"THE EPISTLE TO THE COLOSSIANS" Chapter Two OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To see the relation between understanding the "mystery of God" and having a strong assurance of our salvation 2) To appreciate how baptism serves as our spiritual circumcision, and that it is a work of God which is performed, not a work of man 3) To understand how Christ brought an end to the Old Law by His death on the cross SUMMARY Paul reveals his great concern for those at Colosse and others he has not seen, expressing his desire that their hearts be knit together in love, and that they may have the assurance that comes from an understanding of the mystery of God as revealed through Christ. He rejoices in their good order and steadfastness, and encourages them to be firmly established in Christ, abounding in thanksgiving (1-7). The word "Beware" in verse eight summarizes the rest of the chapter, in which Paul warns them of the dangers of "The Colossian Heresy". These dangers include being cheated through philosophy and vain deceit, and defrauded of their reward by those who appeal to false humility, the worship of angels, false visions, and strict regulations according to the commandments and doctrines of men which really have no value against the indulgence of the flesh. In Christ they are made complete, having undergone a circumcision not made with hands, in which God made them alive together with Christ. Since Christ has also nailed to the cross the "handwriting of requirements" that was against them and taken it out of the way, none can judge them regarding religious observances that were only a shadow pointing to the true substance of Christ (8-23). OUTLINE I. PAUL'S SOLICITUDE (1-7) A. HIS GREAT CONCERN FOR THEM (1-3) 1. He has a great conflict for those... a. In Colosse and Laodicea (1a) b. Who have not seen his face in the flesh (1b) 2. His desire is that... a. Their hearts be encouraged, knit together in love (2a) b. They attain to all the riches of: 1) The full assurance of understanding (2b) 2) The knowledge of the mystery of God (2c) a) Both of the Father and of Christ (2d) b) In whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (3) B. REASONS FOR THIS CONCERN (4-5) 1. Lest anyone deceive them with persuasive words (4) 2. Though absent in the flesh, he is present with them in spirit (5a) 3. He rejoices to see... a. Their good order (5b) b. The steadfastness of their faith (5c) C. EXHORTATIONS TO BE FIRMLY ESTABLISHED IN CHRIST (6-7) 1. As they have received Christ, so they should walk in Him (6) a. Rooted and built up in Him (7a) b. Established in the faith (7b) -- As they were taught (7c) 2. Abounding with thanksgiving (7d) II. WARNINGS AGAINST "THE COLOSSIAN HERESY" (8-23) A. WARNING AGAINST PHILOSOPHY (8-10) 1. Beware of being cheated by philosophy and empty deceit (8a) a. According to the traditions of men (8b) b. According to the basic principles of the world (8c) -- And not according to Christ (8d) 2. In Christ dwells the fullness of God, and you are complete in Him (9-10) a. All the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily in Christ (9) b. You are complete in Him, who is head over all principality and power (10) B. WARNING AGAINST JUDAISTIC CEREMONIALISM (11-17) 1. In Christ you have a circumcision made without hands (11-12) a. A putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh (11) b. Having been buried with Christ in baptism (12) 1) In which you were also raised with Him (12a) 2) Through faith in the working of God, who raised Jesus from the dead (12b) 2. You are made alive in Christ, and the handwriting of requirements that was against us has been taken away at the cross (13-15) a. Dead in sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God has made you alive (13a) b. He has forgiven you all trespasses (13b) c. He has wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us (14) 1) That which was contrary to us (14a) 2) He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross (14b) d. He has disarmed principalities and powers (15) 1) Having made a public spectacle of them (15a) 2) Triumphing over them in it (15b) 3. Therefore don't let anyone judge you in regards to food, festivals, or sabbath days (16) a. They are only a shadow of things to come (17a) b. The substance is of Christ (17b) C. WARNING AGAINST ANGEL WORSHIP (18-19) 1. Don't let anyone defraud you of your reward (18a) a. By taking delight in false humility and worship of angels (18b) b. By intruding into things not seen, vainly puffed up by fleshly minds (18c) 2. Such people do not hold fast to Christ as the Head (19a) a. From whom all the body grows (19b) b. Nourished and knit together by various elements, with increase from God (19c) D. WARNING AGAINST ASCETICISM (20-23) 1. There is no need to submit to human ordinances (20-22) a. For you have died with Christ from basic principles of the world (20a) b. Therefore do not subject yourselves to ascetic regulations (20b) 1) Such as "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle" (21) 2) They only concern things which perish with the using (22a) 3) Which are according to commandments and doctrines of men (22) 2. Such practices are of no value (23) a. They may have an appearance of wisdom in their... 1) Self-imposed religion (23a) 2) False humility (23b) 3) Neglect of the body (23c) b. But they are no value against the indulgence of the flesh (23d)
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER Move your mouse pointer underneath each question to see the answer.
1) What are the main points of this chapter? 2) What was Paul's strong desire for those he had not seen? (1-2) 3) What is "hidden" in Christ? (3) 4) What had Paul seen in the Colossians that caused him to rejoice? (5) 5) How were the Colossians to walk in Christ? (6-7) 6) What three things might be used to "cheat" us? (8) 7) What is said about Jesus in relation to the Godhead? (9) 8) What is our condition in Christ? (10) 9) What sort of "circumcision" have we had in Christ? (11) 10) What takes place in baptism? Who is the one at work in baptism? (12-13) 11) What did Christ take out of the way, having nailed it to the cross? (14) 12) In what things should we not let others judge us? (16-17) 13) In what ways might people seek to defraud us? (18) 14) What sort of "basic principles of the world" might others try to regulate upon us? (21) 15) What is the truth about such traditions of men? (22-23)