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:
8. Videte ne quis vos praedetur per philosophiam et inanem deceptionem, secundum traditionem hominum secundum elementa mundi, 1 et non secundum Christum:
9. For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
9. Quoniam in ipso habitat omnis plenitudo Deitatis corporaliter. 2
10. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
10. Et estis in ipso completi, qui est caput omnis principatus et potestatis,
11. In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ;
11. In quo etiam estis circumcisi circumcisione non manufacta, exuendo corpus peccatorum carnis, circumcisione, inquam, Christi.
12. Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
12. Consepulti cum ipso per baptismum, in quo et consurrexistis per fidem efficaciae Dei, qui suscitavit illum ex mortuis.
Through philosophy. As many have mistakingly imagined that philosophy is here condemned by Paul, we must point out what he means by this term. Now, in my opinion, he means everything that men contrive of themselves when wishing to be wise through means of their own understanding, and that not without a specious pretext of reason, so as to have a plausible appearance. For there is no difficulty in rejecting those contrivances of men which have nothing to set them off, 4 but in rejecting those that captivate men's minds by a false conceit of wisdom. Or should any one prefer to have it expressed in one word, philosophy is no thing else than a persuasive speech, which insinuates itself into the minds of men by elegant and plausible arguments. Of such a nature, I acknowledge, will all the subtleties of philosophers be, if they are inclined to add anything of their own to the pure word of God. Hence philosophy will be nothing else than a corruption of spiritual doctrine, if it is mixed up with Christ. Let us, however, bear in mind, that under the term philosophy Paul has merely condemned all spurious doctrines which come forth from man's head, whatever appearance of reason they may have. What immediately follows, as to vain deceit, I explain thus; "Beware of
According to the tradition of men. He points out more precisely what kind of philosophy he reproves, and at the same time convicts it of vanity on a twofold account -- because it is not according to Christ, but according to the inclinations of men; 6 and because it consists in the
But what is meant by the phrase --
9. For in him dwelleth. Here we have the reason why those
Further, when he says that the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ, he means simply, that God is wholly found in him, so that he who is not contented with Christ alone, desires something better and more excellent than God. The sum is this, that God has manifested himself to us fully and perfectly in Christ.
Interpreters explain in different ways the adverb bodily. For my part, I have no doubt that it is employed -- not in a strict sense -- as meaning substantially. 13For he places this manifestation of God, which we have in Christ, to all others that have ever been made. For God has often manifested himself to men, but it has been only in part. In Christ, on the other hand, he communicates himself to us wholly. He has also manifested himself to us otherwise, but it is in figures, or by power and grace. In Christ, on the other hand, he has appeared to us essentially. Thus the statement of John holds good:
He that hath the Son, hath the Father also. (1 John 2 23.)
For those who possess Christ have God truly present, and enjoy Him wholly.
10. And ye are complete in him. He adds, that this perfect essence of Deity, which is in Christ, is profitable to us in this respect, that we are also perfect in him. "As to God's dwelling wholly in Christ, it is in order that we, having obtained him, may posses in him an entire perfection." Those, therefore, who do not rest satisfied with Christ alone, do injury to God in two ways, for besides detracting from the glory of God, by desiring something above his perfection, they are also ungrateful, inasmuch as they seek elsewhere what they already have in Christ. Paul, however, does not mean that the perfection of Christ is transfused into us, but that there are in him resources from which we may be filled, that nothing may be wanting to us.
Who is the head. He has introduced this clause again on account of the angels, meaning that the angels, also, will be ours, if we have Christ. But of this afterwards. In the mean time, we must observe this, that we are hemmed in, above and below, with railings, 14 that our faith may not deviate even to the slightest extent from Christ.
11. In whom ye also are circumcised. From this it appears, that he has a controversy with the false apostles, who mixed the law with the gospel, and by that means made Christ have, as it were, two faces. He specifies, however, one instance by way of example. He proves that the circumcision of Moses is not merely unnecessary, but is opposed to Christ, because it destroys the spiritual
By the putting off of the body. He employs the term body, by an elegant metaphor, to denote a mass, made up of all vices. For as we are encompassed by our bodies, so we are surrounded on all sides by an accumulation of vices. And as the body is composed of various members, each of which has its own actings and offices, so from that accumulation of corruption all sins take their rise as members of the entire body. There is a similar manner of expression in Romans 6:13.
He takes the term flesh, as he is wont, to denote corrupt nature. The body of the sins of the flesh, therefore, is the old man with his deeds; only, there is a difference in the manner of expression, for here he expresses more properly the mass of vices which proceed from corrupt nature. He says that we obtain this 17through Christ, so that unquestionably an entire regeneration is his benefit. It is he that circumcises the foreskin of our heart, or, in other words, mortifies all the lusts of the flesh, not with the hand, but by his Spirit. Hence there is in him the reality of the figure.
12. Buried with him, in baptism. He explains still more clearly the manner of spiritual circumcision -- because, being
When he says that we are
In which also ye are risen. He magnifies the grace which we obtain in Christ, as being greatly superior to circumcision. "We are not only," says he, "ingrafted into Christ's death, but we also rise to newness of life:" hence the more injury is done to Christ by those who endeavor to bring us back to circumcision. He adds, by faith, for unquestionably it is by it that we receive what is presented to us in baptism. But what faith? That of his efficacy or operation, by which he means, that faith is founded upon the power of God. As, however, faith does not wander in a confused and undefined contemplation, as they speak, of divine power, he intimates what efficacy it ought to have in view -- that by which
1 "Selon les rudimens du monde;" -- "according to the rudiments of the world."
2 "Corporellement, ou, essenciellement;" -- "Bodily, er, essentially."
3 Our Author evidently refers to what he had said as to the advantage to be derived from steadfastness in the faith. See p. 178. -- Ed.
4 "Quand elles n'ont ni monstre ni couleur;" -- "When they have neither show nor appearance."
5 See p. 148, n. 2.
6 "Selon les ordonnances et plaisirs des hommes;" -- "According to the appoint -- ments and inclinations of men."
7 "Es choses visibles de ce monde;" -- "In the visible things of this world."
8 "Rudimens, ou elemens du monde;" -- "Rudiments, or elements of the world."
9 "Toutes leurs inuentions;" -- "All their inventions."
10 "Ce que Christ a commencé seulement;" -- "What Christ has only commenced."
11 "Vn tel outrage fait au Fils de Dieu;" -- "Such an outrage committed upon the Son of God."
12 "D'vn vray Christ;" -- "Of a true Christ."
14 See Calvin on the Corinthians, vol. 1:p. 474, n. 2.
15 "Maintenant le fruit et l'vsage d'icelle est aneanti;" -- "The fruit and advantage of it are now made void."
16 "Le signe qui la figuroit s'esuanouit comme vn ombre;" -- "The sign which prefigured it vanishes like a shadow."
17 "Ce despouillement;" -- "This divesture."
18 "Du gouuernement et dispensation que Dieu a ordonné en son Eglise;" -- "From the government and dispensation which God has appointed in his Church."
19 "Afin que la, signification ne soit vaine, comme d'vne chose qui n'est point:" -- "That the signification may not be vain, as of a thing that is not."