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Colossians 2:18-19

Don't Get Robbed!

18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19 And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.


Peter T. O'Brien wrote concerning the eighteenth verse, "This verse has been described as one of the most contested passages in the NT, presenting great difficulties in language and content." Therefore, the reader should understand that my explanation of it is only one among many and he may want to study it in more depth.

"Let no man beguile you of your reward..." The Greek word that is rendered as "beguile you of your reward" is καταβραβευέτω (katabrabeueto) and is used nowhere else in the NT. It means to defraud and was used in reference to the distribution of prizes in the Greek games. Paul was warning the Colossian saints not to let their victory in Jesus be stolen from them by the false teachers.

"...in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels,.." is the portion of this first sentence that has really confused the scholars. The most reasonable explanation for these words appears to be that the false teachers would put on a false appearance of being humble. Thus, they appeared humble by their own will and not according to their true character.

There has also been much discussion about "worshipping of angels." The grammar is just not clear enough for us to know precisely what Paul meant by this. Some have assumed that it refers to the humility with which the angels worshiped and was just another part of the false teachers' act. Others have thought that the false teachers were proposing some sort of angel worship and thus leading the Colossians away from the true gospel of Christ. Grammatically, the latter seems to be more accurate to me ("and toward the worship of angels.")

These men were "intruding into those things which he hath not seen." They were delving into matters that had not been revealed to men. Thus, they created the image of themselves as being more spiritual and more knowledgeable of spiritual things. Humble as the false teacher pretended to be, he was "vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind." Albert Barnes wrote that, "...no false teachers are so dangerous as those who assume the aspect of great humility, and who manifest great reverence for divine things."

These false teachers did not hold the Head of the body, Jesus Christ, as the principle on which their false doctrines were based. It is through Him that all the church is spiritually nourished and knit together in fellowship. It is through Christ that the church is increased with the increases of God. Those things with which the church is increased are the graces and spiritual gifts that are given by God, the increased faith and boldness by which she functions, and the numbers of new souls that are won for the kingdom.

The whole point of this passage is that there are many false teachers in the world today, teaching many strange but attractive doctrines, and pretending to have a certain humility and higher spirituality than others. Some simply avoid the preaching of sin and the need for repentance, while others deny the deity of Christ. Still others advocate praying to the dead saints and the worship of angels. These heretics deny the simplicity that is in Christ and turn the sincere seeker of truth away from the only truth, Jesus Christ. Be careful that you do not get robbed of your crown of victory.

Before The Throne:

Pray that God would grant you clarity of thought in spiritual and other matters. Ask Him to help you learn to defend your faith against all of those anti-Christs who attack the truth with their deceptive lives. Pray that He would help you bring the truth to those who have been deceived and set them free from the bondage of unbelief.

For Further Study:

(v.18)
** no. Col 2:4, 8; Gen 3:13; Num 25:18; Matt 24:24; Rom 16:18; 2Cor 11:3; Eph 5:6; 2Pet 2:14; 1John 2:26; 1John 4:1-2; 2John 1:7-11; Rev 3:11; Rev 12:9; Rev 13:8, 14; ** in a voluntary humility. Col 2:23; Isa 57:9; ** worshipping. Da 11:38; Rom 1:25; 1Cor 8:5-6; 1Tim 4:1; Rev 19:10; Rev 22:8-9; ** intruding. Deut 29:29; Job 38:2; Ps 138:1-2; Ezek 13:3; 1Tim 1:7; ** vainly. Col 2:8; 1Cor 4:18; 1Cor 8:1; 1Cor 13:4; ** fleshly. Rom 8:6-8; 1Cor 3:3; 2Cor 12:20; Gal 5:19-20; Jas 3:14-16; Jas 4:1-6;

(v.19) ** not. Col 2:6-9; Col 1:18; Gal 1:6-9; Gal 5:2-4; 1Tim 2:4-6; ** all. Eph 4:15-16; ** by. Job 19:9-12; Ps 139:15-16; ** nourishment. John 15:4-6; Rom 11:17; Eph 5:29; ** knit. Col 2:2; John 17:21; Acts 4:32; Rom 12:4; Rom 12:5; 1Cor 1:10; 1Cor 10:16-17; 1Cor 12:12-27; Eph 4:3; Phil 1:27; Phil 2:2-5; 1Pet 3:8; ** increaseth. Col 1:10; 1Cor 3:6; Eph 4:16; 1Thess 3:12; 1Thess 4:10; 2Thess 1:3; 2Pet 3:18;

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