What traditions was Paul referring to hear?


#1

I know a lot of Protestants use Colossians 2 to refute many traditions and even holidays like Halloween. What is the context in which Paul was writing to the Colossians?

Also, particularly in Colossians 2: 18-23, there are mentions of things such as the “worship of angels”, “do not handle, do not taste, do not touch”, which some might connect with traditions and disciplines of the Church like no meat on Fridays, praying to saints, etc. and the reading ends with, “Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.”

What was he referring to here?

Thanks in advance :slight_smile:


#2

What was he referring to here?

He was referring to restrictions in the Mosaic Law, which cover every facet of one’s daily life, from what one is allowed to eat, wear, and what a person can even touch or not touch. Instead, we should be focused on Christ and eternal and heavenly matters, and not mundane matters which perish.

which some might connect with traditions and disciplines of the Church like no meat on Fridays, praying to saints, etc.

St. Paul, as a Pharisee, recognized that Jewish practice at the time - and even now to a degree - is focused more on worldly matters of the here and now. St. Paul was encouraging us to seek higher, eternal matters - Christ and eternal life in heaven.


#3

The Church at Colossae was experiencing the danger of heresy. (Possibly Gnostic/Judaism mix according to several commentaries.)

Also, particularly in Colossians 2: 18-23, there are mentions of things such as the “worship of angels”, “do not handle, do not taste, do not touch”, which some might connect with traditions and disciplines of the Church like no meat on Fridays, praying to saints, etc. and the reading ends with, “Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.”

What was he referring to here?

He may have been referring to the gnostic idea that spirit is good and matter is evil (Angels are good, even to be worshiped… and even Jesus was less than they for he had a physical body.)

He may also have been referring to the Jewish traditions of unclean foods and to not touch a leper or dead person or you become ritually unclean.

He emphasizes that Jesus is way more than any of that. (Col. 1:15+) and we are too since we are in Christ (Col. 2:10, 3:3).

The Church has never condoned worshiping anything other than God the Trinity. (Praying to saints is not “worshiping” nor “worshiping angels”.)

As far as I know, the Church has never said we cannot “touch, taste, or handle” anything. Fasting (as Jesus did and predicted His followers would), is merely temporarily avoiding something that is good for a greater good of drawing closer to God.


#4

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