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Colossians 1:27-28, Douay-Rheims 1899 American edition:

To whom God would make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ, in you the hope of glory. Whom we preach, admonishing every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.

Who are the "we" in this passage?

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    Do you have a particular reason to suppose that "we" refers to someone other than Paul and Timothy, who pre-sign the letter in the first verses, addressing themselves to the Colossians?
    – Conrado
    Commented Apr 25 at 19:54
  • Paul is the teacher, and because Timothy was not a coauthor but rather an amanuensis, the null hypothesis is that "we" semantically equals "I". Maybe he didn't want to sound self-centered.
    – Fomalhaut
    Commented Apr 25 at 19:55
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    Ah, I never read it that way. Since they both appeared in the same field, I thought they were co-authors of the letter.
    – Conrado
    Commented Apr 25 at 20:10
  • @Fomalhaut There seems to be a deliberate distinction between the "we" you quote in Colossians 1:28 and immediately following "I" in Colossians 1:29: Wherein also I labour, striving according to his working which he worketh in me in power. This happens elsewhere in the same chapter.
    – Henry
    Commented Apr 25 at 21:09

3 Answers 3

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The epistle mentions a number of persons, all of whom could be included in the 'we'.

Paul himself, Timothy, Tychicus, Onesimus, Aristarchus, Marcus, Barnabas, Jesus (called Justus), Epaphras, Luke, Nymphas and Archippus.

Twelve in all ; a remarkable number, I suggest.

Apostolic, I would venture to mention.

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  • Are all twelve names mentioned before this reference to "we"? And whether the specific number of proper names in the book is somehow special veers very near to, if not right into, speculation - do you have any sources that provide such a view?
    – Jed Schaaf
    Commented Apr 26 at 6:41
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Meyers answers this question in his comments about Col 1:28 and identifies the "we" -

Colossians 1:28. Christ was not proclaimed by all in the definite character just expressed, namely, as “Christ among the Gentiles, the hope of glory;” other teachers preached Him in a Judaistic form, as Saviour of the Jews, amidst legal demands and with theosophic speculation. Hence the emphasis with which not the simply epexegetic ὅν (Erasmus and others), but the ἡμεῖς, which is otherwise superfluous, is brought forward;[74] by which Paul has meant himself along with Timothy and other like-minded preachers to the Gentiles (we, on our part).

That the "we who proclaim Him" are identified, in part in the first verse of Col 1 -

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

However, I am sure that "we" also includes any other preacher in Paul's time that proclaimed Christ according to the doctrine he explains in V24-27.

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To whom God would make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ, in you the hope of glory. Whom we preach, admonishing every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.

The hope of glory seems a direct reference to the holy spirit. Who as we see in first John 2,27 is the one who teaches men in all wisdom. The we in the last statement seems to be a reference to those who are filled with said teacher.

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