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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Expounding Colossians 2:8-9

Expounding Colossians 2:8-9 [Print Document]

Colossians 2:8-9
“[8] 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. [9] For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.”

Paul, the apostle, wrote about men who would take people by way of carnal reasoning and worthless deception (which is not based on God’s Word). They will mislead people about Who Jesus Christ is and about what He said.

“Beware lest any man spoil you…”

Let’s look into the meanings of some words. The Greek word for spoil is esomai. It means: “may have” as in: ‘He may have that item.’ Spoil is defined by Webster’s 1828 dictionary as: “1. To plunder;...” [and] “2. To seize by violence; to take by force; …” [and] “4. To corrupt; to vitiate; to mar.” (Note: Vitiated means: “Depraved; rendered impure; rendered defective and void.” [Webster’s 1828 dictionary])

Paul is saying that false teachers can take you or seize you, with the idea of corrupting you, by way of their philosophies and deception.

“...lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit...”

In Greek, philosophy is called philosophia. It refers to the love of wisdom (i.e. worldly wisdom). Philosophy is defined by Webster’s 1828 dictionary as: “3. Reasoning; argumentation.” The philosophies false teachers promote are really just their carnal reasoning, which is contrary to God’s Word (See Romans 8:5-8).

The Greek word for vain is kenos. It refers to being worthless or vain.
The 1828 dictionary defines vain as “1. Empty; worthless; having no substance, value or importance.” The arguments or reasonings of false teachers are of no value when it comes to God’s Kingdom.

This dictionary defines deceit as: “1. Literally, a catching or ensnaring. Hence, the misleading of a person; the leading of another person to believe what is false, or not to believe what is true, and thus to ensnare him;...” In Greek, deceit is called apaté. It is defined as: “deceit, deception, deceitfulness, delusion.” False teachers lead people to believe information that is not true, instead of biblical truth. This falsehood ensnares the listener.

“...after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world…” (Colossians 2:8)

The Greek word for rudiment is stoicheion. It refers to an “element” or a “principle” or a “rudiment”. The 1828 dictionary defines rudiment as: “1. A first principle or element; that which is to be first learnt…” [and] “2. The original of any thing in its first form. ...”

False teachers can take us by way of using basic ideas common to the carnal mind (i.e. rudiments of the world). That is how they can deceive us to believe that once you are saved, you are “always” saved (See Endnote), and that “you can live in sin” and still go to Heaven. (Of course, many well-meaning Christians believe that once you are saved, you can never fall away, but does the Bible actually teach that? Please click to read more here.)

The carnal mind believes that sin is “not” so wrong. It also holds the idea that there will be “no” consequences for ungodly actions, such as lying or cheating. These are basic beliefs of the world. The world, for the most part, believes that they will go to a place of paradise, and that their sins will be overlooked because they think they are “not” so bad, after all.

This false belief is ingrained in our carnal mind. That is what fuels people to accept that God will let them enter Heaven, even though they are living in willful sin. For example, some people who go to Church believe that they can live with a girlfriend (or boyfriend) and still go to Heaven. But, Galatians 5:19-21 says that such people are committing fornication and shall not inherit God’s Kingdom, if they don’t repent and forsake their sin. Revelation 21:7 says that such people shall be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone.

“...after the tradition of men…” “...and not after Christ.”

Returning to Colossians 2:8, let’s look at the word tradition. Paradosis, the Greek word for tradition, means: “an instruction, tradition.” Its definition includes: “...a giving over which is done by word of mouth or in writing,...” Webster’s 1828 dictionary says this about tradition: “1. Delivery; the act of delivering into the hands of another.” [and] “3. That which is handed down from age to age by oral communication.”

The tradition of men is what men teach about any subject from psychology to science, and any beliefs that men hold, including beliefs about sin, judgment, and Hell. These beliefs of men are not after Christ. The Greek word for after is kata. In this context, it means: “...according to”. The 1828 dictionary defines after as: “4. In imitation of; as, to make a thing after a model.” [and] “5. According to; …”

What false teachers teach is according to the beliefs of the world and of the carnal mind, and not according to the person of Jesus Christ and His Word. Their teachings are against God and His Word because they twist scripture to fit their beliefs, which conform to the ways of the world. Romans 8:6-7 says: “[6] For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. [7] Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”


Brothers and sisters in Christ, let’s look to God and His Word (if we aren’t), and meditate on it so that we will grow and get to know God better. Let’s move onto the meat of God’s Word, and not focus on baby food (if we are only eating a little bit of God’s Word). Baby food is good, but digesting and nourishing ourselves in God’s riches, from His Word, is even better.

God promises, in His Word, to provide for all our needs and to abundantly satisfy us with the fatness (i.e. abundance) of His house (Psalm 36:7-9). Everything we receive from God is a gift through Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:19). Salvation, food, clothing, shelter, joy, godly pleasure (not sinful pleasure), spiritual food, fellowship with God, and everything else are gifts from God (Phil. 4:19). God wants us to be wealthy with spiritual wealth, primarily. If physical wealth was God’s focus, He wouldn’t have warned us that the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:9-10). Let us forsake unbiblical teaching and forsake sin (i.e. repent), and look to God for help (James 4:5-10). As we look to God, God will bless us with His Presence, peace, and fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11).

Psalm 16:11
“[11] Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

Psalm 36:7-9
“[7] How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.
[8] They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.
[9] For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.”

If you are coming here as a non-Christian, I encourage you to read this. God desires to have fellowship with you, as you make Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior.



Is the “once saved, always saved” teaching correct biblical doctrine? Many teachers have taught that once you are saved from sin through Jesus Christ, you are always saved. They call this "eternal security." But, is this biblically sound? Does the Bible actually teach that born-again Christians can never fall away? We will examine this teaching in this second part of our article on Galatians 5:1. To learn more, please click here: Galatians Chapter 5, Verse 1 — False Grace Vs. True Grace (Part 2 of 2).


Webster, Noah. American Dictionary of the English Language. United Books Press, Inc., 2009. (i.e. Webster's 1828 dictionary)

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