Many Christians desire to have discernment, which is good. Many, however, maintain a narrow understanding of Biblical discernment, limiting its scope to simply calling out false teachers and/or identifying erroneous practices within the Church.
Biblical discernment most assuredly includes those activities, and we must never ignore the importance of exposing deception (Romans 16:17, Ephesians 5:11). But in order to identify false teaching, we must first have a grasp of sound theology. Going after Beth Moore or Joel Osteen takes more than reading a few discernment blogs; we need to know Scripture well enough that we see their errors readily.
I’d been excited about doing this Bible Study series on Paul’s letter to the Colossians precisely because it demonstrates an approach to discernment that very few Christians emulate today. Yet Paul refutes two major First Century heresies without even naming them. In both cases, he does so by pointing his readers back to Christ.
I said a moment ago that I’m excited about teaching this Bible Study on Colossians. At the same time, I’m nervous about doing it. As I studied it this past summer and fall, I saw how much Paul packed in to these four short chapters. I know how valuable this epistle is in giving us keys to discernment, and so I want to handle it carefully, accurately and reverently.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. ~~2 Timothy 2:15 (ESV)
Today, however, let’s begin with some housekeeping to prepare for our study. First of all, you’ll probably remember that I’d started this study six months ago. In fact, those of you who began going through this study with me in January probably recognize what I’ve written so far in today’s post. (Well, you should!) Copy and paste is my friend.
But why, you ask, am I reposting the studies I already did? Rather than picking up where we left off in February, I’ve decided to repost the installments I’d already written in order to bring everyone back up to speed. My back injury occurred right in the middle of a crucial passage, and I think we’d sacrifice a lot of context if we didn’t go back to study the progression of Paul’s letter. I believe that reviewing — and occasionally expanding on — the past installments of this study series will better serve to help us study the letter as Paul wrote it.
Next, I need to remind any gentlemen who read my blog that I really intend to teach women exclusively. Unless you’re my husband, an elder at First Baptist Church Weymouth or a man vetting a handful of my posts to make sure they’re suitable for women under your leadership, this blog isn’t for you! The Lord has charged me not to teach men (1 Timothy 2:12), and I want to be obedient to His command.
The limitation of my writing to women is especially important when I present actual Bible Studies. Guys, I’m flattered that so many of you appreciate my writing (why couldn’t I get so many men to follow me when I was single?), but please don’t put me in the position of violating Scripture. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
Also, I plan to post these studies on Mondays. That said, remember that I’m still healing from my back fractures, and therefore have days when I stay in bed. My schedule may demand slight variations here and there. So, although I’ll try to keep on schedule, life might get in the way. Please be patient when I have to deviate from posting these studies on Mondays.
Finally, I really want to encourage you ladies to submit comments. Not “what this verse means to me” subjective comments, but questions or answers to questions from each other. Have you read a relevant commentary bringing out a point that I neglect? Is my interpretation faulty? Please offer correction. Has the Holy Spirit used the text to challenge you? Let’s talk about it. You can also post comments to The Outspoken TULIP Facebook page.
The Lord wants us to be discerning. Studying Colossians can help us develop real discernment that will honor Christ. And honoring Him must be the ultimate goal of discernment