The Geneva Bible Translation Notes, , at sacred-texts.com
col 2:1For I (1) would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and [for] them at Laodicea, and [for] as many as have not seen my (a) face in the flesh;
(1) The taking away of an objection: in that he did not visit the Colossians or the Laodiceans, he was not being negligent; rather, he is so much the more careful for them.
(a) Me, present in body.
col 2:2(2) That (b) their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the (c) full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;
(2) He concludes shortly the sum of the former doctrine, that is, that the whole sum of true wisdom, and most secret knowledge of God, consists in Christ alone, and that this is the use of it with regard to men, that they are knit together in love, and rest themselves happily in the knowledge of so great a goodness, until they come to fully enjoy it.
(b) Whom, he never says.
(c) Of that understanding, which brings forth a certain and undoubted persuasion in our minds.
col 2:3In whom are hid all the treasures of (d) wisdom and knowledge.
(d) There is no true wisdom outside of Christ.
col 2:4(3) And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with (e) enticing words.
(3) A passing over to the treatise following, against the corruptions of Christianity.
(e) With a planned type of talk made to persuade.
col 2:5For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your (f) order, and the stedfastness of your (g) faith in Christ.
(f) The manner of your ecclesiastical discipline.
col 2:6As ye have therefore (h) received Christ Jesus the Lord, [so] walk ye in him:
(h) So then Christ does not depend upon men's traditions.
col 2:8(4) Beware lest any man (i) spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, (5) after the tradition of men, (6) after the (k) rudiments of the world, (7) and not after Christ.
(4) He brings all corruptions under three types. The first is that which rests on vain and curious speculations, and yet bears a show of certain subtle wisdom.
(i) This is a word of war, and it is as much as to drive or carry away a spoil or booty. (5) The second, which is manifestly superstitious and vain, and stands only upon custom and pretended inspirations. (6) The third type was of those who joined the rudiments of the world (that is to say, the ceremonies of the Law) with the Gospel.
(k) Principles and rules, with which God ruled his Church, as it were under a schoolmaster. (7) A general confutation of all corruptions is this, that if it adds anything to Christ, it must necessarily be a false religion.
col 2:9(8) For in (l) him (m) dwelleth (n) all the fulness of the Godhead (o) bodily.
(8) A reason: because only Christ, being God and man, is most perfect, and passes far above all things, so that whoever has him, requires nothing more.
(l) By these words is shown a distinction of the natures.
(m) This word "dwelleth" notes out to us the joining together of those natures, so that God and man, is one Christ.
(n) These words declare that the perfect Godhead is in Christ.
(o) The union of God and man, is substantial and essential.
col 2:11(9) In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the (p) body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
(9) Now he deals precisely against the third type, that is to say, against those who urged the Jewish religion: and first of all, he denies that we have need of the circumcision of the flesh, seeing that without it we are circumcised within, by the power of Christ.
(p) These many words are used to show what the old man is, whom Paul in other places calls the body of sin.
col 2:12(10) (q) Buried with (r) him in baptism, (11) wherein also ye are risen with [him] through the faith of the operation of (s) God, who hath raised him from the dead.
(10) The taking away of an objection: we do not need an external sign to the extent which our fathers had, seeing that our baptism is a most effectual pledge and witness, of that inward restoring and renewing.
(q) See (Rom 6:4).
(r) So then all the force of the matter comes not from the very deed done, that is to say, it is not the dipping of us into the water by a minister that makes us to be buried with Christ, as the papists say, that even by the very act's sake we become very Christians, but it comes from the power of Christ, for the apostle adds the resurrection of Christ, and faith.
(11) One purpose of baptism is to symbolise the death and burial of the old man, and that by the mighty power of God alone, whose power we lay hold on by faith, in the death and resurrection of Christ.
(s) Through faith which comes from God.
col 2:13(12) And you, being dead in your sins (13) and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
(12) Another thing baptism symbolises is, that we who were dead in sin, might obtain free remission of sins and eternal life, through faith in Christ who died for us.
(13) A new argument which lies in these few words, and it is this: uncircumcision was no hindrance to you in obtaining life, because you were justified in Christ; therefore you do not need circumcision for the attainment of salvation.
col 2:14(14) Blotting out the (t) handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
(14) He speaks now more generally against the whole service of the Law, and shows by two reasons, that it is abolished. First, to what purpose would he that has obtained remission of all his sins in Christ, require those helps of the Law? Secondly, because if a man rightly considers those rites, he will find that they were so many testimonies of our guiltiness, by which we manifestly witnessed as it were by our own handwritings, that we deserved damnation. Therefore Christ put out that handwriting by his coming, and fastening it to the cross, triumphed over all our enemies, were they ever 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?
(t) Abolishing the rites and ceremonies.
col 2:15[And] having spoiled (u) principalities and powers, he (x) made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in (y) it.
(u) Satan and his angels.
(x) As a conqueror he made show of those captives, and put them to shame.
(y) That is, the cross. The cross was a chariot of triumph. No conqueror could have triumphed so gloriously in his chariot, as Christ did upon the cross.
col 2:16(15) Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days]:
(15) The conclusion: in which also he means certain types, as the difference of days, and meats, and proves by a new argument, that we are not bound to them: that is, because those things were shadows of Christ to come, but now we possess him who was exhibited to us.
col 2:17Which are a shadow of things to come; but the (z) body [is] of Christ.
(z) The body as a thing of substance and physical strength, he sets against shadows.
col 2:18(16) Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary (a) humility and worshipping of angels, (17) intruding into those things which he hath not seen, (18) (b) vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,
(16) He disputes against the first type of corruptions, and sets down the worshipping of angels as an example: which type of false religion he refutes, first, this way: because those who bring in such a worship, attribute that to themselves which is proper only to God, that is, authority to bind men's consciences with religion, even though they seem to bring in these things by humility of mind.
(a) By foolish humility of mind: for otherwise humility is a virtue. For these angel worshippers blamed those of pride who would go straight to God, and use no other means besides Christ.
(17) Secondly, because they rashly thrust upon them as oracles those things which they neither saw nor heard, but devised by themselves.
(18) Thirdly, because these things have no other ground upon which they are built, but only the opinion of men, who please themselves immensely in their own devices.
(b) Without reason.
col 2:19(19) And not holding the (c) Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of (d) God.
(19) The fourth argument, which is of great weight: because they rob Christ of his dignity, who alone is sufficient both to nourish and also to increase his whole body.
(d) With the increasing which comes from God.
col 2:20(20) Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, (e) as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,
(20) Now last of all he fights against the second type of corruptions, that is to say, against mere superstitions, invented by men, which partly deceive the simplicity of some with their craftiness, and partly with their foolish superstitions and to be laughed at: as when godliness, remission of sins, or any such like virtue, is put in some certain type of meat, and such like things, which the inventors of such rites themselves do not understand, because indeed it is not there. And he uses an argument taken of comparison. If by the death of Christ who established a new covenant with his blood, you are delivered from those external rites with which it pleased the Lord to prepare the world, as it were by certain rudiments, to that full knowledge of true religion, why would you be burdened with traditions, I know not what, as though you were citizens of this world, that is to say, as though you depended upon this life, and earthly things? Now this is the reason why before verse eight he followed another order than he does in the refutation: because he shows by this what degrees false religions came into the world, that is, 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 refutation 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.
(e) As though your felicity stood in these earthly things, and the kingdom of God was not rather spiritual.
col 2:21(21) (Touch not; taste not; handle not;
(21) An imitation of these superstitious men, rightly expressing their nature and use of speech.
col 2:22(22) Which all are to perish with the using;) (23) after the commandments and doctrines of men?
(22) Another argument: the spiritual and inward kingdom of God cannot consist in these outward things, which perish with the using.
(23) The third argument: because God is not the author of these traditions, therefore they are not that which we are obligated to do.
col 2:23(24) Which things have indeed a shew of (f) wisdom in (g) will worship, and humility, and (h) neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the (i) satisfying of the flesh.
(24) The taking away of an objection. These things have a good appearance, 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 and cherish. But yet nonetheless the things themselves are of no value, for they do not pertain to the things that are spiritual and everlasting, but to the nourishment of the flesh.
(f) Which seem indeed to be some exquisite thing, and such wise devices as though they came from heaven.
(g) From here sprang the works of supererogation, as the papists call them, that is to say, works that form a reserve fund of merit that can be drawn on in favour of sinners, as though men performed more than is commanded them: which was the beginning and the very ground upon which monk's merits were brought in.
(h) A graphic description of monasticism.
(i) Seeing they stand in meat and drink, in which the kingdom of God does not stand.