A handful of manuscripts transpose ὑμᾶς ἔσται. Other than that, there are no textual critical issues to treat.
Contrary to contemporary trends in the Christian Church, false theologies and false philosophies not only can be, they are in fact legitimate perils for the human soul. I fully recognize that to the majority of uncritical, postmodern Christians, this assessment is simply alarmist and a gross exaggeration from an old-fashioned dogmatist. But to the apostle Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the warning was in his day and is in our day, enormously relevant. It vividly expresses the danger that the readers may be “carried off as plunder” by an alien and fundamentally anti-Christian form of teaching.
κατὰ τὴν παράδοσιν τῶν ἀνθρώπων. This prepositional phrase is translated “according to the tradition of men.” What is clear is that the description is pejorative: the “philosophy” is the product of mere human speculation and does not put its adherents in touch with divine truth. One is reminded of Jesus’ scathing rebuke of the religious leaders of His environment, for they continually nullified the Word of God because of their human tradition. The idea is that authority has shifted from God to man. Rather than relying on God’s self-authenticating revelation for knowledge and understanding of truth, men rely on their own rational abilities and from autonomous human reason, they construct traditions based principally on human conjecture and philosophical speculation. In the end, finite human speculation is lauded as intellectually superior to and far more plausible than the assertions of Christian theism, which are based on the self-authenticating divine revelation of the ontological Triune God.
κατὰ τὰ στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου, according to the principles (spirits) of the world. This is admittedly a difficult text to interpret. The prevailing view, however, is that stoicheia here means elementary principles or basic principles of the world as opposed to spirits. This word was generally not used to denote spirits until after NT times. The argument is complex and beyond the scope of this blog. Suffice it to say, we have good evidence for landing on “principles” as oppose to spirits. Louw-Nida defines it as basic principles which underlie the nature of something—‘basic principles, elementary concepts.
These are, or this is a philosophy that rests upon the basic or elementary principles of men. The word appears 7 times in the GNT. Peter uses it to refer to the elements of the physical earth. Elsewhere, it refers to basic elements or principles of a system of belief. This points to the fact that the fundamental principles of worldly thought are antithetical to the basic principles and concepts of Christian theism. The philosophical system of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle are by nature, antithetical to the Philosophy of Christ. For example, when worldly philosophers establish parameters for justification of knowledge, those parameters are not going to rest upon Christian principles. In fact, they will be quite the contrary. The principles of worldly philosophy will be obviously hostile to the principles of Christian theism. Indeed, the deficiency witnessed in popular apologetic methods today is due to the wholesale failure on their part to recognize the basic antithetical components of worldly philosophy and their failure to take the appropriate steps to challenge it from the outset of the discussion.