One of my most painful memories as a pastor came in the mid-1970s. I uncritically used thoughts from a commentary on the Gospel of Mark when I spoke in a church in North Mississippi.
The week before I spoke, the pastor of the church had completed a series of sermons that contradicted my teaching. He was right and years later I realized that I was wrong.
Paul explained my problem in his letter to the Colossians.
Colossians 2.8 – Watch out that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental principles of the world, and not according to Christ.
What happened was that my mind had been taken captive by a reasonable-sounding argument that was wrong.
The author of the commentary I read had a particular philosophical approach to the Bible. I accepted his thoughts “hook, line, and sinker” without taking into consideration a wide-ranging reading of the Bible.
Like Paul’s audience in Colossae, I was a captive to a “human” understanding and philosophy of interpreting a portion of the Bible.
I later reflected on that time in my life and realized that pride in my education and intelligence had blinded me to a more mature understanding of the Bible.
Paul’s warning to “watch out” is important counsel for people of all ages.
(1) Some philosophies will deceive us and prove to be empty of value. The same can be said for human traditions.
In today’s YouTube video, Rudy Ross talks about traditions that he followed as a Jewish man. Rudy followed Biblical traditions that pointed to God’s fuller revelation in Jesus Christ.
Hebrew traditions should be distinguished from traditions and philosophies that are the product of human thought.
The best course of action is to filter traditions and philosophies by what we know in a relationship with Jesus.
(2) I graduated at the top of my seminary class and was proud of the accomplishment. My pride was a trap that allowed me to be captured by intellectual sounding arguments.
I have learned, often the hard way, that pride is a destructive path.
A humble recognition of our place in God’s realm will protect us from thoughts and ideas that trap us in empty schools of thought.
In yesterday’s article, I outlined the facts of our status as followers of Jesus. The best way to not be captured by wrong thinking is to rely on who we are in Christ and not on human thinkers.
“Big” thinkers will appeal to our pride. A humble walk with Jesus will not only protect us but will also bless us.
(3) In today’s video, Rudy highlights the importance of how the Old Testament prophets helped our understanding of the New Testament. I agree with Rudy and recommend that you begin the prophets with Isaiah.
I also hope you will make it a practice to base your understanding of particular Bible passages on a well-rounded reading of the entire Bible.
Rudy Ross and I discuss this passage on YouTube today. Rudy adds a great perspective to the discussion. You can listen to the video on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
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