Online Bible Commentary
With Whom are you walking?
Colossians 2:6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. 8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. (NIV)
The Apostle Paul is writing of false teaching in the church at Colosse. He specifically is writing of Gnosticism, the teaching that the possession of knowledge, “gnosis” in the Greek, is all that is needed for salvation. This passage represents Paul’s introduction before launching into the subject of Gnosticism.
He begins by reminding the Christians that they have received Christ as their Lord and Savior, so they should continue to live in Him (v.6). The literal translation of the Greek in verse six is “as therefore you received Christ Jesus the Lord, in Him walk.” So, as Christians, we should walk in Him.
Our life should reflect Christ, and His principles written in the Bible. This can only be achieved through knowledge of the Bible. So “knowledge” is not a bad thing, it is a good thing. But it is not the only thing, as falsely taught by Gnostics. By the same token “love” is a good thing, but it is not the only thing. Without knowledge, Christians can be deceived into loving all things, including those things, like sin, that the Lord hates. So knowledge is essential if we are to walk with the Lord and not be deceived, or deceive others. But neither knowledge, nor love, are the only things required to walk with the Lord.
Paul then writes of the three steps of our Christian walk (v.7). The literal translation of the Greek clearly displays those three steps: “having been rooted, and having been built up in Him, and being confirmed in the faith.” We are rooted, then built up, then confirmed in our faith.
First of all we are rooted in our faith. Our roots are established in the Lord at the time of conversion. We draw all of our nourishment from Him. The Holy Spirit indwells us at conversion and feeds us, ministers to us (Ro. 8:16). As we are fed our roots grow deeper and we become stronger in our faith.
Next, we are built up. After conversion, we go through years of being discipled, being “built up”, in our faith. We start out as babes in Christ and gradually are built up into strong Christians as we are discipled by other Christians, and the Holy Spirit.
Finally, we are confirmed in our faith. The Greek word translated “confirmed” or “strengthened” comes from the verb “bebaioo”. The noun for this word is “bebaiosis” which means “confirmation.” The church uses the word confirmation to mean a graduation after going through teaching of the faith. So this step is our graduation. We are now ready to go out into the world, strong in our faith. We are now ready to walk in the Lord, having been “taught and overflowing with thankfulness” (v.7) to the Lord for how he has given meaning and direction to our walk, our lives.
Now that we are walking with the Lord, we will not be taken “captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy” (v.8). In other words, we then have the tools necessary to keep us from being deceived. “Philosophy” means literally “the love of wisdom”. Wisdom comes from God, and is a good thing.
However, when the source of wisdom is man, and not God, it becomes evil. Paul calls this evil wisdom, the wisdom that “depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” He calls this wisdom “hollow and deceptive” (v.8). This wisdom is “hollow.” There is no meaning or future to it. Also this wisdom is “deceptive.” Satan is called “the great deceiver.” The “world” is the dominion of Satan. He rules the world. The Bible tells us that although we live “in the world” we should not be “of the world.” When we are in step with the world, we are walking with the world and not Christ. Satan is the great deceiver, and when we are walking in step with his world, we will be deceived. As Christians, we should be walking in Christ.