Empty Deceit

Read: Colossians 2:6-8

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit. (v. 8)

The philosophers I know don’t like Colossians 2:8. It seems to give their entire field a bad name. Like preachers, teachers, and lawyers, philosophers use words as their greatest tool. And they are good at it! They can box the average person into a corner so swiftly, you know neither how you got cornered nor how in the world you could ever talk your way out of it!

Today, Paul would respect Christian philosophers because they are deeply committed believers who use the rigors of logic and argument to deepen our understanding of the Christian faith. They also defend the faith against some of its sharpest critics who use their intellect to produce counterarguments to Christianity.

Philosophy was well established in the Greco-Roman world. There were plenty of people who were good at poking holes into the claims about Jesus, his resurrection, and his saving death. Paul told the Colossians to be on guard. Watch out! Don’t let smooth talkers undercut what you know to be true of the living Christ according to the Scriptures. You might not have the rhetorical skills to counterargue such folks, but you have something more precious: you are firmly rooted in Jesus and his love. Stand firm! Because nothing can uproot you from Jesus! —Scott Hoezee

As you pray, abound in thanksgiving to God for the gift of Jesus in your life.

About the Author

Scott Hoezee is an ordained pastor in the Christian Reformed Church of North America. He served two Michigan congregations from 1990-2005 and since 2005 has been a faculty member at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he serves chiefly as the Director of The Center for Excellence in Preaching. He is the author of several books, including most recently Why We Listen to Sermons (Calvin Press 2019) and is the co-host of the “Groundwork” radio program.

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