[8] Colossians 2:16-23

old- time bar-crashing Carrie Nation was captured by demons, just like the Gnostics of the second century, whom Paul warned us of in 1st Timothy chapter 4-

It is one thing to abstain from food and drinks of your own free will, for that is your liberty to abstain. It is an entirely different story to command the conscience of another
-and get this-, examples of rage and violence coming out of the loveless core of asceticism, from Carrie Nation to the prisons and the war on drug users, are just one side of this counterfeit coin-there is also a lawless, immoral, licentious, antinomian development that arises in response to these influences. [I would add here that I have a strong feeling that’s what we (those of us who frequent this group) here need to be watchful of; licentious and immoral living, rebellion and contention]
And it’s just like the Scripture says… touch not taste not handle not have an appearance of wisdom, but it’s a worldly wisdom, and in reality results in fleshly indulgence;
-that is, a fleshly indulgence akin to a two-sided, counterfeit coin; whether it’s Carrie Nation and her violence against the consumers of alcohol, or the one who rejects her unnatural teachings and command over his life, with a knee- jerk “I’m gonna drink it all now!” failure to give attention to the Lord’s instruction.

Oh, and the real coin? We’re not on a tightrope where we can fall off into an ungodly asceticism or antinomian lifestyle, that’s what the enemy wants you to believe. Don’t take your eyes off the Cross and what Christ accomplished for us… our Salvation! Follow the Lord from the very bottom of your heart mind soul and strength, we’re not on a tightrope when the Grace of Jesus Christ is a Rock and a solid Foundation under our feet!

Footnote [8]
Colossians (NET)
2:16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you with respect to food or drink, or in the matter of a feast, new moon, or Sabbath days – 2:17 these are only 33 the shadow of the things to come, but the reality 34 is Christ! 35 2:18 Let no one who delights in humility and the worship of angels pass judgment on you. That person goes on at great lengths 36 about what he has supposedly seen, but he is puffed up with empty notions by his fleshly mind. 37 2:19 He has not held fast 38 to the head from whom the whole body, supported 39 and knit together through its ligaments and sinews, grows with a growth that is from God. 40

2:20 If you have died with Christ to the elemental spirits 41 of the world, why do you submit to them as though you lived in the world? 2:21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!” 2:22 These are all destined to perish with use, founded as they are 42 on human commands and teachings. 43 2:23 Even though they have the appearance of wisdom 44 with their self-imposed worship and false humility 45 achieved by an 46 unsparing treatment of the body – a wisdom with no true value – they in reality result in fleshly indulgence. 47

==============

33 tn The word “only,” though not in the Greek text, is supplied in the English translation to bring out the force of the Greek phrase.

34 tn Grk “but the body of Christ.” The term body here, when used in contrast to shadow (σκιά, skia) indicates the opposite meaning, i.e., the reality or substance itself.

35 tn The genitive τοῦ Χριστοῦ (tou Cristou) is appositional and translated as such: “the reality is Christ.”

36 tn For the various views on the translation of ἐμβατεύων (embateuwn), see BDAG 321 s.v. ἐμβατεύω 4. The idea in this context seems to be that the individual in question loves to talk on and on about his spiritual experiences, but in reality they are only coming out of his own sinful flesh.

37 tn Grk “by the mind of his flesh.” In the translation above, σαρκός (sarkos) is taken as an attributive genitive. The phrase could also be translated “by his sinful thoughts,” since it appears that Paul is using σάρξ (sarx, “flesh”) here in a morally negative way.

38 tn The Greek participle κρατῶν (kratwn) was translated as a finite verb to avoid an unusually long and pedantic sentence structure in English.

39 tn See BDAG 387 s.v. ἐπιχορηγέω 3.

40 tn The genitive τοῦ θεοῦ (tou qeou) has been translated as a genitive of source, “from God.”

41 tn The phrase κατὰ τὰ στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου (kata ta stoiceia tou kosmou) is difficult to translate because of problems surrounding the precise meaning of στοιχεῖα in this context. Originally it referred to the letters of the alphabet, with the idea at its root of “things in a row”; see C. Vaughn, “Colossians,” EBC 11:198. M. J. Harris (Colossians and Philemon [EGGNT], 93) outlines three probable options: (1) the material elements which comprise the physical world; (2) the elementary teachings of the world (so NEB, NASB, NIV); (3) the elemental spirits of the world (so NEB, RSV). The first option is highly unlikely because Paul is not concerned here with the physical elements, e.g., carbon or nitrogen. The last two options are both possible. Though the Gnostic-like heresy at Colossae would undoubtedly have been regarded by Paul as an “elementary teaching” at best, because the idea of “spirits” played such a role in Gnostic thought, he may very well have had in mind elemental spirits that operated in the world or controlled the world (i.e., under God’s authority and permission).

42 tn The expression “founded as they are” brings out the force of the Greek preposition κατά (kata).

43 tn Grk “The commands and teachings of men.”

44 tn Grk “having a word of wisdom.”

45 tn Though the apostle uses the term ταπεινοφροσύνῃ (tapeinofrosunh) elsewhere in a positive sense (cf. 3:12), here the sense is negative and reflects the misguided thinking of Paul’s opponents.

46 tc ‡ The vast bulk of witnesses, including some important ones (א A C D F G H Ψ 075 0278 33 1881 Ï lat sy), have καί (kai) here, but the shorter reading is supported by some early and important witnesses (Ì46 B 1739 b m Hil Ambst Spec). The καί looks to be a motivated reading in that it makes ἀφειδία (afeidia) “the third in a series of datives after ἐν, rather than an instrumental dative qualifying the previous prepositional phrase” (TCGNT 556). At the same time, the omission of καί could possibly have been unintentional. A decision is difficult, but the shorter reading is slightly preferred. NA27 puts καί in brackets, indicating doubts as to its authenticity.

47 tn The translation understands this verse to contain a concessive subordinate clause within the main clause. The Greek particle μέν (men) is the second word of the embedded subordinate clause. The phrase οὐκ ἐν τιμῇ τινι (ouk en timh tini) modifies the subordinate clause, and the main clause resumes with the preposition πρός (pros). The translation has placed the subordinate clause first in order for clarity instead of retaining its embedded location. For a detailed discussion of this grammatical construction, see B. Hollenbach, “Col 2:23: Which Things Lead to the Fulfillment of the Flesh,” NTS 25 (1979): 254-61.

 

see “Gnosticism” from the ISBE.
1. Colossians: -In col a great deal is said regarding a false teaching, an insidious theosophist doctrine, the teachers of which were alienating the Christians in Colosse from the gospel, and were disseminating their speculations, which led to the worship of angels in contrast to the worship of Christ, to esoteric exclusiveness wholly opposed to the universality of the gospel, and to an asceticism injurious to Christian freedom, and derogatory to the human body as indwelt by the Holy Ghost. These tenets are identical with the more fully developed Gnosticism of the generation succeeding that of the apostles; and at the root of the Colossian false teaching there lay the same error which the Gnostic mind had no way of meeting, namely, that there could be no connection between the highest spiritual agency, that is God, and gross corporeal matter.
-This ascetic tendency is wonderfully widespread; it reappears century after century, and shows itself in many forms of religion, not merely in distorted forms of Christianity
-In the Epistle to the Colossians, accordingly, there are definite references to ascetic practices which were inculcated by the false teachers at Colosse. The very terms which they employed have been preserved, “Touch not,” “Taste not,” “Handle not.” It was in this way that these teachers had “at their own hand” invented a worship different from that of the Christian faith, which endeavored to attain the deliverance of the soul by “the neglecting of the body” (Col 2:21,23 the King James Version). These Gnostic teachers showed these tendencies still more boldly when Paul wrote his First Epistle to Timothy (see below), for he describes them as “forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats”

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2 Responses to [8] Colossians 2:16-23

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