Pastor Larry, Thank you for your response to my post regarding Col. 1:23 in the Hebrews 1:3 thread. I am very surprised to see you refer to the commentaries on Colossians by Abbott, Bruce, and Vaughn because I also have those three commentaries right here in my study at home. I am especially surprised to see you refer to Abbott’s commentary—not very many pastors today bother with that one or any of the other volumes in the ICC series, not because they are not worth consulting, but because doing so in an intelligent manner requires a certain level of sophistication and scholarship that is absent from many pulpits today. I hope that your congregation appreciates having a pastor who is willing to study. I have read the comments made by these three scholars, and you are very correct in your understanding of them. I also have several other commentaries on Colossians, and I suppose that you do too. And of course some of the authors would not agree with Abbott, Bruce, and Vaughn, but believe as I do that Paul is writing of “the faith,” i.e., the Christian faith. This camp includes: John Eadie, Eduard Lohse, Ralph P. Martin, W. H. Griffith Thomas, Karl Braune, H. A. W. Meyer, Richard Lenski, Adam Clarke, and Peter T. O’Brian (WBC). But, on the other hand, some of them do. This camp includes: J. B. Lightfoot and Marvin R. Vincent. And there are still others of these commentators on Colossians that write that neither “in the faith” nor “in your faith” is correct, but that the phrase should be translated, “in faith.” This camp includes F. B. Westcott and A. T. Robertson. And there is yet a fourth, made up of those who are undecided or who declined to comment on the issue. W. H. Griffith Thomas writes, “It is not so much that there was real doubt of the Colossians’ being “in the faith,” as might seem indicated by the English word “if,” but rather that to assume their present continuance was the best guarantee of it.” (My emphasis) Richard Lenski writes, “To be sure, “not moved away” implies not leaving the faith on which the Colossians rest. But this faith involves the great gospel hope, the goal of our lives. Hence Paul states it with this significant addition: “not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard.” J.B. Lightfoot writes that “perhaps” the word’s here should be understood as ‘your faith,’ rather than ‘the faith.’ Marvin R. Vincent writes, “The faith is not the gospel system (see Acts vi. 7), but the Colossian’s faith in Christ. Your faith would be better.” F. B. Westcott writes in his commentary on Colossians, “We need not concern ourselves to translate the article. It is simply ‘faith”; neither ‘the faith’ nor ‘your faith.’ A. T. Robertson agrees, however, Karl Braune writes (translated from the German by M. B. Riddle) “The article marks the faith as definite; an indefinite one, after their own pleasure, does not suffice.” Handley C. G. Moule translates “your faith”. Peter T. O’Brien (WBC) writes, “’The faith’ in this context is another description for the apostolic gospel rather than the subjective response of the Colossians to that gospel.” I agree with O’Brien. The expression, “the faith,” was often used in the New Testament to designate “the apostolic gospel” or “the Christian faith,” and I believe that was Paul’s use of the expression in Col. 1:23. Yes, but only when the context clearly shows that to be the case. Dana and Mantey write, “The article is used [as a possessive pronoun] when the one to whom possession is referred is made clear by the context.” (p. 131) They then give three examples: Matt. 8: 3. Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, "I am willing; be cleansed." And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. Heb. 7:24. but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. 1 Pet. 4:8. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. In Matt. 8: 3, not only is the one to whom possession is referred made clear by the context, but the context also supports the possessive use in other ways. The expression “the hand” and similar expressions are very frequently used idiomatically in Greek and many other languages for “his hand” and similar expressions. We don’t find anything like this in Col. 1:23. In Heb. 7:24, whether or not the definite article is being used in the place of possessive pronoun is not clear, although many believe that it is so used. The context suggests to many that it is. I find it interesting to read and consider the verse both ways. In 1 Pet. 4:8 we find an idiomatic expression very similar to that in Matt. 8:3. Again, we don’t find anything like this is Col. 1:23. THE BOTTOM LINE: Did the translators of the NIV use good judgment in translating Col. 1:23 the way they did? Most translators would say that they did not; the context does not justify it. As Richard Lenski observes, the context shows quite clearly that the Christian faith is in view. And if “the faith” is being used by Paul in this verse as a designation for “the apostolic gospel” or “the Christian faith,” as I and not a few others believe is the case, then the translation in the NIV is incorrect. The NIV is basing its translation on an “exception to the rule” rather than “the rule” without sufficient evidence to justify doing so.