Robertson's Word Pictures (NT)
Take heed (blepete). Present active imperative second person plural of blepw, common verb for warning like our "look out," "beware," "see to it."
Lest there shall be any one (mh tiv estai). Negative purpose with the future indicative, though the aorist subjunctive also occurs as in II Corinthians 12:6.
That maketh spoil of you (o sulagwgwn). Articular present active participle of sulagwgew, late and rare (found here first) verb (from sulh, booty, and agw, to lead, to carry), to carry off as booty a captive, slave, maiden. Only here in N.T. Note the singular here. There was some one outstanding leader who was doing most of the damage in leading the people astray.
Through his philosophy (dia thv filosofiav). The only use of the word in the N.T. and employed by Paul because the Gnostics were fond of it. Old word from filosofov (filos, sofov, one devoted to the pursuit of wisdom) and in N.T. only in Acts 17:18. Paul does not condemn knowledge and wisdom (see verse Colossians 2:2), but only this false philosophy, "knowledge falsely named" (yeudwnumov gnwsiv, I Timothy 6:20), and explained here by the next words.
And vain deceit (kai kenhv apathv). Old word for trick, guile, like riches (Matthew 13:22). Descriptive of the philosophy of the Gnostics.
Tradition (paradosin). Old word from paradidwmi, a giving over, a passing on. The word is colourless in itself. The tradition may be good (II Thessalonians 2:15; II Thessalonians 3:6) or bad (Mark 7:3). Here it is worthless and harmful, merely the foolish theories of the Gnostics.
Rudiments (stoixeia). Old word for anything in a stoixov (row, series) like the letters of the alphabet, the materials of the universe (II Peter 3:10, II Peter 3:12), elementary teaching (Hebrews 5:12), elements of Jewish ceremonial training (Acts 15:10; Galatians 4:3, Galatians 4:9), the specious arguments of the Gnostic philosophers as here with all their aeons and rules of life.
And not after Christ (kai ou kata Xriston). Christ is the yardstick by which to measure philosophy and all phases of human knowledge. The Gnostics were measuring Christ by their philosophy as many men are doing today. They have it backwards. Christ is the measure for all human knowledge since he is the Creator and the Sustainer of the universe.
Other Robertson's Word Pictures (NT) entries containing Colossians 2:8:
2 Thessalonians 2:15
2 Peter 3:10
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