Christ, the Hope of Glory
Open Your Bible
Colossians 1:24-29, Colossians 2:1-7, Isaiah 11:1-5, 2 Timothy 1:8-10
I recently started following an account on Instagram that shows me the same news story with three different headlines: one that is left-leaning, one right-leaning, and one centrist. While I know that all stories (news, personal, or historical) are written and shared with implicit narrator bias, this account has opened my eyes to the subtleties of bias. I’ve seen how just one word can shift an entire perspective from relatively neutral to slanted.
This happens in my own life, too, of course. I can hardly tell a story, make an argument at work, or even ask my husband a question without my own perspective infiltrating my statements. This is human nature. We come at every interaction with an angle that is rooted in our own insecurities or emotional responses.
When Paul writes to the Colossians, particularly in chapter 2 to call out the tempting Colossian heresy, he is exposing this idea: wisdom has become personal, not absolute. (I think it’s more than safe to say this is as true today as it has been throughout history.) Many scholars believe the heresy Paul was addressing was rooted in gnosticism. The Greek word gnosis means “secret knowledge,” and the gnostics believed that this secret knowledge would be the source of salvation and faith.
Paul wants the Colossians to “have all the riches of complete understanding and have the knowledge of God’s mystery—Christ. In him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:2–3). He wants them to know that the true source of all wisdom and knowledge of God is Jesus. There is no complicated, secret truth that is available to only the most enlightened among us. Jesus is ‘the way, the truth and the life”—the only way to know God (John 14:6).
Like us, the Colossians were tempted to believe that there was something special or extra they could do to know more or be better Christians. So often today, we are tempted to believe that if we read all the right books and listen to all the right podcasts, somehow we’ll have all the answers. While those things can be wonderful and good, if that is all we are absorbing, we can easily be lulled into seeking personal wisdom, rather than the wisdom of eternal God.
Paul has just as much to say to us today as he did the Colossians: Jesus is the absolute source of wisdom. Jesus has the true and perfect knowledge of God. There isn’t more to it than that. Know Jesus, and through Him know God. And how do we know Jesus? Through His Word. Through seeking Him and communing with Him by His Spirit. My hope and prayer is that the more I study the Word and seek to know Christ, the more my perspective will be shaped by Him—and less by me.