On Colossians 1:19

J. N. Darby.


Every correction of scripture is of moment. I beg to suggest one, the occasion for which it appears to me exceedingly mars the sense. I refer to the expression "It pleased [the Father] that in him should all fulness dwell." The English reader may see upon the face of it, that the word "Father" is put in by our translators. This is extremely bad theology, depriving us of the development of glory in the Person of our most blessed Lord. "All the fulness was pleased to dwell in him." In its present reading it is merely the pleasure of the Father about the Son, which I apprehend to be a mischievous derogation from the divine glory of the Son, to deprive us of the revelation of that in which to me Christianity consists — a revelation of the Trinity known in the relationship in which we are brought by faith to it. In the second chapter we have the fact, "All the fulness of the Godhead dwells in him bodily;" Col. 2:9, that is, in the incarnation of the Son. While He was the Son in personal union with flesh as Jesus, there could be no separation of the Son from the Father or the Spirit, though most distinct in their relationship. Therefore the Lord says, though He wrought Himself the miracles, "The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works" John 14:10; and again, "If I cast out devils, by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you." Matt 12:28. That He was the Son, however, is the direct object of faith, but revealing the Father; and therefore "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." John 14:9. In a word, the fulness of the Godhead (as is declared by the Spirit concerning Him) "dwelt in him bodily." These things may be difficult as to human explanation, but not as to communion, where the Spirit of God is; for He reveals in communion, according to the power of truth, and no way else. And I believe that, while the human intellect will break itself to pieces against the glory of the divine revelation, the fulness of our joy and hope, and the soundness of our Christianity, and, consequently christian strength and energy, chiefly depends upon the distinctness with which we are cognizant of the unity and trinity, withal made known to us in the Incarnation, which is the revelation of it. "God resisteth the proud but giveth grace to the humble." 1 Peter 5:5. I believe it to be a revelation, and known, where only it can be known, in communion, by those made partakers of the Spirit by faith in Christ Jesus: all else will stumble somewhere, and these too, if they be not humble.