E-Mail Bible Class


BC Weekly Digest
Monday, January 12 1998

In this issue:

	Colossians 2:11-13
	Colossians 2:8
	Colossians 2:13
	Colossians 2:16
	Colossians 2:16-18
	Colossians 2:11,12
	Colossians 2:18,19
	Colossians 2:20-23

Colossians 2:11-13

The question has been asked:
I wonder about the analogy of circumcision and whether
the application of Paul's question from Roman's is
appropriate here.  As Abraham was justified by faith
prior to the covenant of circumcision, could
justification be apart from baptism by faith?

God instituted the act of circumcision with Abraham.
It was the token of the covenant that God had made
with Abraham in which God would give the land of
Canaan as an everlasting possession to his descendants.
Gen 17:11 says, "And ye shall circumcise the flesh of
your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant
betwixt me and you." It is not reasonable to believe
that Abraham would have been justified by faith had
he not followed the command of God to be circumcised.
God considered Abraham a faithful man because he
followed his commandments. The same is true with
baptism today. We are justified by faith today if we
follow the commands of God. One of the commands
which he has given is that we are to be baptized for
the forgiveness of our sins. If we refuse to follow the
command of God to be baptized, we cannot expect
God to consider us as being faithful to him. We are
justified through faith by being obedient to the
commandments of God.
Lonnie Woodruff


Colossians 2:8

This question has been asked:
My question concerns philosophy and vain deceit vs true 
knowledge. Some non-Christians ask: "Why do you believe 
since you have no proof of God and the Bible?" I say some 
of my belief is based on just plain faith and accepting 
what the Bible says. The non-Christian then says if I can 
believe God on faith then the agnostic and atheist can also 
believe based on just plain faith. How then do I respond to 
that statement?
  Most of our knowledge in every area is based on faith. 
Faith is the acceptance of certain testimony or evidence as 
a reliable source of information.
  Faith is strengthened by duplication of the testimony 
(two or more witnesses) and by various sources of evidence 
that point to the same conclusion.
  Judicial systems are based on conclusions drawn from 
testimony and evidence. Certain testimony is "believed" by 
the judge or jury. Other testimony might be rejected 
("disbelieved") because it comes from an unreliable source.
  It is also possible to reject ("disbelieve") testimony 
and evidence that is absolutely conclusive. (There are 
still people who refuse to believe that the world is round. 
I know of some who do not believe that man has been to the 
moon, but think that it was a camera trick.) 
  Anyone who looks at the creation and then denies that 
there is a Creator, is rejecting conclusive evidence. 
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all 
ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the 
truth in unrighteousness; because that which is known of 
God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them. 
For the invisible things of him since the creation of the 
world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things 
that are made, [even] his everlasting power and divinity; 
that they may be without excuse: because that, knowing God, 
they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but 
became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart 
was darkened" (Romans 1:18-21 ASV).
  In addition to the conclusive evidence of a Creator in 
that which is made, God has also provided us with 
testimony, speaking through prophets and finally through 
His own Son. "If we receive the witness of men, the witness 
of God is greater: for the witness of God is this, that he 
hath borne witness concerning his Son. He that believeth on 
the Son of God hath the witness in him: he that believeth 
not God hath made him a liar; because he hath not believed 
in the witness that God hath borne concerning his Son" (1 
John 5:9,10 ASV).
  How do you feel when someone refuses to believe you when 
you are telling them the truth? You are offended because 
that is the same as calling you a liar.  God has given an 
overwhelming body of evidence of His power and deity in the 
works of His creation. Furthermore, He has provided us with 
testimony in thousands of ways through the Holy Scriptures.
  Faith is simply the acceptance of the evidence and 
testimony God has given us. They who CHOOSE to reject this
conclusive evidence and testimony, are calling God a liar.
  Their only alternative, after rejecting God, is to say
that everything "just happened" which is a very unreasonable
thing to believe. 
Roy Davison


Colossians 2:13

The question has been asked:
Are we saved by faith before baptism like
Abraham was justified by faith before
he was circumcized (Romans 4:9,10).
  Baptism is not being compared with physical
circumcision but with spiritual circumcision.
  It is a "a circumcision not done with hands" 
(Col 1:11 OPV). As Paul says in Romans 2:28,29 
"For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; 
neither is that circumcision which is outward 
in the flesh: but he is a Jew who is one 
inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, 
in the spirit not in the letter; whose praise 
is not of men, but of God."
  This inward circumcision under the Old Covenant
could not be done by parents for their children,
but was based on the faith and actions of the
individual when he came of age.
  Although baptism is compared with circumcision,
this does not mean that the two are completely
  Christian baptism only applies to one who has 
personal faith in Christ: "having been buried 
with Him in baptism, in which you were also 
raised with Him through faith in the working of 
God, who raised Him from the dead" 
(Col 2:12 OPV).
  Notice "raised with Him through faith in the
working of God." We participate in the death,
burial and resurrection of Christ when we are
immersed only if that immersion is accompanied
by a personal faith in the working of God.
  Baptism is not a "work of the law" that saves
us. It is a personal submission to a "working
of God" that saves us. One cannot be saved
before this "working of God" takes place in
Roy Davison


Colossians 2:16

Colossians 2:16 (Reply  by Frank Worgan)
The question has been asked: "How do we explain this verse
in relation to drinking alcohol? Many people use this
verse "let no one judge you in eating and drinking" to 
allow alcohol."
  If the second part of this statement is correct, those 
who use Col.2:16 to 'allow' alcohol are making a serious 
error, because the social use of alcohol is not under 
consideration in the verse.
  The warning contained in the verse has to do with the 
attempt which was being made to impose on the Christians in 
Colosse the old and obsolete rules and regulations of the 
Jewish law.  This is proved by verse 17, which states that 
those rules were only 'a shadow of good things to come,' 
and endorsed by Hebrews 10:1, where the same legal code is 
described as 'having but a shadow of good things to come, 
instead of the true form of these realities.'
  1st. How was that possible?
  Bear in mind that Colosse lay in a region which, for over 
200 years, had known a large and influential Jewish 
population - so influential, in fact, that in 62 B.C., when 
the Jews sent their annual tribute of a half shekel each, 
to support the Temple in Jerusalem, the amount was so huge 
that the provincial governor was alarmed. The sum 
represented over eleven thousand men alone, and did not 
take into account women, children and slaves.
  Although the church in Colosse was largely Gentile, there 
was a fair number of Jewish converts, as the tone of the 
letter makes clear. It was among these Jewish Christians 
that someone arose who was trying to impose on the 
Christians the rigid mystical asceticism which later became 
one of the main planks of the heresy known as Gnosticism,  
which has already been considered in these studies.
  2nd. This introduces another factor which must be 
considered, namely that these Gnostic tendencies, which 
expressed themselves in terms of Greek philosophy, 
prevailed very strongly among the general population of 
that whole region, and had, not surprisingly, found their 
way into the Jewish population of the province - and thus 
into the Colossian congegation.
  This is what is behind Paul's statement in the verse we 
are considering. It appears that a persuasive teacher had 
arisen in the church - a Jewish Christian - who, under the 
guise of bringing a new, deeper truth, was seeking to 
impose these obsolete ceremonial and dietary laws on the 
  Paul's inspired response is to state that this was an 
attempt to restore the old covenant which was annulled when 
Christ died on the cross.  See ch.2:14. His statement in 
Romans 14:17 should also be noted. "The kingdom of God is 
not food and drink, but righteousness and joy and peace in 
the Holy Spirit." Anyone really anxious to know how Paul 
felt about food and drink should also ready the 21st verse  
of the same Romans chapter.
  It is interesting to read that some 50 years after the
Colossian letter was written, this very same problem had
spread out, to influence the churches in the nearby Meander
Valley, so that Ignatius wrote to the Church in Magnesia
warning of the danger, and urging the Christians to 'put
away the evil leaven which has grown stale and sour, and
betake yourselves to the new leaven, which is Jesus Christ.'
  The meaning of the verse in the question may therefore be
summed up as follows: Do not allow yourselves to be led 
away from the freedom and joy which you have found in 
Christ, to the futile slavery of the old Judaistic law, 
which has nothing to offer you but which will cost you 
everything. Remember that your salvation depends on the 
grace of God, brought by Jesus Christ, not in ritualistic 
and legal ordinances. 
  3rd As to the scriptures 'allowing' the use of alcohol,
we might point out that in Romans 14 and lst Corinthians 8,
Paul deals with the question of Christian liberty, howbeit
in a rather different context. He readily agrees that the
Christian has liberty, but he points out that it is the 
liberty to choose to refuse anything which will harm his
brother. Paul issues this admonition; "Only take care lest
this liberty of yours somehow becomes a stumbling block to
the weak." lst Cor. 8:9.
  In the same chapter, verse 11, he warns those who insist 
on exercizing their freedom, that the danger exists that 
they run the risk of 'destroying the brother for whom 
Christ died.' He amplifies this warning in Romans 14:10, 
"Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God." 
And in verse 21 the ultimate principle is laid down: "It 
is right NOT to eat meat or drink wine or do ANYTHING that 
makes your brother stumble." For those who wish to be 
pleasing to the Lord, the question of the use of alcohol 
may be settled on the basis of example alone. In other 
words, always consider the influence exerted by your 
example, for good or for evil.
Frank Worgan


Colossians 2:16-18

 The question has been asked:
Would you explain Colossians 2:16 and 17 in relation to
observing holidays like Christmas and Easter?
 Apparently  the Colossian christians were being led to
believe that they must add to their worship practices the
observance of certain holy days and dietary regulations.
But the apostle Paul explains that Christ came to liberate us 
from the burden of such regulations! They were but 'shadows'
of what Christ gives us under His gospel! He is the 'reality'
that removes sin,-He is the reality that cast the shadow-
reality that we now possess in the body of Christ, His church.
His covenant alone makes us complete, lacking in nothing,
and gives us access to the prize of salvation. His Testament
alone is binding on us, freeing us from all man-made rules
and traditions. To go beyond, to add to,or to modify His
Testament is to partake of the apostasy ( falling away from the
faith ) predicted in 1 Timothy 4:1-5. Read also Galatians 1:6-9;
and 1 Corinthians 4:6.
 Of such things as 'food or holy days'- no one can impose on
us their man-made rites of worship added to the New 
Testament account of what Christ revealed through the Holy
Spirit to His apostles.In Christ we are free to voluntarily 
observe or not observe those things our conscience considers
important. But we must not bind these on others or use them 
as a pretext to cause a weak person to fall. Prayerfully read
the principles taught in Romans chapter 14 and in Galatians
4:3-11; 5:1.
 Let us practice the New Testament principles concerning
'food and days' and avoid binding anything that men would add
to Christ's perfect law of Liberty, including religious holidays
unknown as such in Bible times.
J.Lee Roberts


Colossians 2:11,12

The question has been asked: Does the comparison of baptism
with circumcision authorize infant baptism?   
This is really two questions, How does circumcision compare
with baptism, and what authorizes infant baptism.  
Circumcision compares with baptism only in a very limited
sense, in that they are both forms of obedience required by
God for his people, and a display of our submission to His will,         
but for different peoples, at different times, under
different law, and for a different purpose. Baptism is our
demonstration of our willingness to accept the terms of
salvation as set forth by God, and provided for by the
death, burial and resurrection of Christ, of which baptism
is a parallel, or symbolic action.

Circumcision was a token ( symbol, reminder for Abraham and
his family and seed)  part of a covenant ( contract, agreement
) between God and Abraham, a jew, God told Abraham, that he
would make of his seed, Isaac, yet unborn, a great nation,
a source of kings, and "establish my covenant with him for
an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him" Gen
17:19 KJV. Christ was the fulfillment of God's promise of an
everlasting covenant with Isaac and his seed after him. see
Matthew 1. Abraham was 99 years old when he was
circumcised, and Ishmael, his son was 13 years old.  How
can this example have anything to do with infant

God has been establishing covenants with man from the
beginning, and they all have the same pattern: Obey me and
you will be blessed. disobey me and you will be punished. 
Circumcision was a token of the covenant with Abraham, Gen.
17, and Baptism is a part of a covenant with all of us in a
different age, under a new covenant with a new promise,
"for it is the power of God unto salvation to  every one
that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."
Romans 1:16 (ASV)

Infant baptism:
Nowhere in the inspired word of God is there any command,
example of, or reference to infant baptism, it is purely
the invention of man's wisdom, for what purpose I cannot
imagine, but the man that invented the practice was surely 
not thinking  of children in the same manner as Christ, who
said  Except ye turn, and become as little  children , ye
shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Matt:18:3, (ASV) and again in Matt. 19: , Suffer the little
 children , and forbid them not, to come unto me: for to
such belongeth the kingdom of heaven.

Paul said in Romans 1:16:6  For I am not ashamed of the
gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every
one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the
Greek.  Has an 8 day old infant believed? 7  So  belief
[cometh] of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
Romans 10:17, (ASV)
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and
preach the gospel to the whole creation.  16  He that
believeth  and is baptized shall be saved; but he that
disbelieveth shall be condemned.Mark 16:16 (asv) So the
pattern of baptism that God intended includes the hearing
about Christ, the realization of who he is, what he did,
and what we must do, and our obedience and submission to
his will. Can an infant do these things?

And-those who practice infant baptism, is it truly the
death to sin, burial in water, rising to walk in newness of
life that parallels the death, burial, and resurrection of
Christ, or is it a compromise designed by the wisdom of
man, consisting of a few drops of water?

Ed. Crabtree.


Colossians 2:18,19

Colossians 2:18,19 (OPV)
18 Let no one deprive you of your reward through contrived 
humility and the worship of angels, dwelling continually 
on things which he has seen, vainly puffed up by his 
fleshly mind,  
19 and not adhering to the Head, from whom all the body, 
being supplied and joined together through the joints and 
ligaments, grows with the growth of God. 
2:18 "Let no one deprive you of your reward"
  Many people will be lost because they allowed themselves
to be led astray by false teachers.
2:18 "Contrived humility"
  Humility is one of the most elusive virtues. It is
much easier to 'pretend' to be humble than it is to have
genuine humility before God and man. This is because
pride is one of the most persistent tendencies of the
flesh. The proud man is "vainly puffed up by his fleshly 
mind." Humility is simply the result of an honest 
evaluation of one's position before God and among men.
  Many orders and sects are based on contrived humility.
By depriving themselves of wealth, pleasure and ease, 
sometimes even by self-inflicted pain, some people pretend 
to be lowly and are then very proud of how 'humble' they 
  Paul exposes this for what it is: carnal-mindedness! 
There is nothing spiritual about the superficial tricks 
people use to 'appear' humble.
2:18 "Worship of angels"
  We may not worship angels. "And I John am he that heard 
and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down 
to worship before the feet of the angel that showed me 
these things. And he saith unto me, See thou do it not: I 
am a fellow-servant with thee and with thy brethren the 
prophets, and with them that keep the words of this book: 
worship God" (Revelation 22:8).
  The worship of angels and saints is idol worship. 
According to Paul in Romans 1:25, anyone is a heathen who 
worships "the creature rather than the Creator."
  "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt 
thou serve" (Luke 4:8 ASV).
  Although it may be accompanied by an outward show of 
religious piety and contrived humility, the worship of 
angels and saints causes one to loose the reward.
2:18 "Dwelling continually on things which he has seen"
  People who basis their faith on "personal experiences" 
are proud and carnal-minded. 
  Once, many years ago, when I was going door-to-door in 
Haarlem, Holland to invite people to learn more about the 
gospel, a lady told me in the course of the conversation 
that she did not have to be baptized because an angel had 
appeared to her and told her that she did not have to be 
baptized. Whether she was just making this up, had 
deceived herself, or whether she really did see something, 
I have no way of knowing. But I do know what Paul wrote to 
the Galatians: "But though we, or an angel from heaven, 
should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we 
preached unto you, let him be anathema. As we have said 
before, so say I now again, if any man preacheth unto you 
any gospel other than that which ye received, let him be 
anathema" (Galatians 1:8,9 ASV). 'Anathema' means 
  Someone who bases his faith on "personal experiences"
is egotistical "dwelling continually on things which he 
has seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind" (Col 2:18 
OPV). We should humbly base our faith on the word of 
Christ (Romans 10:17).
2:19 "And not adhering to the Head"
  Christ is the only Head of His body, the church. Any
ecclesiastical organization with a head other than Christ
is being led by an antichrist.
  There is only one body (Ephesians 4:4). Any religious 
body that has a distinctive identity other than simply
being the body of Christ, is disconnected from the Head.
  The body is guided in EVERYTHING by the head. To be a
church of Christ, a local congregation must be guided in 
everything by the New Covenant (New Testament) of Christ.
2:19 "Grows with the growth of God"
  As Paul wrote to the Corinthians: "I planted, Apollos 
watered; but God gave the increase" (1 Cor 3:6).
  Again we notice a similarity with Paul's letter to the
Ephesians: "that we may be no longer children, tossed to 
and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, 
by the sleight of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of 
error; but speaking truth in love, we may grow up in all 
things into him, who is the head, [even] Christ; from 
whom all the body fitly framed and knit together through 
that which every joint supplieth, according to the 
working in [due] measure of each several part, maketh the 
increase of the body unto the building up of itself in 
love" (Eph 4:14-16 ASV).
Roy Davison


Colossians 2:20-23

Colossians 2:20-23 (OPV)
20 If you died with Christ [to get away] from the principles
of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you 
subject yourselves to ordinances:  
21 do not touch, do not taste, do not handle 
22 (things that will all perish with using), according to 
the precepts and doctrines of men?  
23 Such things do have an appearance of wisdom in will-
worship, and humility, and severity to the body; [but are] 
not of any value against the indulgence of the flesh.
2:20 "If you died with Christ"
  We die with Christ when we are baptized into His death
through baptism (Romans 6:3-8).
2:20 "The principles of the world"
  This is the same expression we saw in verse eight: "See to 
it that no one carries you away as [his] prey through 
philosophy and vain deceit, in agreement with the tradition 
of men, in agreement with the principles of the world, and 
not in agreement with Christ" (Col 2:8). 
  This world operates on the basis of certain fundamental
principles which in many cases are exactly contrary to the 
teaching of Christ. This is very clear in the Sermon on the
Mount in Matthew, chapter five. To turn the other cheek and 
to love one's enemies, for example, are not among the 
principles of the world! The world thinks the pushy and the
violent will prevail, rather than the meek and the 
  But this also applies to religion! False religions are 
based on the principles of the world which result in 
slavery. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul says: "So we 
also, when we were children, were held in bondage under the 
rudiments of the world" (Gal 4:3 ASV). After explaining 
that Christ came so we might be sons rather than slaves, 
he goes on to say: "Howbeit at that time, not knowing God, 
ye were in bondage to them that by nature are no gods: but 
now that ye have come to know God, or rather to be known by 
God, how turn ye back again to the weak and beggarly 
rudiments, whereunto ye desire to be in bondage over again? 
Ye observe days, and months, and seasons, and years" 
(Gal 4:8-10 ASV). Worldly religions are based on man-made 
superficial regulations and observances which result in 
bondage and accomplish nothing spiritually.
  And the flesh desires such regulations! There has always
been a tendency among people who are not spiritual to 
substitute outward observances for inner spirituality. It 
is so much easier to make a show of religion by outward
rituals, than to be truly faithful to God. The many false 
forms of the Christian faith result from this tendency.
2:20 "As though living in the world"
  Jesus explains this in His priestly prayer: "I have given 
them thy word; and the world hated them, because they are 
not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not 
that thou shouldest take them from the world, but that thou 
shouldest keep them from the evil [one]. They are not of 
the world even as I am not of the world" (John 17:14-16).
2:21 "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle"
  Some people think they are very religious because they 
do not eat certain foods or because they observe certain 
ritual washings based on human traditions and teachings.
2:22 "Things that will all perish with using"
  Such outward things do not directly affect the inner 
man. As Jesus said, it is what comes out of your mouth 
that makes you unclean, rather than what goes into your
mouth, because what you say comes from your heart (Matt 
2:22 "According to the precepts and doctrines of men"
  The fundamental question everyone needs to ask himself 
about his own religion is whether the things he does to
serve God are based on the word of God or on the 
teachings and traditions of men. Jesus says that people 
who worship God "According to the precepts and doctrines 
of men" are hypocrites and that their worship is vain 
(Matt 15:7-9).
2:23 "An appearance of wisdom"
  Many false religions appear to be very wise. But 
appearances can be deceiving.
2:23 "In will-worship, and humility, and severity to 
the body"
  In will-worship one worships God according to his own
desires rather than according to the word of God. The 
humility referred to here is the contrived, false 
humility mentioned in verse 18.
2:23 "Not of any value against the indulgence of the 
  The 'rationale' behind such voluntary depravations is 
that they in some way make one more spiritual and less 
carnal. This appears wise, but actually is completely 
ineffective. One man who had left a religious order in 
which the voluntary depravation was that they never 
spoke, testified that it did not prevent hateful 
communication because people could still stare daggers 
at each other when they were angry!
  When we die with Christ we are freed from all such
ineffective religious dogmas and practices. In Christ 
we have the knowledge of God and the wisdom of God, 
and hope of eternal life.
Roy Davison