Colossians 2:4 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Colossians 2:4, NIV: I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.

Colossians 2:4, ESV: I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments.

Colossians 2:4, KJV: And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.

Colossians 2:4, NASB: I say this so that no one will deceive you with persuasive arguments.

Colossians 2:4, NLT: I am telling you this so no one will deceive you with well-crafted arguments.

Colossians 2:4, CSB: I am saying this so that no one will deceive you with arguments that sound reasonable.

What does Colossians 2:4 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

According to Paul, wisdom and knowledge are found in Christ (Colossians 2:3). For this reason, Paul can encourage the Colossian believers not to be fooled by convoluted arguments from non-believers. The Greek word Paul uses is paralogizētai, which means "to fool, cheat by trickery, or deceive." It carries a clear sense of dishonesty, not merely confusion. In other words, the challenges Paul refers to are not complex arguments, but deceptive arguments: those which seem believable, but which are actually false.

At the time this was written, false teachers such as the Gnostics may have already been attempting to deceive the Colossian believers. Paul's letters were frequently written to prevent any deception or delusion (2 Thessalonians 2:11). Isaiah 41:29 also emphasized that idols are "all a delusion."

The "plausible arguments" Paul mentions are likely a reference to the human philosophies which he will mention later in the chapter. Human arguments may appear wise, but they are foolish in comparison to God's wisdom. In 2 Corinthians 10:5 Paul would write, "We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ." Human knowledge often sets itself against God. Though wisdom is of great value (as the Proverbs proclaim), true wisdom comes from God and His Word, not human tricks.