Colossians 2:22
Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?
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(22) Which all are to perish with the using.—It has been doubted whether these words (which are literally, all which things go to corruption, or destruction, in the using) are the continuation of the ascetic ordinance, or the comment of the Apostle. But the last word—which signifies, not only “using,” but using up”—seems to decide for the latter alternative. The things are things which go to destruction and are used up. What permanent effect can they leave behind? See 1Corinthians 8:8 (whether the words of St. Paul, or the words of the Corinthians, accepted as true by him), “Meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.” It is but an echo of our Lord’s own teaching as to that which goeth into the mouth (Matthew 15:16-17; Mark 13:18-19).

After the commandments . . .—See Colossians 2:8, and Note there. There seems to be an allusion to Isaiah 29:13, quoted by our Lord (Matthew 15:7-8; Mark 7:6-7) in relation to these ceremonial observances.

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.Which all are to perish with the using - This is commonly marked as a part of the parenthesis, or the quotation; and there is considerable difficulty in ascertaining its true meaning. It seems most probable that these are the words of the apostle himself, thrown in in the rapidity of composition, and that they are not to be connected with the phrase "touch not," etc. If so, the idea is, that it cannot be of so much consequence as the Jewish teachers supposed, to mark distinctly the difference between meats and drinks. They were all to perish with the use of them. Nothing was permanent about them. It could really then be of no great importance what was eaten, or what was drunk, provided it was not in itself injurious. These ordinances had a value among the Hebrews when it was designed to keep them as a distinct people; but they had no value in themselves, so as to make them binding on all mankind. To suppose this, was the common error of the Jews; and hence, the apostle so frequently labored to show that the Jewish rites had no permanent value; see the Romans 14:1-6 notes; 1 Corinthians 8:1-13, note; compare the notes at Matthew 15:17-18. According to this interpretation, Colossians 2:21 should be regarded as expressing the common maxim of the Jewish teachers, and the clause before us as the words of the apostle, and should be marked as a parenthesis. So it is marked in Hahn's Ed. of the New Testament.

After the commandments and doctrines of men - Many of the ordinances on which the Jews insisted were those which were handed down by tradition. They depended on human authority only, and of course, should not bind the conscience. Others take the words here to mean, "All which things tend to the corruption of religion (Doddridge), or are cause of destruction or condemnation (Robinson, Lexicon), by the use of these things, according to the commandments and doctrines of these men."

22. Which—things, namely, the three things handled, touched, and tasted.

are to perish—literally, "are constituted (by their very nature) for perishing (or 'destruction by corruption') in (or 'with') their using up (consumption)." Therefore they cannot really and lastingly defile a man (Mt 15:17; 1Co 6:13).

after—according to. Referring to Col 2:20, 21. All these "ordinances" are according to human, not divine, injunction.

doctrines—Greek, teachings." Alford translates, "(doctrinal) systems."

Which all are to perish with the using: he adds his reasons why, under the Christian institution, acceptable worshipping of God doth not consist in such observances, both because meats, drinks, garments, &c. are designed unto the benefit of man, for the preserving of his temporal life, and are consumed in their use. They cannot, in or by themselves, either make a man holy or render him unclean, Matthew 15:11 Mark 7:19 Romans 14:17 1 Corinthians 6:13 1 Timothy 4:3; they all come to corruption, or are consumed in doing us service, they cannot otherwise be of use; which may evince that all the benefit we receive from them doth only respect this mortal life, it not being imaginable that what perisheth in our use should be of any force to the life of our soul, which is immortal and incorruptible. And therefore to urge the reviving of antiquated ordinances, or bringing in such like new ones, is to corrupt or consume the creatures without any spiritual advantage, whereupon such impositions must needs be destructive; and because of the apostle’s stronger argument, they are not after Christ, but after the precepts and decrees of men, compare Colossians 2:8, which is our Lord aud Master’s argument against the inovations of the Pharisees, Matthew 15:9, agreeing with the prophet, Isaiah 29:13. To bring in additionals of uncommanded worship, or rites and ways of it, is forbidden of God, Deu 12:32 John 14:26 16:13 Revelation 22:18; who (according to the purport of the second commandment) must be worshipped in a manner peculiar to him and appointed by him; and theretbre worship not appointed, i.e. not commanded, is forbidden by, him, who will accept of no homage from Christians in the business of religion, unless it be taught by him, and not by men only.

Which all are to perish with the using,.... Meaning either the ordinances concerning touching, tasting, and handling, which bring destruction and death on them that use them, and comply with them, in order to obtain righteousness and life; for instead of enjoying salvation through them, they were the cause of damnation to them. Or rather the meats not to be touched, tasted, or handled; these are in their own nature perishing things, and perish by being used; they are only of service to the body, and can be of none to the soul; the using of them cannot defile the man, nor an abstinence from them sanctify him, or commend him to God; they only relate to this present life, and will cease with it, and can have no manner of influence on the spiritual and eternal concerns of men: and besides, the ordinances concerning them are not of God, but are

after the commandments and doctrines of men; for so even the ceremonial law, being now abolished, though originally of God, yet the imposition of it, as necessary to salvation, was a commandment and doctrine of man's; and particularly the traditions of the elders, and the various rules and decrees, which the doctors among the Jews obliged men to regard, were human inventions and devices: and this is another reason the apostle makes use of to dissuade from any regard unto them; for whatever is of man, and not of God, in religious worship, ought to be rejected.

{22} Which all are to perish with the using;) {23} after the commandments and doctrines of men?

(22) Another argument: the spiritual and inward kingdom of God cannot consist in these outward things, which perish with the using.

(23) The third argument: because God is not the author of these traditions, therefore they are not that which we are obligated to do.

Colossians 2:22. We are not to put in a parenthesis μὴ ἅψῃἀποχρήσει (Erasmus Schmid, Heinrichs, and others), but merely ἅ ἐστινἀποχρ. (Griesbach, Lachmann, Scholz, Ewald); for the construction proceeds uninterruptedly to θίγῃς, is then only broken by the judgment ἅ ἐστι π. εἰς φθ. τ. ἀποχρ., and thereafter runs on with κατὰ τὰ ἐντάλμ. κ.τ.λ.

ἅ ἐστιἀποχρ. is an inserted[131] judgment of the apostle anent that which the false teachers interdicted by μὴ ἅψῃ κ.τ.λ.: which all are destined to destruction[132] through the using,—from which it is to be rendered palpably apparent, how preposterous it is to make such things a condition of eternal bliss by urging abstinence from them. We have here a similar line of argument to that in Matthew 15:17. Comp. 1 Corinthians 6:13. Hence φθορά is meant to denote the perishing which takes place through the natural dissolution (digestion) of the meats and drinks; and with this conception quite accords the purposely-chosen compound τῇ ἀποχρήσει, which, like abusus, indicates the using up, the consuming (Plut. Mor. p. 267 E; Davis, ad Cic. N. D. iv. 60). So it is unanimously explained by Chrysostom, Theodoret (εἰς κόπρον γὰρ ἅπαντα μεταβάλλεται), Oecumenius (φθορᾷ γὰρ, φησιν, ὑπόκειται ἐν τῷ ἀφεδρῶνι), Theophylact, Erasmus, Luther, Beza, Calvin, Wolf, Grotius, Michaelis, and many others, including Bähr, Steiger, Olshausen, Ewald, Bleek, Hofmann. But, according to others, who likewise regard ἀποχρ. as a parenthetical judgment, the is to be referred to the prohibitions, ἀποχρ. to the use, i.e. the following of them, and φθορά (comp. Galatians 6:8) to the destruction of the persons who follow them: all which δόγματα by their use tend to (eternal) destruction. So Ambrosiaster, Augustine, Cornelius a Lapide, Calixtus, Heumann, Junker. Erroneously; because ἀπόχρησις never means merely use, and even the simple χρῆσις, in the sense of τήρησις, would be an unsuitable designation; in fact, the entire addition, “by the use,” would be utterly superfluous. On account of ἀποχρ., the expedient must also be rejected, on linguistic grounds, that ἀποχρ. are still words of the false teachers, which Paul repeats with irony: “omnia haec (vetita) usu suo perniciem afferunt,” Heinrichs, comp. Schenkel. By others, who, like Tischendorf, have deleted the marks of parenthesis, the whole down to ἀνθρώπων is taken together: all this, which the false teachers forbid, tends through the using to (“moral,” de Wette) destruction, “si sc. ex doctorum Judaicorum praeceptis et doctrinis hac de re judicium feratur,”[133] Kypke; so also Vatablus, Storr, Flatt, Böhmer, de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius (Huther is undecided between this explanation and ours). But in opposition to this it may be urged, that the compound ἀποχρήσει would be entirely without a motive, since not the consumption, but the use at all would be soul-destroying according to the maxims of those people. Our view alone supplies a motive for the use of ἀποχρήσει, and that through the point of its connection with εἰς φθοράν, in which case, however, the object affected by ἈΠΟΧΡ. and ΕἸς ΦΘΟΡ. must be the same (the things forbidden). De Wette’s objections are irrelevant, since the thought of the parenthesis ἀποχρ. is expressed not strangely, but with Pauline ingenuity, the words ΚΑΤᾺ ΤᾺ ἘΝΤΆΛΜ. Κ.Τ.Λ. annexed to ΔΟΓΜΑΤΊΖΕΣΘΕ are by no means superfluous (see below), nor does this annexation require us to begin the parenthesis with ΜῊ ἍΨῌ and thereby to include heterogeneous elements together; for ΜῊ ἍΨῌ Κ.Τ.Λ. still belongs closely to ΔΟΓΜΑΤ., of which it is the contents, and ΚΑΤᾺ ΤᾺ ἘΝΤΆΛΜ. Κ.Τ.Λ. is then annexed, after the brief incidentally inserted remark, to ΔΟΓΜΑΤ. and its contents (μὴ ἅψῃ κ.τ.λ.).

ΚΑΤᾺ ΤᾺ ἘΝΤΆΛΜΑΤΑ Κ.Τ.Λ.] The article before ἘΝΤΆΛΜ., and extending also to ΔΙΔΑΣΚΑΛ., is generic. The μὴ ἅψῃ κ.τ.λ. was decreed by the false teachers conformably to the commandments and doctrines of men, not in consequence of what God had commanded and taught. This element, annexed to δογματίζ., is by no means superfluous (in opposition to de Wette), since, in fact, ΔΌΓΜΑ in itself is a command generally, and may be one based upon divine authority; it rather serves to bring out with perfect clearness the conflicting relation, in which that δογματίζεσθαι stands to the ἈΠΕΘΆΝΕΤΕ ΣῪΝ ΧΡΙΣΤῷ Κ.Τ.Λ. For what the false teachers decreed was not the prohibitions of meats contained in the law of Moses as such, and these alone (although they too would have been incompatible with the ἈΠΕΘΆΝΕΤΕ ΣῪΝ Χ. Κ.Τ.Λ.), but such as consisted in the human (Essene) definitions, expansions, and amplifications of the former (ΚΑΤᾺ ΤῊΝ ΠΑΡΆΔΟΣΙΝ ΤῶΝ ἈΝΘΡΏΠΩΝ, Colossians 2:8). It was in this, and not in the mere setting up again of the Mosaic law abolished through Christ (Chrysostom and many others), that the ΔΟΓΜΑΤΊΖΕΣΘΑΙ was regulated by human standard, without the divine authority and warrant. Moreover, διδασκ. is not synonymous with ἐντάλμ., but has a wider sense (in Matthew 15:9 and Mark 6:7, the narrower idea comes after as a more precise definition), so that the two together specify the preceptive and generally (καί) the doctrinal standard. Comp. Isaiah 29:13.

[131] For it is only an incidental observation in opposition to the above δογματίζεσθαι; the main ground of opposition to the latter lies in εἰ ἀπεθάν. σὺν Χ.

[132] ἐστὶν εἰς φθοράν, it serves for destruction, i.e. it serves for the purpose of being destroyed. See generally Winer, p. 173 [E. T. 229]; Buttmann, Neut. Gr. p. 131 [E. T. 150 f.]. Comp. Wis 4:18; Sir 34:10; Jdt 5:21; Jdt 5:24; Jdt 8:22.

[133] Similarly Dalmer, who, however, takes τῇ ἀποχρ. in the sense of abuse, joining it immediately to κατὰ τὰς διδασκ. κ.τ.λ. But while ἀποχρῆσθαι (Dem. 215. 8; Herodian, v. 1. 13) is found in the sense of abuse (καταχρῆσις, παραχρῆσις), ἀποχρῆσις is not, though it was so taken by Erasmus Schmid, Schoettgen, Zachariae, as also by Grimm in his Lexicon.

Colossians 2:22. ἅ ἐστιν πάντα εἰς φθορὰν τῇ ἀποχρήσει. Augustine and Calvin took as meaning the ordinances referred to in Colossians 2:20, and explained the words as Paul’s refutation, “all which ordinances lead in their use to spiritual destruction”. But ἀποχ. means much more than use, it means abuse or using up; and refers more naturally to the prohibited things than to the prohibitions; while the sense would be complete if τῇ ἀποχ. were omitted. A much more attractive interpretation is that of De Wette (followed by Grimm, Ol. and others). He regards the words as a continuation of the injunctions of the false teachers, “all which things tend to spiritual destruction in the abuse”. The sense will then be that certain meats and drinks are forbidden, because the abuse of them leads to spiritual destruction. Lightfoot says “this interpretation, however, has nothing to recommend it”. This is perhaps too strong, for on the usual view κατὰἀνθρώπων comes in awkwardly, as its place is at the end of the prohibitions. But it must be rejected. The translation is a little strained, and it would have been much simpler to say “the use of these things is destructive”. It is therefore best to adhere to the common view, and translate “all which things are to perish with the using”. The meaning is, then, that with consumption the forbidden meats and drinks were destined to perish. This interpretation has the advantage of being forcible, for it throws one side of Paul’s refutation into a terse parenthesis. His argument is, these meats and drinks, on which the false teachers lay such stress, are of no such importance, for in the nature of things they perish in their very use. If we can annihilate them they cannot rule us. The words should be included in brackets.—κατὰ τὰ ἐντὰλματα καὶ διδασκαλίας τῶν ἀνθρώπων: to be taken with δογματίζεσθε. This states the other side of Paul’s refutation. The precepts are not only concerned with things destined to perish, they have their source in human commandments. Lightfoot aptly points out the striking parallel between these words of Paul and those of Christ on defilement (Mark 7). Both argue from the perishableness of meats, both treat these things as indifferent in themselves, and both quote Isaiah. Even though these precepts are partially found in the O.T., they are rightly called precepts of men, partly because they went beyond what it enjoined, partly because their object is different.

22. which all are to perish with the using;)] Lit., which are all for corruption in the consumption. I.e., the things which are thus forbidden as soul-tainting are things merely material, not moral, and this is evidenced by their merely material destiny—physical dissolution in the course of natural use. Cp. Matthew 15:17.—This clause should be bracketed apart, as in R.V.

Observe St Paul’s instructive opposite use, in an opposite connexion, of the same consideration, 1 Corinthians 6:13. There an assertor of a distorted “liberty” is met by the thought that alike “meats” and “belly” are to cease to exist with the present order of things; then why for their sake violate real claims of purity?

after the commandments, &c.] The thought returns to the prohibitive formulas; these are not utterances of God’s will, but “according to,” of the kind of, on the scale of, merely human rule and principle. Obviously, so far as any of them were Mosaic, St Paul would fully recognize their Divine authority in their own period and for their own purpose. But the period was over, the purpose was fulfilled in Christ. To impose them now was to put God’s edict to man’s arbitrary use.

Of men:”—cp. Matthew 15:9; Mark 7:7; and see Isaiah 29:13, the passage quoted by our Lord, and doubtless here in St Paul’s mind. The LXX. there agrees almost verbatim with the words here, more so than with the quotations in the Gospels.

Colossians 2:22. Ἅ ἐστι, which are) Those things, namely, which are touched, tasted, etc.—εἰς φθορὰν, [are to end in destruction] to perish) and which therefore do not defile; 1 Corinthians 6:13; the middle of Matthew 15:17.—τῇ ἀποχρήσει) in the using up (entire consumption), not strictly so called [not the abuse], but so far as it denotes the use, which is natural, civil, external, truly indifferent, and removed from superstitious fear and severity (rigour).—κατἁ, according to) as the commandments of men are wont to be.—τὰ ἐντάλματα καὶ διδασκαλίας, the commandments and doctrines) Matthew 15:9, note.

Verse 22 a is the apostle's comment on these rules, in the form of a continuation of their terms. Do not touch - things which are an intended to perish (literally, for corruption) in their consumption (Matthew 15:17; Mark 7:19; 1 Corinthians 6:13; 1 Corinthians 8:8; 1 Timothy 4:3-5), which, being destroyed as they are used, therefore do not enter into the soul's life, and are of themselves morally indifferent; so the Greek Fathers, and most modern interpreters. This is the position which Christ himself takes in regard to Jewish distinctions of meats (Mark 7:14-23, R.V.). We note the same style of sarcastic comment on the language of the false teachers as that exhibited in ver. 18. Augustine, Calvin, and some ethers render, "which (decrees) tend to (spiritual) destruction in their use;" but ἀποχρῆσις never means simply "use," and the antecedent "decrees" is awkwardly supplied. More plausibly, De Wette and some moderns interpret, "things which tend to (spiritual) destruction in their abuse," putting the words in the mouth of the false teacher, as though he said, "Abstain from everything the use of which may be fatal to the soul." But this ascribes to the errorist an argument which fails short of his principles (see note on "hard treatment of the body," ver. 23); and to which, specious as it is, and in harmony with the apostle's own teaching (1 Corinthians 6:12; 1 Corinthians 9:26, 27), he makes no reply. According to the commandments and teachings of men (Isaiah 29:13, LXX; Matthew 15:9; Mark 7:7; ver. 8; 1 Corinthians 1:20; 1 Corinthians 2:5, 13); the only passage in this Epistle which distinctly alludes to the language of the Old Testament. But the words are, we may suppose, primarily a reminiscence of the language of Christ, who uses them in connection with his announcement of the abolition of the sacred distinctions of meats (comp. Mark 7:1-23). This clause points out the method after which, and direction in which, the new teachers were leading their disciples, on the line of a man-made instead of a God given religion. "Commandments" (or, "injunctions") include the prescriptions of ver. 21 and all others like them; "teachings" embrace the general principles and doctrines on which these rules were based. So this expression, following "rudiments of the world (ver. 20), leads us back by a rapid generalization from the particulars specified in ver. 21 to the general starting point given in ver. 8 (see note), and prepares us for the brief and energetic summary of the whole Colossian error which we find in - Colossians 2:22Which things

Meats, drinks, etc.

Are to perish (ἐστιν εἰς φθορὰν)

Lit., are for corruption; destined for (εἰς) Corruption, in the physical sense of decomposition.

With the using (τῇ ἀποχρήσει)

Only here in the New Testament. Rather, using up, consumption. Their very using destroys them. Which things-using form a parenthesis.

After the commandments and doctrines (κατὰ τὰ ἐντάλματα καὶ διδασκαλίας)

Connect with Colossians 2:20, Colossians 2:21. Ἑντάλματα are specific injunctions. Rev., better, precepts: διδασκαλίας, more general, doctrinal instructions. Both answer to the rudiments of the world (Colossians 2:20). Compare Matthew 15:1-20; Mark 7:1-23.

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