Was the Torah Blotted out and Nailed to the Cross? (Col. 2:14)
James Scott Trimm
Often when I share with Christians that the Torah is everlasting, for all generations, they respond by saying, “But the law was blotted out .” By this they allude to Colosians 2:14 which reads in the the KJV:
Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances
that was against us,
which was contrary to us,
and took it out of the way,
nailing it to his cross.
(Col. 2:14 KJV)
This very poor translation in the King James Version has given rise to a false theology that the Torah was blotted out and nailed to the cross. The KJV has a very poor translation here. The Greek phrase translated “handwriting of ordinances” is χειρόγραφον τοῖς δόγμασιν the Greek word χειρόγραφον is better translated “certificate of debt” rather than “handwriting” and δόγμασιν is better translated “decrees” rather than “ordinances” as the KJV renders it. The Greek is better translated as it appears in the New American Standard translation:
having cancelled out the certificate of debt
consisting of decrees against us
and which was hostile to us;
and he has taken it out of the way,
having nailed it to the cross.
(Col. 2:14 NAS)
The reading of the KJV “the handwriting of ordinances that was against us” is interpreted by many to refer to the Torah, however the Greek actualy means “the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us” which is actually referring not to the Torah, but to the record of our sins.
The original Aramaic is clearer:
ועטא בפוקדנוהי שטר חובין
הו דאיתוהי הוא סקובלן
ושקלה מן מצעתא וקבעה בזקיפה
He has blotted out, by His commandments,
the handwriting of our debts
which were against us,
and He took from the midst
and fastened it on His gallows.
(Col. 2:14 HRV)
In the original Aramaic Paul is actually saying that it is by the Torah that “the handwriting of our debts which were against us” were blotted out. In both the Aramaic and the Greek it is not the Torah which was blotted out in Col. 2:14, but the record of our sins.
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