Colossians 2:1-8 (Philosophy and Empty Deception)

Col 2:1-3     What was the struggle Paul had for the Gentile Christians in Colossae, Laodicea, and other places he had never visited?  Why would their knowing of his struggle on their behalf encourage or comfort their hearts (Col 2:2)?  When a church is confronted by false teaching does everyone immediately see it as false?  What then is the common result among the people within that church, and what is able to knit their hearts together in love?  See Col 2:2.  Of what do most people in America today suppose riches and wealth to consist?  The false teachers confronting the Colossians were quite sincere in their religious belief that true riches came from the hidden treasures of wisdom found in the mysteries of their secret religion.  In what ways are many religious groups today similar?  Who are they?  Where does Paul say true wealth comes from, and how are the hidden mysteries of the gospel that were kept secret for long ages past (Col 1:26, Rom 16:25, Eph 3:4-5) fundamentally different from the hidden mysteries that false teachers throughout history have claimed to possess?  Hint: Where does each say such mysteries are ultimately to be found?  Are they to be found in teachings about Christ?  See also Phil 3:8-10, Jer 9:23-24.  Note: Col 2:3 might be translated more literally as “in whom are all the hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge”; i.e., “hidden” is an adjective, not a verb.

Col 2:4-7     How does Paul describe the arguments of the false teachers influencing the Colossians?  See Col 2:4.  Are Paul’s words to them corrective or preemptive—i.e., does it appear from his words in these verses that the Colossians had already been taken in by the persuasive arguments of the false teachers?  Considering that the errors confronting the Colossians would over the next century grow into the heresy of Gnosticism and deceive untold numbers about the truth, what can we learn from Paul’s example about the importance of nipping false teachings in the bud?  See also Deut 5:32, Josh 1:7-8.  What do Paul’s words “discipline” (as in military order) and “stability” (Col 2:5), “firmly rooted” and “established” (Col 2:7) communicate about the Colossian’s faith?  Considering their solid grounding , what does this letter with all of its admonition and warning teach us about the potential for even solid believers to be led astray, and the importance of always remaining vigilante?  See also Mat 24:24, Luke 12:40-47, 21:34.

Col 2:8          In what sense were the Colossians in danger of being taken captive, and how is such captivity as bad or worse than physical captivity?  See Luke 4:18, 2 Tim 2:26, Rev 18:13.  What four things does Paul list in Col 2:8 as sources of such bondage?  Describe each, and give examples of how these are just as much a danger to Christians today as they were then.  Note: For “the elementary principles of the world” see Col 2:20-22, Gal 4:3,8-11, Heb 5:12.  What is the great danger of interpreting the gospel through the rose-colored glasses of the world’s philosophies and traditions instead of evaluating the world’s philosophies and traditions in light of God’s word?  In what way are Paul’s words in Col 2:8 applicable to the following ideologies or movements: Evolution, Communism, Feminism, Materialism, Adventism, Mormonism, Roman Catholicism, Modern Medicine, Psychology.  Add to the list!

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