What does Colossians 2:3 mean?
ESV: in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
NIV: in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
NASB: in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
CSB: In him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
NLT: In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
KJV: In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
NKJV: in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Verse Commentary:
After mentioning mystery in the previous verse, Paul notes that Christ is the one "in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." Treasures are often hidden for the sake of keeping them safe. In this case, the knowledge and wisdom are kept in Christ, but made available to those who believe in Him. Paul sometimes spoke of the "hidden wisdom of God" (1 Corinthians 2:7; see also Colossians 1:26; 3:3). "All" the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are found in Jesus. Paul expressed similar words in Romans 11:33: "Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!"

The Bible says that Solomon was the wisest man, other than Jesus, who ever lived (1 Kings 3:12). Solomon often spoke of the association of wisdom and knowledge (2 Chronicles 1:10– 12; Ecclesiastes 1:16; 2:21, 26). Paul's reference may also allude to Isaiah 33:6: "he will be the stability of your times, abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is Zion's treasure."
Verse Context:
Colossians 2:1–5 explains the entire purpose behind Paul's letter to the Christians in Colossae. Paul's desire is to fight—spiritually—for these fellow believers, but this is difficult from a distance, and from prison. While Paul is happy to hear that the Colossians are standing strong in their faith, he sees potential problems. Paul writes this letter to strengthen their faith against particular false teachings. These deceptions are mostly based in attractive, but untrue, arguments. This passage is Paul's springboard into a defense against the tricks being used against his readers.
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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