Colossians 2:1-23-The Theological Ramifications of the Supremacy of Jesus
Colossians 2:1-10-The deity of Jesus is superior to the philosophy of men
Colossians 2:1-7-Paul tells them that he struggles greatly for them and for those who are at Laodicea. He refers again to Christ as the true source of "all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge"...so that no one will be able to refer to any source that they claim to be greater than Him. Paul says that even though he is not there personally (:5), he is there in "spirit" and the truth about Jesus is the truth whether he is there to tell them, or not. He admonishes them to continue in the "stability of your faith in Christ" (:5)...as you have been "rooted...built up...established...instructed" (:7). In other words, don’t start changing the things that they believe based on the false teachings of others.
Colossians 2:8-Paul warns them about being deceived by false teaching..."philosophy and empty deception", "the tradition of men", "empty principles of the world" (:8).
2:8 empty deception. Paul’s belittlement of the Colossian “philosophy.” according to the elementary principles after the elemental spirits of the universe; i.e., the cosmic spirits of Hellenistic syncretism. Apparently their philosophy involved regulating their religious life by observing the movements of the stars, which they associated with the powers of the angels who were worshipped by some (v. 18). In this passage Paul uses the vocabulary of the heretics, giving the words their proper meaning. He confutes them with their own terms (e.g., complete, 1:28; mystery, 2:2; wisdom and knowledge, 2:3; elementary principles of the world, 2:8; head, 2:10).
Ryrie Study Bible, Colossians 2:8 footnote, p. 1800
Colossians 2:9-10-Paul says that everything that God is, Jesus is...that He is the final answer to all spiritual questions and that He is supreme over all matters. This is one of the clearest and most precise statements of the deity of Christ that is found in the New Testament.
For more information on the divine/human nature of Jesus see:
Colossians 2:11-17-The resurrection of Jesus is superior to the religion of men
Colossians 2:11-23-In these verses, Paul directly addresses the assertion being made that Gentile believers must not only believe in Christ, but they must also follow the rituals of Judaism. First, he deals with circumcision...saying that in Jesus we have a "circumcision made without hands" when we died to ourself and were raised again to new life through faith in what He did in our behalf. The Jews taught that the ritual of physical circumcision was necessary for the removal or cutting away of sin. Paul says that the ritual act of circumcision was only representative of what God did through Jesus. When Jesus died for our sins…they were removed from us. He is our circumcision and provides for our forgiveness through His death on the cross. This same fact also applies to other rituals (:16).
Colossians 2:18-19-The authority of Jesus is superior to the experiences of men
Paul warns them to not allow people with false teachings (who claim to have the authority of angels and visions) to influence them. The Colossians were wanting to know how to grow spiritually...looking for something more in their spiritual life. There were people who claimed to have had a deeper vision, or a heavenly vision...and the Colossians were being deceived into believing that this was the source of other revelations and experiences. Paul tells them that true growth comes from God, and Him alone.
Colossians 2:20-23-The life of Jesus is superior to the laws of men
Paul reminds them that their initial relationship with God began through their faith in Christ, and that their continued relationship with God will also come through that relationship, and nothing else. They should not become caught up in physical (ritualistic) practices in order to accomplish spiritual growth. These things sound impressive, but have no real value.
Prayer: Lord, I want to grow in my relationship with You...to know You better, to experience all that You have for me. Please guide me. Don't let me be deceived by teaching, or doctrine that only strengthens the flesh and makes me feel good about myself. Help me to grow in Christ and in my love for You.