Only here in the New Testament. From κατά against, βραβεύω to act as a judge or umpire. Hence to decide against one, or to declare him unworthy of the prize. Bishop Lightfoot's rendering rob you of your prize, adopted by Rev., omits the judicial idea, which, however, I think must be retained, in continuation of the idea of judgment in Col 2:16, “let no man judge,” etc. The attitude of the false teachers would involve their sitting in judgment as to the future reward of those who refused their doctrine of angelic mediation. Paul speaks from the standpoint of their claim.
In a voluntary humility (θέλων ἐν ταπεινοφροσύνῃ)
Render delighting in humility. This rendering is well supported by Septuagint usage. See 1Sa 18:22; 2Sa 15:26; 1Ki 10:9; 2Ch 9:8. It falls in, in the regular participial series, with the other declarations as to the vain conceit of the teachers; signifying not their purpose or their wish to deprive the Christians of their reward, but their vain enthusiasm for their false doctrine, and their conceited self-complacency which prompted them to sit as judges. The worship of angels involved a show of humility, an affectation of superior reverence for God, as shown in the reluctance to attempt to approach God otherwise than indirectly: in its assumption that humanity, debased by the contact with matter, must reach after God through successive grades of intermediate beings. For humility, see on Mat 11:29.
Worship of angels (θρησκείᾳ)
See on religious, Jam 1:26. Defining the direction which their humility assumed. The usage of the Septuagint and of the New Testament limits the meaning to the external aspects of worship. Compare Act 26:5; Jam 1:27.
Rev., dwelling in. Only here in the New Testament. It is used in three senses: 1. To step in or upon, thence to haunt or frequent. So Aeschylus: “A certain island which Pan frequents on its beach” (“Persae,” 449). 2. To invade. So in Apocrypha, 1 Macc. 12:25; 13:20; 14:31; 15:40. 3. To enter into for examination; to investigate or discuss a subject. So 2 Macc. 2:30, and so Philo, who compares truth-seekers to well-diggers. Patristic writers use it of searching the heart, and of investigating divine mysteries. Byzantine lexicographers explain it by ζητέω to seek; ἐξερευνάω to track out; σκοπέω to consider. In this last sense the word is probably used here of the false teachers who professed to see heavenly truth in visions, and to investigate and discuss philosophically the revelation they had received.
Which he hath not seen
Not must be omitted: which he imagines or professes that he has seen in vision. Ironical. “If, as we may easily imagine, these pretenders were accustomed to say with an imposing and mysterious air, 'I have seen, ah! I have seen,' - in relating alleged visions of heavenly things, the Colossians would understand the reference well enough” (Findlay).
Vainly puffed up (εἰκὴ φυσιούμενος)
Vainly characterizes the emptiness of such pretension; puffed up, the swelling intellectual pride of those who make it. See on 1Co 4:6; and compare 1Co 8:1. The humility is thus characterized as affected, and the teachers as charlatans.
By his fleshly mind (ὑπὸ τοῦ νοὸς τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ)
Lit., by the mind of his flesh. The intellectual faculty in its moral aspects as determined by the fleshly, sinful nature. See on Rom 8:23. Compare Rom 7:22-25; Rom 8:7. The teachers boasted that they were guided by the higher reason. Paul describes their higher reason as carnal.