Not Just A Scripture For College Students

If you’re a mom sending your child off to college, undoubtedly you’re worried about him or her being pressured to abandon Scriptural values in favor of philosophies that seem more enlightened and scientific. If you’re a college student, you may wonder if you’ll be able to withstand the constant assaults on Christianity. Even many Christian schools offer liberal doctrine that draws people away from sound Biblical teaching.

I well understand those concerns. In fact, I believe they’re valid. Even when I went through college in the 1970s, I struggled to maintain my Biblical views in the face of ideological challenges. The second semester of my sophomore year, in particular, caused me tremendous spiritual turmoil when I took both a philosophy class and a psychology class. Thankfully, Paul’s counsel to the Colossians served as my anchor during the semester. As far as I’m concerned, every college student should make Colossians 2:8 her motto.

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. ~~Colossians 2:8 (NASB95)

Looking back on that horrible semester that almost shipwrecked my faith, I now strongly advise all Christian college students to cling to this verse as if their lives depend on it. Professors often deliberately work hard to dismantle any Biblical views that their students hold. We can only speculate on their reasons for wanting to destroy the Christian worldview, but college freshmen absolutely need to enter academia knowing that teachers and professors will aggressively attack Biblical faith. Colossians 2:8 serves as a reminder that worldly philosophies actually take people captive and thereby enslave us to ungodly systems.

But we adults are just as vulnerable to deception as college kids are. Look at how many evangelicals fall for false teachers and doctrinally unsound practices. I’ve been guiltily of twisting Scripture to accommodate whatever evangelical fad my pastors would push. So many of us think that just because something claims to be Christian and/or uses a few Bible verses, we don’t need to examine it.

In discussing how to apply Colossians 2:8 in fight the allure of false teaching, it helps to look at the verse in context. The Colossian church endured pressure from both Jewish legalists and gnostic mystics who worked hard to undermine the pure Gospel teaching that they had received. Being a Christian was all well and good, these false teachers assured them, but they really needed to augment basic Christian teaching with deeper wisdom and extra rituals. Like present-day college professors, these First Century false teachers tried to convince the Colossians that simple faith in Jesus lacked sophistication. So they introduced philosophies that promised a higher experience of God.

If we go back to Colossians 2, however, we see that the enhanced knowledge false teachers offer only takes people away from the Lord.

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 10 and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; 11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him. ~~Colossians 2:6-15 (NASB95)

Much like a college freshman, the Colossians eagerly consumed a wide variety of philosophies, assuming that the special insight false teachers offered would enhance their Christianity. In the case of college students, of course, the goal is to actually overthrow Christianity altogether. We adults face more subtle tactics: false teachers want us to believe they’re leading us to deeper levels of the faith. They distract us from the Gospel, convincing us that we need something more than Christ Himself.

Paul brings his readers right back to the Gospel. Right back to Christ Himself. Christ is the Lord, the Second Person of the Trinity. He is God incarnate, Who died for our sin and rose from the dead to give us new life with Him. That being the case, we don’t need the extra philosophies that the world says will give us more than Biblical faith ever could. On the contrary, Christ has more than all the worldly philosophies and practices put together could ever begin to provide!

So how do we resist teaching when it sounds so spiritual? Go back to verses 6 and 7 of our passage:

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

According to these verses, we received Christ Jesus through faith in the instruction of His Word. First Century apostles delivered His Word by directly teaching their converts, and now we have their teaching preserved in the Bible. As a result, we order our lives around the Bible, trusting that it has everything we need (2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:3-4). Rather than opting for supposedly deeper experiences or the appearance of intellectual superiority, Christ Jesus gives us everything we need as His Word shows us Who He is.

Whether you attend college or get exposed to the latest evangelical fad, Colossians 2:8 can remind you to stay firmly rooted and built up in the Lord Jesus Christ. What more could you need?

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Please leave a Reply after reading my Comment Policy Page (see Menu)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.