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Read Introduction to Colossians


“Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.”


“Having disarmed principalities and powers”

“Disarmed” = to strip off oneself, to put off. Metaphorically this word may refer to the stripping away of weapons and hence the removal of authority and power. Jesus discarded demonic powers. He stripped them of their power. He once and for all broke their power. Paul uses this same verb in 2:11, where he challenges us to put off the body of flesh. Paul closely connects “discarding the principalities” and “putting off the flesh.”

The New Testament uses “principalities” of supra-mundane beings who exercise rule: angels (Ephesians 3:10); evil angels (Romans 8:38; here). Jude 6 refers to the authoritative power of fallen angels. “Principalities” is a term of dignity (dignitaries), whereas “powers” is a term of executive authority.

“Powers” is the authority to do anything. This word combines the two ideas of right and might. The words “principalities and powers” therefore refer to demons operating under Satan, fallen angels.


Jesus stripped demons of their power by the cross; God expects us to deal with Satanic attack by the cross.


Jesus divested himself of evil powers at the cross. God expects us to use spiritual weapons to defeat “principalities and powers” in our lives (Eph. 6:12f).