Colossians 2:8-3:11

This week we are looking at Colossians 2:8-3:11. As you read through this section think about the following things:  

  • Colossians 2:9-15 contains another great Christological hymn similar to Colossians 1:15-20. In the former, Paul sets forth the nature of the supremacy of Christ, whereas, in this later hymn, Paul makes a direct application of Christ’s nature to us through our baptism. Think about the implication of what it means that we, as the church, are the body of Christ and that it is in Christ that the “whole fullness of the deity dwells bodily.” 
  • In Colossians 2:16-17, Paul says that religious observances are but a “shadow” of which Christ is the “substance.” This understanding of “shadow” and “substance” originates in Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave.” In the Allegory, Plato describes a group of people who have lived chained to a ledge in a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall by images passing in front of a fire behind them.  These prisoners begin to ascribe reality to these shadows, although the true reality lies in the images, not the shadows. In verse 17, Paul does not say that the use of shadows, observances, or symbols is wrong so long as we don’t mistake them for the true reality of Christ who is the true image of God. In looking at verses 16 and 17, think about those things in life and in the church that we hold up as substantive, but which are not the true reality but only a shadow. (Paul will also speak of “shadows” in 1 Corinthians 13:12 in that we only see like in a mirror.) 
  • In Colossians 3:2, Paul instructs us to “set our minds on things above.” This is a similar instruction that Paul uses in Philippians 4:8 (Finally, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.) Think about how this admonition may also relate to shadows and substance.

Dinner is at 6. The menu is lasagna and chocolate cake. Hope to see you here.

Put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

Colossians 3:10

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