Captive to a Philosophy- Colossians 2:6-8
In this passage, Paul describes for us how the enemy seeks to take us captive through a “philosophy”, a way of looking at the world, a way of interpreting reality. He begins, in verse 6, with an admonition to continue to live (Greek peripateo- to walk around, referring to our lifestyle) in Christ in the same way we received Him, by faith. We have trusted in Him for our salvation, and we are also to trust in Him for our sanctification. We are then told, in verse 7, to stay rooted in and built up by what we were taught, which is opposed to worldly philosophy. We find two competing “teachings” in this passage, two different ways of looking at the world. These worldviews do not show up in a vacuum, we are taught them by others, and we will build our lives on the foundation of our worldview. We then move to Paul’s primary admonition to us here in verse 8. We are told first to “see to it”, a present active imperative here, a command to continually be on the alert for those who continually try to “take us captive”. This phrase here is the translation of the Greek estai o sulagogeo- literally “be carried off as a captive or slave”. How do they enslave us? Through “philosophy”, literally “the love of wisdom”. This is used here as a synonym for worldview, as the lens through which we interpret reality. Paul here then describes the worldly philosophy through the use of the terms hollow and deceptive. The word hollow here is the Greek kenos- empty or vain. How is this philosophy empty or vain? It is contrasted here with the “treasures of wisdom and knowledge” which are ours in Christ (Col. 2:2-3). The word treasures used here is the same word as Matthew 6, to describe that which is precious to us, and what is precious to us here? Wisdom, not philosophy. Philosophy is the love of wisdom, and our love is to be for Christ, not wisdom, He is to be more precious to us than anything. In the biblical worldview, revelation takes precedence over reason, and seeking anything above Christ is vain and empty. This philosophy is also “deceptive”, in that it looks like treasure, but is in fact worthless. This is because it is “according to”, or derived from, two things. The first is “human tradition”, Greek paradosin anthropos, a teaching handed down from men, rooted in human reason rather than revelation, grounded in man’s philosophy rather than the Scripture. Any “wisdom” not grounded in Scripture is hollow and deceptive, and our worldview is to be rooted and grounded in Scripture alone. The second is “the basic principles of this world”, stoichea kosmos in the Greek. Stoichea is a word describing the letters of the alphabet. the things which words (expressions of thought) are built with. Kosmos here represents the world apart from Christ, again contrasting human reason with revelation. The “building blocks” of our worldview are to be the wisdom of Scripture, not the philosophies of the world. In this passage, we learn that we are rooted and built up on our worldview, and as Christians our worldview is always to be biblical. The enemy will try to take us captive by trying to distort our worldview, our way of seeing things. Paul here warns us not to fall prey to our enemy, who continually seeks to take us captive by getting us to see things according to worldly philosophy rather than the revelation of Scripture. We resist him by remaining rooted and grounded in what we were taught, the truth of the Word of God, and not by being taken captive by the false and worthless treasures of worldly philosophy.4 Comments
It’s imperative that more people make this exact point.
That kind of thinking shows you’re an expert
You’re the greatest! JMHO
I appreciate you taking to time to contribute That’s very helpful.