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Colossians 2:16-20

Context

2:16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you with respect to food or drink, or in the matter of a feast, new moon, or Sabbath days – 2:17 these are only 1  the shadow of the things to come, but the reality 2  is Christ! 3  2:18 Let no one who delights in humility and the worship of angels pass judgment on you. That person goes on at great lengths 4  about what he has supposedly seen, but he is puffed up with empty notions by his fleshly mind. 5  2:19 He has not held fast 6  to the head from whom the whole body, supported 7  and knit together through its ligaments and sinews, grows with a growth that is from God. 8 

2:20 If you have died with Christ to the elemental spirits 9  of the world, why do you submit to them as though you lived in the world?

1 tn The word “only,” though not in the Greek text, is supplied in the English translation to bring out the force of the Greek phrase.

2 tn Grk “but the body of Christ.” The term body here, when used in contrast to shadow (σκιά, skia) indicates the opposite meaning, i.e., the reality or substance itself.

3 tn The genitive τοῦ Χριστοῦ (tou Cristou) is appositional and translated as such: “the reality is Christ.

4 tn For the various views on the translation of ἐμβατεύων (embateuwn), see BDAG 321 s.v. ἐμβατεύω 4. The idea in this context seems to be that the individual in question loves to talk on and on about his spiritual experiences, but in reality they are only coming out of his own sinful flesh.

5 tn Grk “by the mind of his flesh.” In the translation above, σαρκός (sarkos) is taken as an attributive genitive. The phrase could also be translated “by his sinful thoughts,” since it appears that Paul is using σάρξ (sarx, “flesh”) here in a morally negative way.

6 tn The Greek participle κρατῶν (kratwn) was translated as a finite verb to avoid an unusually long and pedantic sentence structure in English.

7 tn See BDAG 387 s.v. ἐπιχορηγέω 3.

8 tn The genitive τοῦ θεοῦ (tou qeou) has been translated as a genitive of source, “from God.”

9 tn See the note on the phrase “elemental spirits” in 2:8.



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