Colossians 2:18 Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize (3SPAM) by delighting (PAP) in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand (PAP) on visions he has seen inflated (PPP) without cause by his fleshly mind (NASB: Lockman)
Greek: medeis humas katabrabeueto (3SPAM ) thelon (PAPMSN) en tapeinophrosune kai threskeia ton aggelon, a eoraken (3SRAI) embateuon, (PAPMSN) eike phusioumenos (PPPMSN) hupo tou noos tes sarkos autou
Amplified: Let no one defraud you by acting as an umpire and declaring you unworthy and disqualifying you for the prize, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, taking his stand on visions [he claims] he has seen, vainly puffed up by his sensuous notions and inflated by his unspiritual thoughts and fleshly conceit (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: Let no one rob you of your prize by walking in ostentatious humility in the worship of angels, making a parade of the things he has seen, vainly inflated with pride because he is dominated by his sinful human nature (Westminster Press)
Lightfoot: The prize is now fairly within your reach. Do not suffer yourselves to be robbed of it by any stratagem of the false teachers. Their religion is an officious humility which displays itself in the worship of angels. They make a parade of their visions, but they are following an empty phantom. They profess humility, but they are puffed up with their vaunted wisdom, which is after all only the mind of the flesh.
Wuest: Let no one as a judge declare you unworthy of a reward, taking delight in a self-imposed humility and worship of the angels, scrutinizing minutely the things he has seen, being futilely puffed up by the mind of the flesh,
Young's Literal: let no one beguile you of your prize, delighting in humble-mindedness and in worship of the messengers, intruding into the things he hath not seen, being vainly puffed up by the mind of his flesh,
|LET NO ONE KEEP DEFRAUDING (beguile, cheat, defraud, disqualify) YOU OF YOUR PRIZE: medeis humas katabrabeueto (3SPAM): (Col 2:4,8; Ge 3:13; Nu 25:18; Mt 24:24; Ro 16:18; 2Cor 11:3; Ephesians 5:6 - note; 2Pe 2:14 - note; 1Jn 2:26; 4:1,2; 2Jn 1:7, 8, 9, 10, 11; Rev 3:11; 12:9; 13:8, 14)
No one (3367) (medeis from medé = and not, also not + heís = one) means not even one, no one, no one whoever he may be.
Keep defrauding you of your prize (2603) (katabrabeuo from katá = against + brabeuo = be a judge or umpire and thus award the prize in a public game) literally refers to an umpire who decides against one, declaring him unworthy of the prize and so defrauding him of the prize of victory. To decide against, to declare unworthy of the prize. Figuratively, as used in this verse, katabrabeuo refers to the depriving one of his or her spiritual reward.
The judge at athletic games was the brabeus and the prize was the brabeion. The Greek word as noted above describes a referee who excludes from competition any athlete who fails to follow the rules. The contestant did not cease to be a citizen of the land, but he forfeited the honor of winning the prize.
Katabrabeuo is translated "beguile" in several versions which stresses the use of charm and persuasion in deceiving.
The verb is in the present imperative which when combined with a negative, calls for the hearer to stop an action already in progress. In other words...
Webster says that to "defraud" means to deprive of something by deception and stresses depriving one of their rights and usually connotes deliberate perversion of the truth [defrauded of her inheritance by an unscrupulous lawyer].
Paul is referring to a "disqualification" just as when a judge disqualifies those who run out of their designated lane in a race, etc. In the same way those believers who turn from faithfully following Christ will be “robbed” of their rewards from Him at the Judgment Seat (cp 2Co 5:10, 1Cor 3:10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 2Jn 1:8). These believers will not lose their salvation, but they will lose their rewards. Paul is warning against the false teachers who come in among the flock like savage wolves, bringing a persuasive, perverse message (Acts 20:29, 30, 31) composed of false doctrines that would rob believers of their spiritual blessings, not only in this present life but in the life to come. Specifically the Colossian saints were to be on guard for any teacher who came into their midst and began to teach that they were not saved because they were not delighting in false humility and in the worship of angels.
Paul's description helps us recognize what we should be alert for and avoid being beguiled by -- those who show "false humility", always talking about angels, grand visions. These people are not humble but in contrast are puffed up and filled with hot air in their unregenerate minds.
Vine adds that...
Eadie explains that...
BY DELIGHTING IN SELF-ABASEMENT: thelon (PAPMSN) en tapeinophrosune:
Delighting (2309) (thelo) refers to a desire that comes from one’s emotions and represents an active decision of the will. Thus thelo implies volition and purpose. The idea is that they are making a conscious choice. It is a conscious willing and denotes a more active resolution urging on to action. Note the present tense indicates this was their continual practice (and this should make them easy to recognize).
Self abasement (5012) (tapeinophrosune [word study] from tapeinos [word study] = humble + phren = think) refers to a quality of voluntary submission and unselfishness. It represents self-effacement or humiliation of one's mind. This word always conveyed a negative meaning in classical Greek. Christianity and specifically Christ (cf Php 2:3, 4, 5-see notes Php 2:3; 4; 5) elevated this term to the supreme virtue - the antidote for the self-love that poisons relationships. However this particular context it is not a virtue but a vice!
Note that when one delights in humility it ceases to be genuine humility and becomes pride!
Tapeinophrosune was often used in connection with fasting and several Jewish Christian writings specify that the consequence of this ascetic practice is entrance into the heavenly realm. The idea in context seems to be that the individual in question loves to talk on and on about his spiritual experiences, but in reality they are only coming out of his own sinful flesh...
AND THE WORSHIP OF THE ANGELS TAKING HIS STAND ON VISIONS HE HAS SEEN: kai threskeia ton aggelon a eoraken (3SRAI) embateuon (PAPMSN): (Ro 1:25; 1Cor 8:5,6; 1Ti 4:1;Rev 19:10; 22:8, 9) (Dt 29:29; Job 38:2; Ezek 13:3; 1Ti 1:7)
Paul's description in Romans 1 (written circa 57-58AD) aptly describes these self-deceived (cp 2Ti 3:13-note) false teachers...
Paul later (circa 67AD) warned Timothy that...
Angel worship is to be sure quite "tempting", for even the apostle John (circa 90's AD) fell briefly into this attractive trap (the one he bowed down before was presumably an angel and a "good" angel at that)...
In short, Paul is warning against seeking of and dependence upon extra-Biblical, ecstatic, non-rational visions.
THE SEDUCTIVE SNARE:
Worship of the angels - Adoration of the angels.
John Eadie comments extensively on the "pathogenesis" of angelic worship noting first that...
Worship (2356) (threskeia [word study] from threskos = religious, pious) refers to religion in its external aspect, worship especially ceremonial service of religion, external ceremonial observances or religious zeal
Threskeia - 4x in 4v - Acts 26:5; Col 2:18; Jas 1:26, 27.
Angels (32) (aggelos) refers to one sent to tell or bring a message and so a messenger or envoy. Here Paul uses aggelos to refer to a transcendent power who carries out various missions or tasks.
Worship of angels is a practice which the Bible clearly prohibits (see Mt 4:10; Rev 19:10; 22:8, 9, 1Cor 6:3)
Taking his stand (1687) (embateuo from en = in + bateuo = to step) means to set foot upon, enter, visit, intrude into. Figuratively as it appears to be used in this verse, embateuo means to go into a matter, investigating it with the idea of impertinence. The only other uses in Scripture are in the Septuagint in Joshua 19:49, 51.
ESV has "going on in detail about visions". NET "goes on at great lengths about what he has supposedly seen". NIV = "goes into great detail about what he has seen".
The TDNT summarizes embateuo as meaning...
NET Bible note
Wiersbe says embateuo was a technical term used by the mystical religions of that day and it meant
Rienecker proposes embateuo here could refer to
John Eadie has some interesting comments writing that...
Ray Stedman has an excellent exposition of this verse noting that...
Visions are an important element in Mormonism, Spiritism, Catholicism (apparitions of Mary), and Swedenborgianism. Those who are members of these inner circles are naturally proud of their secret knowledge. Paul is warning against the false teachers in Colossae who had visions and made contact with angels (remembering that 1/3 of the angels are "fallen" and constitute the demons ruled by Satan). In bypassing the Word of God and the Spirit of God, they were opening themselves to all kinds of demonic activity because Satan is a liar (Jn 8:44) and a deceiver (Rev 12:9-note) who is a master at creating counterfeit experiences (2Cor 11:13, 14, 15).
He has seen - Vincent writes...
INFLATED WITHOUT CAUSE BY HIS FLESHLY MIND: eike phusioumenos (PPPMSN) hupo tou noos tes sarkos autou: (Col 2:8; 1Cor 4:18; 8:1; 13:4) (Ro 8:6, 7, 8; Gal 5:19;20 Jas 3:14, 15, 16; 4:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
The ever present danger of "gnosis" is that "Knowledge makes arrogant (puffs up = phusioo), but love edifies" (1Co 8:1) Genuine Spirit wrought agape love "is not arrogant" or puffed up (phusioo) (1Cor 13:4-note). "By definition" those who indulge in the pride producing practices Paul warns against are devoid of genuine Christian love (cp his related warning in 1Cor 13:1, 2, 3, 13)
Inflated without cause - A T Robertson says this word describes a "Powerful picture of the self-conceit of these bombastic Gnostics."
Vincent commenting on the KJV rendering "Vainly puffed up" writes that...
Eadie writes that in this clause (inflated without cause) one
Inflated (5448) (phusioo from phusia = a pair of bellows!) means literally to puff up, to inflate, to cause to swell up or blow up. Figuratively, as in the present passage phusioo means make proud or arrogant (active sense) or to become conceited, proud or haughty (passive sense as in this verse). To become puffed up or put on airs.
In classic Greek phusioo was used to describe anger that swells (puffs up) the heart.
Moulton and Milligan record an example of phusioo from ancient literature - "priding themselves on their birth".
Phusioo describes one who has an exaggerated self-concept (as indicated by the adverb eike = there being no reason). The present tense pictures this self "inflation" as a continual practice.
Phusioo - 7x in 7v (not in Septuagint) - 1Cor 4:6, 18, 19; 5:2; 8:1; 13:4; Col 2:18. NAS = arrogant(5), inflated(1), makes arrogant(1).
1 Corinthians 4:6 Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other.
1 Corinthians 4:18 Now some have become arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I shall find out, not the words of those who are arrogant but their power.
1 Corinthians 5:2 You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst.
1 Corinthians 8:1 Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.
Vincent rightly remarks: The contrast is striking between puffing up and building up — a bubble and a building.
1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,
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,
Clearly the concentration of phusioo in the first epistle to the Corinthians reflects that spiritual pride among the believers in Corinth was a serious spiritual problem. God is inveterately opposed to the self inflated mindset (Jas 4:6-note, cp Pr 6:16, 17, 29:23)
Eadie comments that...
Fleshly mind - Literally "by the mind of his flesh".
Eadie comments that
Fleshly (4561) (sarx) has numerous somewhat subtle meanings in the NT (see word study on sarx) but in this verse is used in its ethical sense to refer to the sinful and sensual power tending toward sin and opposing the Spirit's working. It refers to life apart from the Spirit of God and controlled by Sin. Flesh is the principle of evil which dominates fallen man (and is still resident in saved men albeit it need not and should not dominate since it is a defeated enemy [cp Ro 6:6-note, Ro 6:12-note) Paul makes it very clear that genuine born again individuals walk (conduct their lives) not...
Mind (3563) (nous) refers to the faculty and seat of intellectual perception and understanding. The "thinking faculty".
Vincent explains this mind as
Vine makes the interesting distinction that...
Barclay comments that...
They took a superior attitude toward others and created the impression that one could be happy only through entering into these deep secrets. Much of this behavior is characteristic of the secret fraternal organizations of our day. The Christian who is walking in fellowship with his Lord will have neither time nor sympathy for such organizations.
Paul clearly states that the basic problem of the false teachers in Colossae was their egoistic, fleshly minds. Their professed "humility" was a cloak for excessive pride!
Religious knowledge and spiritual experience can be occasions for sin when they lead to pride. Pride makes us concentrate on ourselves and our desires rather than on Christ and the needs of His church. The false teachers claimed that by their asceticism they purified themselves from the flesh, whereas they were actually governed by it!
Perhaps the best answer to such a claim was expressed by G. K. Chesterton earlier in this century when he said to someone who made a similar claim:
True worship humbles one, for the mind that gets a glimpse of God is awed by His greatness and responds with a heart filled with love and a will submitted to His purposes. The ones who were defrauding by taking their stand on their “inner secrets” resulted in big heads, but not burning hearts or submissive wills (1Co 8:1). True worship always humbles a person. A true spiritual experience with God leads to submission and service. (Job 42:5,6, Isa 6:, Lu 5:8, Rev 1:17, etc).
F. F. Bruce writes:
But such is the difference between the spiritual man and the man puffed up by his fleshly mind. One glorifies Christ, the other glorifies himself and his experiences.
Illustration entitled "The Worst Food You Ever Ate"...
MYSTICISM differs from legalism in that the mysticism is based on subjective experiences, which you think will make you more "spiritual" than someone else who has not had that experience. Mysticism is so subjective that no one can prove or disprove it. Paul's main point in these first 2 chapters of "sound doctrine" is all you need is Christ. You don't need experiences outside of Jesus to make yourself complete. Don't misunderstand, we are not saying believers will never have legitimate supernatural experiences serving Christ, but just that those experiences are not to become the focus of your spiritual life and you don't begin to depend on always having them to the point that when you don't experience them, you think you are not "spiritual".
If someone keeps on defrauding another believer, they are actually sitting in judgment as they make the determination that the one being judged does not "get the prize" unless they have a specific "experience". It's not so much that these "judges" are cheating you out of something, but it is more the idea of
These "defrauders" rob one of his or her ability to walk worthy in the Lord, to share in the inheritance of the saints, etc. No human has the right to judge whether you get the prize for we all have one Judge, the Lord Jesus Christ, in Whom we have been made complete.
SELF-ABASEMENT is the Greek word tapeinophrosune which is the word for humility or humbling ones self. In the present context this word conveys the idea of false humility. For example, the person who says you don't get the prize, may try to show by his own example, how you should get the prize. This person says
Humility is a trait that can fool us and make us think that surely that person has got to be right with the Lord since they manifest such a spirit of humility. But in this case Paul says it is not genuine but false humility.
The word "intruding" was used in the Mystery Religions of Paul's day and when such a person was able to "intrude" into the heavenly sanctum of these spiritual beings, that meant that he had been initiated and passed the test so that he was now qualified to be "spiritual" in that mystery religion. The false teachers were saying that you don't get your prize if you don't get initiated into the inner sanctum, exalted into the heavens, communicate with the angels, etc.
Remember that the key problem is not holding fast tot he Head Christ Jesus. If one begins to hold to any experience outside of Christ, then they are inflating their ego, and "blowing smoke". Remember that the entire body of believers has access to Jesus, so don't listen to others who say only certain ones are allowed entry and that you don't qualify for the prize.
ASCETICISM is probably being alluded to in Col 2:20ff. Asceticism is the practice of extreme self-denial which becomes extreme when it is done to say something about your spirituality and your standing with God. There is a proper God ordained "self-denial" which Jesus taught in Lu 9:23
A key question to ask with any spiritual practice or spiritual discipline is
We tend to cross the line into asceticism when we begin to deny the body to prove to ourselves and to others that we are "spiritual".
FASTING: (see notes on fasting) Have you ever been around anyone who thought that fasting made them SPIRITUAL? Who do you let know about it? No one. Then how do they know you're spiritual? They won't unless you tell them! If you tell them, then they'll think you're not spiritual because you told them. Note that Fasting is not something that makes you more spiritual. (For an excellent treatment of the discipline of fasting see John Piper's free online book A Hunger for God)
Fasting describes the environment in which you prepare & thereby make yourself more sensitive to the things that God is trying to communicate. You can fast once a week & it may help your weight, but it has nothing to do with your standing with God and really nothing to do with your spirituality. Now if God tells you to fast, to prohibit certain things, that's different. You do so out of love and you don't talk about it. When a person does what does because he loves Jesus and he keeps silent about it letting God take care of the results, this is
If you're in a church that has come up with certain "standards" which if you live by them, that makes you spiritual, then you're in bondage. It doesn't mean that you have to leave that church, but that if you're in Christ, you need to remember that you are complete in Him and are called to walk worthy of Him. Whatever Jesus tells you to do is right. Make sure you know His voice by constantly seeking of His word so that your mind is being renewed daily. Then if some of the practices in your own life suggest legalism to someone else, don't worry about it, if that is what God told you to do. You may have spiritual experiences in Jesus that you cannot really explain to others and in fact you shouldn't even try lest it foster spiritual pride in you and envy in your brother. Let that experience be between just you and Jesus. If you are led to to fast and/or to deny yourself material things, don't try to make anyone think you're spiritual because you don't have those things! There is the ever present danger of spiritual pride rearing its ugly head! Remember to keep the balance and you will be walking worthy.
Colossians 2:23 (see note) All the regulations we've looked at have a reputation for wisdom. A man keeps all the rules, has communication with angels, denies himself, all to only gratify his own flesh and to puff himself up, and is not in obedience to Jesus, it is absolutely of no value. Chapter 3 exhorts us to stop listening to what men are saying and to "set your mind on the things above..." and all these other things will take care of themselves. The message is to be very careful how you handle someone else's supposed unspiritual behavior, because we live in a very legalistic society. Remember that GRACE does not give us license but it does enable balance in our Christian lives.
Colossians 2:19 and not holding fast to (PAP) the Head from Whom the entire body , being supplied (PPP) and held together (PPP) by the joints and ligaments, grows (3SPAI) with a growth which is from God (NASB: Lockman)
Amplified: And not holding fast to the Head, from Whom the entire body, supplied and knit together by means of its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: and not holding fast to the head, from whom the whole body, supplied and held together by the joints and muscles, increases with the increase which only God can give. (Westminster Press)
Lightfoot: Meanwhile they have substituted inferior spiritual agencies for the One true Mediator, the Eternal Word. Clinging to these lower intelligences, they have lost their hold of the Head; they have severed their connexion with Him, on whom the whole body depends; from whom it derives its vitality, and to whom it owes its unity, being supplied with nourishment and knit together in one by means of the several joints and attachments, so that it grows with a growth which comes from God Himself.’
Wuest: and not holding fast the Head, out from whom all the body, through the instrumentality of the joints and ligaments being constantly supplied with nourishment and being constantly compacted together, increases with the increase wrought by God. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: and not holding the head, from which all the body -- through the joints and bands gathering supply, and being knit together -- may increase with the increase of God.
|AND NOT HOLDING FAST TO THE HEAD: kai ou kraton (PAPMSN) ten kephalen: (Col 2:6, 7, 8, 9; 1:18; Gal 1:6, 7, 8, 9; 5:2, 3, 4; 1Ti 2:4, 5, 6, See Torrey's topic = Union with Christ)
Not (ou) conveys the sense of absolute negation.
Not holding fast - The verb "holding fast" is in the present tense indicating that these false teachers are continually not holding fast to Christ and thus have no relationship with Christ. In short, these pseudo "humble" people who are having "spiritual" experiences were not genuine believers!
As Robertson observes not holding fast pictures their...
Joseph Parker notes that not holding fast the Head...
Holding fast (2902) (krateo from kratos [word study] = strength, dominion, might) means to take hold of forcibly and so to seize or grab. In this verse krateo is used with the figurative meaning of adhering strongly to the head.
Krateo - 47x in 46v - Matt 9:25; 12:11; 14:3; 18:28; 21:46; 22:6; 26:4, 48, 50, 55, 57; 28:9; Mark 1:31; 3:21; 5:41; 6:17; 7:3f, 8; 9:10, 27; 12:12; 14:1, 44, 46, 49, 51; Luke 8:54; 24:16; John 20:23; Acts 2:24; 3:11; 24:6; 27:13; Col 2:19; 2 Thess 2:15; Heb 4:14; 6:18; Rev 2:1, 13ff, 25; 3:11; 7:1; 20:2. NAS = arrested(3), attained(1), clinging(1), held(1), hold(4), hold fast(4), holding back(1), holding fast(1), holds(1), laid hold(1), observe(1), observing(1), prevented(1), retain(1), retained(1), seize(8), seized(7), take custody(1), take hold(2), taking(2), took(3), took hold(1).
Head (2776) (kephale) is literally the part of the body that contains the brain. Figuratively as used in this verse, kephale refers to Christ as the head of the church which is His body (Col 1:18-note, Eph 1:22, 23-note, Ep 5:23-note)
Kephale speaks of the source, the origin, the leader, the one in authority. Christ controls every part of His body the church and is its inspiring, ruling, guiding, combining, sustaining power, the mainspring of its activity, the center of its unity, and the seat of its life. Is He Head in your local church body? We are members of His body and should look only to Him for guidance and provision! True spirituality comes from tenaciously holding on to Christ, the Head of His body. The KJV properly capitalizes "head".
Paul emphasizes that genuine growth in spirituality comes from holding onto Christ, the Head, drawing the supply of all our needs from His inexhaustible resources (cp Col 2:3-note). Since the loss of the head destroys life, this word is used in phrases relating to capital and extreme punishment.
There is "another Gospel" [Gal 1:6, 2Cor 11:4] "which is not another," but a perversion of the Gospel of the grace of God, against which Paul warns all believers. This perverted gospel has many seductive forms, but all will somehow fail the test. The perverted gospel invariably denies the sufficiency of grace (and the Sufficiency of Christ, Col 1:27-note; Col 2:10-note) which (Who) alone is able to save, to keep, and to perfect. Instead this false gospel intermingles some variety of human "merit" (works, Christ "plus" something else - works, law, circumcision, ritual, etc, etc). In Galatia it was law, in Colossae it was a combination of empty wise sayings including men's traditions, and some form of legalism, ritualism, ceremonialism, mysticism and asceticism. In any form its teachers lie under the awful anathema (curse) of God...
Holding fast to the Head - This phrase although used in a negative sense in this verse, does serve to emphasize the necessity for the believer's great need for a moment-by-moment dependence on the Lord, the Source of wisdom and power (cp Jn 15:5). Yesterday’s help will not do for today, dear believer. As someone has well said, one cannot grind grain with the water that has passed over the dam. On the other hand, where Christians do hold fast (their general direction, not perfection) to the Head, the result will be spontaneous supernatural sequelae which will coordinate and interweave with the supernatural works of other members of the Body of Christ.
Someone who becomes involved in this kind of false teaching shows himself to be cut off from the Head, the only source of spiritual life and activity. When the head is cut off a human body, all life ceases. According to Paul, the same thing happens when anyone has lost contact with his Head! He also loses connection with the whole body, the church. He is no longer fed by teachers and by shepherds (cp the "ligaments and sinews"), and, therefore, he stops growing completely. Mysticism, following of spirit guides, avatars, etc, will always arrest spiritual growth. Don't be taken captive by these seductive specious speculations (Col 2:8-note). If you want to grow up and mature as a man or woman then follow the process which God has outlined -- "Follow me" says Jesus. He is the one and only Way to true maturity and spirituality. Or as Paul wrote to the saints at Ephesus...
FROM WHOM THE ENTIRE BODY BEING SUPPLIED AND HELD TOGETHER BY THE JOINTS AND LIGAMENTS: ex ou pan to soma dia ton haphon (joints) kai sundesmon epichoregoumenon (PPPNSN) kai sumbibazomenon (PPPNSN): (See above for the closely related passage = Eph 4:15, 16-note) (Jn 15:4, 5, 6; Ro 11:17; Ep 5:29) (Col 2:2; Jn 17:21; Acts 4:32; Ro 12:4,5; 1Cor 1:10; 10:16,17; 12:12-27; Eph 4:3; Php 1:27; 2:2, 3, 4, 5; 1Pet 3:8)
From Whom - From which Head as the Source of life and growth. Some manuscripts add "Christ" but this is not attested by most modern manuscripts.
Entire (3956) (pas) means all with no exceptions.
Body (4983) (soma) refers not to a literal physical body in this verse but to the figurative ("mystical") body of Christ, the church, the Bride of Christ.
Our nature tends to shift the focus from Christ to experience and this can intimidate weak believers threatening the unity. Christ is all sufficient Peter reminding us
This glorious truth should give us pause to consider the abiding relationship and unbroken fellowship we should strive to maintain with our Lord, Who is our Supply of all things spiritual. We need to remember the loss of fellowship and consequent "paralysis" of our spiritual life and service that occurs when we sin and refuse to confess and repent. Unless the members of the local assembly abide in Christ, yield to the Spirit, and obey the Word, they cannot experience the life of the Head, Jesus Christ.
Let's be honest. There is a fascination with “mysticism” that attracts most of us. Learning mysteries, being initiated into the inner secrets, and having contact with the spirit world all seem very exciting. But all these practices are soundly condemned by God. The genuine believer glories in Christ, not in his experience. He follows the Word, led by the Holy Spirit; and as he abides in Christ and as result he experiences every blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. Such an experience with the Head should quench any desire to seek any other experience that deviates him away from the Way, the Truth and the Life in Christ.
The entire body - Eadie explains this phrase as ...
Being supplied (2023) (epichoregeo [word study] from epi = upon + choregeo = supply) means literally to supply or to furnish upon. To furnish besides or in addition. To supply further. To add more unto. The idea is that of a generous and lavish provision.
Joints (860) (aphe) is strictly a fastening and is a medical technical term for what binds the parts of the body together.
Spiritually the ministry of Christ consists in the communication of vitality and energy and the maintenance of unity and order, the means of the communication being the different members (pictured here by the joints & ligaments) in their relation to one another.
Eadie explains that joints and ligaments...
Regarding our supply and growth Wayne Barber reminds us that...
S. Lewis Johnson writes that...
GROWS WITH A GROWTH (increase) WHICH IS FROM GOD: auxei (3SPAI) ten auxesin tou theou : (Col 1:10; Jn 3:30 1Cor 3:6; 2Cor 9:10 Eph 2:21 Eph 4:16; 1Th 3:12; 4:10; 2Th 1:3; 1Pe 2:2, 2Pe 3:18)
Grows (837) (auxano [word study]) means literally to grow or cause to grow or increase. For someone or something to grow, it must be acted upon by an outside power or have the element of life within him or it.
Growth (838)(auxesis from auxano = to grow) is a noun that literally describes the action of growth or increase and is used only figuratively in the NT to refer to Christ's body, the church. It is also used in Ep 4:16 (note) Paul recording that from the Head, Christ...
Growth in Christ does not come from denying foods, keeping days, sighting "100 foot tall angels", etc. but true spiritual growth of a body of believers is engineered by God.
Here Paul contrasts flesh initiated self efforts (legalism, asceticism, mysticism) with true spiritual growth that is God initiated and God empowered. For something to grow it must be acted upon by an outside ''power'' and have the element of life within.
Spiritual growth is not an option for believers. For example in first Peter we read a warning followed by a command...
One aspect of our growth is growth into conformity to the character of Christ, which can be developed only by holding fast to Him. There is no spiritual growth for the body (the church) apart from union with the Head, Christ, Who Himself instructed us...
Every believer is important and forms a vital connection with Christ the Head. The pride filled, falsely humble person (God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble) has no contact with Christ cuts himself off from the source of spiritual vitality and he cannot contribute to their growth.
True spirituality does not come by compliance with laws (which are only a shadow) but by connection with the Life (who is the reality).