4 He condemneth, as vain, whatsoever is without Christ,  11 entreating specially of circumcision, 16 of abstinence from meats, 18 and of worshipping of Angels. 20 That we are delivered from the traditions of the Law through Christ.

For I [a]would ye knew what great fighting I have for your sakes, and for them of Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my [b]person in the flesh.

[c]That [d]their hearts might be comforted, and they knit together in love, and in all riches of the [e]full assurance of understanding, to know the mystery of God, even the Father, and of Christ:

In whom are hid all the treasures of [f]wisdom and knowledge.

[g]And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with [h]enticing words:

(A)For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, rejoicing and beholding your [i]order, and your [j]steadfast faith in Christ.

As ye have therefore [k]received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him.

Rooted and built in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving:

[l]Beware lest there be any man that [m]spoil you through philosophy, and vain deceit, [n]through the traditions of men, [o]according to the [p]rudiments of the world, [q]and not after Christ.

[r]For [s]in him [t]dwelleth [u]all the fullness of the Godhead [v]bodily.

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

11 [w]In whom also ye are circumcised with (B)circumcision made without hands, by putting off the [x]sinful body of the flesh, through the circumcision of Christ,

12 [y]In that ye are (C)[z]buried with [aa]him through baptism, [ab]in whom ye are also raised up together through the faith of the operation of [ac]God, which raised him from the dead.

13 (D)[ad]And you which were dead in sins, [ae]and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, forgiving you all your trespasses,

14 [af]And putting out the (E)[ag]handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, he even took it out of the way, and fastened it upon the cross,

15 And hath spoiled the [ah]Principalities, and Powers, and hath [ai]made a show of them openly, and hath triumphed over them in the [aj]same cross.

16 [ak]Let no man therefore condemn you in meat and drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days,

17 Which are but a shadow of things to come: but the [al]body is in Christ.

18 [am]Let no man at his pleasure bear rule over you by [an]humbleness of mind, and worshipping of Angels, [ao]advancing himself in those things which he never saw, [ap][aq]rashly puffed up with his fleshly mind,

19 [ar]And holdeth not the [as]head, whereof all the body furnished and knit together by joints and bands, increaseth with the increasing of [at]God.

20 [au]Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the ordinances of the world, why, [av]as though ye lived in the world, are ye burdened with traditions?

21 [aw]As, Touch not, Taste not, Handle not.

22 [ax]Which all perish with the using, [ay]and are after the commandments and doctrines of men.

23 [az]Which things have indeed a show of [ba]wisdom, in [bb]voluntary religion and humbleness of mind, and in [bc]not sparing the body, which are things of no value, since they pertain to the [bd]filling of the flesh.


  1. Colossians 2:1 The taking away of an objection, in that that he visited not the Colossians, nor the Laodiceans, he did it not of any negligence but is so much the more careful for them.
  2. Colossians 2:1 Me present in body.
  3. Colossians 2:2 He concludeth shortly the sum of the former doctrine, to wit, that the whole sum of true wisdom and most secret knowledge of God, consisteth in Christ only, and that this is the use of it touching men, that they being knit together in love, rest themselves happily in the knowledge of so great a goodness, until they come fully to enjoy it.
  4. Colossians 2:2 Whom he never saw.
  5. Colossians 2:2 Of that understanding, which bringeth forth certain and undoubted persuasion in our minds.
  6. Colossians 2:3 There is no true wisdom without Christ.
  7. Colossians 2:4 A passing over to the treatise following against the corruptions of Christianity.
  8. Colossians 2:4 With a framed kind of talk made to persuade.
  9. Colossians 2:5 The manner of your Ecclesiastical discipline.
  10. Colossians 2:5 Doctrine.
  11. Colossians 2:6 So then Christ hangeth not upon men’s traditions.
  12. Colossians 2:8 He bringeth all corruptions to three kinds: The first is that, which resteth of vain and curious speculations, and yet beareth a show of a certain subtle wisdom.
  13. Colossians 2:8 This is a word of war, and it is as much as to drive or carry away a spoil or booty.
  14. Colossians 2:8 The second which is manifestly superstitious and vain, and standeth only upon custom and fained inspirations.
  15. Colossians 2:8 The third kind was of them which joined the rudiments of the world, (that is to say, the ceremonies of the Law) with the Gospel.
  16. Colossians 2:8 Principles and rulers, wherewith God ruled his Church, as it were under a schoolmaster.
  17. Colossians 2:8 A general confutation of all corruptions is this, that that must needs be a false religion, which addeth anything to Christ.
  18. Colossians 2:9 A reason: Because only Christ God and man, is most perfect, and passeth far above all things, so that whosoever hath him, may require nothing more.
  19. Colossians 2:9 By these words, is showed a distinction of the natures.
  20. Colossians 2:9 This word (Dwelleth) noteth out unto us the joining together of those natures, so that of God and Man, is one Christ.
  21. Colossians 2:9 These words set down most perfect Godhead to be in Christ.
  22. Colossians 2:9 The knitting together of God and man, is substantial and essential.
  23. Colossians 2:11 Now he dealeth perfecty against the third kind, that is to say, against them which urged the Jewish religion: and first of all, he denieth that we have need of the Circumcision of the flesh, seeing that without it we are circumcised within, by the virtue of Christ.
  24. Colossians 2:11 These many words are used to show what the old man is, whom Paul in other places calleth the body of sin.
  25. Colossians 2:12 The taking away of an objection: we need not so much as the eternal sign which our fathers had, seeing that our baptism is a most effectual pledge and witness, of that inward restoring and renewing.
  26. Colossians 2:12 See Rom. 6:4.
  27. Colossians 2:12 So then all the force of the matter cometh not from the very deed done, that is to say, it is not the dipping of us into the water by a Minister that maketh us to be buried with Christ, as the Papists say, that even for the very act’s sake, we become verily Christians, but it cometh from the virtue of Christ, for the Apostle addeth the resurrection of Christ and faith.
  28. Colossians 2:12 One end of Baptism is the death and burial of the old man, and that by the mighty power of God only, whose virtue we lay hold on by faith, in the death and resurrection of Christ.
  29. Colossians 2:12 Through faith which cometh from God.
  30. Colossians 2:13 Another end of Baptism is, that we which were dead in sin, might obtain free remission of sins and eternal life through faith in Christ who died for us.
  31. Colossians 2:13 A new argument which lieth in these few words, and it is thus: Uncircumcision was no hindrance to you, why you being justified in Christ should not obtain life therefore you need not circumcision to the argument of salvation.
  32. Colossians 2:14 He speaketh now more generally against the whole service of the Law, and showeth by two reasons that it is abolished: First, to what purpose should he that hath obtained remission of all his sins in Christ require those helps of the Law? Secondly, because that if a man do rightly consider those rites, he shall find that they were so many testimonies of our guiltiness, whereby we manifestly witnessed as it were by our own handwriting that we deserved damnation. Therefore did Christ put out that handwriting by his coming and fastening it to the cross, triumphed over all our enemies, were they never so mighty. Therefore to what end and purpose should we now use those ceremonies, as though we were still guilty of sin, and subject to the tyranny of our enemies?
  33. Colossians 2:14 Abolishing the rites and ceremonies.
  34. Colossians 2:15 Satan and his angels.
  35. Colossians 2:15 As a conqueror made by a show of those captives, and put them to shame.
  36. Colossians 2:15 The cross was as a chariot of triumph. No conqueror could have triumphed so gloriously in his chariot, as Christ did upon the cross.
  37. Colossians 2:16 The conclusion: wherein also he nameth certain kinds, as the difference of days and meats, and proveth by a new argument that we are not bond unto them: to wit, because those things were shadows of Christ to come but we possess him now exhibited unto us.
  38. Colossians 2:17 The body as a thing of substance and pith, he setteth against shadows.
  39. Colossians 2:18 He disputeth against the first kind of corruptions, and setteth down the worshipping of Angels for an example: which kind of false religion he confuteth, first this way: because that they which being in such a worship, attribute that unto themselves which is proper only to God, to wit, authority to bind men’s consciences with religion, although they seem to bring in these things by humbleness of mind.
  40. Colossians 2:18 By a foolish humbleness of mind: for otherwise humbleness is a virtue. For these Angel worshippers blamed such of pride, as would go straight to God, and use no other under means besides Christ.
  41. Colossians 2:18 Secondly, because they rashly thrust upon them for oracles, those things which they neither saw nor heard, but devised of themselves.
  42. Colossians 2:18 Thirdly, because these things have no other ground, whereupon they are built, but only the opinion of men, which please themselves without all measure in their own duties.
  43. Colossians 2:18 Without reason.
  44. Colossians 2:19 The fourth argument, which is of great weight, because they spoil Christ of his dignity, who only is sufficient both to nourish, and also to increase his whole body.
  45. Colossians 2:19 Christ.
  46. Colossians 2:19 With the increasing which cometh from God.
  47. Colossians 2:20 Now last of all he fighteth against the second kind of corruptions, that is to say, against mere superstitions, invented of men, which partly deceive the simplicity of some with their craftiness, and partly with very foolish superstitions, and to be laughed at: as when godliness, remission of sins, or any such like virtue is put in some certain kind of meat and such like things, which the inventors of such rites themselves understand not, because indeed it is not. And he useth an argument taken of comparison. If by the death of Christ who establisheth a new covenant with his blood, you be delivered from those external rites wherewith it pleased the Lord to prepare the world, as it were by certain rudiments to that full knowledge of true religion, why would ye be burdened with traditions, I wrote not what, as though ye were citizens of this world, that is to say, as though ye depended upon this life, and earthly things? Now this is the cause why before verse 8 he followed another order than he doth in the confutation: because he showeth thereby what degrees false religions came into the world, to wit, beginning first by curious speculations of the wise after which in process of time succeeded gross superstition, against which mischiefs the Lord set at length that service of the Law, which some abused in like sort: but in the confutation he began with the abolishing of the Law service, that he might show by comparison, that those false services ought much more to be taken away.
  48. Colossians 2:20 As though your felicity stood in these earthly things, and the kingdom of God were not rather spiritual.
  49. Colossians 2:21 An imitation in the person of these superstitious men, rightly expressing their nature and use of speech.
  50. Colossians 2:22 Another argument: The spiritual and inward kingdom of God cannot consist in these outward things, and such as perish with the using.
  51. Colossians 2:22 The third argument: Because God is not the author of these traditions, and therefore they do not bind the conscience.
  52. Colossians 2:23 The taking away of an objection. These things have a goodly show, because men by this means, seem to worship God with a good mind and humble themselves, and neglect the body, which the most part of men curiously pamper up and cherish: but yet notwithstanding the things themselves are of no value, for so much as they pertain not to things that are spiritual and everlasting, but to the nourishment of the flesh.
  53. Colossians 2:23 Which seem indeed to be some exquisite thing, and so wise devices as though they came from heaven.
  54. Colossians 2:23 Hence sprang the works of supererogation, as the Papists term them, that is to say, needless works, as though men performed more than is commanded them, which was the beginning and the very ground whereon Monks’ merits were brought in.
  55. Colossians 2:23 A lively description of Monkery.
  56. Colossians 2:23 Seeing they stand in meat and drink, wherein the kingdom of God doth not stand.

I want you to know how hard I am contending(A) for you and for those at Laodicea,(B) and for all who have not met me personally. My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart(C) and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery(D) of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.(E) I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.(F) For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit(G) and delight to see how disciplined(H) you are and how firm(I) your faith in Christ(J) is.

Spiritual Fullness in Christ

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord,(K) continue to live your lives in him, rooted(L) and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught,(M) and overflowing with thankfulness.

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy,(N) which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces[a] of this world(O) rather than on Christ.

For in Christ all the fullness(P) of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head(Q) over every power and authority.(R) 11 In him you were also circumcised(S) with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh[b](T) was put off when you were circumcised by[c] Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism,(U) in which you were also raised with him(V) through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.(W)

13 When you were dead in your sins(X) and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you[d] alive(Y) with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,(Z) 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness,(AA) which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.(AB) 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities,(AC) he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them(AD) by the cross.[e]

Freedom From Human Rules

16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you(AE) by what you eat or drink,(AF) or with regard to a religious festival,(AG) a New Moon celebration(AH) or a Sabbath day.(AI) 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come;(AJ) the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility(AK) and the worship of angels disqualify you.(AL) Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. 19 They have lost connection with the head,(AM) from whom the whole body,(AN) supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.(AO)

20 Since you died with Christ(AP) to the elemental spiritual forces of this world,(AQ) why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules:(AR) 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish(AS) with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings.(AT) 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility(AU) and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.


  1. Colossians 2:8 Or the basic principles; also in verse 20
  2. Colossians 2:11 In contexts like this, the Greek word for flesh (sarx) refers to the sinful state of human beings, often presented as a power in opposition to the Spirit; also in verse 13.
  3. Colossians 2:11 Or put off in the circumcision of
  4. Colossians 2:13 Some manuscripts us
  5. Colossians 2:15 Or them in him

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