Colossians – Table of Contents

1:1-8 – Introduction of the letter – Paul is the author – addressed to the church in Colossae – the Father is the One Who willed Paul’s apostleship

1:9-14 – The Father rescued us to share in the kingdom of His beloved Son.  The deception in Colossae claimed to have special knowledge.

1:15-19 – The deception claimed to have received special knowledge from supernatural beings apart from Christ, but all knowledge is found in Christ; the Creator of all.

1:20-22 – Before Christ some intelligent earthly and heavenly creatures waged war against God by evil deeds.  God was not angry.  He ended the war by providing evidence through Christ’s death, which even heaven needed.

1:23-28 – Paul rejoices in his suffering because it part of the stewardship he received from God.  The Lord gave Paul a new message, namely that Gentiles can also be saved.

2:1-4 – Deceivers in Colossae were merging the church with mystery religions, arguing that Christ is not the only source of supernatural knowledge.

2:5-8 – The Colossian deception was man-made pagan philosophy; not Old Testament law.  It claimed that God’s grace flow to man through various supernatural mediators.

2:9-10 – The deception claimed that Christians will only be complete if they obey supernatural rulers.  But Christians, trusting Christ, are already complete.

2:11-14 – Christians were made complete through circumcision of the heart, through baptism into Christ’s cross and by cancelling their certificate of debt, which is forgiving all their sins.

Circumcision without hands – A heart circumcised by the Spirit loves the LORD and His Law and hates sin.  Its guilt and penalty for past sins is cancelled.

Certificate of debt consisting of decrees – Given the pagan nature of the deception cheirographon is not the Law of Moses.  It is a note of indebtedness, as confirmed by most translations and by the context.  It means to be “dead in your transgressions”.

Translations of cheirographon – Essentially only the KJV implies that the Law of Moses has been cancelled.  Most translations imply that the penalties for our sins have been cancelled.

Ephesians 2:15 abolishes the Law of Moses and is similar to Colossians 2:14, but Colossians 2:14 abolishes something else to achieve a different purpose.

2:15 – Satan accused God of unfair judgment.  The cross demonstrated the true nature of both sides of the war in heaven, and vindicated God’s judgment.

2:16 Introduction – While the Sabbath is heavily debated, but it was a not controversial issue in Paul’s day.

Feasts … New Moons … Sabbaths – “Festival … new moon … Sabbath” (Col. 2:16) is a technical phrase for “all the appointed feasts of the house of Israel”.


Specific Topics

  • Rulers and Authorities – 2:9-10
  • War in heaven – 1:20-22
  • The Cross as a public display – 1:20-22
  • Jewish elements in the Colossian deception – Refer to the section dealing with the “Pagan nature of the deception” on the page that discusses the “Certificate of debt consisting of decrees”.
  • Historical Context – Traditional interpretation & Conclusion & Comparing the three texts
  • 2:18-23 as parallel to 2:16-17 – Substance
  • Gentile community (2:16 intro)
  • Weekly versus Annual Sabbaths – 2:16 Introduction


Building …

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