Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Verse 14 (Colossians 3:14)

And above all these things - Επι πασι δε τουτοις· Upon all, over all; as the outer garment envelopes all the clothing, so let charity or love invest and encompass all the rest. Even bowels of mercy are to be set in motion by love; from love they derive all their feeling, and all their power and promptitude to action. Let this, therefore, be as the upper garment; the surtout that invests the whole man.

Which is the bond of perfectness - Love to God and man is not only to cover all, but also to unite and consolidate the whole. It is therefore represented here under the notion of a girdle, by which all the rest of the clothing is bound close about the body. To love God with all the heart, soul, mind, and strength, and one's neighbor as one's self, is the perfection which the new covenant requires, and which the grace and Spirit of Christ work in every sincerely obedient, humble believer; and that very love, which is the fulfilling of the law and the perfection itself which the Gospel requires, is also the bond of that perfection. It is by love to God and man that love is to be preserved. Love begets love; and the more a man loves God and his neighbor, the more he is enabled to do so. Love, while properly exercised, is ever increasing and reproducing itself.

Instead of τελειοτητος , perfection, several reputable MSS., with the Itala, read ἑνοτητος , unity; but the former is doubtless the genuine reading.

- Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible