Colossians 1:24 begins with the word Νῦν, “now.” Prototypically this is an adverb of time. But it is possible that here it is being used as a discourse marker signaling a deictic shift not merely from the past to the present but indicating that Paul is beginning a new section of his argument or a parenthetical statement. Here are two examples showing the different uses of now.
- I was young. Now I am old.
- He sold all his stocks. Now, if I were him I would have waited.
Paul’s argument could be interpreted as either of the following:
- [IN THE PAST] I became a minister. NOW I rejoice in my sufferings…
- …I became a minister BY THE WAY I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake…
I’m unsure if this is joining verse 24 with verse 23 (a Νῦν of the above) or signaling the beginning of a new section (Νῦν of the below?!?). Most Bible editions put a break here, either a paragraph break or a section heading.
There are several other interesting features of this passage that seem to be under-represented in translation:
- The “mystery” which might be better rendered “secret.”
- The extended metaphor of a steward and stewardship (see v. 25)
- The word play in v. 29 that is lost in most translations I have surveyed.
There’s quite a bit of word play with “flesh” and “body” as well.
I’d also be curious to hear your thoughts on the revelation of the mystery, “Christ in you the hope of glory.” How does the text build toward this culminating statement? Is there a chiasm here? It’s certainly a startling thought that the one in whom all the fulness of divinity dwelt (v.19), dwells in us (v.27).