Christ and Philosophy

The love of wisdom (philosophy) may not be the thing you first think about on a Monday morning! The study of knowledge; questions on how we live and how we think; the essential natures of things; how we exist and why we do what we do; pursuing truth if that is possible. Some insist that Christians should not study philosophy and they use what the Apostle said to the Colossians to back up their argument, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.” (Colossians 2 v 8)

I read an article by a Christian preacher who stated that ‘Christians should stay away from philosophy’. The whole of the article was centred on his many arguments to back up his statement and therefore reasoning philosophically against what he was against!

Was Paul really attacking philosophy?

In his writings Paul seems to use philosophical vocabulary and concepts to further the gospel quoting Stoic writers in Acts 17: 28 “For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring’.” He is not against philosophy but he uses it.

The reason why I don’t think Paul was attacking philosophy was in the second part of the verse.

The Colossian problem was not philosophy. It was based on ‘human traditions’ of which when we get to it from verse 16 onwards we will see Paul speak against. Things including the Sabbath, angelology, visions and abstinence. The key few words are, “rather than on Christ.” It is key because though there is nothing wrong in studying the wisdom of this world in fact it helps us as we engage with our world’s views but we must make sure our eyes remain on Christ.

The problem was the Colossians were under threat from believing and following religious rules that were undermining Christ and the gospel Paul preached.

Today make sure nothing waters down Christ whether in your thinking or your speaking. He is enough. Paul will continue to tell us. The centre of your life is Christ and who He is. Make sure that stays that way.

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