Geneva Study Notes
Previous Chapter/ Next Chapter
Geneva Study Notes
Colossians Chapter 2

Colossians 2:1
2:1 For 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.

Colossians 2:2
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.

Colossians 2:3
2:3 In whom are hid all the treasures of {d} wisdom and

    (d) There is no true wisdom outside of Christ.

Colossians 2:4
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.

Colossians 2:5
2:5 For 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.
    (g) Doctrine.

Colossians 2:6
2:6 As 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.

Colossians 2:8
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
     (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

Colossians 2:9
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
     (n) These words declare that the perfect Godhead is in
     (o) The union of God and man, is substantial and essential.

Colossians 2:11
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.

Colossians 2:12
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 Romans 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.

Colossians 2:13
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.

Colossians 2:14
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.

Colossians 2:15
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

Colossians 2:16
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.

Colossians 2:17
2:17 Which 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.

Colossians 2:18
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
      (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.

Colossians 2:19
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.
      (c) Christ.
      (d) With the increasing which comes from God.

Colossians 2:20
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.

Colossians 2:21
2:21 {21} (Touch not; taste not; handle not;

 (21) An imitation of these superstitious men, rightly
      expressing their nature and use of speech.

Colossians 2:22
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.

Colossians 2:23
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
      (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.

Geneva Study Notes
Previous Chapter/ Next Chapter

Bible Study  The Bible · Bible Concordance · Bible Dictionary · Bible Commentary · Audio Bible · Sermons · Online Books  
Daily  Daily Devotions · Bible Reading · Daily News · Radio-Hymns-Music-Poetry  Christian Radio · Hymnals ·
Other Items of Interest  Heaven · Search Site · Contact Us · Copyright · Home · Go To Prior Page