What does Colossians 2:10 mean?
ESV: and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.
NIV: and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.
NASB: and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over every ruler and authority;
CSB: and you have been filled by him, who is the head over every ruler and authority.
NLT: So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.
KJV: And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
NKJV: and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
Verse Commentary:
Here, Paul continues a thought he began in verse 9. The "whole fullness of deity" dwells in Jesus, meaning He is both entirely man and entirely God. Paul now links that "filling" to the way Christ relates to Christian believers. Jesus serves as the connection between the believer and God the Father. He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6), the only way of salvation (Acts 4:12). The Colossian believers had been "filled with the knowledge of his will" (Colossians 1:9).

Paul also re-emphasizes the supremacy of Jesus. Christ had authority to forgive sins (Matthew 9:6), to heal, and to cast out demons. All authority on heaven and earth has been given to Him (Matthew 28:18). All human authority has been appointed by God and is under His jurisdiction (Romans 13:1–2). Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:21 that Christ is "far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come."
Verse Context:
Colossians 2:6–15 describes Christ's superiority in defeating sin. This is shown in stark contrast to the failure of the unbelieving world. Paul encourages the Colossians not to be tricked by deceptive arguments. This passage also explains the drastic nature of salvation. Those who put their faith in Christ are ''spiritually'' circumcised and are identified with God through their faith. This act of forgiveness by God frees us from the eternal penalty of sin, restores our relationship, and defeats the evil forces fighting against us.
Chapter Summary:
In this passage, Paul warns Christians not to be taken in by deceptive arguments. These claims are attractive, but are merely tricks: they sound true, but they are not. Arguing for self-denial, legalism, visions, and other practices only looks good to observers. None of these are the real source of spiritual growth. Paul emphasizes the way Christ accomplished everything we need to be justified before God. As a result, there is no reason for believers to pursue these false, shallow ''shadows.'' We have the real substance: Jesus, so we should follow Him.
Chapter Context:
Chapter 1 introduced Christ as supreme over all of creation. Chapter 2 refines this argument by showing how the salvation offered through Jesus is superior to false, alternative systems. Paul specifically refutes several ideas, such as legalism, asceticism (self-denial), and mysticism. These are not how God intends us to grow, spiritually. Later chapters will contrast these false, external attempts with the true, inner spiritual growth which comes only by faith in Christ.
Book Summary:
The book of Colossians describes Christ as superior to all other teachers, faiths, and philosophies. In this letter, written from prison, Paul once again tackles false teachings. Among these errors are claims that Christians need to give up all physical enjoyments, that they should worship angels, and that they need to rely on the wisdom of an elite few. These problems are consistent with an ancient heresy known as Gnosticism. In response, Paul explains that Christ is supreme, and sufficient for our salvation.
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