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Colossians 2

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

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Verses 1-7

Paul’s Exhortation to Steadfastness in Christ In Colossians 2:1-7 Paul exhorts the Colossians to hold fast to their faith in Christ Jesus and to grow in their knowledge of Him lest they be overcome with false doctrines.

Colossians 2:1 For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh;

Colossians 2:1 Word Study on “conflict”- Strong says the Greek word “conflict” ( αγών ) (G73) means, “a place of assembly (as if led), a contest (held there),” and figuratively, “effort, anxiety.” Paul is in conflict in the sense of enduring trials and tribulations, or sufferings. Paul used this same Greek word αγω ́ ν in 2 Timothy 4:7 to state the battles that he had fought in his life.

2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought a good fight , I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:”

Comments - What was Paul trying to achieve in this fight? He was labouring and struggling to bring each believer to their fullness in Christ Jesus so that they could walk in the place that God called them to walk and receive eternal life.

Colossians 2:2 Comments - Colossians 2:2 explains Paul’s concern, or “conflict,” that he mentions in verse one.

Colossians 2:3 Comments - God’s Word is more to be desired that silver or gold, it is the most valuable thing to possess that there is.

Psalms 19:10, “More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.”

Colossians 2:5 “yet am I with you in the spirit” - Comments - Note in 1 Corinthians 5:4, Paul refers to the same spiritual union in the faith when he says, “and my spirit.”

1 Corinthians 5:4, “In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit , with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,”

Colossians 2:5 “joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ” Comments - The phrase “your order” means how well the Colossians believers are getting along together, or their discipline. It may be compared to a teacher leaves the class, good students will stay in order, bad students will become disorderly. It is especially like the order in a military group.

We find Church order emphasized in the Pastoral Epistles and we find steadfastness, or perseverance, emphasized in the General Epistles. Paul has already made sure that they were taught proper doctrine, which is emphasized in the Church Epistles. When are saved and begin to come into a deeper revelation and understanding of the riches of Christ Jesus, we are compelled to restructure our lives and set it in a more perfect order. In addition, we are exhorted to continue steadfast in this order, or manner of life.

For example, the Lord once said to me, “Let all things be done decently and in order and I can control the world.”

1 Corinthians 14:40, “Let all things be done decently and in order.”

Satan gains control thru chaos and disorder. I gain control when you do things in order.”

James 3:15, “This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”

The Lord spoke to Myles Munroe and said, “I honour faith and order.” [87] Faith is what brings the blessings of God into our lives, but order is what manages those blessings. God honours those who are able to properly manage the blessings that He imparts to them, and He will continually give them more blessings to those who are faithful.

[87] Myles Munroe, interviewed by Benny Hinn, This is Your Day (Irving, Texas), on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program.

My experience in Uganda, East Africa is that Muslims try to gain control of these weak African nations through bombings and fear. They cause disorder and then blame it on the existing government, in an attempt to overthrow the nation. They know that through chaos and disorder they can gain control over a nation.

Colossians 2:6 “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord” Comments - This is a reference to their salvation experience.

Colossians 2:6 “so walk ye in Him” Comments - This phrase refers to Christian discipleship and grown. The Colossians were to continue in that vital fellowship and obedience to Jesus. We could also use the phrase “Abiding in True Vine” from John 15:1-8. Note that verse is similar to Galatians 5:25.

Galatians 5:25, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

Colossians 2:7 Comments - Colossians 2:7 describes the process of growing up and bearing fruit. We become rooted by entering the process of indoctrination, which we learn God’s Word. We then become built up in Him and are qualified for divine service. The term “stablished in the falth” describes a minister’s perseverance in faith in his office of divine service. Jesus is the vine (John 15:1-8), where we must continually abide in order to follow this spiritual journey of justification, indoctrination, divine service and perseverance in order to reach glorification. In nature we see how a seed in the grown germinated and first sends forth a root before it sends forth its stalk to reach forth out of the ground.

Verses 1-23

Practical Application: The Preeminence of Christ in Christian Living - Kenneth Hagin and other great Bible teaches tell us that we are created as a three-fold person. [86] We are transformed through a process of renewing our minds, transforming our hearts and then directing our bodies into a godly lifestyle. Thus, Paul follows this order in his teaching to the Colossians so that Christ Jesus might be preeminent in their daily lives. Chapters two through four of Colossians teach us how to apply the doctrinal truths laid out in the first chapter to our personal lives.

[86] Kenneth Hagin, Man on Three Dimensions (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c1973, 1985); and Kenneth Hagin, The Human Spirit (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c1985).

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. His Preeminence in our Thinking (Mental Transformation) Colossians 2:1-23

2. His Preeminence in our Affections (Spiritual Transformation) Colossians 3:1-17

3. His Preeminence in our Conduct (Physical Transformation) Colossians 3:18 to Colossians 4:6

Verses 8-15

Christ verses Philosophy: False Doctrine Confronted In Colossians 2:8-15 Paul then warns them of such false doctrines by restating Christ’s preeminence in contrast to human philosophy.

Colossians 2:9 Comments - Everything we need to be, do and become is wrapped up in becoming like Jesus.

Colossians 2:10 “And ye are complete in Him” Illustration - I had a dream in the late 1980's where Al and Merle Schukoske, my former employers, came up and knocked on my door. I met them at the door of my home. As I saw their faces, there swept over me the loneliness and seemly unhappiness of remaining a single young man. Then I looked up towards heaven and I saw the glory of God as it shown down upon me and flooded my soul. It gave me such a complete happy feeling inside that the desire for marriage, for other relationships, or for everything temporal and earthly, faded away and I felt complete in God’s presence. When we get to heaven, we will be totally complete. We will be in need of nothing. The idea of being lonely, even as a single person, will not exist, just as hunger and pain will not exist. Even on this earth, this completeness is available to us to give us strength. For we are complete in Him.

People often ask how they will feel in heaven when they realize that some of their loved ones did not make it, but instead, are suffering in eternal damnation. Will there be sorrow in heaven over this issue? The answer can be found in this verse in Colossians 2:10. We will find ourselves in a state of fullness and completeness that we will no longer have the longings that we now experience on earth. Romans 8:23-39 also refers to this completeness and absence of earthly longings. It tells us that while we are in our mortal bodies, we groan and eagerly await redemption (Romans 8:23-25). When we are redeemed, we will find that the love of God (Romans 8:35-39) so penetrates our entire being that we will no longer groan and long for things. For in the presence of His love, we will be complete. We will be whole, entire, and lacking nothing. If we are lacking nothing in Heaven while in the presence of God, then how can we sorrow and long for something any longer?

Colossians 2:14 “having forgiven you all trespasses” Comments - When Jesus Christ shed His blood on Calvary, God accepted this sacrifice as the payment for the sins of all mankind. We must become identified with His death, burial and resurrection in order to also be identified with His forgiveness. Our identification with all of these events takes place when we place our faith in God’s power to raise Christ from the dead. We cannot receive His forgiveness without first receiving His work on Calvary.

Colossians 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

Colossians 2:14 “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us” - Comments That is, wiping away the certificate of indebtedness. God wipes our slate clean. The phrase “against us” means that these laws were contrary to our fleshly nature. Mankind did not have the ability to walk in all of the commandments and ordinances because he was by nature depraved.

Illustration Peter asked Jesus how many times we are to forgive our neighbours when they sin against us. Jesus replied that we are to always be willing to forgive others (Matthew 18:21-35). Such a story reflects man’s inherent nature to sin.

Colossians 2:14 “that was against us, which was contrary to us” Comments - That is, the Law was against our nature ( καθ ʼ ἡμῶν - against us). Man was a sinner by nature (Romans 3:23) and the Law is holy, just and good (Romans 7:12) and spiritual (Romans 7:14). The Law was set against us ( ὑπεναντίον ἡμῖν - contrary to us) like an adversary and it slew us (Romans 7:9).

Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”

Romans 7:9, “For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.”

Romans 7:12, “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.”

Romans 7:14, “For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.”

Colossians 2:15 “And having spoiled principalities and powers” - Comments - Jesus disarmed, or took away, the power and authority of all rulers and authorities. These “principalities and powers” that have been spoiled refer to the demonic forces that fell with Satan at Christ’s resurrection. These demonic powers that were made subject to Christ are now subject to us through His glorious name, the name of Jesus. We have authority over the Devil, and the basis of our authority is the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Colossians 2:15 “he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” - Comments - BDAG translates the phrase “triumphing over them in it” as “led in a triumphal procession” (see BDAG, θριαμβεύω 1). In ancient times a king would sometime parade his conquered victims into his capital and before his people in a display of strength and power. This would encourage his people to follow him because they believed he was a leader that could protect them from the enemy. Satan has been defeated. Jesus fought and won.

Scripture References - Note a similar verse in Ephesians 4:8:

Ephesians 4:8, “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.”

Verses 16-23

Heresies Exposed: Their Practice Confronted - Having confronted the doctrine and philosophy of these heretics (Colossians 2:8-15), Paul now exposes their futile practices (Colossians 2:16-23). When a cult presents it doctrine, it can sound very convincing to a person who is not rooted and grounded in the Word of God. Such cults need further inspection by examining how the put their beliefs into practice. Thus, Paul now confronts some of the vain practices and rituals of these heretics.

Paul Confronts Asceticism - It is important to note that the passage in Colossians 2:18-23 suggests that Paul was confronting a form of asceticism in which heretics were denying forms of human desires and even isolating themselves in religious rigors. Thus, Paul takes the time to emphasize the sacredness of the family units in Colossians 3:18 to Colossians 4:1.

Illustration - For example, as a supervisor over an apartment management company (1993-97), I was asked by an apartment manager to visit a family that was renting one apartment and discuss with them their beliefs and see if they were a cult or not. While talking with them about their doctrine, I heard nothing that alarmed me. When I asked them about their lifestyle, I saw immediately that it was cultic in nature. So, in this passage in Colossians 2:16-23, Paul will now show them that certain practices are wrong and unacceptable to the Christian lifestyle.

Colossians 2:16 “in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days” Comments - All of these seasonal observations were found in Jewish history and tradition (Nehemiah 10:33).

Nehemiah 10:33, “For the shewbread, and for the continual meat offering, and for the continual burnt offering, of the sabbaths, of the new moons, for the set feasts , and for the holy things, and for the sin offerings to make an atonement for Israel, and for all the work of the house of our God.”

Colossians 2:17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

Colossians 2:17 “but the body is of Christ” - Comments - That is, the body as distinct from the shadow itself. The NIV says, “These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” The body is the true thing, or reality, for which the shadow is an image of.

Colossians 2:18 “Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels” Comments - Although there is no reference made to the city of Colossi in the book of Acts, Theodoret (A.D. 393-466), bishop of Cyrrhus, tells us that it was a city with a lax religion that included the worship of angels during Paul’s days, with the archangel Michael becoming the patron and protector of the city. [88] In the fourth century, we read in the 35 th canon of the Synod of Laodicea, a city located nearby, that prayers to angels were prohibited. [89]

[88] Theodoret writes, “Of which now therefore also a fellow companion travelled together in Laodicea of Phrygia. He had refused a law to pray to angels. Even until now, prayers of the angel Michael along with those also to their Jupiter is seen.” ( PG 82 col. 613)

[89] The 35 th canon of the Council of Laodicea reads, “Christians must not forsake the Church of God, and go away and invoke angels and gather assemblies, which things are forbidden. If, therefore, any one shall be found engaged in this covert idolatry, let him be anathema; for he has forsaken our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and has gone over to idolatry.” ( NPF2 14)

Colossians 2:18 “intruding into those things which he hath not seen” Comments - We are fascinated by the fact that a spiritual world exists around us, and we are eager to learn more about it. We want to know about Heaven, and about the angels, though invisible, who live and minister about us. The fact is, the Holy Bible is a book that focuses our attention upon redemption as it unfolds upon earth. Thus, it reveals very little about the heavenly realm of angels. Colossians 2:18 indicates that too much emphasis upon the world of angels and spirits can become a distraction to our earthly redemption. It results is much speculation, and little factual evidence. The Scriptures are a book about man’s redemption, and it contains information that is necessary for our redemption. Any other emphasis is “fleshy,” although it may initially appear to be religious.

Colossians 2:18 “vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind” Comments - The phrase, “fleshly mind” can be translated as “a carnal mind,” as these same Greek phrase is translated in the epistle of Romans.

Romans 8:6-7, “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”

Colossians 2:18 Comments - A man can act humble while being vainly puffed in his carnal mind.

Colossians 2:23 Illustration - Matthew 15:8-9 is a quote from Isaiah showing the true heart of the Jewish teachers.

Matthew 15:7-9, “Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Colossians 2". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/colossians-2.html. 2013.
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