Thomas W. Hudgins: Colossians 2:14 and The Certificate of Debt
by Dr. Thomas W. Hudgins, professor, author of Those Footnotes in Your New Testament: A Textual Criticism Primer for Everyone and a translator of Dr. David Alan Black’s book, Aprenda a Leer el Griego del Nuevo Testamento.
Certificate of debt? Record of debt? Debt? Written code? Handwritten certificate? Etc. What exactly did Jesus “cancel out”? What was it that Paul says was hostile against us? When we talk about this word as we are teaching through this passage, what should we emphasize and what should we not emphasize?
I wanted to show you what some people have written in the commentaries concerning this word:
John MacArthur writes: “Certificate of debt translates cheirographos, which literally means ‘something written with the hand,’ or ‘an autograph.’ It was used to refer to a certificate of indebtedness handwritten by the debtor in acknowledgement of his debt” (Colossians and Philemon, 112)
Richard Melick writes: “Literally, the handwriting is a certificate of indebtedness written in one’s own hand. Taken this way, this means that there is a pronouncement that the personal note which testifies against us is canceled” (Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, NAC, 263). (Read more.)