Scripture – Yes? or Know!

Colossians 2:8 -Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elemental forces of the world, and not based on Christ. (HCSB)

In Paul’s day a magician was called a philosopher, so in v.8, Paul is saying “don’t be fooled by smoke and mirrors and slight of hand.” I once heard someone say that cults prey on Christians because the average Christian only knows the scripture someone else has told him. As part of a Bible study, my husband once made a list of well known and often quoted “scripture” verses that aren’t scripture at all.

  1. “God works in mysterious ways” (from a 19th century hymn written by William Cooper)
  2. “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” (coined by John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church)
  3. “Spare the rod, spoil the child” (possibly a paraphrase of Proverbs 13:24 – “the one who withholds the rod is one who hates his son”, but Samuel Butler, a 17th century British poet, actually coined the phrase)
  4. “Pride goes before a fall” (possibly a paraphrase of Proverbs 16:18 — “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall”)
  5. “This too shall pass” (from an old English poem)
  6. “God helps those who help themselves” (credit is given to Ben Franklin but is also found in one of Aesop’s Fables)
  7. “the lion shall lay down with the lamb” (possibly from paintings done about scripture that includes animals, but Isaiah 11:6 says “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together”
  8. “it is good that man show moderation in all things” (Aristotle’s Doctrine of the Mean)
  9. “The Lord works in mysterious ways” (possibly a link to Isaiah 55:8 – “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord”, but the first             stanza of a poem by William Cowper reads, “God moves in a mysterious way”)
  1. “Money is the root of all evil” (very close to 1 Timothy 6:10 – “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and              pierced themselves with many pains.’)

Satan will use our false knowledge to create smoke and mirrors and slight of hand.  He rearranged words, mixed some lies with truth, and misquoted scripture with Jesus (Matthew 4), and we are easy prey to him when we “almost” know God’s Word. Instead of relying on “scripture” we heard from someone else, let us study our Bibles, talk to God in prayer, and be able to join the psalmist in declaring “I have thought much about your words and stored them in my heart so that they would hold me back from sin.” (Psalm 119:11 TLB)

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