Colossians 2:8 Commentary
Colossians 2:8 See (PAM) to it that no one takes you captive (PAP) through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than * according to Christ (NASB: Lockman)
Amplified: See to it that no one carries you off as spoil or makes you yourselves captive by his so-called philosophy and intellectualism and vain deceit (idle fancies and plain nonsense), following human tradition (men’s ideas of the material rather than the spiritual world), just crude notions following the rudimentary and elemental teachings of the universe and disregarding [the teachings of] Christ (the Messiah)." (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: "Beware lest there will be anyone who will carry you off as his spoil, by insisting on the necessity of a so-called philosophy, which is, in fact, an empty delusion, a philosophy which has been handed down by human tradition, and which is concerned with the elements of this world, and not with Christ" (Westminster Press)
CEV: "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." (CEV)
GWT: "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." (GWT)
KJV: "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudimentsc of the world, and not after Christ."
Lightfoot: "Be on your guard; do not suffer yourselves to fall prey to certain people who would lead you captive by a hollow and deceitful system, which they call philosophy. They substitute the traditions of men for the truth of God. They enforce an elementary discipline of mundane ordinances fit only for children. Theirs is not the gospel of Christ.
NIV: " See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ." (NIV - IBS)
NKJV: "Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ."
NLT: "Don’t let anyone lead you astray with empty philosophy and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the evil powers of this world, and not from Christ. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: "Be careful that nobody spoils your faith through intellectualism or high-sounding nonsense. Such stuff is at best founded on men's ideas of the nature of the world and disregards Christ!" (Phillips: Touchstone)
TEV: "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"
TLB: "Don’t let others spoil your faith and joy with their philosophies, their wrong and shallow answers built on men’s thoughts and ideas, instead of on what Christ has said"
Wuest: "Be ever on your guard lest there shall be someone who leads you astray through his philosophy, even futile deceit, which is according to the tradition of men, according to the rudimentary teachings of the world, and not according to Christ" (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: 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,
SEE TO IT: blepete (2PPAM): (Colossians 4:17, Deut 6:12, Gal 5:1,Mk 4:24, Mk 12:38,Mk 13:9, 13:33, Mt 7:15, Mt 16:6, Mt 24:4, Acts 20:29, 30, 31,Eph 5:15, Phil 3:2,Heb 3:12, 2Pet 3:1, 2Jn 8)
See to it (991)(blepo) means to watch, to see but in context of the spiritual dangers conveys the idea of more than just to see but to "Look out!" "Beware!" "Watch out!" "Take heed!" "Take note!" "Be aware of!".
The present tense (habitual, lifestyle), imperative mood (a command not a suggestion!) calls for this discerning attitude to be the habit of every saint in the Colossian church (verb is plural) and not just the elders. The active voice means that the subject must initiate this action as a choice of his or her will.
Being continually watchful for false teaching does not come naturally. Paul is not encouraging a "critical spirit" but a "discerning spirit" and there is a crucial difference between the two. The former can destroy, while the latter serves to defend the local body of Christ. Next time you make a comment under your breath during the congregational meeting (or out loud afterwards!) ask yourself whether the comment is critical or discerning. Remember Jesus' warning
On the other hand
Paul continues the military imagery with his warning that they
The false teachers did not go out and win the lost, no more than the cultists do today. They “kidnapped” converts from churches! A sad commentary on American Christianity is the fact that most of the people who are now members of cults were at one time associated with a Christian church! If you don't stand for the Truth, you're vulnerable to fall for any lie!
Blepo - 132x in 116v - Matt. 5:28; 6:4, 6, 18; 7:3; 11:4; 12:22; 13:13f, 16f; 14:30; 15:31; 18:10; 22:16; 24:2, 4; Mk. 4:12, 24; 5:31; 8:15, 18, 23f; 12:14, 38; 13:2, 5, 9, 23, 33; Lk. 6:41f; 7:21, 44; 8:10, 16, 18; 9:62; 10:23f; 11:33; 21:8, 30; 24:12; Jn. 1:29; 5:19; 9:7, 15, 19, 21, 25, 39, 41; 11:9; 13:22; 20:1, 5; 21:9, 20; Acts 1:9; 2:33; 3:4; 4:14; 8:6; 9:8f; 12:9; 13:11, 40; 27:12; 28:26; Rom. 7:23; 8:24f; 11:8, 10; 1 Co. 1:26; 3:10; 8:9; 10:12, 18; 13:12; 16:10; 2 Co. 4:18; 7:8; 10:7; 12:6; Gal. 5:15; Eph. 5:15; Phil. 3:2; Col. 2:5, 8; 4:17; Heb. 2:9; 3:12, 19; 10:25; 11:1, 3, 7; 12:25; Jas. 2:22; 2 Jn. 1:8; Rev. 1:11f; 3:18; 5:3f; 9:20; 11:9; 16:15; 17:8; 18:9, 18; 22:8 The NAS renders blepo as be on guard(1), behold(1), beware(5), careful(1), careful*(1), consider(1),facing(1), keep on seeing(2), look(7), looking(5), looks(1), partial(2), saw(12), see(54), seeing(8), seen(8), sees(8),sight(2), take care(5), take heed(5), watch(1).
So Paul gives a serious warning for continual vigilance, for you to keep your "spiritual radar" continually on high alert (a jet liner crashed in June, 2002 over Germany killing 100's because a radar tower was not properly monitoring the air traffic). Paul is saying we need to keep our "spiritual antennae" in the "receiving mode" with the filter of discernment turned "on" so that we can filter out the wisdom of man (recognizing it as such because we know the Truth). An unguarded mind, even of a believer, is subject to deceit, misunderstanding, and confusion, which inevitably results in false doctrine and false (sinful) living. The undiscerning saint is analogous to an "innocent", defenseless child, and the result is they are
Test every high-sounding religious system by constantly asking,
Does it give Christ the place of preeminence?” and if so
Using the name of "Jesus" or "Christ" does not automatically stamp a ministry, man or practice as "sound doctrine". Jesus warned us that we must
Paul added that we must be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil. (Ro 16:19-note), remembering that from the very beginning "the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field" (Gen 3:1, 2, 3, 4, 5,6, 7).
When we hear a "new teaching" or of an author everyone is "praising", we need to have the mindset of the church at Berea
Almost every religious system today gives Christ an eminent place, but only Biblical Christianity gives Him the preeminent place. Everything you read, hear, see, think, believe needs to be sifted thru this grid
This is the preventative to keep one from being led astray. Dr. Wayne Barber has stated that 5 of the 10 men instrumental in his early walk of faith have strayed from the truth in their preaching and no longer are emphasizing the centrality amd completeness of Christ in their message! If any of us think that we stand we must "take heed" (same verb as Col2:8) lest we too fall prey to empty philosophies of the world (1Co 10:12).
Paul insists on the need of vigilance. History teaches us the poignant lesson that again and again a seemingly invincible military fortress was stormed because its defenders thought that it was impregnable & thus became complacent in guarding the gates and walls.
In Re 3:3 (note) the risen Christ warns the Church of Sardis to be on the watch. The historical background for Christ's warning is fascinating. The Acropolis of Sardis was built on a 1500' jutting spur of rock that was smugly felt by its citizens to be impregnable. When Cyrus was besieging it, he offered a special reward to any who could find a way in. A certain enemy soldier named Hyeroeades was watching one day and saw a soldier in the Sardian garrison accidentally drop his helmet over the battlements. He saw him climb down after it and took note of his "secret" path. That night he led a band up the cliffs by that very path and when they reached the top they found it quite unguarded; so they entered in and captured the citadel, which had been considered impregnable. Cyrus, king of the Medo-Persians, captured Sardis by scaling the secret path. Once conquered, the city fell into a downward spiral from which they never recovered. The spiritual life is a chancy business if we do not watch over our hearts with all diligence (Pr 4:23-note See Torrey's Topic "Diligence")
Both of these verbs are in the aorist imperative, signifying an urgent command calling for immediate action in view of the looming danger. What danger? Peter goes on to explain that
THAT NO ONE TAKES YOU CAPTIVE: me tis humas estai (3SFMI) o sulagôgôn (PAPMSN): (Acts 20;2829, 30, 32 Heb13:9 Topic "False Doctrine")
Paul's use here of the indicative mood in the verb (estai) points to a real, not hypothetical danger.
Lightfoot adds that
Takes captive (4812) (sulagogeo from sulao = strip off the arms of a slain enemy, rob, plunder + ago = carry away) literally means to carry away prey and then to lead away as booty, slaves or captives. Col 2:8 is the only Biblical use. To take over complete control of a person as one would a captive. The image in context is of carrying someone away from the truth into the bondage of error, which is the opposite of what Jesus stated truth would accomplish (Jn 8:31).
"Figuratively of victimizing or brainwashing someone with religious error or false teaching" (Friberg)
"To lead away from the truth and subject to one’s sway" (Thayer)
Sulagogeo could be used of a slave-dealer carrying away the people of a conquered nation into slavery. To Paul it was a tragic thought that the Colossians who had been liberated would contemplate submitting themselves to a new and disastrous slavery.
Sulagogeo is a figurative description of the destructive effects of the false teachers who sought to rob believers at Colossae of the riches available in Christ. Don't let anyone (the pronoun is singular -- suggesting there may have been some particularly influential or charismatic individual Paul had in mind) kidnap you and carry you off!
KJV has interesting twist: Beware lest any man spoil you
Now put this definition into the context of Colossians 2:3 (note) where Paul reminds the saints that in Christ
Is some seductive teaching or mystical practice beginning to plunder "the treasure" you possess in Christ? Paul says "keep your eyes open" to this ever present danger. The best defense is a good offense so
When you kidnap someone, you take them from living free to a state of being enslaved, and thus the picture Paul is painting is that of taking over complete control of a person by taking control of their mind. Spiritual warfare is not a struggle against power but is a struggle to maintain Truth. The battle is always over Truth & the battlefield is the mind. Our focus is to be on the resurrected, ascended, glorified Lord Jesus Christ and on His resurrection power in each individual life. False teachers seek to carry us away from the freedom (Jas 1:25-note, Jn 8:31-36) we have in Christ and to ENSLAVE us in their false doctrine. Thus you can see why Paul was so burdened and struggling so intensely to proclaim Christ (Col 1:28-note, Col 1:29-note). Promising freedom these false teachers are themselves enslaved according to (2Pe 2:19-note).
How many instances of this kind of kidnapping have we seen, or how many failures of faith on the part of young people going to college to study? Young people who have been raised in Christian homes, but who have been exposed to the wily, subtle teachings of human wisdom, have turned away from the things of Christ, often into wild, riotous living. Why? Because no one warned them, or else they did not heed the warning to avoid being made a prey of human knowledge.
THROUGH PHILOSOPHY : dia tês philosophias: (Acts 17:18,32; Ro 1:21,22; 1Cor 1:19, 20, 21, 22, 23; 3:18,19; 15:35,36; 2Cor 10:5; 1Ti 6:20; 2Ti 2:17,18; 3:13)
Philosophy (5385) (philosophia from philos = friend/lover + sophia = wisdom) is literally a love of wisdom and came to mean tenets of heathen Gentile philosophers. "Human understanding or wisdom and, by implication, in contrast with divinely revealed knowledge." (Louw-Nida). The only other uses are in the Apocryphal book of 4 Maccabees - 4 Macc 1:1; 5:11, 22; 7:9, 21.
On the Areopagus at Athens Paul encountered members of the two leading philosophies of his day, Epicureanism and Stoicism (Acts 17:18ff.).
See more detailed Bible Dictionary definitions - Philosophy
BDAG says philosophia is used here "in a pejorative sense (negative connotation), with kenos apate, of erroneous teaching."
Thayer may be a bit speculative in his definition of philosophia…
Daniel Hill (with Daniel J. Treier) writes that…
The Gnostics were fond of philosophia. The modern definition of the word must not be read into its use in the Bible. Philosophy, as the study of reality, knowledge, and values, is a profitable and biblically supported endeavor. However, this is not the meaning of the word in Scripture. There it carries a negative connotation and refers to quasi–religious doctrines and speculations (e.g., Gnosticism) all of which are irreconcilable with the Christian faith.
As John Blanchard so correctly phrased it "Philosophy is the search for truth. In Jesus, the search ends."
G Campbell Morgan - Philosophy has been a quest, and never a conquest.
Billy Graham adds that "Any philosophy which deals only with the here and now is not adequate for man."
Hugh Silvester - Philosophy has shown itself over and over again to be full of arguments but lacking in conclusions”
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones may have said it best "If a philosophy of life cannot help me to die, then in a sense it cannot help me to live." And in context the "Colossian philosophy" wrought spiritual slavery, not life and freedom.
A W Tozer wrote that…
J. I. Packer - No philosophy that will not teach us how to master death is worth twopence to us.
“Philosophers are people who talk about something they don’t understand and make you think it’s your fault!” Another person quipped that a philosopher was like "A blind man in a dark room looking for a black hat which is not there." Someone else said that "Philosophy is saying what everybody knows in language that no one can understand." A more dignified definition of philosophy is man’s attempt to befuddle himself scientifically!
John Calvin wrote that…
Philosophia is found in the ancient writings from Epistle of Aristeas, II B.C…
Plato uses philosophia…
Josephus uses philosophia in his writings…
However if by philosophy we mean the search for clarity and understanding regarding the whole of reality, then the Christian must in a sense philosophize. He must think clearly, and he must strive for a self-consistent view of life. In his quest, however, he must always submit to the guidance, limitation, and criticism of the light of divine revelation. On the other hand, if by philosophy we mean human speculation regarding man’s basic questions without due respect for the revelation of God, then the Christian, no doubt, will accord this philosophy a greatly diminished relevance to his life and calling.
S Lewis Johnson has an interesting discussion of philosophy writing that
Thielicke has said,
Despite the prominence of philosophy in Greco-Roman world, this is the only mention of philosophy in the Bible, and here God warns against it. Similarly, the only mention of philosophers (Acts 17:18) describes the two major philosophical schools of thought, both of which opposed Paul as he preached Christ. Paul may have been thinking mainly of the Epicureans and Stoics when he wrote this warning, but his divinely guided pen simply said to beware of all philosophy. The love of human wisdom characterizes every system of philosophy; they all follow the tradition of men and the elements of the world. Instead, men should love Christ, Who has made true wisdom unto us (1Cor 1:30) and in whom are stored all the treasures of true wisdom and true knowledge (Col 2:3-note). As Paul had already written, Christ had created and was sustaining everything (Col 1:16, 17-see notes Col 1:16; 17). Any philosophy centered on men or so-called gods, rather than in the true God of creation, is bound to be false and harmful.
A close parallel to this warning in Colossians is found in Paul's warning in
J Vernon McGee comments that
Harry Ironside, the respected pastor of Moody Memorial Church in Chicago writes that…
It is said that there is a tombstone from ancient Rome that has inscribed on it the following:
OR EMPTY DECEPTION: kai kenês apatês: (Ro 16:17 Ep 5:6)
The fact that the two nouns, "philosophy" and "deceit" are the objects of the one preposition dia ("through") and the lack of the article with "empty deception" indicate that the "empty" and "deception" both describe the character of the philosophy. This verse could then be read "Beware lest any man lead you away captive through the philosophy which is empty and deceptive.
Noted Christian apologist Ron Rhodes explains why Christians should not discount "all philosophy"
Empty (2756) (kenos) means empty, vain, fruitless, without usefulness or success, false, fallacious. Kenos is that in which there is nothing of truth or reality. Kenos describes not only that which will not succeed but also that which has no purpose! The best antidote for the poison of empty deception is the whole council of God. In preparation for entering the Promised Land (with warfare both real and spiritual) Moses spoke these wise words to the children of Israel
Don't miss what Moses said "IT IS NOT AN IDLE WORD… IT IS YOUR LIFE." Do you believe that? Does your time in His holy Word show that you really believe it? Eating His Word will counter the contamination of empty words.
Kenos - 18x in 16v - Mk. 12:3; Lk. 1:53; 20:10f; Acts 4:25; 1 Co. 15:10, 14, 58; 2 Co. 6:1; Gal. 2:2; Eph. 5:6; Phil. 2:16; Col. 2:8; 1 Thess. 2:1; 3:5; Jas. 2:20 and is rendered in NAS as empty(2), empty-handed(4), foolish(1), futile things(1), vain(10).
Deception (539) (apate [word study] from apatao = cheat, delude, deceive, beguile) describes that which gives a false impression, whether by appearance, statement or influence. It speaks of ethical enticement. It is spoken of anything which is seducing (a leading astray by persuasion or false promises) Apate describes that which causes someone to have misleading or erroneous views concerning the truth.
Apate - 7x in NT - Matt. 13:22; Mk. 4:19; Eph. 4:22; Col. 2:8; 2 Thess. 2:10; Heb. 3:13; 2 Pet. 2:13 and is rendered by NAS as deceit(1), deceitfulness(3), deception(2), deceptions(1).
Enticement (Concise Oxford English Dictionary says it derives from O French enticier, prob. from a base meaning ‘set on fire’) - is that which to attracts and leads astray artfully or adroitly or by arousing hope or desire.
Deception - is that which deliberately causes (someone) to believe something that is not true.
Webster's defines deceive as
Don't be deceived by these subtle "half truths" which promise freedom but ultimately reap corruption, defeat and bondage. These "deadly viruses of deceit" are rampant in both mainline and evangelical churches in America. We must be diligent to continue
Gnosticism (from Greek gnosis = knowledge) separated matter from thought concluding that matter was evil. The deadly heresy Gnostics propounded was that the possession of knowledge was the only requirement for salvation, which also explains why Gnostics did not want to attribute humanity to Jesus Christ. Since they considered material things evil, another "-ism" resulted called Docetism which taught that Christ's body only appeared material, but in reality it was only spiritual.
This belief led to another "-ism" Anomianism which in essence promoted a profligate, immoral lifestyle. They reasoned that since the spirit was separate from the physical body, one had no responsibility for the actions done in the physical body. Given their belief in Docetism, Gnostics ignored or diminished the significance of the historic facts of death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, teaching that these events were not real but simply appeared to be real. Gnostics generally held the view that all the secrets of God were in the mind, or appearing in an immaterial identity. The result was a complete denial of sexual and other bodily appetites which led to either asceticism or uncontrolled indulgence, depending on which camp they were in. Paul is teaching that sanctification of believers is not through asceticism or by self effort to control one's passions but by setting one's mind on the things above, remembering that Christ was now one's life (and His Spirit the power) to put mortify the flesh and put off the old and put on the new.
ACCORDING TO THE TRADITION OF MEN : kata ten paradosin ton anthropon: (Colossians 2:22; Mt 15:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9; Gal 1:14;,Mk 7:5,8, 9, 1Pe 1:18, 2Th 2:15, 3:6, 1Co 11:2, ISBE)
Tradition (3862)(paradosis from paradidomi means to surrender, yield up, entrust, deliver up) pictures a giving over or a passing on. Paul illustrates the meaning in his word to the Corinthians, writing
Paradosis - 13x in NT - Matt. 15:2f, 6; Mk. 7:3, 5, 8f, 13; 1 Co. 11:2; Gal. 1:14; Col. 2:8; 2 Thess. 2:15; 3:6
Just because people have believed something and handed it down through the years does not make it true. The question as good Bereans (see note Acts 17:11) we must always ask is it "according to the Scriptures"?
Those who are led away by traditions of men go along a path marked out by no higher authority than that of men, from whom it has been handed down. Although these persuasive arguers set forth their teaching as Tradition Paul rejects any suggestion of divine origin teaching in fact that they were human fabrication (“according to human tradition”) as opposed to "according to the Scriptures" and "according to Christ".
Lightfoot comments that
Tradition usually serves merely to perpetuate error. In our own day, a common argument for evolution is the false assertion that it is “what scientists have always believed.” If a new Christian from a distant mission field were to visit many of our churches, he would probably be astounded at the ideas and practices we have that cannot be supported by God’s Word. And tragically, man-made traditions are often given more importance than the God-breathed doctrine of Scripture! While it is not wrong to have church traditions that remind us of our godly heritage, we must be careful not to make these traditions are tested by the plumb line of God's Word.
As Paul uses this term, the traditions of the Jews and Gentiles represent little more than ignorance and falsehood handed down from generation to generation. For "good traditions" see the following Scriptures (1Cor 11:2, 2Th 2:15, 2Th 3:6) which is the only source of truth. Why follow empty philosophy when we have all fullness in Christ? This is like turning away from the satisfying river to drink at the dirty cisterns of the world (Jer 2:13).
J Vernon McGee comments on the "tradition of men" writing that
Josephus explains the expression “the traditions of the elders” or of the Pharisees. The words of the elders were considered more desirable than the words of the prophets! A conspicuous example of tradition is found in the Talmud which consists almost entirely of assertions of celebrated Jewish teachers; the greater part having no ground whatever except the teacher’s authority. Now that's deception also! And tradition will take your mind captive & make you resistant to the cutting Truth of Jesus which comes head on against traditions which are self-satisfying, productive of a self-righteousness, but which fail miserably to bring man closer to true fellowship w/ God.
ACCORDING TO THE ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF THE WORLD: kata ta stoicheia tou kosmou: ( (1Co1:18, 19, 20, 21, Gal 4:3, 1Ti 4:1))
Elementary (4747) (stoicheion from stoicheo = march in rank from stoíchos = row) describes something orderly in arrangement as for example one of a row and hence a component or element. In most of its uses, it denotes an elementary or fundamental principle in a subject or discipline. It refers to the first principles of something.
Stoicheion (“elements”) refers to the basic building blocks of matter, such as atomic and subatomic particles.
Stoicheion - 7x in NT - Gal. 4:3, 9; Col. 2:8, 20; Heb. 5:12; 2 Pet. 3:10, 12 and is rendered in the NAS as elemental things(2), elementary principles(2), elementary principles*(m)(1), elements(2).
A stoicheion was originally a line of things as for example a line of soldiers, but came to refer to the ABC's, and then to any elementary knowledge. Stoicheion also refers to any first thing from which the others belonging to some series or composite whole take their rise.
Among the ancient Greek philosophers, stoicheion designated the four basic and essential elements of which the universe consisted, namely, earth, water, air, and fire.
In Gal 4:3 we learn that this rudimentary teaching brings men under bondage. Similarly, they who seek to lead captive the Colossian Christians would lead them along a path marked out by the traditions of men and by the rudimentary teaching of the material world.
Wiersbe has an interesting note
Barclay writes that stoicheia means
RATHER THAN ACCORDING TO CHRIST: kai ou kata Christon: (Eph 4:20)
Christ, the living person Himself, is both the substance and the end or aim of true preaching and teaching. That is the test of all. Pass every teaching thru this grid (especially "deeper truth", "new teaching", "new practices" or "new techniques"). Everything that you read, hear, think, believe, see on TV, papers, movies, internet, needs to be sifted through the grid of the question -- is it according to Christ? Who He is. What He has done. Who you are in your identification with Him. Whose you now are. Learn to sift all your mental input through the grid of is it "according to Christ" and you will not be deluded, led astray or taken captive by wrong doctrine or wrong thinking!
Christ is the yardstick by which to measure philosophy and all human knowledge. The Gnostics were measuring Christ (!) by their philosophy as liberal theologians ("The Jesus Seminar", Wellhausen's "higher" criticism) do in our day. Paul says that men such as these
These foolish "wise" men have it backwards, for Christ Alone is the measure for all human knowledge (Col 2:3-note) since he is the Creator and the Sustainer of the universe. Christ is the standard by which all doctrine is to be measured, and any system must be rejected if it fails to conform to the revelation God has given us in Christ, the Living Word and the Truth.
DON'T BE FOOLED - People don't like to be fooled, but it happens so often that it might seem as if they do. Far too many people fall for crooked schemes that cost them money, endanger their health, or waste their time. It happens to elderly people when they trust the friendly, persuasive person who comes to the door selling a too-good-to-be-true product. It happens when a shyster tells a couple that he's from the bank, and they need to withdraw money and give it to him to fix a bank error. It happens when a person with health problems buys hundreds of dollars' worth of bogus medicine. It can happen to us too—in spiritual matters. We can be fooled by deceitful presentations that make guarantees far beyond what God has clearly promised. But this isn't anything new. Paul warned about this kind of deception in Colossians 2:8.
So, how do you protect yourself from those who make religious claims that God's Word does not support? By being "rooted and built up in [Christ Jesus] and established in the faith, as you have been taught" (Col 2:7).
Whether listening to a salesperson or to a preacher, be discerning. Don't be fooled. —J D Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Christ is all we need, His truth complete—
KILLED BY IMPROVEMENTS - "I wonder what the apostle Paul would say if he were to visit our churches today. What a beehive of activity! Committees, programs, entertainment without end. But worship is often downplayed, services are cut back, prayer meetings are eliminated. Some call these improvements, but are they really changes for the better? There's a story about a woman who became seriously ill and was taken to the hospital. In the evening her husband asked how she was doing, and he was told that she was improving. For several days her doctor gave the same report. Then one day she unexpectedly died. When the man saw the doctor, he asked, "Well, what did she die of-- improvements?" I know of a church that died of "improvements." The first was to hire a minister with unbiblical ideas. Then the prayer meeting was changed into a literary debating society. Finally, the minister stopped praying from the pulpit. The church is now dead. (similarly the only remnant of the church at Colossae is a plaque with the name "Epaphras"!) I suggest that someone put a tombstone in front of it with these words: "Died of Improvements." There's always room for the right kind of improvements in our churches. But let's make sure they are guided by the life-changing principles of God's Word, not the deadening philosophies of this world. -- M R De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
God put the church in the world;
Barclay: for in him there dwells the fullness of the divine nature (Westminster Press)
Phillips: Yet it is in him that God gives a full and complete expression of himself (within the physical limits that he set himself in Christ). (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: because in Him there is continuously and permanently at home all the fullness of absolute deity in bodily fashion (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: because in him doth tabernacle all the fulness of the Godhead bodily,
FOR IN HIM ALL THE FULLNESS OF DEITY (continually) DWELLS IN BODILY FORM: hoti en autôi katoikei (3SPAI) pân to plêrôma tês theotêtos sômatikôs:
For (hoti) means because. The Colossians were to be on guard for any philosophical "pretenders."
Robertson explains that in context Paul is giving the reason for the
The phrase In Him (see notes on in Christ and in Christ Jesus) is appropriately placed at the beginning of the sentence. In Jesus is all the sufficiency we need in time and eternity. Don't be deluded. Don't let some slick "scholar" take your mind captive with some "new" teaching or some "deeper" truth. Stick with this truth Paul teaches and you will not go wrong!
Harry Ironside said
J Vernon McGee adds that Paul's teaching in this verse
Vincent writes that this verse emphasizes
Fullness (4138) (pleroma from pleroo = make full, fill, fill up) means full measure with emphasis upon completeness. Pleroma is the very word Gnosticism used for the entire host of intermediary beings between God and man. The incarnate Lord, crucified, risen, and ascended is the only Mediator between God and men (1Ti 2:5).
Pleroma - 17v in NT - Matt. 9:16; Mk. 2:21; 6:43; 8:20; Jn. 1:16; Rom. 11:12, 25; 13:10; 15:29; 1 Co. 10:26; Gal. 4:4; Eph. 1:10, 23; 3:19; 4:13; Col. 1:19; 2:9 and is translated in NAS as all it contains(1), fulfillment(2), full(2), fulness(10), patch(2).
It was the Son of God who
John adds that
Paul here disposes of the Docetic theory that Jesus had no human body and the Cerinthian separation between the man Jesus and the Christ. He asserts plainly the deity and the humanity of Jesus Christ in corporeal form.
Of deity (2320) (theotes) means the Godhead, essentially, perfectly, the very personality of God and properly denotes the divine nature, including all attributes and perfections. Theotes is found only here in Scripture.
Vincent adds that
Theotes refers to the essence and nature of the Godhead, not merely the divine perfections and attributes of Divinity (which is a different Greek word (theiotes). Christ, as Man, was not merely God-like, but was in the fullest sense, God.
Dwells (2730) (katoikeo from kata = intensifying preposition which shows permanence + oikeo =occupy a house) means literally to settle down (be at home, dwell) in a place so to take up permanent abode or residence.
Katoikeo is in the present tense signifying that Jesus has always been and will always be God and will never cease to be God. The Gnostics were saying Jesus was not fully God and fully man. The fulness of the God-head was in Christ before the Incarnation for John writes that "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1) and Paul reiterates "He existed in the form of God" (see note Philippians 2:6)
Katoikeo - 44x in 40v - Matt. 2:23; 4:13; 12:45; 23:21; Lk. 11:26; 13:4; Acts 1:19f; 2:5, 9, 14; 4:16; 7:2, 4, 48; 9:22, 32, 35; 11:29; 13:27; 17:24, 26; 19:10, 17; 22:12; Eph. 3:17; Col. 1:19; 2:9; Heb. 11:9; 2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 2:13; 3:10; 6:10; 8:13; 11:10; 13:8, 12, 14; 17:2, 8
The NAS renders katoikeo as dwell(17), dwelling(1), dwells(3), dwells within(1), live(7), lived(7), living(4),resided(1), residents(1), settled(2).
Colossians 2:9 is a text that should be addressed with Jehovah’s Witnesses for it clearly emphasizes that Jesus Christ is God. The Watchtower’s New World Translation attempts to water down the message of this verse by rendering it
But the Watchtower reference edition footnote and their interlinear edition both admit that the Greek word translated as “divine quality” is literally "godship.”
In his devotional Morning and Evening Spurgeon writes that…
WITHIN REACH - A little girl once said to her mother, "Mama, I like you better than God."
"Oh, you must not say that!" replied the mother.
"Yes, but really, Mama, I do like you better than God."
Shocked, her mother inquired, "Dear, what makes you say that?"
The child answered simply, "Because I can hug you!"
That little girl expressed the universal desire of man to have contact with God in a personal, tangible way. A spirit without a
body is difficult for us to conceive, but a real "flesh andbones" man is a concrete reality we can understand. In the incar-
nation, therefore, Jesus brought God within embracing distance.
Someone has said, "The kindest thing God ever did was to become a Man!" It is indeed a thrilling truth. Because of the incarnation, we can now have a much clearer understanding of God, and we can experience a warm, personal contact with Him through the person of His Son. No wonder the apostle John declared, "We beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).
Have you embraced Christ as your Savior? --Herbert Vander Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Octavius Winslow's Devotional - What a glorious declaration is this! How should our hearts leap for joy and our souls thrill with gladness at its very sound! All the "fullness of the Godhead bodily," all the fullness of the Church graciously, all the fullness of the sinner savingly, all the fullness of the Christian sanctifyingly-in a word, all that a poor, fallen, tried son of Adam needs, until he reaches heaven itself, where this fullness has come, is, by God's eternal love and wisdom, treasured up in the "second Adam, the Lord from heaven." God, the "Fountain of life," light, and grace, has ordained that the Lord Jesus Christ, his own beloved Son, should be the one source of supply from where all the salvation of the sinner, all the sanctity of the saint, and all the grace and truth of the Church, collectively and individually, should be derived-"of whose fullness all we have received, and grace for grace."
Amplified: and you are in Him, made full and having come to fullness of life [in Christ you too are filled with the Godhead--Father, Son and Holy Spirit--and reach full spiritual stature]" (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: and you have found this fullness in him who is the head of every power and authority.
Phillips: Moreover, your own completeness is only realised in Him, who is the authority over all authorities, and the supreme power over all powers.
Wuest: And you are in Him, having been completely filled full with the present result that you are in a state of fullness, in Him who is the Head of every principality and authority
Young's Literal: and ye are in him made full, who is the head of all principality and authority,
IN HIM YOU HAVE BEEN MADE COMPLETE: kai este (2PPAI) en auto pepleromenoi (RPPMPN): (Jn 1:16, 1Cor 1:30, Ep 1:23, 3:19, 4:13)
In Him (see related phrases in Christ and in Christ Jesus) is first in the Greek sentence for emphasis, this important phrase denoting the believer's vital union with the Christ our life. Because of our union with Christ every spiritual need is fully met. Possessing Him, we possess all we need for life and godliness. The Colossians needed to understand their position and their possessions in Christ so that they would be able to resist the persuasive arguments of empty philosophy, Mosaic ritual, and worship of angels. The Colossians needed to rest in the truth that all they needed was found in Jesus Christ, a truth brought out in Wesley's great hymn…
JESUS, LOVER OF MY SOUL
by Charles Wesley
Hide me O my Savior,
W H G Thomas writes that Paul's use of the phrase in Him…
Have been made complete (4137) (pleroo from pleres = full) means to be completely filled with one of the implications being that one is to be totally controlled by that which fills them. Paul's main thrust here however is that believers have come to completion, a state of having no deficiency. To be sure we are all "works in progress" but Paul's point is that in contrast to empty philosophy, believers are filled with the One in Whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge! Do we really believe this? Why then do we run hither and yon looking for "deeper truth"?
Pleroo - 86v in the NT - Matt. 1:22; 2:15, 17, 23; 3:15; 4:14; 5:17; 8:17; 12:17; 13:35, 48; 21:4; 23:32; 26:54, 56; 27:9; Mk. 1:15; 14:49; Lk. 1:20; 2:40; 3:5; 4:21; 7:1; 9:31; 21:24; 22:16; 24:44; Jn. 3:29; 7:8; 12:3, 38; 13:18; 15:11, 25; 16:6, 24; 17:12f; 18:9, 32; 19:24, 36; Acts 1:16; 2:2, 28; 3:18; 5:3, 28; 7:23, 30; 9:23; 12:25; 13:25, 27, 52; 14:26; 19:21; 24:27; Rom. 1:29; 8:4; 13:8; 15:13f, 19; 2 Co. 7:4; 10:6; Gal. 5:14; Eph. 1:23; 3:19; 4:10; 5:18; Phil. 1:11; 2:2; 4:18f; Col. 1:9, 25; 2:10; 4:17; 2 Thess. 1:11; 2 Tim. 1:4; Jas. 2:23; 1 Jn. 1:4; 2 Jn. 1:12; Rev. 3:2; 6:11
The NAS renders pleroo as accomplish(1), accomplished(1), amply supplied(1), approaching(1), complete(1),completed(3), completing(1), elapsed(1), fill(3), filled(16), fills(1), finished(1), fulfill(5), fulfilled(35), fully carry out(3), fully come(1), fully preached(1), increasing(1), made complete(2), made full(5), make complete(1), make full(1), passed(2), supply(1).
Complete is the same in the Greek as fulfilled and so God's purpose in creating each man and woman is fulfilled when he or she is truly "in Christ".
MacArthur explains further that
Pleroo is in the perfect tense which indicates a past completed action with present ongoing effect or result and so the verse can be more literally translated "you are in Him, having been filled full, with the present result that you are in a state of fulness.” In other words, the results of our having been filled are eternal.
Wuest adds the warning that believers
Paul is not teaching that believers have been made "little Christ's", a not uncommon new age "theosophy which is specious make - believe" (Moffatt).
Believers are not filled with the fullness of Godhood for Christ alone has that; but, being filled “in Him”, they have in Him all that they need or can have.
Paul prays for the saints at Ephesus
As we learn in Colossians 2:10, positionally believers are complete in Christ, but practically we enjoy only the grace that we apprehend by faith. To make this more practical remember that whatever fills us will control us and if we choose not to be filled with the fullness of God (especially manifest as control by His Spirit), then we have by default, chosen to be filled with self. Paul is praying for the former condition to prevail in their everyday walk and for them to daily surrender their will to His perfect will and control. Paul desires that the saints find the satisfaction of every spiritual want in Christ Alone and not elsewhere. Christ is all believers will ever need and He Alone meets our every need. Let us "drink" only from Christ and not be led astray from
Calvin adds that
J Vernon McGee sums this section up by reminding us that
AND HE IS (continually) THE HEAD OVER ALL RULE AND AUTHORITY: os estin (3SPAI) hê kaphalê pases arches kai exousias:
Is (estin) is present tense indicating Christ's continual headship and the indicative mood emphasizing that this is an actual reality.
Head (2776) (kephale) refers to the head and in this context emphasizes Christ authority, the One over all.
Kephale - 75x in 67v - Matt. 5:36; 6:17; 8:20; 10:30; 14:8, 11; 21:42; 26:7; 27:29f, 37, 39; Mk. 6:24f, 27f; 12:10; 14:3; 15:19, 29; Lk. 7:38, 46; 9:58; 12:7; 20:17; 21:18, 28; Jn. 13:9; 19:2, 30; 20:7, 12; Acts 4:11; 18:6, 18; 21:24; 27:34; Rom. 12:20; 1 Co. 11:3ff, 7, 10; 12:21; Eph. 1:22; 4:15; 5:23; Col. 1:18; 2:10, 19; 1 Pet. 2:7; Rev. 1:14; 4:4; 9:7, 17, 19; 10:1; 12:1, 3; 13:1, 3; 14:14; 17:3, 7, 9; 18:19; 19:12
The NAS renders kephale as chief(3), hair(1), head(50), heads(19), very(2).
Lightfoot adds that the image of Christ's headship
Robertson writes that
Paul had earlier taught that
All (3956) (pas) means all without exception. Paul emphasizes that the One in Whom the saints themselves are complete is above all and is not subservient to any angelic or human hierarchy. This truth should give the Colossians confidence to boldly resist any assaults on the Person and Position of the Messiah. All they need they have in Christ in Whom they are complete.
Eadie adds that
When God raised Christ
Authority (1849) (exousia is derived from éxesti = it is permitted, it is lawful meaning liberty of action. Exousía in short refers to delegated authority and combines the idea of the "right and the might", these attributes having been granted to someone. Exousía means the power to do something and was a technical term used in the law courts, of a legal right.
Vine explains that exousía evolved
Vincent adds that
To the Philippians Paul wrote of the risen Christ that
The parallel truth is reiterated by the writer of Hebrews who describes Christ as
Peter adds that Christ
Vine comments that
MacDonald adds that
SINGLE SATISFACTION - A friend of mine, Elizabeth-Ann, is in her sixties, single, and radiantly contented. "But how is that possible?" she is often asked. To answer this question she wrote a book titled Complete As One, which is based on Colossians 2:10. She recalls being challenged years ago by a comment about a friend: "You know what I appreciate about June? She's so satisfied with Christ."
That phrase, "satisfied with Christ," left a profound impact on Elizabeth-Ann. She was 21 at the time and had been converted 3 years earlier. Her friends were getting engaged and married, and she was happy for them. But she was hearing comments like, "Have you seen how radiant Mary is?" and "I've never seen John so happy." This set her to thinking: These friends are Christians. Certainly it is appropriate for them to radiate happiness, but why do they have to get a partner before they experience the joy and fulfillment Christians should have? So she began praying, "Lord, I don't want to marry until I have learned to be satisfied with You."
Even though Elizabeth-Ann is still single, she believes that God has answered her prayer. She is rooted and built up in Christ. And that's the key to completeness--whether married or single. --J E Yoder (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
The world is filled with so much good
IT COMES WITH THE TICKET - Author Peter Kreeft tells the story of a poor European family who saved for years to buy tickets to sail to America. Once at sea, they carefully rationed the cheese and bread they had brought for the journey.
After 3 days, the boy complained to his father, "I hate cheese sandwiches. If I don't eat anything else before we get to America, I'm going to die." Giving the boy his last nickel, the father told him to go to the ship's galley and buy an ice-cream cone.
When the boy returned a long time later with a wide smile, his worried dad asked, "Where were you?"
"In the galley, eating three ice-cream cones and a steak dinner!"
"All that for a nickel?"
"Oh, no, the food is free," the boy replied. "It comes with the ticket."
The apostle Paul warned his readers about false teachers who were offering them "bread and cheese" instead of "steak." They were in danger of forgetting Christ's sufficiency and relying on their own self-effort (2:8, 20-23). We who have trusted Christ for salvation have been assured not only of safe passage to heaven but also of everything we need to live for Him here and now (Col. 1:13-14; 2:6-15).
Christ has all we need. It comes with the "ticket."-- Dennis J. De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
God freely gives His grace to all