Colossians Chapter 2

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Introduction

THIS entire chapter may be regarded as designed to guard the Colossians against the seductive influence of the false philosophy which tended to draw them away from the gospel. It is evident from the chapter that there were at Colosse, or in the vicinity, professed instructors in religion, who taught an artful and plausible philosophy, adapting themselves to the prejudices of the people, and inculcating opinions that tended to lead them away from the truths which they had embraced. These teachers were probably of Jewish origin, and had adopted many of the arts of a plausible rhetoric, from the prevailing philosophy in that region. See the Intro. § 4. Against the seductive influences of this philosophy it is the design of this chapter to guard them; and though the apostle does not seem to have intended to pursue an exact logical order, yet the argument in the chapter can be conveniently regarded as consisting of two parts: -- a statement of the reasons why they should be on their guard against the arts of that philosophy, and a specification of the particular errors to which they were exposed.

I. A statement of the reasons why they should not allow themselves to be drawn away by the influence of the prevalent philosophy, Col 2:1ff. This also consists of two parts.

(A.) The importance of the subject, 1ff.

(1.) The apostle felt great solicitude for them, and for all whom he had not seen, that they might hold the truth in reference to the Divine existence and perfections, 1f.

(2.) All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge were in Christ, and it was, therefore, of the greatest importance to hold to the truth respecting him, 3.

(3.) They were in danger of being led astray by enticing words, 4.

(4.) Paul says that he was with them in spirit, and he exhorted them, therefore, to remain rooted and grounded in the doctrines which they had received respecting the Saviour, 5ff.

(B.) Reasons why they should be steadfast, and not drawn away by the influence of false philosophy, 8ff.

(1.) The danger of depending on traditions and worldly principles in religion; of being "spoiled" or robbed by philosophy, 8.

(2.) All that we need to desire is to be found in Christ, 9f.

(3.) We have received through him the true circumcision -- the putting away our sins, 11.

(4.) We have been buried with him in baptism, and have solemnly devoted ourselves to him, 12.

(5.) We have been quickened by him; our sins have been forgiven; and everything that hindered our salvation has been taken out of the way by him, and he has triumphed over our foes, 13ff.

II. Specification of particular errors to which they were exposed, or of particular things to be avoided, 16ff.

The chapter closes Col 2:20ff with an earnest exhortation wholly to avoid these things; not to touch or taste or handle them. However plausible the pretences might be on which they were urged; whatever appearance of wisdom or humility there might be, the apostle assures them that there was no real honour in them, and that they were wholly to be avoided.


Text

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; edit

2: That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; edit

3: In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. edit

4: And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. edit

5: For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. edit

6: As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: edit

7: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. edit

8: Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. edit

9: For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. edit

10: And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: edit

11: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: edit

12: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. edit

13: And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; edit

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; edit

15: And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. edit

16: Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: edit

17: Which are a shadow of things to come; for the body is of Christ. edit

18: Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, edit

19: And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. edit

20: Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, edit

21: (Touch not; taste not; handle not; edit

22: Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? edit

23: Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body: not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh. edit

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