Tuesday, August 8th, 2023
Thank you all for your years of following and subscribing to Elevated Discourse!
Going forward, I'd like to change things up a bit, I believe, for the better. Something that has been transformative in my life has been studying the Bible, book by book and in its entirety, rather than skipping around to selective verses. The Word of God is a sword, Paul says, and it is best wielded when one has a firm grasp on its entirety.
So, moving forward, I'd like to do my best to teach through entire books of the Bible in a devotional style. What you can expect is a bit of teaching and a takeaway each week. Whenever possible, we'll go verse by verse.
Today, let’s start with a series on Colossians.
Scripture: “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ: Grace and peace to you from God our Father.” -- Col. 1:1-2 ESV
Teaching: Paul wrote his letter to the Colossians while in house arrest in Rome, awaiting trial. Colossae was not a church he had personally founded, and he had not actually ever been there, thus, if he was known by this church, it was only by name or reputation, not personally. This church was facing a myriad of issues, which was the impetus for Paul’s letter. Specifically, we will see Paul address issues such as false teaching that undermined the preeminence of Christ, a growing legalism, and syncretism, or the mixing of man-made beliefs with Christian doctrine. Before Paul can correct these though, he must introduce himself and in doing so, establish his authority. However, he cannot be as stern, because, he does not have personal relationships that would support such tough talk. He does not want to crush their spirits, because they do have a great zeal for the Lord. Colossians 1:1-2 reads, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ: Grace and peace to you from God our Father.” Notice Paul immediately identifies himself as an apostle (an office held by only the 12 disciples/Matthias and Paul, commissioned by Jesus himself.) Secondly, notice that Paul bolsters his office as apostle, not by his own declaration, but by “the will of God.” Paul, in a truthful but matter of fact way, has established who he is and by Whom he is sent, thus elevating himself and his word over that of the false teachers in their congregation. He was not speaking to them on equal footing as these false teachers; his words were not to be taken with counterpoints or arguments.
Takeaway: When we read Paul’s words, trust these are the words of God. They are not to be compared and contrasted with our modern day versions of false teachers, such as celebrities, influencers, and even those who claim to know God but deny aspects of His Word in Scripture. Approach Scripture prayerfully and expectantly, but most of all, reverently. It is God’s Word, not man’s word that we read.