Col 2:8-12 What is the basic falsehood and deception behind the “elementary principles of the world” and that underlies all of the philosophies and traditions of men? Hint: contrast Col 2:10a and Jer 33:2-3 with the summarizing statement of the first tenet of the Humanist Manifesto (II): “While there is much that we do not know, humans are responsible for what we are or will become. No deity will save us; we must save ourselves.” What is it about Christ, contrary to the notions of the world, that makes us full in Him and provides for our complete salvation? See Col 2:9, 10b. Is there anything lacking in regard to the salvation God provides in Christ that we must fill up ourselves? Note the perfect tense in Col 2:10. What do we learn about the nature of the false teaching confronting the Colossians from Paul’s words in Col 2:11? See also Col 2:16. How does Paul address the assertion of those misleading the Colossians that in order to be saved they must also demonstrate their adherence to the Jewish law by being circumcised? See also Gal 5:6, 6:15. What is the relationship between circumcision and baptism? Note: circumcision was a sign of the old covenant (see Gen 17:11); baptism is a sign of the new covenant. Advocates of infant baptism use this relationship to argue that as circumcision was performed on children so too should baptism; what’s wrong with this argument? See Mat 28:19, Acts 2:41, 8:12 and note that as circumcision was performed shortly after physical birth as a sign of one’s association with the physical covenant God made through Abraham with those who were born of his seed, so is baptism performed shortly after spiritual birth as a sign of one’s association with the spiritual covenant God made through Christ with those who are born of His seed (which is the word of God, 1 Pet 1:23). Besides spiritual circumcision, what else does baptism symbolize? See Col 2:12, Rom 6:3-4.
Col 2:13-15 As circumcision was given as a symbol to the Jews of the spiritual life to be found in “the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ” (Col 2:11), of what was the uncircumcision of the Gentiles a symbol? See Col 2:13. In light of the teaching of the Judaizers and those confronting the Colossians, what is the great significance to the Gentile believers that it was while they were yet dead in their uncircumcision that they were made alive together with Christ? See also Gal 3:2, Acts 10:44-45. What two inseparable aspects of our salvation does Paul mention in Col 2:13? What were the mechanics involved with forgiving us of our transgressions? See Col 2:14. What was the signed bond of indebtedness Paul mentions in Col 2:14, and what were its decrees (regulations, NIV, or ordinances, KJV)? See Col 2:16,20-21. In what sense were the regulations of the law adversarial to us? See Acts 15:10, Rom 7:8-9, 2 Cor 3:6. How was our indebtedness to the law canceled (erased, blotted out, or lit. wiped away; Acts 3:19)? Note: in ancient times it was common for a person’s bond of debt to be nailed to a post upon payment as a public notice it had been paid. From the context of Col 2:14, what was it that “armed” the spiritual rulers and authorities of this world against God’s people? See 1 Cor 15:56. Note: “disarmed” is an emphatic form meaning completely stripped or spoiled; interestingly, the only other occurrence is found in 3:9 of the Christian having completely stripped himself of his former garments of sin. What was the significance to those to whom he was writing that Christ’s death had disarmed the powers of darkness? See Col 2:8, 2 Tim 2:23-26. Who is the “He” and the “Him” (or “it”, see NASB text note) in Col 2:15? See Col 2:13-14. As it was by means of Christ’s death upon the cross that God triumphed over the powers of darkness, when did He make a public display (spectacle, NIV) of them? See Eph 4:8.