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Guarding Against Deception
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28: Guarding Against Deception (Col 2:4-23)

The Basics


Having expounded on the preeminence of Christ, Paul now urges the Colossians to maintain their faith in Christ. Challenges arise from those who would deceive with enticing words and the teachings of men. But the believers must guard themselves and let no one take away their reward.

Key Verse

“And you are complete in Him…” (2:10).

Did You Know…?

1.      Basic principles of the world (2:8): The Greek word soicheia is translated as either 1) “elementary principles,” meaning the basic elements of learning (the ABCs) or 2) “elemental spirits,” referring to angelic powers.

2.      Handwriting of requirements (2:14): “A business term, meaning a certificate of indebtedness in the debtor’s handwriting. Paul uses it as a designation for the Mosaic law, with all its regulations, under which everyone is a debtor to God.” 4/1815






Key Words/Phrases

General Analysis

1a.   Can you find the three verses in Chapter 2 where Paul warns against being deceived?

1b.   What seems to be the root of the danger?

2.     What are the specific heresies that attack the completeness and sufficiency of Christ?

3.     How does Paul argue for the completeness and sufficiency of Christ?

Segment Analysis


1.      What does Paul teach the Colossians to do in order to guard against deception?


2.      According to verse 8, what is the source of false and deceptive teachings?

3.      What is the ‘Godhead’ (2:9)?

4.      What is Paul’s main point in 11-15?

5a.    Discuss how circumcision prefigures baptism (2:11-13).

5b.    What does “the circumcision of Christ” refer to?

5c.    What are the effects of baptism?

6.      Why do Christians not have to keep the rules and regulations in the Law of Moses (2:13-17,20-23)?


7.      Does 2:16 mean that Christians need not observe the Sabbath anymore?

8.      How do the regulations concerning food, drink, festival, new moon, or sabbaths relate to Christ?

9.      According to this paragraph, what was the motivation of those who follow and teach false teachings?

10.    In what sense have the believers “died with Christ from the basic principles of the world” (20)?


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