Colossians 2:23
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.

King James Bible
Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

Darby Bible Translation
(which have indeed an appearance of wisdom in voluntary worship, and humility, and harsh treatment of the body, not in a certain honour,) to the satisfaction of the flesh.

World English Bible
Which things indeed appear like wisdom in self-imposed worship, and humility, and severity to the body; but aren't of any value against the indulgence of the flesh.

Young's Literal Translation
which are, indeed, having a matter of wisdom in will-worship, and humble-mindedness, and neglecting of body -- not in any honour, unto a satisfying of the flesh.

Colossians 2:23 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Which things - Which scrupulous observance of the numerous precepts enjoining rites and ceremonies, the observance of days, and the distinctions between meats and drinks.

Have indeed a show of wisdom - Have a great appearance of piety and of regard for the will of God They have a show of "wisdom," too, or of a deep acquaintance with divine things. They who insist on them appear to be learned in what constitutes religion, and to have a deep insight into its mysteries. Doubtless they who urged the obligation of these things laid claim to uncommon acquaintance with the nature of religion, and urged the observance of these things on the ground of their tendency to promote piety, just as they always do who insist much on the observance of religious rites and ceremonies.

In will-worship - Voluntary worship; i. e., worship beyond what God strictly requires-supererogatory service. Probably many of these things they did not urge as being strictly required, but as conducing greatly to piety. The plea doubtless was, that piety might be promot ed by service rendered beyond what was absolutely enjoined, and that thus there would be evinced a spirit of uncommon piety - a readiness not only to obey all that God required, but even to go beyond this, and to render him voluntary service. There is much plausibility in this; and this has been the foundation of the appointment of the fasts and festivals of the church; of penances and self-inflicted tortures; of painful vigils and pilgrimages; of works of supererogation, and of the merits of the "saints." A large part of the corruptions of religion have arisen from this plausible but deceitful argument. God knew best what things it was most conducive to piety for his people to observe; and we are most safe when we adhere most closely to what he has appointed, and observe no more days and ordinances than he has directed. There is much apparent piety about these things; but there is much wickedness of heart at the bottom, and there is nothing that more tends to corrupt pure religion.

And humility - Notes, Colossians 2:18. There is a great show of reverence for divine things in the manner in which they pursue their investigations, and in their humble and meek compliance with painful rites and ceremonies; in fastings, abstinence, and penances. Under all this there lurks often the worst kind of pride; because:

"Pride may be pampered while the flesh grows lean."

And neglecting the body - Putting on sackcloth and ashes; subjecting it to painful fastings and penances; appearing in a form of squalid poverty, as if the body were not worth regarding, and as if the attention were so much engrossed by the nobler care of the soul, as to be entirely regardless of the body. Yet, we may observe,

(1) God made the body as well as the soul, and has shown his care of it by its" being fearfully and wonderfully made," and by all the provision which he has made for all its needs.

(2) Religion pertains to the body as well as the soul, and should teach a man properly to regard it. Man is bound so to take care of the body, as to have the most health and the longest life possible in the service of his Creator, and so as to be able to employ it in the best manner. There is no religion in ragged or squalid clothing, in a dirty face, in offensive personal habits, in filth and defilement, and in setting at defiance the decencies of life.

(3) much affected sanctity may exist where there is a most proud and corrupt heart. A long face, a demure countenance, a studied disregard of the decencies of dress and the courtesies of life, as if they were unworthy of notice, may be the exponent of the most hateful pride, and of the basest purposes of the soul. A man should be on his guard always against one who, under pretence of extraordinary sanctity, professes to despise the ordinary dress and usages of society.

Not in any honour - That is, there is no real honor in these things; there is nothing to ennoble and elevate the soul; nothing that is to be commended.

To the satisfying of the flesh - The only effect is, to satisfy or please the flesh; that is, the carnal and corrupt nature, for so the word "flesh" is often used in the Scriptures. The effect of these observances, on which so much stress is laid as if they would promote piety, is merely to gratify pride, self-righteousness, the love of distinction, and the other carnal propensities of our nature. There seems to be a great deal of humility and piety in them; there is really little else than pride, selfishness, and ambition.

Remarks On Colossians 2

1. We should feel a deep interest for the welfare of other Christians, even those whom we have never seen; Colossians 2:1-2. All belong to the same family, have the same enemies to contend with, are engaged in the same warfare, are traveling to the same heaven. By our prayers and sympathy, we may often do much good to those whom we shall never see until we meet them in heaven.

2. We should be on our guard against the seductive arts of false teachers. They are often plausible; they can urge arguments which we may not be able to answer; they may have much more learning than we have; and they may put on the appearance of great humility and of real piety; Colossians 2:3-4.3. It is, in general, a safe rule for a Christian to abide by the views which he had on the great subjects of religion when he became converted; Colossians 2:6. Then the heart was tender and soft - like wax - and received the impression which the Spirit made on it. There are some things in which the heart judges better than the head; and in which we are quite as likely to go right if we follow the former as we are the latter. In relation to the performance of many of the duties of life - the duties of kindness and charity - the heart is often a more safe guide than the head; and so in many things pertaining more immediately to religion, a man is more likely to judge right if he follows the promptings of his feelings in the happiest moments of piety, than he is to wait for the more cool and cautious course of argument. The same thing may be true even of many of the doctrines of religion. When a poor sinner trembles on the verge of hell, he feels that none but an Almighty Saviour can deliver him, and he goes and commits himself to Jesus as God - and he is not in much danger of erring in that. He will be more likely to be drawn aside from the truth by the artful reasonings of the advocates of error, than he will by his feelings at that moment.

continued...

Colossians 2:23 Parallel Commentaries

Library
January 15. "As Ye have Received Christ Jesus So Walk in Him" (Col. Ii. 6).
"As ye have received Christ Jesus so walk in Him" (Col. ii. 6). It is much easier to keep the fire burning than to rekindle it after it has gone out. Let us abide in Him. Let us not have to remove the cinders and ashes from our hearthstones every day and kindle a new flame; but let us keep it burning and never let it expire. Among the ancient Greeks the sacred fire was never allowed to go out; so, in a higher sense, let us keep the heavenly flame aglow upon the altar of the heart. It takes very much
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

The Fear which Terminates in the Second Death.
"The fearful--shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death." The terms on which only we can be Christ's disciples are laid before us in the Scriptures, and we are counselled to consider them before we engage to be his. Though Christ was born to be a king, his kingdom is not of this world. He doth not persuade men with the prospect of great things here; but on the contrary warns his followers, that "in this world they shall have tribulation;"
Andrew Lee et al—Sermons on Various Important Subjects

The Assyrian Revival and the Struggle for Syria
Assur-nazir-pal (885-860) and Shalmaneser III. (860-825)--The kingdom of Urartu and its conquering princes: Menuas and Argistis. Assyria was the first to reappear on the scene of action. Less hampered by an ancient past than Egypt and Chaldaea, she was the sooner able to recover her strength after any disastrous crisis, and to assume again the offensive along the whole of her frontier line. Image Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a bas-relief at Koyunjik of the time of Sennacherib. The initial cut,
G. Maspero—History Of Egypt, Chaldaea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, V 7

St. Basil and St. Gregory of Nazianzum; Council of Constantinople,
PART I (AD 373-381) Although St. Athanasius was now dead, God did not fail to raise up champions for the true faith. Three of the most famous of these were natives of Cappadocia--namely, Basil, his brother Gregory of Nyssa, and his friend Gregory of Nazianzum. But although Gregory of Nyssa was a very good and learned man, and did great service to the truth by his writings, there was nothing remarkable in the story of his life; so I shall only tell you about the other two. Basil and Gregory of Nazianzum
J. C. Roberston—Sketches of Church History, from AD 33 to the Reformation

Cross References
Romans 13:14
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

Colossians 2:8
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

Colossians 2:18
Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind,

1 Timothy 4:3
men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.

1 Timothy 4:8
for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

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