6-Week Series: Against All Odds

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Summary: Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind.

11/30/18

Tom Lowe

IVC1: Don't Let Anyone Defraud You Of Your Reward (Col 2:18)

• “Special Notes” and “Scripture” appear as endnotes.

• NIV Bible is used throughout unless noted otherwise.

Colossians 2:18 (NIV)

Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind.

COMMENTARY

Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind.? (Colossians 2:18)

Admittedly, this passage is another difficult one, because a number of words and clauses have been interpreted differently by well-known Bible scholars; but such technical arguments lie outside the boundary of this exegesis; and we shall content ourselves by undertaking a study of the text as it stands in the New International Version.

The whole passage has been paraphrased as follows: “Let no man deprive you of the prize you have won fair and square. The impostor that does such things delights in debasing his body and living with the apparent modesty of an angel, and having superior sanctity in order to gain disciples. In spite of intruding into things which he has not seen; and, despite his apparent humility, his mind is carnal, and he is puffed up with a sense of his superior knowledge and piety.”

Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you.

“Do not let anyone . . . disqualify you”; judge you. The word disqualify occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It is a word which was employed with reference to the distribution of prizes at the Grecian games, and means, to withhold the prize from anyone, to deprive them of the palm branch. Hence, it means to deprive anyone of a due reward: and the sense here is that they were to be on their guard in case the “reward” ?the crown of victory, for which they competed, should be taken from them by the dishonesty of others. That is what would happen if they should be persuaded to turn back, or to hang back in the race. The only way to secure the prize was to stay in the race which they were running at the time; but if they yielded to the philosophy of the Greeks, and the teachings of the Jews, they would be defrauded of this reward as certainly as a runner at the games would if the crown of victory were unjustly awarded to another. In this case, too, a real injustice would be done, though the apostle does not say it would be in the same manner. Here it would be by deception; in the case of the runner it would be by a wrong decision?but in either case the crown was lost. This exhortation has more force from this consideration. Against an unjust judge we could have no power; but we may take care that the reward is not snatched from us by deception.

The Colossians had fought and conquered under the direction of Christ, and He, as the sole Judge in this contest, had awarded the prize to them; but, the false teachers, pretending to have great modesty, humility, and sanctity, endeavored to turn them aside from the Gospel, and to persuade them to end in the flesh that which they had begun in the Spirit. The apostle warns them about these men.

Do not let anyone who delights in false humility . . . disqualify you.

The word “humility,” as used here, means “lowliness of mind, modesty, humbleness of demeanor”; and the apostle refers, without a doubt, to the spirit assumed (falsely assumed) by those against whom he would guard the Colossians?the spirit of modesty and of humility. The meaning is that they would not announce their opinions with dogmatic certainty, but they would put on the appearance of great modesty. In this way, they would become even more dangerous? for no false teachers are as dangerous as those who assume the spirit of great humility, and who manifest great reverence for divine things. These persons took pleasure in attempting to explore the hidden and perplexing things of religion. They wanted to appear to do this with a humble spirit and the modesty of an angel.

Do not let anyone who delights in . . . the worship of angels disqualify you.

It is very likely that the apostle alludes here to the Essenes{a], who were remarkably strict and devout, spent the main part of their time in the contemplation of the Divine Being, abstained from all sensual gratification, and attempted to live the life of angels upon earth. All the apostle says here perfectly agrees with their pretensions, and on this one supposition the entire passage is clear and easy. Many have understood the passage as referring to the adoration of angels, which seems to have been practiced among the Jews, who appear to have considered them to be a sort of mediator between God and man; presenting the prayers of men before the throne of God; and being, the eyes and ears of the great King. But this interpretation is not as likely as the first one mentioned.

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