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Colossians 2:22

ESV (referring to things that all perish as they are used) — according to human precepts and teachings?
NIV These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings.
NASB (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of man?
CSB All these regulations refer to what is destined to perish by being used up; they are human commands and doctrines.
NLT Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them.
KJV Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?
NKJV which all concern things which perish with the using— according to the commandments and doctrines of men?

What does Colossians 2:22 mean?

The first part of this verse continues the thought Paul began in verse 21. There, he labelled generic rules such as "do not touch…" or "do not eat…" as human regulations. Paul's point here is that the foods or other items false teachers treat as so important are only temporary. Whether we use them, or avoid them, physical things and human laws are only a shadow of things to come, in contrast with the eternal greatness of Christ (Colossians 2:17).

In addition, these teachings were not based on godly thinking, but on deceptive human assumptions. This is very similar to the warning Paul gave in Colossians 2:8 against being tricked by false arguments. While the Torah was truly given by God, the incorrect interpretations of these false teachers were grounded in human authority.

This is a crucial separation: Paul makes a clear distinction between God's perfect Word and the imperfections of those who teach it. Not all interpretations of the Scriptures are valid, and the error of an interpreter is not the fault of the Bible. This is why Paul would tell Timothy to study to show himself approved (2 Timothy 2:15). The ability to teach God's truth accurately was a requirement of those who led the local church as elders (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:9).
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