Colossians 2:20
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules:

New Living Translation
You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as,

English Standard Version
If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations—

Berean Study Bible
If you have died with Christ to the spiritual forces of the world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its regulations:

Berean Literal Bible
If you have died with Christ, away from the principles of the world, why as if living in the world do you submit to decrees:

New American Standard Bible
If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as,

King James Bible
Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,

Holman Christian Standard Bible
If you died with the Messiah to the elemental forces of this world, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world? Why do you submit to regulations: "

International Standard Version
If you have died with the Messiah to the basic principles of the world, why are you submitting to its decrees as though you still lived in the world?

NET Bible
If you have died with Christ to the elemental spirits of the world, why do you submit to them as though you lived in the world?

New Heart English Bible
If you died with Christ from the elementary principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to ordinances,

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
For if you have died with The Messiah to the principles of the world, why are you just as if you live in the world,

GOD'S WORD® Translation
If you have died with Christ to the world's way of doing things, why do you let others tell you how to live? It's as though you were still under the world's influence.

New American Standard 1977
If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as,

Jubilee Bible 2000
For if ye are dead with the Christ to the elements of the world, why, as though living unto the world, do ye decree rites,

King James 2000 Bible
Therefore if you be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are you subject to ordinances,

American King James Version
Why if you be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are you subject to ordinances,

American Standard Version
If ye died with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, do ye subject yourselves to ordinances,

Douay-Rheims Bible
If then you be dead with Christ from the elements of this world, why do you yet decree as though living in the world?

Darby Bible Translation
If ye have died with Christ from the elements of the world, why as [if] alive in [the] world do ye subject yourselves to ordinances?

English Revised Version
If ye died with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, do ye subject yourselves to ordinances,

Webster's Bible Translation
Wherefore, if ye are dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,

Weymouth New Testament
If you have died with Christ and have escaped from the world's rudimentary notions, why, as though your life still belonged to the world, do you submit to such precepts as

World English Bible
If you died with Christ from the elements of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to ordinances,

Young's Literal Translation
If, then, ye did die with the Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances?
Study Bible
Alive in Christ
19and he loses connection to the head, from whom the whole body, supported and knit together by its joints and ligaments, grows as God causes it to grow. 20If you have died with Christ to the spiritual forces of the world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its regulations: 21“Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!”?…
Cross References
Romans 6:2
By no means! How can we who died to sin live in it any longer?

Romans 6:11
So you too must count yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 4:3
So also, when we were children, we were enslaved under the basic principles of the world.

Galatians 4:9
But now that you know God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you are turning back to those weak and worthless principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?

Galatians 6:14
But as for me, may I never boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Ephesians 2:15
by abolishing in His flesh the law of commandments and decrees. He did this to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace

Colossians 2:8
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, which are based on human tradition and the spiritual forces of the world rather than on Christ.

Colossians 2:14
having canceled the debt ascribed to us in the decrees that stood against us. He took it away, nailing it to the cross!

Colossians 2:16
Therefore let no one judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a festival, a New Moon, or a Sabbath.

Colossians 2:21
"Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!"?
Treasury of Scripture

Why if you be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are you subject to ordinances,

if.

Colossians 3:3 For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

Romans 6:2-11 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein…

Romans 7:4-6 Why, my brothers, you also are become dead to the law by the body …

Galatians 2:19,20 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live to God…

Galatians 6:14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord …

1 Peter 4:1-3 For as much then as Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm …

from. See on ver.

Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, …

Ephesians 2:15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments …

rudiments. or, elements. living.

John 15:19 If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because …

John 17:14-16 I have given them your word; and the world has hated them, because …

2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:

James 4:4 You adulterers and adulteresses, know you not that the friendship …

1 John 5:19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in wickedness.

subject. See on ver.

Colossians 2:14,16 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, …

Galatians 4:3,9-12 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements …

Hebrews 13:9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is …

(20-23) In this and the succeeding section, St. Paul, starting from the idea of union with the Head, draws out the practical consequences of partaking of the death of Christ and the resurrection of Christ. In virtue of the former participation, he exhorts them to be dead to the law of outward ordinances; in virtue of the latter, to have a life hid with Christ in God.

(20) If ye be dead with Christ.--The whole idea of the death with Christ and resurrection with Him is summed up by St. Paul in Romans 6:3-9, in direct connection (as also here, see Colossians 2:12) with the entrance upon Christian life in baptism, "We are buried with Him by baptism unto death . . . we are dead with Christ . . . we are planted together in the likeness of His death . . . that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we also should walk in newness of life . . . planted together in the likeness of His resurrection . . . alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord." The death with Christ is a death unto "the life of the flesh." But this may be (as in Romans 6:1-2; Romans 6:6-7; Romans 6:11) "the life of sin"; or it may be the outward and visible life "of the world." The latter is the sense to be taken here. This outward life is under "ordinances" (see Colossians 2:1), under the "rudiments of the world" (see Colossians 2:8), or, generally, "under law." Of such a life St. Paul says (in Galatians 2:19), "I through the Law died to the Law, that I might live unto God." There (Galatians 4:9), as here, he brands as unspiritual the subjection to the "weak and beggarly elements" of mere ordinances. Of course it is clear that in their place such ordinances have their value, both as means to an end, and as symbols of an inner reality of self-devotion. The true teaching as to these is found in our Lord's declaration to the Pharisees as to spiritual things and outward ordinances, "These things (the spiritual things) ought ye to have done, and not to leave the others (the outward observances) undone" (Matthew 23:23). In later times St. Paul declared with Judicial calmness, "The Law is good if a man use it lawfully" (1Timothy 1:8). But to exalt these things to the first place was a fatal superstition, which, both in its earlier and later phases, he denounces unsparingly.

Verses 20-23. - The apostle's fourth and last warning is directed against ascetic rules of life. Verse 20. - If ye died with Christ from the rudiments of the world (vers. 8, 10-13; Colossians 3:3; Romans 6:1-11; Romans 7:1-6; 2 Corinthians 5:14-17). "Therefore" is struck out by the Revisers on the best authority. It would imply a logical dependence of this verse upon the last, which does not exist. This warning, like those of vers. 16, 18, looks back to the previous section, and especially to vers. 8, 10, 12. It is a new application of St. Paul's fundamental principle of the union of the Christian with Christ in his death and resurrection (see notes, vers. 11, 12). Accepting the death of Christ as supplying the means of his redemption (Colossians 1:14, 22), and the law of his future life (Philippians 3:10; 2 Corinthians 5:14, 15; Galatians 2:20), the Christian breaks with and becomes dead (to and) from all other, former religious principles; which appear to him now but childish, tentative gropings after and preparations for what is given him in Christ (comp. Galatians 2:19; Galatians 3:24; Galatians 4:2, 3; Romans 7:6). On "rudiments," see note, ver. 8. There these "rudiments of the world" appear as general ("philosophical") principles of religion, intrinsically false and empty; here they are moral rules of life, mean and worthless substitutes for "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus." (For the Pauline idiom, "died from (so as to be separate, or free from)," comp. Romans 7:2, 6; Acts 13:39.) Why, as (men) living in (the) world, are you made subject to decrees (Galatians 4:9; Galatians 5:1; Galatians 6:14; 2 Corinthians 5:17). To adopt the rules of the new teachers is to return to the worldly, pre-Christian type of religion which the Christian had once for all abandoned (Galatians 4:9). "World" bears the emphasis rather than "living" ("having one's principle of life:" comp. 1 Timothy 5:6; Luke 12:15). Standing without the article, it signifies "the world as such," in its natural character and attainments, without Christ (ver. 8; Ephesians 2:12; 1 Corinthians 1:21). Δογματίζεσθε (the verb only here in the New Testament) is passive rather than middle in voice (Winer, p. 326; see Meyer in loc.); literally, why are yon being dogmatized, overridden with decrees? Compare "spell" (ver. 8), "judge" (ver. 16), for the domineering spirit of the false teacher. The "dogmas" or "decrees" of ver. 14 (see note) are those of the Divine Law; these are of human imposition (vers. 8, 22), which their authors, however, seem to put upon a level with the former. In each case the decree is an external enforcement, not an inner principle of life. Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ,.... Or "seeing ye are dead with Christ"; for these words do not signify any doubt about it, but suppose it, and press what is taken for granted. They were dead with Christ by virtue of union to him; they being one with him, and considered in him as their head and representative, died in him, and with him; they were crucified with him, as they are said to be buried with him, and risen with him; they were dead with him, by having communion with him in his death; they partook of the benefits of it, as redemption, pardon, justification, and reconciliation; and they were planted together with him in the likeness of his death, not merely partakers of his sufferings, or suffered with him, and were conformable unto his death, by undergoing such like things as he did, but as he died unto sin, and lived unto God, so did they; and through the virtue and efficacy of his death were dead to sin, so as that it was not imputed to them, so as to be freed and discharged from it, that it could not damn and destroy them; yea, so as that itself was crucified with him, and destroyed by him: and also to the law, to the moral law; not but that they lived according to it, as in the hands of Christ, in their walk and conversation, but did not seek for life, righteousness, and salvation by it; they were dead unto it as to justification by it, and even to obedience to it in a rigorous and compulsive way; and to all its terrors and threatenings, being moved to a regard to it from a principle of love to Christ; and to all its accusations and charges, its curses and condemnation, and as a ministration of death, fearing neither a corporeal, nor an eternal one: they were dead also to the ceremonial law, and were free

from the rudiments, or "elements"

of the world: the ordinances of a worldly sanctuary, the rites and ceremonies of the world, or state of the Jews, in opposition to, and distinction from, the Gospel dispensation, or times of the Messiah, called, and that by them, , "the world to come": these were like letters to a language, or like the grammar, which contains the rudiments of it; these were the first principles of the oracles of God, which led to Christ, and had their accomplishment and end in him; and so believers were dead unto them, and delivered from them, as they were also to the world, the Jewish state, and were entered into the world to come; and even to this present evil world, and to the men and things of it, being by Christ crucified to it, and that to them: upon all which the apostle thus reasons,

why, as though living in the world; since ye are dead unto it, and from the rudiments of it, why should ye be as though ye lived in it? his meaning is not, that they should not live in the world, nor among the men of it, for then they must needs go out of the world; saints may live in the world, though they are not of it, and among the inhabitants of it, though they do not belong to them, but to another and better country: nor does he suggest, that they lived according to the course of the world, as they did in their unregenerate state; but what he seems to blame them for, and reason with them about, was, that they acted as if they sought for life and righteousness in the rudiments of the world, or by their obedience to ceremonial rites, or human inventions: for he adds,

are ye subject to ordinances? not civil and political ones, which are for the better and more orderly government of kingdoms, states, and cities, for these the saints ought to be subject to, both for the Lord's sake, and conscience sake; nor Gospel ordinances, as baptism, and the Lord's supper, for such all believers ought to submit unto; but either legal ones, the weak and beggarly elements, the yoke of bondage, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, the handwriting of ordinances, which some were desirous of conforming to; or rather the ordinances and appointments of the Jewish fathers, the traditions of the elders, their constitutions and decrees, which are collected together, and make up their Misna, or oral law; and so the argument is from the one to the other, from the greater to the less, that if they were delivered by Christ from the burdensome rites of the ceremonial law, which were originally appointed by God, it must be great weakness in them to be subject to the ordinances of men; or both the institutions of the ceremonial law, and the decrees of the Jewish doctors about them, which were devised by them, and added to them, and imposed as necessary to be observed, may be intended; of which the apostle gives some particulars in Colossians 2:21. 20. Wherefore—The oldest manuscripts omit "Wherefore."

if ye be dead—Greek, "if ye died (so as to be freed) from," etc. (compare Ro 6:2; 7:2, 3; Ga 2:19).

rudiments of the world—(Col 2:8). Carnal, outward, worldly, legal ordinances.

as though living—as though you were not dead to the world like your crucified Lord, into whose death ye were buried (Ga 6:14; 1Pe 4:1, 2).

are ye subject to ordinances—By do ye submit to be made subject to ordinances? Referring to Col 2:14: you are again being made subject to "ordinances," the "handwriting" of which had been "blotted out" (Col 2:14).2:18-23 It looked like humility to apply to angels, as if men were conscious of their unworthiness to speak directly to God. But it is not warrantable; it is taking that honour which is due to Christ only, and giving it to a creature. There really was pride in this seeming humility. Those who worship angels, disclaim Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and man. It is an insult to Christ, who is the Head of the church, to use any intercessors but him. When men let go their hold of Christ, they catch at what will stand them in no stead. The body of Christ is a growing body. And true believers cannot live in the fashions of the world. True wisdom is, to keep close to the appointments of the gospel; in entire subjection to Christ, who is the only Head of his church. Self-imposed sufferings and fastings, might have a show of uncommon spirituality and willingness for suffering, but this was not in any honour to God. The whole tended, in a wrong manner, to satisfy the carnal mind, by gratifying self-will, self-wisdom, self-righteousness, and contempt of others. The things being such as carry not with them so much as the show of wisdom; or so faint a show that they do the soul no good, and provide not for the satisfying of the flesh. What the Lord has left indifferent, let us regard as such, and leave others to the like freedom; and remembering the passing nature of earthly things, let us seek to glorify God in the use of them.
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