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Proverbs 1:5 1
5 let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance—

Background

Proverbs 1 is Solomon’s advice to fear God and obey one’s parents. The lesson is plain, and likely to be of most benefit to those who are aware of their own failings and desire to be taught. If young people take heed about their behavior and actions, according to Solomon’s Proverbs, they will gain knowledge and discernment. Solomon speaks of the most important points of truth, and an inspired  Solomon can be found here. It is Christ who speaks by His word and by His Spirit and Christ is the Word and the Wisdom of God. Therefore, Christ is provided to us for wisdom.

A wise person loves wisdom. ‘They love God’s law. They are always thinking about it.’ (Psalm 1:2).
They always want to learn more. They are never too tired to think about wisdom. They still make mistakes. “Show a wise man how he is wrong! He will love you for your correction.’ (Proverbs 9:8). He even wants you to teach him. ‘Teach a wise man and he will become still wiser.’ (Proverbs 9:9).” We can all learn more. We can all grow in knowledge. The Bible is our source for God’s wisdom.

Like the wise person, the intelligent person wants to learn. They will ask for advice. They are trying to understand God’s ways. As they study, they will know more, even understanding the  difficult words of wisdom.

Items for Discussion

  • What is the difference between wisdom and intelligence?
  • How does discernment play a role in wisdom?
  • How is it that someone seeking wisdom should listen?
  • How does discernment play a role in listening?

 

Colossians  1:15-18
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

Background 2

Paul wrote this letter to Epaphras when Paul was in prison (Colossians 4:3). He was probably in Rome (Acts 28:16, 30-31). If he was, he wrote it about 60 years after Jesus’ birth. The letter was for those who lived in the city of Colossae. It was 160 kilometers (100 miles) east of the city called Ephesus. Today this area is part of the country is called Turkey. The main roads for trade went past Colossae. It was a large and wealthy city for many centuries. But Laodicea (16 kilometers or 10 miles away) and Hierapolis (21 kilometers or 16 miles away) grew to be larger and more important cities. When Paul wrote this letter, Colossae had become a small town. It was no longer very important. Epaphras lived in Colossae (1:7; 4:12-13). There he preached the good news about Jesus. The people who became Christians formed the church at Colossae. Most of them were Gentiles.

Epaphras visited Paul in prison and told Paul about the young church  at Colossae. The Christians who lived there had begun to listen to false teachers. Paul was worried that the Christians would turn away from the true gospel. Even today many false teachers do not seem to deny the gospel message. Instead, they slightly change it. Often they teach extra things or add rules to the gospel. Paul wrote to the Christians at Colossae to remind them about Jesus Christ and about His true message. Paul emphasized that Christ is superior. Paul wrote more about Christ in this letter than in any other of his letters. He reminded the Christians that their past life had gone. Christ was now their life. Christ had made them free from rules and evil powers. Paul then went on to teach the Christians how to live this new life.

Paul wrote this letter in the Greek language. He wrote these verses like a poem. But it does not look like a poem when it is in the English language. Many teachers of the Bible think that this was a song of praise. Paul showed the Christians at Colossae that Christ is better and more powerful than anyone or anything else. Paul wanted the Christians to understand more about Christ. This would guard them against the false teachers.

John 1:18 says that nobody has ever seen God the Father. God is spirit. We cannot see Him because He does not have a physical body. But Jesus said, ‘If you have seen me you have seen God the Father’ (John 14:9). Jesus meant that He has the same nature and character as God. So, when we learn more about Jesus Christ, we learn more about God. Christ existed before God created anything. And Christ has the place of honor over all that God created. Paul emphasized this many times in his letter.

Christ existed before He had a physical body. God created all physical things by means of Christ. He also created everything that is not physical. This includes the angels and spirits. In this verse, heaven means the sky rather than the place where God lives. As Christians, we believe that good angels serve God. But evil angels and spirits serve Satan, who is the chief evil spirit. The false teachers worshipped angels (2:18). They also believed that there were many ranks of angels and spirits. Paul lists 4 of these ranks. This does not mean that Paul agreed with the false teachers. But Paul was again emphasizing that Christ is greater than all the angels and spirits. God in Christ created them. So Christ has power over them. God created everything ‘for’ Christ. Therefore, Christ is the reason why everything exists.

Christ maintains the physical world. This is why it works well. The sun, moon and stars stay in their correct places in the sky. Every day has the same number of hours. People in the world live because Christ keeps them alive. Christ also maintains everything that is not physical. Without Christ, everything would break down. Christ is the ruler of everything that He created.

Paul now showed that Christ created the church. ‘The church’ means all the Christians in the world. ‘Church’ always refers to people. The ‘local church’ means all the Christians who live in a particular town or village.  Since Christ does not live in his physical body on earth any more, Christ lives in all Christians by means of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9-11). Now, Christ lives on this earth in his church (the Christians). So He calls the church His ‘body’. To be ‘head’ means that Christ is the ruler of His earthly church.

Items for Discussion

  • What makes you believe in things that you have not personally seen with your own eyes?
  • Why do you believe what you may hear from others?
  • Many times, we hear what sounds too good and see what is too perfect – What tests do you apply be discerning?
  • How do our two senses, sight and sound, work together to influence what we believe in?
  • Many do not have either hearing or sight, yet they believe in Christ – What other factors then establish one’s beliefs?

Discussion Challenge

  • How can each member of Christ’s body (church members) protect against the intrusion of false teachings?

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
  2. https://www.easyenglish.bible/bible-commentary/col-lbw.htm
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