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Heretical Problems in the Light of Union With Christ Part I, Exhortation Against False Teachers (Col. 2:4-8)

Outline Overview

    I. Doctrinal: The Person and Work of Christ (1:1-2:3)

    II. Polemical: The Heretical Problems in Light of Union With Christ (2:4-3:4a)

      A. Exhortation Against False Teachers (2:4-8)

        1. Exhortation Regarding the Methods of False Teachers (2:4-5)

        2. Exhortation to Progress in the Faith (2:6-7)

        3. Exhortation Regarding the Philosophy of False Teachers (2:8)

Introduction

In the passage before us, 2:4-8, Paul moves from the doctrinal focus on the saving life and work of Jesus Christ to the polemical where he directly addresses the issue of the false teachers facing the Colossians. His arguments, however, are never far removed from the doctrinal truth regarding the person and work of Christ. What is now said is based on who Jesus is, one in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and on what He has accomplished by His death for our sin, our complete reconciliation to God. With the exhortation regarding the methods of the false teachers (2:4-5), Paul sets forth the dangers facing the Colossians. With the exhortation to progress in the faith (2:6-7), he sets forth the means of protection: living in Christ through the four qualities so needed in this life. Finally, with the exhortation regarding the philosophy of the false teachers (2:8), he warns them regarding the danger of being kidnapped by their empty philosophy.

Exhortation Against False Teaching (2:4-8)

The Methods of the False Teachers (2:4-5)

2:4 I say this so that no one will deceive you through arguments that sound reasonable. 2:5 For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your morale and the firmness of your faith in Christ.

“I say this” looks back to what the apostle has just affirmed regarding the person of Christ and Paul’s desire for his readers to have the wealth of assurance that comes from a clear understanding in the knowledge of Christ. In other words, why should anyone even want to listen to the false arguments of these heretical teachers and their claims of special knowledge and insight when they have the One in whom are found all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge? Thus, the apostle expresses his purpose: “that no one will deceive you through arguments that only sound reasonable as persuasive as they may seem.”

“Deceive” is paralogizomai, which means literally “to reason aside,” and then “to defraud, delude, distort.” This word is used in the Septuagint in Genesis 29:25 of Jacob’s complaint to Laban because Laban had tricked him with Leah rather than Rachael. The false teachers at Colosae were attempting to trick the Colossians by the method they employed. The method the false teachers used is seen in the statement, “through arguments that sound reasonable.” The term here is pithanologia, “persuasive speech.” It is derived from pithanos, “persuasive,” and logos, “word, argument, speech.” In this context Paul uses it in a negative sense of speech that sounds convincing and reasonable, but is actually false. This word only occurs here in the New Testament, but in “… other literature it is a word of the law court and refers to the lawyer’s persuasive speech and its power to influence an audience towards an unjust verdict. In Classical Greek the word referred to the use of probable arguments as opposed to demonstrable arguments.”193

The false teachers were probably promoting some of the tenets of biblical Christianity to make their system of knowledge sound good and reasonable, but any deviation from the truth is a distortion of the truth and plain heresy. Regardless of what they were saying, these false teachers were failing to hold fast to Christ as the supreme head from whom the body of Christ must draw her life and all her resources (2:18-19).

With verse 5, the apostle explains the reason for his protective strategy. Though physically absent from them, he was nevertheless with them in spirit so that he had been rejoicing to see their spiritual stability in the face of the false teaching. “Rejoicing to see (literally, “rejoicing and seeing”) your morale and the firmness of your faith in Christ” contains two military terms that serve to bring out the reality of the spiritual warfare we are engaged in as Christians. These terms may have been suggested by the circumstances of Paul’s imprisonment. “Morale,” the translation of the NET Bible, is the Greek taxis, “order, fixed succession, discipline,” and even “unbroken ranks.” This reminds us of a military division drawn up in ranks. “Firmness” is stereoma, “steadfastness, solid bulwark, phalanx.” In ancient times, a phalanx consisted of a formation of infantry carrying overlapping shields and long spears. This method of defense and offense was developed by Philip II of Macedon and used by Alexander the Great.

The true Church should have in it a soldier’s discipline. As the Revised Standard Version has it, Paul is glad to hear of the order and of the firmness of the faith of the Colossians. These two words present a vivid picture, for they are both military words. The word translated order is taxis, which means a rank or an ordered arrangement. The Church should be like an ordered army, with every man in his appointed place, ready and willing to obey the word of command. The word translated firmness is stereoma, which means a solid bulwark, an immovable phalanx. It describes an army set out in an unbreakable square, solidly immovable against the shock of the enemy’s charge. Within the Church there should be disciplined order and strong steadiness, like the order and steadiness of a trained and disciplined body of troops.194

The content of their solidarity was their “faith in Christ.” Though being attacked by the false teaching, they had not broken ranks to follow the false teaching of the heretics pursuing the church at Colosae.

Exhortation to Progress in the Faith (2:6-7)

2:6 Therefore, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 2:7 rooted and built up in him and firm in your faith just as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

In verses 6-7 we see our protection against all false teaching, living or walking in Christ with the four qualities listed: (1) rooted and (2) built up in Him, (3) firm in the faith, and (4) overflowing with thanksgiving. The “therefore” is transitional and reflects back on the previous warning in verses 4-5. In view of that, here is what is so needed. The words, “just as you have received,” pose a slight problem of interpretation. “Just as” is the Greek adverb hos, “as, just as, like as.” But does it refer to the principle upon which they received Christ, by faith, or the form in which they received Him, namely the doctrinal truth about the person and work of Christ? Johnson has this to say:

(1) Popular expositors have often explained the passages as if Paul were saying: You received Christ by the initial exercise of faith; now, therefore, continue your Christian life by a constant trust in Him. Life begins and proceeds upon the principle of faith. The truth is most certainly a New Testament one, but does Paul have it in mind here?

(2) On the other hand, there is substantial support for a different interpretation, namely, that Paul is exhorting his readers to let their conduct accord with the truths they received. The hos would then refer to the form in which they received Christ, i.e., the doctrines. By the first-mentioned view the hos would refer to the principle upon which they received Christ, i.e., faith. As Moule points out, by this second view there is a virtual identification of the tradition of the facts about Christ with the believer’s experience of the Lord Himself (cf. 1:7; Eph 4:20–21). This interpretation is supported by the use of paralambano in Paul (AV, “received”), which almost always refers to the reception of truth through transmission (cf. 4:6; 1 Cor 11:23; 15:1, 3; Gal 1:9, 12). The expression in verse seven, “as ye have been taught,” adds further support. But the context is most decisive. The apostle has been warning (vv. 4–5) and will continue (v. 8) to warn against the heretical teaching at Colosse. In the midst of the admonition there very appropriately is placed the exhortation to persist in the genuine teaching. Paul, then, means in verse six: As you Colossians received the Messiah, Jesus the Lord, in the preaching of Epaphras, in accord with the truth of his preaching, and not in accord with the enticing words of the heretics, continue your Christian life. The present tense in peripateite (AV, “walk”) stresses the permanent character of this walk in the Lord. Keep walking in Him.195

“Received” is in the aorist tense and serves to stress the fact and decisiveness of their reception of the gospel message about the person and work of Christ. But who exactly is this person that they received?“ Literally, “the Christ (the Messiah), Jesus the (as) Lord.”

… Thus the Colossians had received the apostolic gospel centring on the Person of Christ… Faith had laid hold, not merely of tradition, but on a Person. It was the Christ, the only begotten Son of God, whom they had received. The order of the title here underscores the constant emphasis of the Epistle on the divine nature of the Son. He is first Christ; but faith saw in Him Jesus the Saviour, the One who stooped to man’s need by Himself becoming man, and bearing the guilt of man’s sins. And faith, in obedience, had acknowledged that this Saviour must be Lord…196

“The Lord” which carries the concept of “as Lord” to stress His divine nature, adds further support to the interpretation that Paul has in mind, the form of doctrine they originally received from Epaphras. “Lord” lays stress on the person of Christ as the pre-eminent and sovereign Lord and creator and head of the church as described in chapter one.

With the words, “continue to live your lives in him,” Paul gets down to the basic issue of life in the Son who is our Lord and Savior. Literally and for emphasis by word order, the text reads, “in Him be continually walking.” The emphatic position of “in Him” stresses the fact that He is the sphere that is to occupy our walk. “Walk” is peripateo, “to walk,” and then figuratively, “conduct one’s life, live.” The term “walk” is picturesque in that it portrays the steady progress of one’s life taken one step at a time. With every step we are to draw upon His life as the source, force, and course of our lives. I am reminded of Proverbs 3:5-6:

3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. 3:6 Acknowledge him in all your ways, and he will make your paths straight.

First, to move away from full dependence on Christ to follow the false teachers is to lean on one’s own understanding. Second, “acknowledge him” is literally “know him.” As this applies to Christ, our sovereign Lord and Savior, “to know Him in all our ways” means we are to have a constant mental awareness of who Christ is and what we have in Him as our sovereign Savior and Lord. This would include complete trust in His person and work for life and godliness, consequential submission to Him as Lord, and obedience to Him through the indwelling Spirit whom He has sent to indwell us. To conduct our lives in Christ calls for a life of trust and obedience in which the believer sees the Lord in every event and relies on him.

This life or walk in Christ is now developed by four participles that describe what it means to walk or live in Christ as our protection against any false teaching that seeks to add to the fullness of what is ours in Christ, the Lord. The first three participles are in the passive voice and reflect God’s activity and work of grace in the process. We must cooperate and respond, but it is He who is at work in us both to will and to do in us according to His purposes. It is He who changes and transforms us, who, as Proverbs 3:6 puts it, “will make our paths straight” as we learn to trust Him with our lives.

      Participle # 1: Rooted or Having been Rooted (in Him)

“Rooted” is from the verb rhizoo, “to cause to take root, to become firmly rooted or fixed.” But it is significant that the tense is perfect. Paul has in mind that which took place in the past, but continues to have its influence in the present. Through faith in the person and work of Christ, there was an organic union established, rooted in Him, but that still becomes the perennial source of life for the believer’s growth and health. We can never, or must never move away from Him as the source and resource of our spiritual lives. In the above heading, I have put the prepositional phrase “in Him” in parenthesis because “in Him” only occurs after “built up,” but it is to be understood as belonging to both participles, “rooted” and “built up or on.” As in 1 Corinthians 3:9, there is a mixing of the metaphors (plant and building), but this graphically adds to the picture of what is needed—Christ is the common element in both metaphors. He is the root and life of the plant, and he is the foundation and its binding force upon which we are to build.

      Participle # 2: Being Built Up in Him

“Built up” is a passive participle from the verb epoikodomeo, “to build up, to build further” or “build on something.” The tense is present and describes an ongoing process, the steady growth of the spiritual structure of the believer’s life. Again, the passive voice stresses the fact that the Christian is the recipient of God’s work in his or her life. It’s the voice of grace and dependence on the Lord for growth and spiritual change.

      Participle # 3: Being Firm (Strengthened) in the Faith

This third participle continues the process needed for living in Christ and flows out of the preceding two—rooted and built up in Him. The verb is bebaioo, “to make firm, establish, strengthen.” It is again passive, stressing God’s grace and activity, and in the present tense, which describes the continuous establishment or strengthening that God gives when there is a Christ centered walk. The NET Bible has as the object of strengthening “in your faith.” This translation understands this to refer to one’s personal faith, but in view of the article, “in the faith” and the context that warns against false teaching and that stresses their previous teaching, “as you were taught,” it seems better to understand this to refer to “the faith,” the body of revealed truth or the gospel message. As such, this is a call not to merely hold to “the faith,” but to grow in the knowledge of the faith as it reveals the person and work of Christ so that we might experience God’s power over the world and the sinful nature that we all have. This is a call for continuous growth in the grace and knowledge of the Savior. Plainly, Christianity is Christ, and as Paul shows us in Philippians 3, no one has arrived at full maturity. We all need to continue to pursue our upward calling for growth in Christ (Phil. 3:12-14). No matter how much we may have grown or understand, we have just barely begun to truly know the fullness of Christ. How can we in our finite condition even begin to grasp Him in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, who is the sovereign second person of the Godhead and the fullness of the deity in bodily form, the one who reconciled the world to Himself and who became the peace maker, and the one who has defeated anxiety over whatever life may bring, even in death? It is just as Lloyd Olgivie has stressed:

Assurance and aspiration were carefully balanced by the apostle Paul. He desired the Colossians to be sure of their salvation and still be eager to grow. They had arrived, and yet the journey of faith had only begun. He wanted to assure them of their settled status as the Lord’s people, but he also wanted to startle them with how little they knew of the One who loved them so much.197

      Participle # 4: Overflowing With Thanksgiving

Six times in this short epistle that centers our thoughts on the fullness of Christ and our completeness in Him, there is the typical Pauline emphasis on “thankfulness” (1:3, 12; 2:7, 3:15, 16; 4:2). Thankfulness takes our thoughts away from our accomplishments and ourselves as we grow and experience Christ. On the positive side, it directs our thoughts to God and what He has done and is doing for us in and through the Savior.

But we are not to just be thankful. We are to be constantly overflowing, abounding. This participle is present (stressing continual action), but active rather than passive as are the other three. It stresses our responsibility to actively engage in thankful hearts. “Overflowing” is perisseuo, “to be over and above, to abound, to be present in abundance.” No matter what life may bring, there is the need for an overflow of thankfulness because of what Christ brings into the equation where “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38-39).

Exhortation Regarding the Philosophy of the False Teachers (2:8)

2:8 Be careful not to allow anyone to captivate you through an empty, deceitful philosophy that is according to human traditions and the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

      The Imperative: a call to watchfulness

“Be careful” is a present imperative of command from blepo, “to look at,” but it is also used of mental functions like “direct one’s attention to something, watch, beware, be on guard.” It is a command for a constant circumspect watchfulness because of the dangers lurking at every corner in the world or society due to Satan’s many deceptive devices through his world system of ideas and false teachers who, though often appearing as angels of light, are agents of darkness.

      The Danger: taken captive by the false teaching

The Greek word for “captive” is sulagogeo, “carry off as booty, or as a captive, or rob someone.” It is used here figuratively of carrying someone away from the freedom that comes from the truth in Christ into the bondage of error. Jesus said, “you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free,” but when we move away from Christ, even though the false teachers are promising freedom (cf. 2 Pet. 2:18-20), we are taken into bondage. The false teachers of this world are seeking to claim believers as their booty and so rob them of the fullness of Christ’s life.

      The Means and Nature of the False Teaching: through empty, deceitful philosophy

Before looking at the text here, we must not think that Paul’s statement suggests that he is against all philosophy, which is basically a love of wisdom. The difference lies in the nature of the wisdom loved or promoted—divine wisdom that comes to us by divine revelation versus human wisdom that makes man’s mind the measure of all things. The apostle contrasts the wisdom of the world, which is foolishness with God, to the wisdom of God in 1 Corinthians 1-2.

1:18 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1:19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will thwart the cleverness of the intelligent.” 1:20 Where is the wise man? Where is the expert in the Mosaic law? Where is the debater of this age? Has God not made the wisdom of the world foolish? 1:21 For since in the wisdom of God, the world by its wisdom did not know God, God was pleased to save those who believe by the foolishness of preaching [or what is preached, i.e., the message) (my comment)].198 1:22 For Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks ask for wisdom, 1:23 but we preach about a crucified Christ, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles. 1:24 But to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1:25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. 1:26 Think about the circumstances of your call, brothers and sisters. Not many were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were members of the upper class. 1:27 But God chose what the world thinks foolish to shame the wise, and God chose what the world thinks weak to shame the strong. 1:28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, what is regarded as nothing, to set aside what is regarded as something, 1:29 so that no one can boast in his presence. 1:30 He is the reason you have a relationship with Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 1:31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

2:1 When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come with superior eloquence or wisdom as I proclaimed the testimony of God. 2:2 For I decided to be concerned about nothing among you except Jesus Christ, as one who had been crucified. 2:3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. 2:4 My conversation and my preaching were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 2:5 so that your faith would not be based on human wisdom but on the power of God.

2:6 Now we do speak wisdom among the mature, but not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are perishing. 2:7 Instead we speak the wisdom of God, hidden in a mystery, that God determined before the ages for our glory. 2:8 None of the rulers of this age understood it. If they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 2:9 But just as it is written, “Things that no eye has seen, or ear heard, or mind imagined, are the things God has prepared for those who love him.” 2:10 God has revealed these to us by the Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 2:11 For who among men knows the things of a man except the man’s spirit within him? So too, no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 2:12 Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things that are freely given to us by God. 2:13 And we speak about these things, not with words taught us by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. 2:14 The unbeliever does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him. And he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 2:15 The one who is spiritual discerns all things, yet he himself is understood by no one. 2:16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, so as to advise him? But we have the mind of Christ.

In Colossians 2:8, “philosophy” is tied together with the words, “vain deceit” by the fact the two nouns are joined by one article, literally, “the philosophy and vain deceit.” “Vain deceit” describes the nature of human philosophy. “Vain” is kenos, “empty.” It is used figuratively of things: (a) “without content, without any basis, without truth, without power,” or (b) of the effects, “without result, without profit, without effect, without reaching its goal.” As the apostle teaches us later in chapter 2:22-23, man’s wisdom by which he seeks to add to the message of Christ is totally empty and without effect when it comes to dealing with the flesh or our sinful patterns.

2:22 These are all destined to perish with use, founded as they are on human commands and teachings. 2:23 They have the appearance of wisdom with their self-imposed worship and false humility, by an unsparing treatment of the body, but they are thoroughly useless when it comes to restraining the indulgences of the flesh.

“Deceit” describes man’s wisdom further and points to one of its deadly characteristics, it is deceitful. “Deceit” is apate, “deceit, enticing.” It is deceitful and enticing because, in man’s spiritual blindness, it appears attractive through the presentation of the false teachers. The result is that it conceals its own utter barrenness, and seduces the minds of those who are drawn away by it.

      The Source: human traditions, elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ

This human philosophy is described by three phrases that define its source: (1) it is drawn from human traditions, (2) it is inspired by the elemental spirits of the world, but (3) it is not according (it ignores) the person and work of Christ in whom all the fullness of deity lives (vs. 9).

“Tradition” is paradosis, “a handing down or over” and is used of teachings, commandments, and narratives. As with “philosophy,” there are biblical or divine traditions that have their source in God’s special revelation, and human traditions, those that come from man’s own ideas and theories. Human traditions may be neutral and harmless as in the order of church worship, special events and ceremonial procedures, or policies in the conducting of human affairs, but the concern is when they, as here in Colossians and with the tradition of the Pharisees, nullify the teachings and commands of Scripture (cf. Mark 7:1-13).

Further, as to their source, these vain philosophies are inspired by the elemental spirits of the world. “Elemental” is stoicheion, “one of a row (like a letter of the alphabet), and by extension, the elements of knowledge”

Originally it denoted the letters of the alphabet, its root meaning being “things in a row.” The term then came to be used of the elements (“ABC’s”) of learning (cf. Gal 4:3, ASV, NASB, NIV; Heb 5:12, ASV, TCNT, NASB, NIV), of the physical elements of the world (cf. 2 Peter 3:10), of the stars and other heavenly bodies (cf. 2 Peter 3:10, Moff., Am. Trans.), and of the elemental spirits, that is, the supernatural powers believed by many ancients to preside over and direct the heavenly bodies (cf. Gal 4:3, RSV, NEB). The sense in the present passage may be either the elements of learning (NIV, “basic principles”) or the elemental spirits (RSV).199

The context favors the translation of the NET Bible, “elemental spirits” and is a reference to the demonic powers that inspire false doctrine (1 Tim. 4:1), that are often worshipped (cf. 2:18, the worship of angels), and that are set over against the majesty of Christ who is the head over every power and who defeated them at the cross (Col. 2:15). Vaughan writes:

The rendering “elemental spirits” (cf. RSV, Moff.) is, however, to be preferred. Understood in this manner, the passage means either (1) that the “philosophy” of the errorists was a system instigated by the elemental spirits (perhaps thought of as the powers of evil) or (2) that it was a system having the elemental spirits as its subject matter. The second meaning is more likely the one intended by Paul, for we know from 2:18 that the Colossian heresy made much of the “worship of angels.”200

This view is further confirmed by Paul’s teaching in Galatians 4:8-9 which links stoicheia with beings that are “by nature no gods at all.”

4:8 Formerly when you did not know God, you were enslaved to beings that by nature are not gods at all. 4:9 But now that you have come to know God (or rather to be known by God), how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless basic forces (stoicheia, elemental spirits)? Do you want to be enslaved to them all over again?

“And not according to Christ” is the final and most telling indictment against this and all vain philosophies since they seek to bypass Christ and are not in accord with the truth that is found in the saving life of the person and work of Christ as the apostle will show in the verses that follow.

Conclusion

False philosophies come in all sorts, sizes, shapes, and colors and we are in no short supply of them today. And regardless of nature, they all have their negative impact on the believer’s walk in Christ if he or she is not careful both to watch for them and to recognize them for what they are—deceivers, distorters, and enslavers. And no wonder, Satan, our archenemy and the deceiver, is behind every one of them through his host of demonic powers that are actively at work in his world system.

Consider these ideas and false philosophies which are pervading our culture: God helps those who help themselves; He will love us more if we are good; He will judge us according to our accomplishments; Anything that feels good must be good; Self-expression is the only way to self-realization; Enjoyment is enrichment; Christ is the best of all good men—an example of living for us, nothing more; What we are is what we acquire; Our worth is determined by our productivity … .

And so it goes. Everything—from the playboy philosophy to materialism, astrology to scientism, sensualism to sorcery—is seeking to posses the American mind to manipulate our behavior and motivate our spending. And often Christian are among those who respond because their emptiness has not been filled by the fullness of Christ. His fullness fills our emptiness.201

Specifically, we can easily separate or define at least seven forms of philosophies of worldliness in operation today that, like snares that trap us, can and will nullify our walk in the fullness of Christ’s person and work. The following chart illustrates these.

S E V E N S U B T L E PHILOSOPHICAL S N A R E S O F W O R L D L I N E S S

I D E N T I F I E D A N D E X P L A I N E D

Identification

Explanation

Its Distortion

The Snare

The Effect

Materialism

Matter is all that matters

Deformed view of the world

I am what I own

Affluence, accumulation, occupied with things, consumer mentality, neglect spiritual things.

Activism

I must fill my life with activity.

Deformed view of work. Seeking from work what only God can give.

I am what I produce, accomplish.

Neurotic, consuming ministry.

Seeking significance from work rather than from the Lord.

Individualism

I must depend on no one but myself.

Deformed view of self. Produces a me-ism society.

I am the source of my own life.

Loneliness, resistance to authority, inability to work on a team.

Conformism

Recognition by others is primary and necessary.

Deformed view of the importance of the opinions of others.

I am who and what others recognize me to be.

Praise dependent, seeking significance from the approval of others.

Relativism

It matters not what you believe as long as you believe something.

Deformed view of truth. Refuses to recognize revealed truth.

I am whatever I want to believe.

Subjective approach to life, to Scripture; Experience oriented, uncertain faith, emotional.

Secularism

Man has no need of religion. Man is sufficient.

Deformed view of man. Fails to take into account man's sinfulness.

I am sufficient to handle my affairs.

“Sunday only” kind of Christian. Fail to integrate God into all areas of life or reject God completely.

Religionism

If I am good, go to church, etc., I will be okay.

Deformed view of God.

I am okay because of my religious works and activities.

Have some facts about God, engaged in some religious activity, but lacking in inner reality. Fail to integrate God into all areas of life.

These charts were adapted from material in Defeating the Dragons of the World, Resisting the Seduction of False Values, Stephen D. Eyre, Intervarsity Press, 1987.


193 S. Lewis Johnson, "Studies in the Epistle to the Colossians, Part I," Bibliotheca Sacra (Dallas Theological Seminary, vol. 119, #476), 303.

194 The Letters to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians, ed. William Barclay, lecturer in the University of Glasgow, electronic ed., Logos Library System;The Daily study Bible series, Rev. ed. (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 2000, c1975).

195 Johnson, 305-306

196 Herbert M. Carson, The Epistle of Paul to the Colossians and Philemon, An Introduction and Commentary (Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1960), 59.

197 Lloyd John Ogilvie, You are Loved & Forgiven, Paul’s Letter of Hope to the Colossians (Regal Books, Ventura, CA, 1977), 97.

198 “Preaching” is kerugma, which may look at the act of preaching or the content, the message. The emphasis in this text is on the content of the message because the cross appears to man’s wisdom as foolishness.

199 Curtis Vaughan, The Expositor's Bible Commentary, gen. ed. Frank E. Gaebelein (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1976-1992), electronic media.

200 Vaughan, electronic media.

201 Olgilvie, 100

Related Topics: Christology, False Teachers