Monday, June 23, 2008

Paul Explains The Importance of Character

This is day two of a three part series concerning some of the ideological challenges presented to Paul in his efforts to minister to foreign lands. Drawing from Colossians 3:1-17:

1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.[
b] 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
12Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

The backdrop we are looking at presents the people of Colosse whom were Gnostics. Gnosticism to the Colossians was a belief of a secret knowledge that was being withheld.

Immediately, in the letter to the Colossians, Paul uses language that sounds appealing to the Gnostic philosophy. He uses two words in the first chapter at verses 9 and 19. These words are ἐπίγνωσις(ep-in-o-sis) in verse 9 which means “full knowledge”. And the second word is πλήρωμα (play-roma) – ‘fullness’, or ‘what is filled’; from verse 19.

Now, I have not provided text from chapters one and two of Colossians. But, what I will say is, Paul addressed the Colossian heresy in chapters one and two. Then, in chapter three went on to direct the Colossians in chapter three. Telling them of when Christ appears, φανερωθῇ (fan-er-aw-o), all people who died in Christ and those who will be ‘caught up’ will appear with Christ. In fact, the true nature of each of them is what will be layed bare.

Striking at the center of their conscience, the Colossians must realize the wisdom they must exercise in following the counsel of the Holy Spirit. They must allow themselves to yield to the shaping by the Holy Spirit so as to not be seen as something they would be ashamed of.

Then in verse 15, Paul says, “Let the peace of Christ ‘rule’ in your hearts”. “Rule is βραβευέτω (bra-be-u-et-o) – to be a director or arbiter in the public games; a referee. Summary: We need to be mindful of God’s “Pleroma”, His higher and fuller ways. We must renew our minds so that in the day of Christ, we will be of such Character that we are acceptable to Christ as being in the image of God. What God created us to be, as in Genesis 1:27.

1 comment:

satire and theology said...



ἐπίγνωσις in the New Testament
1) precise and correct knowledge
1a) used in the NT of the knowledge of things ethical and divine
Part of Speech: noun feminine
Citing in TDNT: 1:689, 119

From G1921; recognition, that is, (by implication) full discernment, acknowledgement: - (ac-) knowledge (-ing, -ment).

Gloss Section
(εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν ἒρχομαι) learn about 27.4
a knowledge (activity) 28.2
b knowledge (content) 28.18
(ἒχω ἐν ἐπιγνώσει) acknowledge 31.28
(εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν ἒρχομαι) come to understand 32.17

With a link to the definition of Perseus

Ulrik Petersen
Strong's dictionary

Thayer's dictionary plus other information.

From this site's dictionary (in Italian)

In the New Testament
NA/UBS (also Westcott and Hort; Tischendorf; Byzantine)
ἐπιγνώσει noun: dative singular feminine 7
ἐπιγνώσεως noun: genitive singular feminine 2
ἐπίγνωσιν noun: accusative singular feminine 10
ἐπίγνωσις noun: nominative singular feminine 1
Total 20

The english word epistemology is from the Greek(ĭpĭs'təmŏl`əjē) [Gr.,=knowledge or science]. from