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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Paul's letter to the Colossians

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 FRAMEWORKS: Colossians 2

In this ‘Framework' we use our usual text PLUS comment style to enable you, as simply as possible, to catch the sense of his writing.

[Note: Because it is sometimes difficult to follow the flow of a letter like this, we have added a synopsis of each chapter & passage to help clarify where Paul is going with his writing.]

 

[Chapter 2 Synopsis: Paul is for them even though not having met them, and reminds them that they have died and been raised again and freed from rules-keeping by the work of Christ, unlike the false teachers who seek to impose rules on them]

   

v.1-5 Paul there for them
v.6-15 Spiritual Fullness in Christ
v.16-23 Freedom From Human Rules

   

v.1-5 Paul there for them

  

[Passage Synopsis: Paul expresses how hard he is working for them – even though he hasn't met them – desiring that they be encouraged and united and have full understanding of the mystery of Christ, that no one will deceive them. He is ‘with them' even though he's not there]

   

v.1 (he is working for them even though not having seen them) I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally.

v.2,3 (he wants to encourage, unite and bring understanding of the mystery of Christ) My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

v.4 (I'm saying this to repel detractors) I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.

v.5 (for I'm blessed about what I hear about you) For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.

 

v.6-15 Spiritual Fullness in Christ

 

[Passage Synopsis: live out and be built up in Christ, rejecting deceiving philosophy teachers who don't rely on Christ – Christ, the fullness of God on earth, head over all, in whom we were ‘circumcised' – our ‘self' being cut off when we died to the old life and were raised by Christ to the new forgiven life, our sins having been taken away in the Cross and the enemy powers disarmed.]

 

v.6,7 (so carry on and be built up even stronger in Christ) So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

v.8 (beware those who would bring a man-based tradition rather than Christ-based) See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.

v.9,10 (for only in him is the full presence of God so he is over every authority) For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.

v.11,12 (through Christ you received a different sort of circumcision whereby you old ‘self' was cut off and destroyed when you died and were raised again through faith) In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.

v.13,14 (and God came and made you alive again, forgiven as your sins were taken by Christ on the Cross) When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.

v.15 (and thus he disarmed the (accusing) enemy) And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

 

v.16-23 Freedom From Human Rules

 

[Passage Synopsis: Part of that freedom means we no longer have to worry about what we eat or drink or about keeping special days, for those laws merely pointed to a future reality, so don't let be put off by false teachers not part of the body of Christ, so don't accept the rules they seek to impose that seem good but have no ability to set you free]

 

v.16 (so refuse to be judged on what you eat or drink or what you do on so-called religious days) Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.

v.17 (those laws simply pointed to the reality in Christ to come) These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

v.18 (don't let these humble-looking deceivers out you off, they are unspiritual) Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind.

v.19 (they aren't connected to Christ our head who unites us and causes us to grow) They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.

v.20,21 (because we died to all these things so don't follow their rule-keeping) Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”?

v.22 (these human-originating rules won't last) These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings.

v.23 (at first sight they appear good but do nothing to set us free some self-centred sin) Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.