2:1 I want you to know how much I am struggling [agonizing; in prayer; in concern that prompted writing the letter; concerning the false teachers who threatened the stability of the Colossian church] for you [Paul was concerned about churches he had not started] and for those at Laodicea [located a few miles northwest of Colossae], and for all who have not met me personally [Paul was concerned about believers he had not yet met].
2:2 My purpose is that they may be encouraged [“filled with courage” (TEV)] in heart and united [knit together; joined inseparably] in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery [an open secret; refers to Christ who reveals God to us] of God, namely, Christ,
2:3 in whom [in Christ alone] are hidden [laid up or stored away] all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
2:4 I tell you this so that no one [false teachers who sought to lead them astray] may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments [plausible speech or enticing words].
2:5 For though I am absent from you in body [due to his imprisonment], I am present with you in spirit [an expression of Paul’s concern for the Colossians] and delight to see how orderly [a military term used to describe troops in their assigned positions] you are and how firm [strong] your faith in Christ is.
2:6 So then, just as you received [by faith] Christ Jesus as Lord, continue [by faith] to live [or walk; continue their progress in Christ by faithful, consistent, obedient conduct] in him,
2:7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened [or established] in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness [to be grateful to God for their relationship with Jesus Christ].
2:8 See to it [these words sound an urgent note of caution concerning the dangers they were facing because of false teachers] that no one takes you captive through [note what the false teachers used to lure the Colossians away from the truth…] hollow [the content of the philosophy; devoid of truth] and deceptive [the nature of the philosophy] philosophy, which depends on [the foundation of the philosophy was human rather than divine…] human tradition and the basic [elementary] principles of this world rather than on Christ.
2:9 For in Christ all the fullness [all that God is; not just certain aspects of God’s nature] of the Deity lives [resides permanently; cf. Col. 1:19; Christ is fully God] in bodily form [this challenged a false (gnostic) teaching that denied that Christ had a human body],
2:10 and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every [over all the intermediate beings the false teachers believed stood between God and human beings] power and authority.
2:11 In him [Christ] you were also circumcised [a spiritual circumcision], in the putting off of the sinful nature [a reference to our fallen humanity or our Adamic nature], not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ [refers to the new spiritual relationship, which we have in Christ],
2:12 [cf. Rom. 6:4] having been buried with him in baptism [symbolized the essence of the Colossian’ spiritual experience; pictured their new life in Christ but was not the cause of it] and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.
2:13 [Paul reminded the Colossians of their spiritual history…] When you were dead [spiritually] in your sins [cf. Eph. 2:1-3] and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature [refers to the Colossians’ lost condition prior to placing their faith in Christ for salvation], God made you alive [spiritually] with Christ [cf. Eph. 4:4-10]. He forgave us all our sins,
2:14 having canceled [or erased the note of indebtedness] the written code [“the certificate of debt” (NASB) documented the claims for which the debtor was obligated], with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross [thus rendering it null and void; the cross is a reminder of the cost of being set free from sin].
2:15 And [in addition to canceling the certificate of debt] having disarmed [means to remove something as one would remove a garment] the powers and authorities [all spiritual forces that are in rebellion against God and that enslave people], he made a public spectacle [disgraced] of them [like a conquering general leading a triumphant procession with His defeated enemies marching helplessly behind], triumphing over them by the cross [the cross was “a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles” (1 Cor. 1:23)].
2:16 Therefore do not let anyone [the false teachers] judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.
2:17 These [cf. 2:16] are a shadow [has no substance but rather points to something with substance] of the things that were to come [the OT laws pointed forward to Christ]; the reality [the false teachers were so busy with the shadow that they missed “the reality” of the One who cast the shadow], however, is found in Christ [in Him alone].
2:18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility [“ascetic practices” (HCSB)] and the worship of angels disqualify [to rob or defraud one of a prize] you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen [the false teachers claimed to have special visions that gave them deeper knowledge about spiritual matters], and his unspiritual mind puffs him up [the false teachers looked down on those who did not have their alleged deeper knowledge] with idle notions.
2:19 He [the false teachers] has lost connection with [detached from the source of life] the Head [Christ; cf. Jn. 15:5], from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.
2:20 Since you died with Christ to the basic [or elementary] principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules:
2:21 [such dietary and ceremonial obligations were no longer necessary because of what Christ did on the cross…] “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”?
2:22 These [things that can be handled, tasted, and touched] are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings [cf. Matt. 15:7,9].
2:23 Such regulations [legalism] indeed have an appearance of wisdom [legalism is attractive to some people], with their self-imposed worship, their false humility [asceticism] and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.