Colossians 2:8
New International Version
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.

New Living Translation
Don't let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.

English Standard Version
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

Berean Study Bible
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, which are based on human tradition and the spiritual forces of the world rather than on Christ.

Berean Literal Bible
Take heed lest there will be anyone taking you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the principles of the world and not according to Christ.

New American Standard Bible
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

King James Bible
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Christian Standard Bible
Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elements of the world, rather than Christ.

Contemporary English Version
Don't let anyone fool you by using senseless arguments. These arguments may sound wise, but they are only human teachings. They come from the powers of this world and not from Christ.

Good News Translation
See to it, then, that no one enslaves you by means of the worthless deceit of human wisdom, which comes from the teachings handed down by human beings and from the ruling spirits of the universe, and not from Christ.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elemental forces of the world, and not based on Christ.

International Standard Version
See to it that no one enslaves you through philosophy and empty deceit according to human tradition, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to the Messiah,

NET Bible
Be careful not to allow anyone to captivate you through an empty, deceitful philosophy that is according to human traditions and the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

New Heart English Bible
Be careful not to allow anyone to captivate you through an empty and deceptive philosophy, according to human tradition, according to the elementary principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Beware lest any man rob you by philosophy, or by empty deception, according to the teaching of men and according to the principles of the world and not according to The Messiah,

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Be careful not to let anyone rob you [of this faith] through a shallow and misleading philosophy. Such a person follows human traditions and the world's way of doing things rather than following Christ.

New American Standard 1977
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, according to the elements of the world, and not after Christ.

King James 2000 Bible
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

American King James Version
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

American Standard Version
Take heed lest there shall be any one that maketh spoil of you through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ:

Douay-Rheims Bible
Beware lest any man cheat you by philosophy, and vain deceit; according to the tradition of men, according to the elements of the world, and not according to Christ:

Darby Bible Translation
See that there be no one who shall lead you away as a prey through philosophy and vain deceit, according to the teaching of men, according to the elements of the world, and not according to Christ.

English Revised Version
Take heed lest there shall be any one that maketh spoil of you through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ:

Webster's Bible Translation
Beware lest any man make a prey of you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Weymouth New Testament
Take care lest there be some one who leads you away as prisoners by means of his philosophy and idle fancies, following human traditions and the world's crude notions instead of following Christ.

World English Bible
Be careful that you don't let anyone rob you through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the elements of the world, and not after Christ.

Young's Literal Translation
See that no one shall be carrying you away as spoil through the philosophy and vain deceit, according to the deliverance of men, according to the rudiments of the world, and not according to Christ,
Study Bible
Alive in Christ
7rooted and built up in Him, established in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. 8See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, which are based on human tradition and the spiritual forces of the world rather than on Christ. 9For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity dwells in bodily form.…
Cross References
1 Corinthians 8:9
Be careful, however, that your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.

1 Corinthians 10:12
So the one who thinks he is standing firm should be careful not to fall.

Galatians 1:14
I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers.

Galatians 4:3
So also, when we were children, we were enslaved under the basic principles of the world.

Galatians 5:15
But if you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out, or you will be consumed by each other.

Ephesians 5:6
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on the sons of disobedience.

Colossians 2:20
If you have died with Christ to the spiritual forces of the world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its regulations:

Colossians 2:23
Such restrictions indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-prescribed worship, their false humility, and their harsh treatment of the body; but they are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.

1 Timothy 6:20
O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid irreverent chatter and the opposing arguments of so-called "knowledge,"

Hebrews 3:12
See to it, brothers, that none of you has a wicked heart of unbelief that turns away from the living God.

Treasury of Scripture

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Beware.

Deuteronomy 6:12
Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

Matthew 7:15
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Matthew 10:17
But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;

spoil.

Colossians 2:18
Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,

Song of Solomon 2:15
Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.

Jeremiah 29:8
For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviners, that be in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed.

philosophy.

Acts 17:18,32
Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection…

Romans 1:21,22
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened…

1 Corinthians 1:19-23
For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent…

after the tradition.

Colossians 2:22
Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?

Matthew 15:2-9
Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread…

Mark 7:3-13
For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders…

the rudiments.

Colossians 2:20
Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,

Galatians 4:3,9
Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: …

Ephesians 2:2
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:







Lexicon
See to it
Βλέπετε (Blepete)
Verb - Present Imperative Active - 2nd Person Plural
Strong's Greek 991: (primarily physical), I look, see, perceive, discern. A primary verb; to look at.

that no one
μή (mē)
Adverb
Strong's Greek 3361: Not, lest. A primary particle of qualified negation; not, lest; also (whereas ou expects an affirmative one) whether.

takes you captive
συλαγωγῶν (sylagōgōn)
Verb - Present Participle Active - Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 4812: To plunder, lead captive; met: I make victim by fraud. From the base of sulao and ago; to lead away as booty, i.e. seduce.

through
διὰ (dia)
Preposition
Strong's Greek 1223: A primary preposition denoting the channel of an act; through.

philosophy
φιλοσοφίας (philosophias)
Noun - Genitive Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 5385: From philosophos; 'philosophy', i.e., Jewish sophistry.

and
καὶ (kai)
Conjunction
Strong's Greek 2532: And, even, also, namely.

empty
κενῆς (kenēs)
Adjective - Genitive Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 2756: Apparently a primary word; empty.

deception,
ἀπάτης (apatēs)
Noun - Genitive Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 539: Deceit, deception, deceitfulness, delusion. From apatao; delusion.

which are based on
κατὰ (kata)
Preposition
Strong's Greek 2596: A primary particle; down, in varied relations (genitive, dative or accusative) with which it is joined).

human
ἀνθρώπων (anthrōpōn)
Noun - Genitive Masculine Plural
Strong's Greek 444: A man, one of the human race. From aner and ops; man-faced, i.e. A human being.

tradition
παράδοσιν (paradosin)
Noun - Accusative Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 3862: An instruction, tradition. From paradidomi; transmission, i.e. a precept; specially, the Jewish traditionary law.

[and]
κατὰ (kata)
Preposition
Strong's Greek 2596: A primary particle; down, in varied relations (genitive, dative or accusative) with which it is joined).

the
τὰ (ta)
Article - Accusative Neuter Plural
Strong's Greek 3588: The, the definite article. Including the feminine he, and the neuter to in all their inflections; the definite article; the.

spiritual forces
στοιχεῖα (stoicheia)
Noun - Accusative Neuter Plural
Strong's Greek 4747: Neuter of a presumed derivative of the base of stoicheo; something orderly in arrangement, i.e. a serial constituent, proposition.

of the
τοῦ (tou)
Article - Genitive Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 3588: The, the definite article. Including the feminine he, and the neuter to in all their inflections; the definite article; the.

world
κόσμου (kosmou)
Noun - Genitive Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 2889: Probably from the base of komizo; orderly arrangement, i.e. Decoration; by implication, the world (morally).

rather than
οὐ (ou)
Adverb
Strong's Greek 3756: No, not. Also ouk, and ouch a primary word; the absolute negative adverb; no or not.

on
κατὰ (kata)
Preposition
Strong's Greek 2596: A primary particle; down, in varied relations (genitive, dative or accusative) with which it is joined).

Christ.
Χριστόν (Christon)
Noun - Accusative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 5547: Anointed One; the Messiah, the Christ. From chrio; Anointed One, i.e. The Messiah, an epithet of Jesus.
(8-15) The general exhortation of the previous verses is now emphasised by a solemn warning against deadly speculative error. Now, (1) the character of that error in itself is described with apparently intentional vagueness, as "a philosophy of vain deceit," "after tradition of men," after "the rudiments of this world." Even its Judaic origin, which is made clear below (Colossians 2:16-17), is here only hinted at in the significant allusion to Circumcision, and perhaps in the phrase "the rudiments of the world," which is also used of the Judaism of Galatia (Galatians 4:3; Galatians 4:9). (2) What is brought out vividly and emphatically is the truth which it contradicts or obscures. First, the full indwelling Godhead of Christ and His headship over all created being; and next, as derived from this, our own "spiritual circumcision in Him, i.e., the true "death unto sin and new life unto righteousness" in Him who is the One Atonement for all sin, and the One Conqueror of all the powers of evil. On the relation of the Epistle to Gnosticism see Excursus A.

(8) Spoil you.--Properly, lead you away as a spoil, triumph over you as a captive, and make you a slave. Comp. St. Paul's language as to the older Judaism at Corinth (2Corinthians 11:20), "Ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face."

Philosophy and vain deceit--i.e. (like "the knowledge falsely so called" of 1Timothy 6:20), a philosophy which is inseparably connected with vain deceit. The warning implied here seems to be two-fold:--(1) First, against considering Christianity primarily as a "philosophy," i.e., a search for and knowledge of speculative truth, even the highest. That it involves philosophy is obvious, for it claims to solve for us the great problem of Being, in Nature, in Man, and in God. St. Paul, while he depreciates the wisdom of this world, dwells emphatically on the gospel as the "wisdom of God." (See especially 1Corinthians 2:6-16.) In this Epistle in particular he speaks of "wisdom" again and again (Colossians 1:9; Colossians 1:28; Colossians 2:3; Colossians 3:16; Colossians 4:6) as one great characteristic of Christian life. Nor is it less clear (as the ancient Greek commentators here earnestly remind us) that Christianity finds a place and a blessing for all true philosophy of men, and makes it, as St. Paul made it at Athens, an introduction to the higher wisdom. But Christianity is not a philosophy, but a life--not a knowledge of abstract principles, but a personal knowledge of faith and love of God in Christ. (2) Next, against accepting in philosophy the "vain deceit" of mere speculation and imagination instead of the modest, laborious investigation of facts. This is the "knowledge falsely so called"; of this it may be said (as in 1Corinthians 8:1) that it "puffs up," and does not "build up." In ancient and modern times it has always confused brilliant theory with solid discovery, delighting especially to dissolve the great facts of the gospel into abstractions, which may float in its cloudland of imagination.

After the tradition of men.--This is the keynote of our Lord's condemnation of the old Pharisaic exclusiveness and formalism (Matthew 15:2-3; Matthew 15:6; Mark 7:8-9); it is equally the condemnation of the later Jewish, or half-Jewish, mysticism which St. Paul attacks here. It is hardly necessary to remark that the Apostle often claims reverence for "traditions" (1Corinthians 11:2; 2Thessalonians 2:15; 2Thessalonians 3:6; see also 1Corinthians 15:3; 2Peter 2:21), but they are traditions having their starting point in direct revelation of God (Galatians 1:12), and, moreover, traditions freely given to all, as being His. The "traditions of men" here condemned had their origin in human speculation, and were secretly transmitted to the initiated only.

The rudiments of the world.--See Galatians 4:2, and Note there. This marks the chief point of contact with the earlier Judaism, in the stress still laid, perhaps with less consistency, on matters of ritual, law, ascetic observance, and the like. These are "of the world," i.e., belonging to the visible sphere; and they are "rudiments," fit only for the elementary education of those who are as children, and intended simply as preparation for a higher teaching.

Verses 8-15. - SECTION V. THE CHRISTIAN'S COMPLETENESS IN CHRIST. The apostle has first defined his own doctrinal position in the theological deliverance of Colossians 1:15-20, and has then skilfully brought himself into suitable personal relations with his readers by the statements and appeals of Colossians 1:23-2:7. And now, after a general indication in ver. 4 of the direction in which he is about to strike, he unmasks the battery he has been all the while preparing, and delivers his attack on the Colossian error, occupying the rest of this second chapter, he denounces

(1) its false philosophy of religion (vers. 8-15);

(2) its arbitrary and obsolete ceremonialism (vers. 16, 17);

(3) its visionary angel worship (vers. 18, 19);

(4) its ascetic rules (vers. 20-22; ver. 23)

reviewing the whole system in a brief characterization of its most prominent and dangerous features. It will be convenient to treat separately the first of these topics, under the heading already given, which indicates the positive truth developed by St. Paul in antagonism to the error against which he contends - a truth which is the practical application of the theological teaching of the first chapter. Verse 8. - Beware lest there shall be some one who maketh you his spoil through his philosophy and empty deceit (vers. 4, 18, 23; Ephesians 4:14; 1 Timothy 6:20; 1 Corinthians 2:1, 4; Galatians 1:7; Acts 20:30). "Beware;" literally, see (to it), a common form of warning (Colossians 4:17). The future indicative" shall be," used instead of the more regular subjunctive "should be," implies that what is feared is too likely to prove the case (comp. Hebrews 3:12 and (with another tense) Galatians 4:11). "Some one who maketh (you) his spoil (ὁ συλαγωγῶν)" is an expression so distinct and individualizing that it appears to single out a definite, well known person. The denunciations of this Epistle are throughout in the singular number (vers. 4, 16, 18), in marked contrast with the plural of Galatians 1:17, and that prevails in the apostle's earlier polemical references. It is in harmony with the philosophical, Gnosticizing character of the Colossian heresy that it should rest on the authority of some single teacher, rather than on Scripture or tradition, as did the conservative legalistic Judaism. Συλαγωγῶν, a very rare word, hapax legomenon in the New Testament, bears its meaning on its face. It indicates the selfish, partisan spirit, and the overbearing conduct of the false teacher. Against such men St. Paul had forewarned the Ephesian elders (Acts 20:29, 30). "And empty deceit" stands in a qualifying apposition to "philosophy:" "His philosophy, indeed! "It is no better than a vain deceit." This kind of irony we shall find the writer using with still greater effect in ver. 18. Deceit is empty (κενός: comp. Ephesians 5:6; 1 Thessalonians 2:1; 1 Corinthians 15:14; distinguish from μάταιος, fruitless, vain), which deceives by being a show of what it is not, a hollow pretence. From the prominence given to this aspect of the new teaching, we infer that it claimed to be a philosophy, and made this its special distinction and ground of superiority. And this consideration points (comp. Introduction, § 4), to some connection between the system of the Colossian errorists and the Alexandrine Judaism, of which Philo, an elder contemporary of St. Paul, is our chief exponent. The aim of this school, which had now existed for two centuries at least, and had diffused its ideas far and wide, was to transform and sublimate Judaism by interpreting it under philosophical principles. Its teachers endeavoured, in fact, to put the "new wine" of Plato into the old bottles" of Moses, persuading themselves that it was originally there (comp. note on "mystery," Colossians 1:27). In Philo, philosophy is the name for true religion, whose essence consists in the pursuit and contemplation of pure spiritual truth. Moses and the patriarchs are, with him, all "philosophers;" the writers of the Old Testament" philosophize;" it is" the philosophical man" who holds converse with God. This is the only place where philosophy is expressly mentioned in the New Testament; in 1 Corinthians 1:21 and context it is, however, only verbally wanting. According to the tradition of men, according to the rudiments of the world, and not according to Christ (vers. 17, 20, 22; Galatians 1:11, 12; Galatians 4:3, 9; 1 Corinthians 1:20, 21; 1 Corinthians 3:19-21; Matthew 15:2; Mark 7:8; 1 John 4:5; 1 Peter 1:18). This clause qualifies "making spoil" (Meyer, Ellicott) rather than "deceit;" human authority and natural reason furnish the principles and the method according to which the false teacher proceeds. "Tradition" does not necessarily imply antiquity (comp. 1 Corinthians 11:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:15; 2 Thessalonians 3:6); "of men" is the emphatic part of the phrase. These words are characteristic of St. Paul, who was so profoundly conscious of the supernatural origin of his own doctrine (see Galatians 1:11-17; 1 Corinthians 11:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:15: comp. John 3:31-35; John 8:23; 1 John 4:5). Similarly, "the rudiments of the world" are the crude beginnings of truth, the childishly faulty and imperfect religious conceptions and usages to which the world had attained apart from the revelation of Christ (comp. Galatians 4:3, 9; also Hebrews 5:12, for this use of στοιχεῖα). It is not either Jewish or non-Jewish elements specifically that are intended. Jew and Greek are one in so far as their religious ideas are "not according to Christ." Greek thought had also contributed its rudiments to the world's education for Christ: hence, comprehensively, "the rudiments of the world "(comp. 1 Corinthians 1:21). The blending of Greek and Jewish elements in the Colossian theosophy would of itself suggest this generalization, already shadowed forth in Galatians 4:3. Neander, Hofmann, and Klopper (the latest German commentator), have returned to the view that prevailed amongst the Fathers, from Origen downwards, reading this phrase, both here and in Galatians, in a physical sense, as in 2 Peter 3:10, 12; the elementa mundi, "the powers of nature," "heavenly bodies," etc., worshipped by the Gentiles as gods, and which the Jews identified with the angels (ver. 18; Hebrews 1:7) as God's agents in the direction of the world. This interproration has much to recommend it, but it scarcely harmonizes with the parallel "tradition of men," still less with the context of ver. 20, and is absolutely at variance, as it seems to us, with the argument involved in Galatians 4:3. Not the doctrine of Christ, but Christ himself is the substitute for these discarded rudiments (vers. 17, 20). His Person is the norm and test of truth (1 Corinthians 12:3; 1 John 4:1-3). The views combatted were "not according to Christ," for they made him something less and lower than that which he is. 2:8-17 There is a philosophy which rightly exercises our reasonable faculties; a study of the works of God, which leads us to the knowledge of God, and confirms our faith in him. But there is a philosophy which is vain and deceitful; and while it pleases men's fancies, hinders their faith: such are curious speculations about things above us, or no concern to us. Those who walk in the way of the world, are turned from following Christ. We have in Him the substance of all the shadows of the ceremonial law. All the defects of it are made up in the gospel of Christ, by his complete sacrifice for sin, and by the revelation of the will of God. To be complete, is to be furnished with all things necessary for salvation. By this one word complete, is shown that we have in Christ whatever is required. In him, not when we look to Christ, as though he were distant from us, but we are in him, when, by the power of the Spirit, we have faith wrought in our hearts by the Spirit, and we are united to our Head. The circumcision of the heart, the crucifixion of the flesh, the death and burial to sin and to the world, and the resurrection to newness of life, set forth in baptism, and by faith wrought in our hearts, prove that our sins are forgiven, and that we are fully delivered from the curse of the law. Through Christ, we, who were dead in sins, are quickened. Christ's death was the death of our sins; Christ's resurrection is the quickening of our souls. The law of ordinances, which was a yoke to the Jews, and a partition-wall to the Gentiles, the Lord Jesus took out of the way. When the substance was come, the shadows fled. Since every mortal man is, through the hand-writing of the law, guilty of death, how very dreadful is the condition of the ungodly and unholy, who trample under foot that blood of the Son of God, whereby alone this deadly hand-writing can be blotted out! Let not any be troubled about bigoted judgments which related to meats, or the Jewish solemnities. The setting apart a portion of our time for the worship and service of God, is a moral and unchangeable duty, but had no necessary dependence upon the seventh day of the week, the sabbath of the Jews. The first day of the week, or the Lord's day, is the time kept holy by Christians, in remembrance of Christ's resurrection. All the Jewish rites were shadows of gospel blessings.
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