2:8 spoil. “Spoil”—that is, “despoil,” or “lead captive.”
2:8 philosophy. It is significant that, despite the prominence of philosophy in the entire Graeco/Roman world, this is the only mention of the word “philosophy” (from a combination of two Greek words, meaning “love of wisdom”) in the Bible, and here God warns us 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 is made true wisdom unto us (I Corinthians 1:30) and in whom are stored all the treasures of true wisdom and true knowledge. As Paul had already written, Christ had created and was sustaining everything (Colossians 1:16-17). Any philosophy centered in men or so-called “gods,” rather than in the true God of creation, is bound to be false and harmful.