Colossians is one of my favorite books of the Bible.
Okay, I lied — it’s definitely my favorite. John’s gospel is a close second, and I love it for the same reason that I love Colossians: both books center on showing us Who Christ is. I know, of course, that the entire Bible reveals Him, but these two books paint particularly clear pictures of Him. Therefore, I go back to them as often as I can without neglecting the rest of God’s Word.
So I’m currently working through Colossians during my personal time with the Lord, making preliminary notes before I go back over it using commentaries. What a rich, satisfying experience! I feel as if I’m dining at one of Boston’s finest restaurants!
This morning I came across a verse in Chapter 2 that absolutely thrilled me, as well as encouraging me in developing better discernment skills. In fact, I believe everyone in discernment ministry ought to meditate good and long on Paul’s words here. Let me quote the verse in a little context before I explain its implications regarding discernment.
For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. 5 For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ. ~~Colossians 2:1-5 (ESV)
Although verse 3 is the verse I want to emphasize, verse 4 shows us that Paul had deep concerns about false teachers influencing the Colossian Christians. Early Gnostics had infiltrated the church, promising “deeper wisdom” to augment the Gospel of Christ. Evidently, Paul had reason to fear that the Colossian Christians would succumb to Gnosticism, prompting him to redirect their attention back to Christ.
In verse 3 he tells them that Christ holds “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” The supposed secret knowledge of the Gnostics couldn’t compare with the wisdom and knowledge found in Him. Looking outside the Gospel only leads Christians away from the Lord and to human ideologies.
As Christians, our wisdom must come exclusively from the Lord Jesus Christ. He reveals His wisdom through the pages of Scripture. Thus, we gain discernment as we study the Word of God and apply it properly.
The better we understand Jesus through studying God’s Word, the easier it is to evaluate whether or not someone teaches false doctrine. Elizabeth Prata, Michelle Lesley and I could tell you who teaches truth and who teaches error, but we would much prefer to lead you to Christ and His Word so that He would give you discernment.
How thrilling that in Christ we have access to all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge!