Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world…
See to it, says Paul, lest there be some one — I do not say more, you can guess my meaning — to carry you off as his spoil (not take spoil from you). The expression grasps powerfully the essence of the proselytizing spirit; the proselytizing spoil is the person proselytized. He aims at doing this through that which is at once in its arrogant claims a high philosophy, and in its miserable reality an empty deceit; a philosophy, artful, moulded in accordance with an esoteric system, pervaded by five fatal deficiencies.
I. It is merely TRADITIONAL, and, therefore, of precarious truth.
II. It is HUMAN, and, therefore, deficient in authority.
III. It is ELEMENTARY, belonging to the "outworn creed," to the rudiments of religion, and, therefore, unfitted for Christian manhood.
IV. It is MATERIAL, not connected with the soul's true home and centre, but with the palpable and external, and is, therefore, deficient in spirituality.
V. And being all this, assuredly, and as matter of fact, it is NOT AFTER CHRIST.
(Bp. Alexander.)The false teachers aimed at making the Colossians their prey, carrying them off body and soul. They had been rescued from the bondage of darkness; they had been transferred to the kingdom of light; they had been settled there as free citizens (Colossians 1:12, 13); and now there was a danger that they should fall into a state worse than their former slavery, that they should be carried off as so much booty (Comp. 2 Timothy 3:6).
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.