"The unfolding of your words gives light ..." (Psalm 119:130a)

Month: December 2009 (Page 2 of 2)

But is sounds so good!

“I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments.” (Colossians 2:4)

“I say this” points to all Paul has been saying regarding his ministry on behalf of the Colossian believers in 2:1-3.  But it points specifically to the apostle’s statement in v.3 concerning the all-sufficiency and exclusivity of Jesus Christ.  In Him ALONE “are hidden ALL the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” 

Paul insists upon Christ’s all-sufficiency and exclusivity for a specific purpose (“in order that”).  He is concerned that someone “may delude” the believers in Colossae.  The Greek word translated “delude” is a compound: “beside” + “to reason.”  It has the notion of miscalculating something and then extends to describe someone intentionally misleading someone. 

All ideas are not created equal.  Some are wrong.  Not everyone in the marketplace of ideas is well-intentioned.  Some are wicked.

This danger is marketed through “plausible arguments.”  Here too is a compound word: “persuasive” + “word.”  It is used only here in the New Testament.  It is a neutral word, but clearly carries a negative connotation in this context.  Plato used the word to describe “popular oratory” in distinction from “cogent proof.” 

We are easily swayed by media-rich presentations, emotion-laden appeals, and poorly-reasoned, but well-marketed falsehoods.  These lack “cogent proof,” but their “popular oratory” makes their words persuasive.  Our challenge is not to be taken in by the emoitonal/visual/popular appeal and find the basic line of thought behind it and examine it against the straight-edge of Scripture. 

When, in Christ, you already have “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,” you can rest assured that you will not find a better offer, a hidden-wisdom or secret answer to the struggles of life.  Look again to Christ and His Word!  The fear of the Lord is the first and essential rung on the ladder of wisdom and understanding (Prov. 9:10).

Light to Live By

“The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.” (Psalm 119:130)

What we require is light.  Darkness will not do.  Death happens in darkness.  Light gives life!  We simply must have light.

God knows this.  For this reason He imparts His light to us through “The unfolding” of His words in the Scriptures.  The Hebrew word for “unfolding,” depending upon either of two possible pronounciations, has the notion of either “door” (thus the KJV’s “the entrance of Thy words”) or to “unfold” (as in ESV and NIV).  The Hebrews were a nomadic people who made their homes in tents.  Thus to “open the door” one “unfolded” the tent flap (Boice, 3:1041).  When the tent flap was “unfolded” light poured into the otherwise darkened tent.  Those things which previously were veiled in darkness were exposed and laid bare to the light of day.

God the Holy Spirit is pleased to use the faithful exposition of His Word to bring light to the otherwise darkened interior of our lives.  What we desperatly need is the “unfolding” of the Scriptures.  The need of the hour is not cleverness, novelty or sensationalism.  The Word of God cannot be improved upon or “made relevant.”  The great essential is the faithful “unfolding” of God’s always-relevant Word by the enablement of God’s Spirit. 

This, the psalmist demands, “gives light.”  Light to see.  Light to live by.

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