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Chapter 2

Commentary by Tom Brown


2 I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally.

how much I am struggling. It is difficult to argue that Paul was preaching for selfish reasons when he had suffered so much.

2 My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ,

united in love. Love brings unity. Selfishness and ego is the opposite of love, and these bring divisions.

full riches of complete understanding. We receive the inheritance through the wisdom and knowledge God gives us.

3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

are hidden all the treasures. Like hidden treasures you must search out God’s wisdom. When found you experience the wealth and riches of your inheritance.

4 I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.

fine-sounding arguments. Paul admits that the world can present good arguments against the gospel, but their arguments do not produce the riches of Christ.

5 For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.


I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are. Paul saw this in the spirit through prayer. God gives supernatural revelation to leaders about their congregations.

6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him,

just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord. This is how we are saved. We receive Christ Jesus as our Lord.

continue to live in him. After salvation we must continue to walk in Christ. The phrase “in him” is repeatedly used in Paul’s letters and is meant to state the legal standing of the believer.

7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.


rooted and built up in him. The “root” is below the ground, and “built up” is above the ground. We must look to the past (the root) and to the future (built up) to comprehend more fully our faith.

8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.


through hollow and deceptive philosophy. Philosophy alone does not point anyone to Christ. Thus it is hollow and deceptive.

human tradition. The normal way the fallen world views things. Since the world is fallen, it cannot be trusted to promote a certain, traditional way of life.

basic principles of this world. The world has its principles that are based on what can be touched and seen. It does not explain the spiritual forces that affect the world that is touched and seen.

9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,

fullness of the Deity. Jesus was fully God. He was not half human and half god.

lives in bodily form. He was fully man as well. The creeds of the Church rightly say that Jesus was fully God and fully man.

10 and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.

you have been given fullness. In a certain sense we are incarnate. We have God living in us, though we are still flesh. The authority and power of Christ belongs to the believer.

head over every power and authority. Because we are part of Christ’ body, we have authority and power over every spiritual and earthly entity. But to show our humility we pay our taxes and submit to the governing authorities in the same way Christ did while He was on earth. We do not submit to spiritual entities such as demons and fallen angels.

11 In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, a not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ,

sinful nature. A term to describe our unsaved, earthly nature.

circumcision done by Christ. Circumcision symbolizes the life and the nature we pass onto others. Paul was showing that we are now new creatures with a new nature; not the old sinful creatures we once were.

12 having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.


baptism. This is the normal ceremony whereby a person officially becomes saved. A person often professes his faith in Christ before baptism, but he must follow through and be baptized. 

Buried…and raised. Our old life is buried and our new life with Christ is what is raised. We are identified with Christ in his death, burial, resurrection and ascension.

13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, b God made you c alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,

were dead in your sins. Spiritual death is the worse death of all, and it is separation from God.

God made you c alive with Christ. You are absolutely spiritual alive with Christ. This is a present reality.

forgave us all our sins. There is not one remaining sin that God has not forgiven you. All your sins are forgiven. Do not fear that there is some great sin that God still holds against you.

14 having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.

having canceled the written code. The Law of Moses must be canceled, because it dealt with both ceremonial laws (which are fulfilled at the cross) and civil laws (given only to Israel) which could not be applied to the various nations that the gospel would impact. How would nations with its laws try to implement the Mosaic laws? This would be confusing. However, moral laws are not cancelled. Morality deals with eternal right and wrong and is applicable to all peoples.

15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. d 


disarmed the powers and authorities. The weapon Satan had used against us was our sins. Now Christ has removed this weapon.

Cross. Literally “in him.” The cross is the symbol of the full redemptive act of salvation, which includes his scourging before the cross, His carrying the cross, the suffering on the cross, his burial and descent to hell, as well as His resurrection and ascension into heaven. When you look at the cross do not just see the six hours of suffering, but everything before it and after it.

16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.

do not let anyone judge. Do not be forced to participate in religious ceremonies of the Old Covenant.

17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

Shadow…reality. The Old Covenant festivals of atonement, Pentecost, tabernacles, etc. were symbols of the meaning of the cross. We now celebrate the “reality” of atonement and the coming of the Spirit.

18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions.

unspiritual mind. There is much so called spirituality in the world (New Age teaching, Transcendental meditation, Dianetics, etc.), but much of it is not grounded in Christ, and thus, their experiences are unspiritual.

19 He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.


has lost connection with the Head. This unspiritual person may have once been a member of the Church, but lost the reality that Christ is the Head and Lord of all.

grows as God causes it to grow. The Church is not fully grown yet; this is why there is still hypocrisy and worldliness within the Church. A toddler still falls when trying to walk, but you do not give up on the toddler. Do not give up on Christ Body. God is working on His body to make it grow.


20 Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules:


21 "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"?


22 These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings.


23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.


Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom. Interestingly the organized Church has tried all these things (self-imposed worship, false humility and harsh treatment of the body) with no results. We need to trust in Christ’ finish work at the cross and the empowering of the Holy Spirit in our lives so we can make lasting change.

Previous  Chapter 3

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