Class Notes: 11/23/2008

Rom 4:13 -22 The RFHC continued and Col 2:7-8 Watch Out


We are continuing our study of the mandates for believers in the PPOG for the church age. We are presently examining the passages in Romans that address the believer's function in the Royal Family Honor Code.

The next mandate is found in Rom 14:13; where the word translated "determine" is the second person plural aorist active imperative of the Greek word "krino" that is normally translated to judge or evaluate in order to render a decision.

So the mandate is for the believer to determine not to become a source of stumbling for another believer.

Paul builds on what he has said previously, and directs our attention to avoiding judgment in matters about which believers are free to differ. They are not to judge in this sense, but are to judge or determine that we will not erect an attitude or action that would be an obstacle that would cause others to trip or stumble.

This is the same mandate that was given in 1Cor 8:9 that we studied in detail about a month ago.

The next mandate is found in Rom 14:15; where the words translated "do not destroy" in the NASB is the second person singular present active imperative of the Greek word "apollye" along with the negative particle "me".

This destruction results from believers failing to "walk in love" Gal 5:2; because they are living in the self-absorption of the kosmic system.

When believers love God they are willing to sacrifice or limit themselves for the good of other believers. This is not accomplished by functioning in self-denial in the energy of the OSN. It is done by living in their new nature that naturally led to do this as it responds to God's love under the mentor ministry of God the Holy Spirit.

Love for God keeps the believer straight in everything, and, in addition, provides capacity for happiness. This love is a response to the love of God; therefore, it is related to God Deut. 6:5;. This love also "occupation with Christ" Heb. 12:2;.

The believer's capacity for Love for God comes from their function in GASP that is provided by God. Phil 3:7-8; Col 3:1-2; 2Tim 1:13; 2Pet 3:18;.

If the believer does not love the Word of God, they don't love God. 1John 2:5;

Maximum love comes when the believer's soul is built up with the maximum of the word under the function of GASP.

This process occurs when the believer is filled with the Holy Spirit because it is God the Holy spirit who produces this love in the believer Gal 5:22; The believer has no ability to function in this love from their own natural ability.

The Holy Spirit turns the believer toward God and that is why it is absolutely essential to understand the importance of acknowledging known sin to God 1John 1:9.

If believer's don't get around to acknowledging known sin they will never be turned toward God and as a result at best they go through life functioning in human good that is dead works rather than Divine Good.

This command to "walk in love" can be fulfilled only when the believer is filled with the Spirit Eph 5:2; Eph 5:18; Gal 5:16;

Believers who "walk according to love" do not destroy those that TLJC died for.

This extends the mandate to "walk in love" to all of mankind because TLJC died to make provision for all mankind to be saved if they believe on him. John 3:16;

This brings us to Rom 14:16; Where the words translated "be spoken of as evil" in the NASB is the third person singular present passive imperative of the Greek word "blasphemeo” it is also used in 1Cor 10:30; where it is translated "slandered".

We have previously seen that the principle being established here is that the believer isn't to permit their freedom to cause damage to others.

This also is the point of the imperatives found in Rom 14:20; and Rom 14:22;

We studied this same principle in 1Cor 8:9-13; a month ago or so.


We will now take up a discussion of the mandate found in Col 2:7-8;

This is a mandate for the believer to be able to identify the kosmic lie so that they are not deceived and taken captive by it.

The imperative is found in verse 8 where the word translated "see" in the NASB is the second person present active imperative of the Greek word "Blepo" that means to "see" to "watch out for" to "beware" or to "pay attention" or to "be on guard" This is followed by the negative conjunction of prohibition, "me"

At the time the Bible was written, "Blepo" was a command to be alert to a present danger threatening the spiritual lives of believers at Colossae. It requires that they become alert to this danger otherwise they will continue to fall victim to it.

The danger they face is stated next by the present active participle of the Greek verb:
"sulagogeo": " that means to be carried off as a prisoner of war," or "to capture someone and place them into slavery."

This is a compound word from "sulao" that means, "to carry off as a spoil of victory in a battle, as booty." It also is used to refer to the right of seizing a ship or cargo of a foreign merchant to cover losses that have been incurred in war.

When a false teacher deceives a believer into believing the lie, that believer becomes a spoil of their victory.

When the false teacher deceives a believer then the kosmic system has recovered "cargo" that it previously controlled when the person was an unbeliever. The deceived believer's soul is now held captive in the same way that it was prior to salvation.

Also when "sule" is attached to the verb "ago" it is, used metaphorically to describe being lead or induced or to allow oneself to be led and carried away." "

" sulagogeo" is a hapax legomenon, it's only use in the New Testament is in this passage where it is used figuratively as "the carrying away from truth into the slavery of error"

It is a present active participle:

The Present - describes what has begun in the past and continues into the present.

The Active - False teachers produce the action of the verb through their propaganda.

The Participle- the action of the present participle occurs at the same time as the action of the main verb "blepo" the command to "be alert."

Believers are commanded to "be alert" or on guard to the false teachings.

Based on this, an expanded translation could read as: " Be alert (Blepete) that there should not (me) be anyone carrying you off as prisoners of war (sulagogon)"

The Holy Spirit's choice of tense for the main verb is extremely important in the interpretation of this verse. It looks like this in the original Greek: "Blepete me tis humas estai ho sulagogon."

The main verb is "blepete" that is a present imperative of prohibition indicated by the negative conjunction "me".

The aorist subjunctive of prohibition would forbid a thing before it had started, such as., "Never do this!" But the present imperative, when followed by the negative conjunction me, forbids the continuation of doing a thing that is already in progress, i.e., "Stop doing what you are presently doing."

We see from this that some of the believers at Colossae had been taken captive and were presently the captives of the false ideas of the Gnostic philosophers.

In order to be watchful or on guard, so we don't get taken captive, we must determine the method that these false teachers use to seize believers as prisoners of war.

We must remember that for the believer the theatre of battle of the Invisible War is the soul and the only effective weapon in this battle is the revealed truth of Bible doctrine.

The weapon that is used by the enemy is described next by the proposition "dia" plus the ablative of agency from, the Greek word " philosophia": that is transliterated philosophy.

This is another compound word that is easily recognizable in the English because it is transliterated.

The first part of the compound is the word phileo, "love," and the second compound " sophia", "wisdom", and it literally means, the "love of wisdom."
It is the source of the English word "philosophy." and It is another hapax legomenan.

The etymology of the word Philosophy and it's use from Word Meanings in the New Testament. Page 354:
The term "philosophy," taken in itself, carries no bad connotation. It is said to have come as a result of the humility of Pythagoras, who called himself "a lover of (divine) wisdom."

Lightfoot's St. Paul's Epistle to the Colossians and to Philemon, Page 179 states:
"In such a sense the term would entirely accord with the spirit and teaching of St. Paul; for it bore testimony of the insufficiency of the human intellect and the need of a revelation. But in his age it had come to be associated generally with the idea of subtle dialectics and profitless speculation; while in this particular instance it was combined with a mystic cosmogony and angelology which contributed a fresh element of danger".

The Phillips translation translates the word as "intellectualism"

Vine’s An Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words. Pages 853-54 states:

PHILOSOPHIA denotes the love and pursuit of wisdom, hence, philosophy, the investigation of truth and nature; in Col 2:8, the so-called philosophy of false teachers. It is worth observing that this word, which to the Greeks denoted the highest effort of the intellect, occurs here alone in Paul's writings … the Gospel had deposed the term as inadequate to the higher standard whether of knowledge or of practice.

In Spiros Zodhiates The Complete Word Study Dictionary of the New Testament. page 1447:

philosophia; Love of wisdom, philosophy, which came to mean the doctrine or tenets of the heathen or Gentile philosophers. It carries a negative connotation and refers to quasi-religious doctrines and speculations (such as Gnosticism) all of which are irreconcilable with the Christian faith.

The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia. Volume 4: Page 2385 states:
In the one place in which the term philosophy appears in the New Testament Col 2:8;, it seems to mean the first beginnings of Gnosticism in the Christian church. Paul warns his readers against it, as he also does the Corinthians against the "wisdom" of the Greeks in 1Cor 1:19ff; and 1 Cor 2:5-6:.

From this, we are able to extract several concepts that define "philosophia" in the sense intended by Paul in our passage.

Insufficiency of the human intellect, Profitless speculation, Intellectualism, Philosophy of false teachers, Inadequate to the higher standard. Quasi-religious doctrines and speculations. The beginning of Gnosticism in the Christian church.

Paul uses" philosophia" to describe the false teachings of Greek Gnosticism which often distracted believers from the orthodox teaching of biblical truth in the first century.

Based on the definition of "philosophia", that we see from these references, we can translate it as "anthropocentric academic speculation" as it is defined for us on pages 185-186 of Christian Integrity by R.B. Thieme Jr.

"Anthropocentric" means "centered in man; considering man to be the most significant fact of the universe; assuming man to be the measure of all things; interpreting the world in terms of human values and experiences.

If not seduced by religion, man can be deceived by philosophical, academic criticism to dismiss the Word of God as absolute truth. When philosophical assumptions give central importance to man instead of God, academic research can amass persuasive yet fraudulent evidence against divine viewpoint.

With this definition, our translation would read:

" Continuously be alert that there should not be anyone carrying you off as prisoners of war through the agency of anthropocentric academic speculation"

In addition to the philosophies of man-centered, pseudo-intellectual speculation, Paul continues in our passage Col 2:8; by defining the insidious methods used by these heretics as "empty deception": using the Greek words " kenos" and "apate."

The Greek word "Kenos" refers to something that has no real value and lacks real substance. Such information is obviously incompatible with biblical truth.

Kenos defines the content of the anthropocentric academic speculation espoused by false teachers.

It is translated "vain" (KJV), "hollow" (NIV), and "empty" (NASB & NET).

A good translation for "kenos" in this context is "without content” as defined in Wigram and Green, The New Englishman's Greek Concordance and Lexicon, Page 2756.

Paul uses this word in a similar context in: Eph 5:6; Let nobody deceive you with empty words, (kenos logos: words without content), for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience (unbelievers).

Paul continues to define anthropocentric academic speculation in Colossians 2:8 with the Greek word, "apate" which means "to deceive."

So far the verse reads this way: “ Continuously be alert that there should not be anyone carrying you off as prisoners of war through the agency of anthropocentric academic speculation and deception without content …"

"Apate" may be defined by the sum of three words:

Deceive that means "to cause to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid; implies imposing a false idea or belief."

Delude meaning, "something that is falsely believed or propagated; implies an inability to distinguish between what is real and what only seems to be real; to deceive so thoroughly as to obscure the truth."

Beguile meaning "to lead by deception; stresses the use of charm and persuasion in deceiving."

The definitions of both "kenos" (without content) and "apate" (deceive, delude, beguile) suggest the modern-day concepts of propaganda and disinformation.

Disinformation is: "false information deliberately and often covertly spread in order to influence public opinion or obscure the truth"

Disinformation often includes intentionally false and misleading content combined with true statements in order to mislead and manipulate.

The intent is to deliberately delude people by imposing a distorted concept of reality.

The Bible has many passages such as that found in 2Pet 2:1-3; that warn us about the deceptive messages of false teachers who mislead for their own personal gain or to advance a hidden agenda:

Those who have the ability to tell lies with straight faces are often very charismatic people. Their personalities are appealing, they have confident demeanor, and their message is persuasive but their empty words are filled with deceit.


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