Having just asked this question of Roman Catholicism, which included a fairly lengthy attempt at defining the "simplicity that is in Christ" (2 Corinthians 11:3) from a biblical perspective and, in response to an immediate comment, I would like to ask this:

According to Roman Catholicism, what is meant by this phrase "the simplicity that is in Christ" which Paul was concerned that the Corinthian minds were being corrupted from?

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:3

  • 1
    "from a biblical perspective" no, from a Protestant perspective. There is a difference
    – eques
    Commented Aug 31, 2023 at 0:24
  • @eques The two are not mutually exclusive :) Commented Aug 31, 2023 at 12:27
  • No, but when you ask a question for the Catholic saying that elsewhere you described the Biblical perspective, you are in fact implying the Catholic perspective is not Biblical.
    – eques
    Commented Aug 31, 2023 at 14:47
  • @eques But I did ask this question asking after the Catholic perspective in case it differs. Any theological perspective may line up with the biblical perspective or it may not. Sometimes theological points are built on Scripture and sometimes they tweak Scripture to fit. That is a danger of all theological fealty. Commented Sep 1, 2023 at 11:41
  • My point is your implication that Catholic is not Biblical and the corresponding other implication that yours is necessarily Biblical rather than a particular interpretation thereof. This site is supposed to be denomination-neutral, but often people do things like that wherein they treat their school of thought as though it is obvious and neutral
    – eques
    Commented Sep 1, 2023 at 13:41

1 Answer 1


St. Thomas Aquinas commenting on this verse writes:

And fall from the simplicity that is in Christ. That is simple which lacks composition. Therefore, the false apostles formed one sect with Judaism and the Gospel, commanding that the ceremonies of the law be observed along with the Gospel. Therefore, they fall from the simplicity of Christ, who, being seduced by the false apostles, observe those ceremonies along with the Gospel; and this the Apostle feared about the Corinthians: the integrity of the just guides them (Prov 11:3)

Aquinas' Commentary on 2 Corinthians C11 L1

Thus, Aquinas sees "simplicity" as being opposed to a form of duplicity or composition between the Gospel and the Mosaic law. The early church was plagued by a form of heresy known as Judaizing whereby following the law of Moses was presumed required of the baptized.

  • 2
    So the Catholic understanding limits this term to the mixture of Gospel and Mosaic Law only? What about Colossians 2:16-23, which speaks poorly of the commandments and doctrines of men? Commented Aug 31, 2023 at 12:07
  • I am making no claims about "limits"; I'm only saying how a prominent Catholic theologian commenting on the passage where you derive the name of the concept interprets the context. Additionally, Augustine in commenting on the account of Jacob being blessed by Isaac discusses whether the adjective form of the word rendered here as simplicity means without guile or simple.
    – eques
    Commented Aug 31, 2023 at 14:50
  • 1
    "That is simple which lacks composition" is Aquinas's definition of simplicity. You appear to be using "the simplicity which is in Christ" to be a specific type of simplicity or a conceptual name; Aquinas on the other hand doesn't seem to be understanding it quite so distinctly
    – eques
    Commented Aug 31, 2023 at 14:52
  • 1
    I actually don't disagree with "That is simple which lacks composition" as a base understanding but, within these 7 other occurrences of the word in Scripture (Romans 12:8, 2 Cor. 1:12, 2 Cor. 8:2, 2 Cor. 9:11 & 13, Ephesians 6:5, Colossians 3:22), there are wider nuances which are in keeping with Thayer's definition. I will accept your answer but I think Aquinas has missed that the Galatians (4:8-11) were not mixing in Mosaic but pagan religious law. When Paul says 'law' he means 'religious law' in general unless otherwise noted. Commented Sep 1, 2023 at 11:35
  • " but I think Aquinas has missed that the Galatians " Pray tell, how did he miss when he isn't commenting on it.
    – eques
    Commented Sep 1, 2023 at 13:39

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .