Colossians 2:17 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Colossians 2:17, NIV: These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

Colossians 2:17, ESV: These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.

Colossians 2:17, KJV: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

Colossians 2:17, NASB: things which are only a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.

Colossians 2:17, NLT: For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality.

Colossians 2:17, CSB: These are a shadow of what was to come; the substance is Christ.

What does Colossians 2:17 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul refers to the Old Testament legal requirements, from verse 16, calling them "a shadow of the things to come." The Greek word skia, translated as "shadow," can also refer to "shade, a sketch, or an outline." Paul contrasts this with the Greek word sōma, translated as "body." This word can also mean "reality or substance." This is the reason adherence to the Law is not a requirement: The Law was merely an outline; it is a shadow, or a hint of things to come. Christ is the actual substance. In making this statement, Paul did not speak against the Law, but rather spoke of Jesus as superior to the Mosaic law. It is the difference between a book and the author of a book. The Law could not exist without the Author. Jesus serves as the author of life (Acts 3:15). He fulfilled the Law without contradicting it. Jesus taught, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them" (Matthew 5:17).