Colossians 2:11-13

11 In him also you were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision, by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ;
12 when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.
13 And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses,

Colossians 2:11-13 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 2:11-13 In-Context

9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,
10 and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority.
11 In him also you were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision, by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ;
12 when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.
13 And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses,
14 erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross.
15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Gk [a circumcision made without hands]
  • [b]. Gk [he]
  • [c]. Other ancient authorities read [made us]; others, [made]
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.