God (o qeo). This Epistle begins like Genesis and the Fourth Gospel with God, who is the Author of the old revelation in the prophets and of the new in his Son. Verses Colossians 1-3 are a proemium (Delitzsch) or introduction to the whole Epistle. The periodic structure of the sentence ( Colossians 1-4 ) reminds one of Ro1Jo 1:1Luke 1:1-4, Ro_1:1-7, 1Jo_1:1-4Luke 1:1-7Luke 1:1-4 . The sentence could have concluded with en uiwi in verse Hebrews 1:2 , but by means of three relatives (on, di ou, o) the author presents the Son as "the exact counterpart of God" (Moffatt). Of old time (palai). "Long ago" as in Matthew 11:21 . Having spoken (lalhsa). First aorist active participle of lalew, originally chattering of birds, then used of the highest form of speech as here. Unto the fathers (toi patrasin). Dative case. The Old Testament worthies in general without "our" or "your" as in John 6:58 ; John 7:22 ; Romans 9:5 . In the prophets (en toi prophtai). As the quickening power of their life (Westcott). So Romans 4:7 . By divers portions (polumerw). "In many portions." Adverb from late adjective polumerh (in papyri), both in Vettius Valens, here only in N.T., but in Wisdom 7:22 and Josephus (Ant. VIII, 3, 9). The Old Testament revelation came at different times and in various stages, a progressive revelation of God to men. In divers manners (polutropw). "In many ways." Adverb from old adjective polutropo, in Philo, only here in N.T. The two adverbs together are "a sonorous hendiadys for 'variously'" (Moffatt) as Chrysostom (diaporw). God spoke by dream, by direct voice, by signs, in different ways to different men (Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Elijah, Isaiah, etc.).