Avoid Being Cheated 8/13/2023
“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” (Colossians 2:8).
Paul’s warning here is for the Colossian Christians to take special care that they do not allow anyone to deceive them by promoting the “tradition of men” over scriptural commandment—in so doing, the Colossians would be “cheated” out of the spiritual riches that they were enjoying in Christ.
Some scholars believe this verse refers to Judaistic heresies, but the emphasis seems to be upon human traditions, not those of Jewish origin nor those from Christ. Other scriptures teach the same principle—we must obey God and not man.
Traditions are “a giving over either by word of mouth or in writing.” In contrast, an “ordinance” is “a rule established by authority.”
Traditions in and of themselves are not wrong unless they override scriptural teaching—that is, unless they teach something that contradicts what is stated or implied in a scriptural ordinance or unless they add to what the scriptures authorize.