Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Do not touch

Colossians Chapter 2, verses 20-23
20 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, 21"Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!", 22 which all pertain refer to things destined to perish with use--in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? 23These 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.

Fascinating verse. What do you make of it? What does its teaching include, and what does it not extend to?

Read it in context here.


Anonymous said...

Not getting many comments are you? Maybe all the readers out there are drunk??

Or maybe drunks don't care much about Colossians!

Oh, brother.

scott said...

I'm paying attention, I just don't know exactly what Paul was going for here. I'm assuming he knew some stuff about the people in the church at Colosse that I don't know.

I would think some of it would go back to verse 16: Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days...

There were a lot of rules and regulations going on back then about food and drink and religious observation, and which of those rules were of Christ was often a matter of dispute. I'm not certain how to apply it today, honestly.

Joe B said...

It's interesting that the "do nots" are characterized as "human commands and teachings." So is this passage speaking of the Mosaic law? Hmmm...it would be pretty bold to speeak of the Law this way, and out of character for Paul.

But it does follow close after the 2:16 references to Mosaic law, and it is clearly part of the whole topic. I think the thrust begins with 2:1, and the big bang is 2:9-2:15, "Christ cancelled the written code that stood against us...nailing it to his cross." Subpoint A, the Jewish law code; subpoint B, ascetic Greek gnosticism code; subpoint C, the kindergarten code...everything else. It ALL lacks any value in restraining the flesh.

A resounding rejection of the notion that righteousness is attained by quarantine from the world's cooties.

The next chapter is about fullness in Christ. Positive holiness. The key word iin Colossians is fullness, pleroos. Contrasted repeatedly with emptiness.

Joe B said...

How about a cool translation note?

That last phrase "they lack all value in restraining against sensual indulgence". In Greek it reads more like:

"is no value toward satisfaction of the flesh" not restaining the flesh, or against the flesh. The word is used just once in the NT, the noun plesmone. The root word here is "to fill", pletho. Yep, the same root as pleroos, the fulness of Christ expounded in Ch 3.

Any of you Greek dudes help me out on that? I only see roots, not tenses.