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 1 about what he has supposedly seen, but he is puffed up with empty notions by his fleshly mind. 2 2:19 He has not held fast 3 to the head from whom the whole body, supported 4 and knit together through its ligaments and sinews, grows with a growth that is from God. 5
2:20 If you have died with Christ to the elemental spirits 6 of the world, why do you submit to them as though you lived in the world? 2:21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!” 2:22 These are all destined to perish with use, founded as they are 7 on human commands and teachings. 8 2:23 Even though they have the appearance of wisdom 9 with their self-imposed worship and false humility 10 achieved by an 11 unsparing treatment of the body – a wisdom with no true value – they in reality result in fleshly indulgence. 12
1 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.
2 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.
3 tn The Greek participle κρατῶν (kratwn) was translated as a finite verb to avoid an unusually long and pedantic sentence structure in English.
4 tn See BDAG 387 s.v. ἐπιχορηγέω 3.
5 tn The genitive τοῦ θεοῦ (tou qeou) has been translated as a genitive of source, “from God.”
7 tn The expression “founded as they are” brings out the force of the Greek preposition κατά (kata).
8 tn Grk “The commands and teachings of men.”
9 tn Grk “having a word of wisdom.”
11 tc ‡ The vast bulk of witnesses, including some important ones (א A C D F G H Ψ 075 0278 33 1881 Ï lat sy), have καί (kai) here, but the shorter reading is supported by some early and important witnesses (Ì46 B 1739 b m Hil Ambst Spec). The καί looks to be a motivated reading in that it makes ἀφειδία (afeidia) “the third in a series of datives after ἐν, rather than an instrumental dative qualifying the previous prepositional phrase” (TCGNT 556). At the same time, the omission of καί could possibly have been unintentional. A decision is difficult, but the shorter reading is slightly preferred. NA27 puts καί in brackets, indicating doubts as to its authenticity.
12 tn The translation understands this verse to contain a concessive subordinate clause within the main clause. The Greek particle μέν (men) is the second word of the embedded subordinate clause. The phrase οὐκ ἐν τιμῇ τινι (ouk en timh tini) modifies the subordinate clause, and the main clause resumes with the preposition πρός (pros). The translation has placed the subordinate clause first in order for clarity instead of retaining its embedded location. For a detailed discussion of this grammatical construction, see B. Hollenbach, “Col 2:23: Which Things Lead to the Fulfillment of the Flesh,” NTS 25 (1979): 254-61.