (regulate your lives and conduct yourselves) in union with and conformity to Him.

5 Answers 5

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λαμβάνω, lambano Strong 2983 conveys a 'taking hold of' as Matthew 7:8 when Jesus expresses :

... everyone that asketh, receiveth [Matthew 7:8 KJV]

With the addition of the sun- prefix this becomes συλλαμβάνω, sullambano Strong 4815 which begins to indicate an intimacy, as in conception or in arrest, see Jesus using the word when he was arrested in the garden of Gethsemane :

Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? [Matthew 26:55 KJV] ;

or when Gabriel announced to Mary :

... And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, [Luke 1:31 KJV]

Then we have the word with the para- prefix, as in our text Colossians 2:6, the word παραλαμβάνω, paralambano Strong 3880.

The para- prefix usually denotes 'alongside' as we see in the word paraklete, which we bring into English, in transliteration, 'one who draws alongside'.

Thus 'receive' in Colossians 2:6 is an intimate matter, a close relationship, similar to arrest or conception - close contact.

In union with Christ, in conformity to him, receiving him within, into the spirit, part of the being ('I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me', Galatians 2:20) thus one is regulated, not by addressing an exterior rule, a law, a tree of knowledge of good and evil ; but by the intimacy of Christ's dwelling, in Spirit, within (one having received him, intimately) thus the walk, thus the uprightness, thus the conformity.


In private correspondence with someone over this, my answer, I was reminded by the saying engraved on the memorial to the martyr John Hooper in Gloucester :

When I came to know the truth more clearly, then I came to know the Lord aright.

The doctrine is essential for us to grasp the knowledge of whom and what Christ is, but if we receive it aright, then it is not only doctrine that we receive : we receive Christ himself and He is 'formed within' us, Galatians 4:19.

This is the mystery of the faith ; it is not just faith. It is Christ Himself. And His Presence within us, in Spirit as our text, here, indicates, is that by which we walk, for there is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus (and He in them) who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit, Romans 8:1.

Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. [1 Timothy 3:9 KJV]

He is not just 'the Logos' : He is the Living Word.

The words that I speak unto you (if it be Christ who does, indeed, speak them to us) they are Spirit and they are Life. [John 6:63 KJV]

The flesh profiteth nothing, saith Jesus (even flesh in religious intellectual accomplishment) ; it is the Spirit who quickeneth (to Life).

As John Hart's hymn says :

True religion's more than notion, something must be known and felt.

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    Intimacy between persons, indeed, and not just assent to tradition. +1 Sep 14, 2023 at 13:20
  • Indeed @MikeBorden See my additional edit above . . . . . .
    – Nigel J
    Sep 15, 2023 at 1:17
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    I think this is a great answer! :) Sep 15, 2023 at 2:09
  • @DerÜbermensch Thank you. Glad to be of service.
    – Nigel J
    Sep 15, 2023 at 18:31
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We note in the passage containing v6 a lead up to the new reality in which they now find themselves.

  • hearts may be encouraged,
  • knit together in love,
  • full assurance of understanding,
  • the knowledge of the mystery of God, which is Christ
  • the firmness of your faith in Christ.

6 Therefore, just as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord,

  • walk in Him,
  • having been rooted and being built up in Him,
  • strengthened in the faith
  • abounding with thanksgiving.

The matter of being granted access to God through Jesus is dependent on an initial gift of belief, trust, faith which sets one free from the deception of self-trust and faith in the world. No one can come to God except he be first drawn to God (John 6:44) and given to Christ to shepherd them through their remaining life on earth as a disciple.

Having received the understanding of who Jesus is, who alone reveals the true God, a believer is able to do the things spoken of in the surrounding verses.

None of them are possible except through Jesus - everything else is an illusion of love, knowledge, faith, strength, thanks, etc.

Several other NT passages echo this "receiving" as a gift from God who is the only giver of truth and life and love which is expressed through the Gospel message Jesus delivered and the Apostles affirmed. (1 Cor 15:1, Phil 4:9, 1 Thes 4:1)

2

Elsewhere the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you”.1 What the apostle Paul received from the Lord, and what he then delivered to the churches in Christ, was tradition. In the Bible, tradition2 usually refers to oral teaching (e.g., doctrine) passed down from one person to another, generation to generation. The person who teaches is said to deliver the tradition; the person who learns is said to receive the tradition.

LSJ on παραδίδωμι (“deliver”),3

παραδίδωμι...1. transmit impart as a teacher, Id.Men.93c: c. inf., παῖδάς σφι παρέδωκε τὴν γλῶσσαν ἐκμαθεῖν Hdt.1.73 [...]

4. [...] b. teach doctrine, Ev.Luc.1.2, Sor.1.124, M.Ant.1.8, Philum.Ven.37.3, Dam.Pr.154, 433, Paul.Aeg.6.50

LSJ on παραλαμβάνω (“receive”),4

  1. receive by hearing or report, ascertain, παρὰ τῶν Αἰγυπτίων Hdt.2.19; π. ἀληθείην Id.1.55; π. ἀκοῇ Id.2.148; π. τὰ περὶ Ἀλκμέωνα Th.2.102; τι περί τινος Plb.12.22.5; receive by way of lesson, σοφίαν παρά τινος Pl.La.197d:—Pass., to be received, accepted, τὰ παρειλημμένα the received or traditionary doctrines, Arist.Mete.365a16; οἱ π. μῦθοι Id.Po.1453b22; [λόγοι] ἔνιοι π. ὡς Ἀριστογείτονος Plu.2.850e.

LSJ on παράδοσις (“tradition”),5

  1. that which is handed down or bequeathed, tradition, doctrine, teaching, ἡ π. τῶν πρεσβυτέρων Ev.Matt.15.2, Ev.Marc.7.3, etc. αἱ π. τῶν θεῶν καὶ τῶν θείων ἀνδρῶν Dam.Pr.265: also in Gramm., Ἑλληνικὴ π. A.D.Conj.213.13, cf. 19 (pl.)

The apostle Paul writes that the Colossians “received Christ Jesus the Lord” (παρελάβετε τὸν Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν τὸν κύριον).3 (Here he uses a conjugation of παραλαμβάνω.) He also mentions that they “have been taught”.4

Previously he mentioned others who attempted to beguile the Colossians with “enticing words” (πιθανολογίᾳ).5 Several verses later, he mentions men who attempted to spoil the Colossians with philosophy, vain deceit, after the tradition (παράδοσιν) of men.6

By the phrase “received Christ Jesus the Lord”, the apostle Paul is not referring to the Colossians “receiving Christ Jesus the Lord into their hearts” or “accepting Christ Jesus as Lord”. Rather, he is referring to the Colossians receiving the doctrine that the apostle Paul taught them. It is this same doctrine that the Lord Jesus Christ taught the apostle Paul,7 and the apostle Paul taught his disciple, Epaphras,8 who then taught the Colossians.

I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you...

By receiving what the apostle Paul and Epaphras taught, they were receiving what the Lord Jesus Christ taught. And by receiving what the Lord Jesus Christ taught, they received the Lord Jesus Christ (or, “Christ Jesus the Lord”) himself. In the New Testament, there is mention of teaching Christ9 and learning Christ,10 and therefore, here, receiving Christ.

As Heinrich Meyer wrote, “Christ is the great collective object of the instruction which the readers have received, so that they have learned [and thus, received] Christ”.11


Footnotes
1 1 Cor. 11:23
2 Greek παράδοσις; Latin traditio
3 LSJ, p. 1308
4 LSJ, p. 1315
5 LSJ, p. 1309
5 Col. 2:4
6 Col. 2:8
7 1 Cor. 11:23 cf. Ga. 1:12
8 Col. 1:7: “Just as you also learned from Epaphras...”
9 Eph. 4:20: «ἐμάθετε τὸν Χριστόν»
10 Acts 5:42: «διδάσκοντες...Ἰησοῦν τὸν Χριστόν»
11 Commentary on Ephesians 4:20, p. 219: „Christus ist das grosse Gesammtobject des Unterrichts, welchen die Leser empfangen habe, so dass sie Christum gelernt haben“.
References
Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; et al. A Greek-English Lexicon. 9th ed. with revised supplement. Oxford: Clarendon, 1996.

Meyer, Heinrich August Wilhelm. Kritisch exegetischer Kommentar über das Neue Testament, Achte Abtheilung, Kritisch exegetisches Handbuch über den Brief an die Epheser. Vol. 8. 4th ed. Göttingen: Vandenboeck and Ruprecht, 1867.
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    I am edified by all you have here written (up-voted +1) but your answer prompted me to edit my own. Perhaps you will take a glance at the edit ? Nigel.
    – Nigel J
    Sep 15, 2023 at 1:15
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The operative verb in Col 2:6 is παραλαμβάνω (paralambanó) = "to receive", or, "to take from".

BDAG suggests that this word, in this context has the meaning to take or receive "of a mental heritage" ... ie, accept Jesus Christ, ie, the proclamation of Him as Lord.

This should be understood with two supporting ideas:

  1. as a direct contrast to those who did NOT receive Jesus (ie, did not accept Jesus as Lord and Savior by faith):
  • John 1:11 - He came to the own, and the own did not receive Him.
  1. as a corollary of those who "abide in Him":
  • John 15:4-7 - Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

In other places, this is called "walking with Jesus" or similar such as:

  • Col 2:6 - Therefore, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to walk in Him
  • 1 John 2:6 - Whoever claims to abide in Him must walk as Jesus walked.
  • Rom 6:4 - Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised up out from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also should walk in newness of life.
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The phrase παραλαβεῖν τὸν Ιεφθαε in Judges 11:5 is an excellent example to help us understand the usage of the word παραλαμβάνω. The text says:

Judges 11:5-9 KJV

5 And it was so, that when the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah out of the land of Tob: 6 And they said unto Jephthah, Come, and be our captain, that we may fight with the children of Ammon. 7 And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, Did not ye hate me, and expel me out of my father's house? and why are ye come unto me now when ye are in distress? 8 And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, Therefore we turn again to thee now, that thou mayest go with us, and fight against the children of Ammon, and be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead. 9 And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, If ye bring me home again to fight against the children of Ammon, and the LORD deliver them before me, shall I be your head?

The Friberg Analytical Greek Lexicon defines παραλαμβάνω as follows: "παραλαμβάνω fut. mid. παραλήμψομαι (and παραλήψομαι); 2aor. παρέλαβον; 1fut. pass. παραλημθήσομαι; from a basic meaning take to oneself; (1) with a person as the object; (a) denoting accompaniment take, take along or with, bring along (MT 2.13); lead aside, take aside (MT 20.17); (b) denoting close fellowship and agreement accept, receive to oneself (JN 14.3); (2) with a thing as the object; (a) of an office take over, receive (CO 4.17); (b) of an inheritance receive (HE 12.28); of a spiritual legacy of doctrines and traditions receive, learn by tradition, be taught (MK 7.4; 1C 11.23)." παραλαβεῖν VNAA παραλαμβάνω.

This means that Paul declares that the Colossians received Christ as the Head of their lives.

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