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Bible Commentaries

The Bible Study New Testament
Colossians 2

 

 

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Verse 1

Let me tell you. Paul speaks about the persecutions he has suffered because of preaching the gospel, especially his two years imprisonment at Caesarea (Acts 24:27), and his imprisonment at Rome as he writes this letter (Acts 28:30-31). No one knows for sure that Paul planted the churches here, but MacKnight believes that the churches at Colosse, Laodicea and Hierapolis were planted by him, with the help of Timothy [and perhaps Epaphras].


Verse 2

That they may be drawn together. That both Jews and Gentiles will become "one" in Christ - formed into one church. God's secret. "By means of the gospel the Gentiles have a part with the Jews in God's blessings." (Ephesians 3:6). [See Colossians 1:26-27]


Verse 3

He is the key. Angels are not the key (as the false teachers were saying). Jesus is the key to God's Wisdom of Solomon, and he is himself the wisdom of God (Colossians 1:19). See Matthew 11:27.


Verse 4

Do not let anyone fool you. If they had "true understanding" (Colossians 2:2) this would not be possible. Knowledge is a strong defense against false teachers.


Verse 5

Yet I am with you in spirit. Through the interest he had in them, and the things Epaphras had told him (Colossians 1:7). You stand together. God's act in Christ to save men formed the basis for the faith which caused them to stand together.


Verse 6

Since you have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord. Accepted him as the visible likeness of the invisible God, the creator of all things, the head [teacher and ruler] of the church which is his body; and have been saved by his death and his mediation. Live in union with him. Don't abandon him for angels or the Law.


Verse 7

Keep your roots deep in him. Your life grows out of him like a tree from the earth. Read what Jesus said about the "Real Vine" in John 15:1-17. As you were taught. By Paul and his helpers.


Verse 8

See to it, then, that no one makes a captive of you. By letting the false teachers talk them into worshiping angels and saying they should not eat meat. He says more about this in Colossians 2:16-18. Teachings handed down, etc. Jewish tradition about angels was almost the same as what the Platonists taught about demons. Compare Galatians 4:3.


Verse 9

For the full content. Jesus is God (the Logos) in human form (John 1:14). He is both Son of Man and Son of God. [The Jews understood both titles to mean the same. See Luke 22:69-70.]


Verse 10

And you have been given full life in union with him. No one could offer them more than they already had in Christ. See 1 Corinthians 3:21-23. He is supreme. Over angels and all creation!


Verse 11

In union with him. Some were saying every Christian must be circumcised. But this had already been rejected by the Holy Spirit [ Acts 15:1-29]. Christ's own circumcision is spiritual.


Verse 12

For when you were baptized. Note that he identifies "being freed from the power of this sinful body" with baptism. Baptism is contrasted with the circumcision made by men. You were buried with Christ. Paul teaches we must act out the events of the Cross (Romans 6:3-4). See also Galatians 2:19-20; Ephesians 2:4-6. We die with him, are buried with him, rise with him, and rule with him.


Verse 13

You were at one time. To be dead because of sins is to be without spiritual or eternal life. But God has now. Through the gospel (Romans 1:16-17). This is God's offer to forgive (Acts 2:38).


Verse 14

He canceled. The Law of Jewish rites. The Law was a curse because no one could keep it (see James 2:10; Acts 15:10). Nailing it to the Cross. Jesus canceled the Law by fulfilling it for us (Romans 8:3-4). Those who nailed Jesus to the Cross effectively destroyed the Law by that act. The blood of the New Covenant poured out from the wounds made by the nails.


Verse 15

And on that Cross. He conquered the evil angels and the Devil and all his powers, See John 12:31; John 16:11.


Verse 16

So let no one make rules. Since the Law was canceled, no one may force the Christian to keep its ritual and rites. What you eat. Jewish dietary rules (see Leviticus 7:10-27) would not permit some foods. Some gentiles thought it was wrong to eat meat (Romans 14:2). See also 1 Corinthians 8:8; Hebrews 9:10. Holy days. The Jewish holy days. New moon festival. The monthly Jewish rite (Numbers 28:11). Sabbath. The Sabbath day [Saturday] was canceled along with the Law. It was a special symbol (Exodus 31:13-17). Sunday is the Lord's Day, but it was not "set apart" like the Jewish Sabbath.


Verse 17

All such things. The Jewish ritual looked forward to Christ. Christ is the reality; and his body, the church, is made up of those made free by Truth.


Verse 18-19

Do not allow yourselves. If you are condemned, you lose your reward. Do not allow any teacher to lead you away from Christ. Jesus is real! The special visions; the false humility (Mark 12:38); and the worship of angels; - are fake! The worship of angels, or any human being, living or dead, - is forbidden (see Revelation 19:10). Such a person is all puffed up. The teacher who tells you to follow these rules which will condemn you, has begun to think his "knowledge" is more important than Christ's death and resurrection. Under Christ's control. Christ is the Head of the body - his church. See Ephesians 4:16. He is the source of the body's life and growth.


Verse 20-21

You have died with Christ. You died with Christ in your act of baptism (Colossians 2:12) and became free from the Law and human wisdom (Colossians 2:8). Ruling Spirits of the universe. This sometimes means the Jewish rites (Galatians 4:3). It is implied that angels rule this world, and that forbidding marriage and the eating of meat and making rules about such things comes from them. [These would have to be bad angels.] Why do you obey such rules? "Don't handle this," "Don't taste that," "Don't touch the other," are the rules of the false teachers, which Paul says belong to this world, not to Christ. Christians do not belong to this world, therefore they do not obey the obsolete rites mentioned in this chapter [as a religious act].


Verse 22

All these things. What you eat or drink. God did not make the rules these false teachers are forcing on the Colossian Christians. [See Colossians 2:14].


Verse 23

But they have no real value. The ritual and austerity of these false rules seems wise. But these things are no help at all in controlling the problem of sin. In fact, the ritual and the austerity make the person "puffed up" with his own pride.

 


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These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Colossians 2:4". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/colossians-2.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, January 28th, 2020
the Third Week after Epiphany
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