Col. 2:20-23 - Study Guide PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Tim Black   
Tuesday, 01 May 2007 14:37

Colossians 2:20-23 - “A Life Freed by Christ”
Study Guide

Passage Outline

A Life Freed by Christ Is A Life...

  1. Freed from the Basic Principles of the World v. 20

    1. The Fact

20 If with Christ you died to the basic principles of the world,

    1. The Implication

why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations-

  1. Freed from Human Regulations vv. 21-22

    1. Their Nature

21 "Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch"

    1. Their Evaluation

      1. Their Focus: They wrongly attempt to solve an enduring spiritual problem with a perishing physical solution

22 ( referring to things that all perish as they are used)

      1. Their Origin: They seek a solution that comes from man rather than God

according to human precepts and teachings?

  1. Freed from Slavery to the Flesh v. 23

    1. The Lie About...

23 These have indeed

      1. Their Reputation

an appearance of wisdom

      1. Their Methods

in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body,

    1. The Truth About...


      1. Their Reputation

they are of no value

      1. Their Methods

in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

For Discussion

  1. How did you “die to the basic principles of the world?” How did Christ’s death accomplish this for you? Consider Philippians 2:8.

  2. Self-made religion” is more literally “will-worship” (see KJV). What does that indicate about the origin of such worship, and how we should evaluate it?

  3. What is asceticism?

  4. What is the opposite of asceticism? See v. 23.

  5. What are the spiritual roots of asceticism and its opposite? See Col. 2:23; 3:5, 8.

  6. What are the intended physical and spiritual goals of asceticism? How was it connected to “the worship of angels?”

  7. What are asceticism’s real results? Explain how this is the case in the examples of asceticism and overindulgence listed on the back of the page.

  8. By what means are we tempted to solve our spiritual problems? How does Paul tell us we should solve them instead?

A Brief History of Asceticism (and modern overindulgence)

Ancient Greece

Hedonists & Epicureans, Cynics, Stoics

New Testament

Essenes, Jewish legalism & Pharisees

Ancient Church


Medieval Paganism

Hinduism – Mahatma Gandhi, and the Sadhus, Buddhism – Gautama Buddha, Islam – Muhammad, Sufism, Native Americans – vision quests

Medieval Christianity

Monks, Desert fathers – hermits, Simon the Stylite, St. Francis of Assisi, Vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, Lent

Modern Secular

Magicians – Houdini, David Blaine, Hypochondria, Sports teams – practice – drills called the Indian Run, IronMan, wrestlers “making weight,” Bodybuilding, Health/fitness magazines (aerobics), Endurance sports, energy drinks, Bakefield dietary supplements, Beauty magazines, Fad diets – anorexia/bulimia, Medical news, Home remedies, “Starving Artist,” Eccentric inventors, “Hackers” - Richard Stallman, Rehab programs for addictions to alcohol, tobacco, drugs, fast food, gambling and sex, Professional athletes abstaining from sex, rich foods, and other pleasures before major competitions.

Modern Christian

Quakers & Amish – simple clothing & lifestyle, Arminian circles – Prohibition & Fundamentalism – don’t drink, smoke, dance, watch movies, play card games, watch TV


Scottish Presbyterians – Exclusive Psalm-singing, Cloth head coverings, Christian liberty – fascination with and pride in drinking beers & wines, smoking pipes & cigars – Southern Presbyterians

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 May 2007 14:38