Colossians 2:13-17

13 1And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God 2made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,
14 by 3canceling 4the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
15 5He disarmed the rulers and authorities[a] and 6put them to open shame, by 7triumphing over them in him.[b]

Let No One Disqualify You

16 Therefore let no one 8pass judgment on you 9in questions of food and drink, or with regard to 10a festival or 11a new moon or a Sabbath.
17 12These are a shadow of the things to come, but 13the substance belongs to Christ.

Colossians 2:13-17 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO COLOSSIANS 2

In this chapter the apostle expresses his great concern for the Colossians, and others he had never seen; exhorts them to constancy in the faith of Christ; warns them of false teachers, and their tenets; takes notice of various blessings and privileges they had by Christ, and cautions against several superstitions and corruptions, which were obtaining among the churches of Christ: in Col 2:1 the apostle declares the conflict he had for the persons he writes to, and for others, though they had never seen him, which he was desirous they might be acquainted with; partly for the comfort of their hearts, their cement in love, and the improvement of their knowledge of divine things, the treasures of which are in Christ, Col 2:2,3, and partly that they might not be deceived by the enticing words of the false teachers, Col 2:4, and should his absence and distance from them be objected to his professed concern and affection for them, he answers, that notwithstanding that, he was present with them in spirit, and had a discerning of their faith and order, and the steadfastness thereof, with pleasure, Col 2:5, wherefore he exhorts them to perseverance in the faith of Christ, and to an abounding: in it, Col 2:6,7, and to take heed of being hurt by the vain philosophy and traditions of the Jews, but to keep close to Christ, and the truths of his Gospel, seeing all fulness is in him, and they were full in him, who is over all, and superior to all, and therefore had no need to have recourse unto, and hearken to any other, Col 2:9,10, nor did they need any Jewish ordinances, particularly circumcision, since they were partakers of another and better circumcision in Christ; and besides, were buried in baptism with him; and even though they had been dead in sin, and in their fleshly uncircumcision, yet they were alive, quickened with Christ, and had the forgiveness of all their sins for his sake; who had freed them from the ceremonial law, and had rid them of all their former lords and masters, and had brought them into the liberty of the Gospel, Col 2:11-15, wherefore he concludes, by way of exhortation and advice, first with respect to Jewish ceremonies, not to suffer them to be imposed upon them, or to regard the censures of men for the non-observance of them, since these were but shadows, of which Christ is the substance, Col 2:16,17, and next with respect to the worship of angels, under a notion of humility, some were for introducing; who are described as bold intruders, vain, proud, and conceited persons, and as not holding the head Christ, to whom the body the church is joined, and by whom it is nourished and increased, Col 2:18,19, and seeing now they that are Christ's are dead with him to the ceremonial law, and that dead to them, the apostle argues that they should not be subject to the ordinances, commands, and doctrines of men; some of which he instances in, as if they were still under the rudiments of the world; and the rather, since these things had no true wisdom in them, only a show of it, and were no other than will worship and superstition, and lay in a negligence of the body, and were dishonourable and unsatisfying, Col 2:20-23.

Colossians 2:13-17 In-Context

11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,
12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.
13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,
14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.
17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.
18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions,puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind,
19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

Cross References 13

  • 1. See Ephesians 2:1
  • 2. See Ephesians 2:5
  • 3. See Acts 3:19
  • 4. See Romans 7:4
  • 5. [See ver. 11 above]
  • 6. [Genesis 3:15; Psalms 68:18; Isaiah 53:12; Matthew 12:29; Luke 10:18; John 12:31; John 16:11; Ephesians 4:8; Hebrews 2:14]
  • 7. Ephesians 2:16
  • 8. Rom. 14:3, 10, 13
  • 9. Romans 14:17; Hebrews 9:10; See Leviticus 11:2
  • 10. Leviticus 23:2; Romans 14:5
  • 11. [Mark 2:28]; See Numbers 28:11
  • 12. Hebrews 8:5; Hebrews 10:1
  • 13. [ver. 2]

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Probably demonic rulers and authorities
  • [b]. Or in it (that is, the cross)
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.