It's Not All About You...

"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ." - Colossians 2:8 NIV It's not all about you, ya know?! When trying to understand scripture it's vitally important to discover what a writer intended in their original context. This requires thorough historical study, proper linguistic renderings and much more. We have to see what they saw, hear what they heard, and understand what they understood. This demands that we refrain from reading our present into the past. In light of this, Paul's words concerning "deceptive philosophy" are our focus today. Although it would be easy for us to transpose say, the Enlightenment (reason as the primary source of authority) or Modernism (the power of man through science) or even Post-modernism (a rejection of absolutes) onto this text, we would be wrong in doing so. Why? These ideas were completely foreign to Paul and his audience and therefore the apostle could not possibly have been making a statement concerning them. At the same time, there's no denying that in some way Paul's caution is useful FOR us, insofar as we remember it wasn't written TO us. We must always approach the Bible as written for us while not to us. What do I mean? Each book of the Bible regardless of literary style was originally written to a particular audience. When Paul wrote to the Galatians he addressed an issue that faced them in particular. We surely benefit from this but only as we are reassured that our salvation is by grace through faith and not a result of law keeping. When the prophets of the Old Testament wrote to their contemporaries it was (unless otherwise communicated in scripture) a message for that particular audience alone! Do we benefit? Of course, by seeing the love and faithful character of God on display and thus bolstering our faith for our time. Therefore, when Paul writes to the Colossians about being led astray by deceptive philosophy what we discover is that he is speaking of very specific things: 1. The phrase "takes captive" is argued by some Scholars to be a play on words by the Apostle Paul. The word used here is very similar to the Greek word for synagogue. In other words, Paul could be warning his original audience about the human philosophies emanating from the synagogue. 2. Paul speaks of philosophy in terms of having dependence on tradition and basic worldly principles rather than on Christ. This speaks to the former beliefs of the Colossians themselves with their superstitions and mediators between them and God. Again, we benefit here as well. It's all in that final line. Whether it's the philosophy of ancient times or today Paul clearly reveals that a Christians call is to be captive to none other than King Jesus. Our interpretation of a specific text and how it applies to us is first based on what it meant to the original hearer and then based on the particular principle it teaches us. Questions to consider: Are there philosophies that have tripped you up? If so what are they? What are some ways you can refocus your attention on Christ?

#NathanFranckhauser #piercepointchurch #philosophy #devotions

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