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Bible Commentaries
Colossians 2

Gann's Commentary on the BibleGann on the Bible

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Verse 1

Colossians 2:1

II. DANGER - Christ’s Preeminence Defended

1. Beware of empty philosophies -- Col. 2:1-10

2. Beware of religious legalism - Col. 2:11-17

3. Beware of man-made disciplines - Col. 2:18-23

Rigid life styles (asceticism)

- - - - - - - - - -

Col. 2 Seven Marks of the Faithful Church

(or "Why Paul Agonized?...)

Inro. 2:1 Paul communicates his struggle for them in loving words.

a) Intense; b) Impartial (all)

v.2 1) That they may have courage

v.2 2) That members be knit together in love (Col. 4:8 cf. bones, Col. 2:19)

v.3 3) That the church be rich in understanding (Col. 2:3)

v.4 4) That the church be able to resist seductive teaching.

v.5 5) That church will have steadfastness of faith (joy to Paul)

v.6 6) That members will walk in Christ (Re the way we live)

v.7 7) That the church will overflow with gratitude - (NASV)

(Thanksgiving is characteristic of N.T. life.)

- - - - - - - -

The Preacher’s Conflict (Agony)

1) Intense (2:1 cf. word study)

2) Impartial, applies to all

3) Holy

a) Desires their comfort (encouragement)

b) Desires their unity

c) Desires their understanding of their

d) Expressed in warnings - v.4 (Colossians 2:4)

- - - - - - - -

Colossians 2:1

2:1 continues to reveal why Paul had prayed Colossians 1:9.

Conflict -- struggle; Gk = agona, or agonize. Paul struggle in his prayers to "play the man" before all those Christians watching him.

Not seen my face -- an indication that Paul has not visited Laodicea which was a neighbor city to Colossae. The verse also indicates that other areas suffered the same dangers to their faith as the Colossians.

Verse 2

Colossians 2:2

Comforted -- encouraged

Knit -- united, Colossians 2:19; mending broken bones.

Mystery -- cf. Ephesians 3:4-6 xxx; See ASV, Christ is the mystery.

Verse 3

Colossians 2:3

Hid -- contained

Verse 4

Colossians 2:4

A Key verse in understanding Paul’s purpose in writing.

Beguile -- Only here and in James 2:22. "to reckon wrong, to deceive by false reasoning, delude, to lead astray by false reasoning."

Enticing words -- See RWP "to reckon wrong, to deceive by false reasoning, delude, to lead astray by false reasoning." (Robertson’s Word Pictures)

With enticing words - Artful words, smooth and plausible arguments; such as were employed by the Greek sophists and rhetoricians. (Barnes)

Verse 5

Colossians 2:5

Steadfastness.. (This particular word is found only here in the N.T.) To make stead, (probably a military metaphor).

Vivid Pictures of Steadfastness:

1. v.5 Like an army - order, steadfastness, Colossians 2:5

2. v.6 Pilgrim on a pilgrimage Colossians 2:6

3. v.7a Tree - Agricultural word Colossians 2:7

4. v.7b Building - Architectural word

5. v.7c School - taught

6. v.7d River - abounding, (overflowing its banks)

Verse 6

Colossians 2:6

Received Christ -- (See Gann’s sermon on "Receiving Christ" to see what all was in involved in the Colossians receiving Christ)

Verse 7

Colossians 2:7

Rooted -- (Christians are not tumbleweed) to have a good foundation.

Built up -- the superstructure.

Thanks -- Mentioned by Paul six times in this short letter.

Colossians 1:3; Colossians 1:12; Colossians 2:7; Colossians 3:15; Colossians 3:17; Colossians 4:2

Dangers are the traditions of men, Matthew 15:1-2; Galatians 1:14

Verse 8

Colossians 2:8

The heresy at Colossae was basically a group of additions to Christ: 1) philosophy (Colossians 2:8); 2) Jewish ceremonies (Colossians 2:16); 3) worship of angels ( Colossians 2:18); rules about self-denial of the body ( Colossians 2:20-23 ).


(Don’t let anyone deceive you about Christ’s preeminence, cf. Colossians 2:18-19)

1) Vain Philosophy v. 8-10

2) Judaism v. 1-17

3) Mystical teaching v. 18-19

4) Rigid life style (self-denial) asceticism, v.20-23

- - - - - - - -

Spoil you ... "Carry you off as captive."

Tradition -- "That which is handed down." For Good Christian traditions, see 2 Thessalonians 2:15, 2 Thessalonians 3:6; 2 Timothy 2:2; 1 Corinthians 15:3 ff.

Verse 9

Colossians 2:9

A most important verse in understanding Christ’s deity.

Full deity dwells in Christ in a bodily way.

Dwell -- Dwell, not sojourn (Gk)

Verse 10

Colossians 2:10

Complete ..full, full grown, mature.

v.10 Christ has Perfect Authority (Colossians 2:10)

v.11 Christ gives us Perfect Circumcision. (Colossians 2:11)

v.15 Christ gives us the Perfect Victory (Colossians 2:15)

Verse 11

Colossians 2:11

v.10 Christ has Perfect Authority (Colossians 2:10)

v.11 Christ gives us Perfect Circumcision. (Colossians 2:11)

v.15 Christ gives us the Perfect Victory (Colossians 2:15)

The factors of perfect circumcision:

1) v.11 By putting off the body of the flesh - Rom. 6.6

By repentance, Rom 8:4-7

One can’t do the sins of the flesh and please God.

2) v.12 Buried with him in baptism through faith in the working of God.

Verse 12

Colossians 2:12

Buried -- risen -- cf. Romans 6:3-5, indicating that baptism is immersion. It is symbolic of our Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection.

The operation of God -- Who does the "work" in baptism? Baptism is from/of God and He is the One giving the blessings of forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16; Revelation 1:5) Acts 2:47

Verse 13

Colossians 2:13

v.13-14 The results of the perfect circumcision (v.11) performed by Christ. (Colossians 2:11); The results of being buried and raised with Him v. 12 (Colossians 2:12).

Verse 14

Colossians 2:14

Blotting out -- Refers to the ancient writing methods. Written on papyrus which was made from the pith of bulrushes, like our brown paper; ink was made from soot, gum, and water not acid. The writting didn’t bite into the paper but lay on it like chalk on a chalkboard. Sponges were used to wipe it clean and the paper could be re-used.

There was a charge sheet against us, but Jesus, as it were took a sponge, and wiped out the charges against us.

Handwriting of ordinances -- Is this our sins? Or the Law of Moses?

The cross ref in Ephesians 2:14-16 makes clears that passage is talking about the Law being nailed to the Cross, and most likely this passage is also.

Some take this to be our sins, and debts as being nailed tot he cross.


For our learning- Romans 15:4

Changed- Hebrews 7:12 & Hebrews 8:7-8 & Hebrews 8:13 & Hebrews 10:9, Ephesians 2:13-15, Colossians 2:14,

Ended at the death of Christ-

Hebrews 9:15-17, Galatians 3:19 & Galatians 3:16 & Galatians 3:24-25, Galatians 5:4 & Galatians 5:18.

Sabbath to Jews - Deuteronomy 5:2-3 & Deuteronomy 5:15.

Made known at Sinai- Nehemiah 9:13-14.

Verse 15

Colossians 2:15

Spoiled -- (cf. v.8 Colossians 2:8) An allusion to the way generals paraded their captives in a triumphant procession in a military parade when they returned home victorious. Ephesians 4:8; 2 Corinthians 2:14

v.10 Christ has Perfect Authority (Colossians 2:10)

v.11 Christ gives us Perfect Circumcision. (Colossians 2:11)

v.15 Christ gives us the Perfect Victory (Colossians 2:15)

The Triumphs of the Cross - Colossians 2:15

1) A Triumph over the Law - Colossians 2:14

2) A Triumph over sins - Colossians 2:13; Hebrews 9:26; 1 Corinthians 1:1-57

3) A Triumph over Death - Hebrews 2:15

4) A Triumph over the work of Satan - 1 John 3:8

5) A Triumph over Satan himself - Revelation 12:10-11; Genesis 3:15

6) A Triumph over all (enemies) - Colossians 2:15; 2 Corinthians 5:10; John 12:27-32; Colossians 2:15

Verse 16

Colossians 2:16

NIV 3 Victories

1) Disarmed - stripped them of their weapons

2) Exposed Satan’s deceit - a liar.

3) Jesus returned to heaven (His ascension) in glory

let no one judge you -- Paul warns the Colossians against trading their freedom in Christ for a set of useless, man-made, legalistic rules (cf. Galatians 5:1). Legalism is powerless to save or to restrain sin. - MSB

in food or in drink -- The false teachers sought to impose some sort of dietary regulations, probably based on those of the Mosaic law (cf. Lev. 11). Since they were under the New Covenant, the Colossians (like all Christians) were not obligated to observe the OT dietary restrictions (cf. Mark 7:14-19; Acts 10:9-15; Romans 14:17; 1 Corinthians 8:8; 1 Timothy 4:1-5; Hebrews 9:9-10). - MSB

festival -- The annual religious celebrations of the Jewish calendar (e.g., Passover, Pentecost, or Tabernacles; cf. Lev. 23). - MSB

new moon -- First day of the month. Hebrews celebrated the beginning of each new lunar month by blowing trumpets and extra sacrifices. Numbers 10:10; Numbers 28:11; 1 Chronicles 23:31; 2 Chronicles 31:3; Nehemiah 10:33

See above about New Moon, Nehemiah 10:33

sabbaths -- The weekly celebration of the seventh day, which pictured God’s rest from creation. The NT clearly teaches that Christians are not required to keep it (see notes on Acts 20:7; Romans 14:5-6). - MSB

Verse 17

Colossians 2:17

Shadow -- For example, the Sabbath rest was a type of our heavenly rest- Hebrews 4:9.

Verse 18

Colossians 2:18

Beguile -- Rob, or disqualify, defraud you (as an umpire would in a sports contest).

Voluntary humility -- Outward exhibitation of humility. Looked like modesty to appeal to mediating angels rather than to God Himself.

Developing theories about unrevealed ruth about angels, or etc.

Fleshly mind ..

Point of verses 18-19 Dont let anyone minimize Christ.

Verse 19

Colossians 2:19

A Growing Body

Bands -- (KJ) ligaments; NIV ="ligaments and sinews"

Knit together -- Growth comes thru our contacts with other members.

Verse 20

Colossians 2:20

Rudiments -- Doctirnes of the world.

Verse 21

Colossians 2:21

Touch not -- Referring to marriage, cf. 1 Timothy 4:1-3

1) Becoming ceremonially defiled

2) Unclean meats

3) cf. 1 Timothy 4:3

Verse 22

Colossians 2:22

Using -- Misuse, abuse

Verse 23

Colossians 2:23

Will worship -- NASV "self-made religion"; Arbitrary worship which one devises and prescribes for himself.

Honor -- No value against fleshly indulgence.

Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on Colossians 2". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gbc/colossians-2.html. 2021.
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