Home > Brandenburg, The Church, The Enemy, The Lord Jesus Christ > Hearts Comforted (Colossians 2:1-2a)

Hearts Comforted (Colossians 2:1-2a)

January 26, 2010

Christianity is Christ.   Belief in Christ saves.  But it is belief in the Jesus of the Bible, the one and only true Christ.  The wrong thinking about Christ would destroy the churches of Colossae and Laodecia.  Paul is torn with concern over two churches he had never visited or seen.  He agonized (“conflict” in 2:1, “strive” in v. 29) over them.  Paul was saying that those churches did not know the anguish that he experienced over them because of the spiritual threats brought by the false teachers.

Paul loved the church, and so he loved these churches.  He had desires for them that would provide what they needed to overcome spiritual attack.  The first was that their hearts would be comforted.  When you read those words at the first part of v. 2, it sounds like what someone would need who was discouraged or depressed.  I don’t think that’s what it is at all.

The center of emotions in Hebrew culture were the “bowels.”  The “heart” is synonymous with the mind.  The word for “comfort” is often translated strengthened.  It’s a word, parakaleo, that is translated a number of ways, including “edify.”   It’s  compound Greek word that means literally:  “called along side of.”   That’s why it is translated a number of different ways.  Different situations demanded different types of help.  Sometimes it was comfort.  What helps are the words that are said to someone that will alleviate the need.

The problem of the false teachings about Christ was in the mind.  They weren’t thinking correctly.  Paul wanted their minds to be strengthened or built up in a way that would have them thinking the right way.  He desired that their minds might find it easy to say “no” to the false doctrine of the gnostics and ascetics.   He wanted their minds to be so full of the truth that they would easily see the counterfeits.  Then they could stand for the Lord without falling.

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  1. January 27, 2010 at 8:21 am

    Amen!

    Nothing weakens, defeats, and discourages like wrong thoughts of God. A wrong or incorrect view of God weakens the mind. And the antidote to this weakness is right thoughts of God, which will come from “thinking God’s thoughts after Him.”

    Thinking right thoughts of God strengthens the mind, and this strength brings comfort in a tangible and lasting way.

    That is what I got from your post, and I appreciate it. There is no comfort like the comfort of strength. And there is no strength like the strength that God gives in His Word.

  2. January 27, 2010 at 8:23 am

    This is so dead-on. One of the things I strive to do in my preaching and teaching is to emphasize that our thinking is important. I used to remember the old illustration of missing Heaven by 18″ (the length between the heart and brain), and I think that it misses the point. You must accept with your heart (mind) and soul who Jesus is.

    The children of many well-meaning church members grow up in Christian School, go to Sunday School, and yet they relegate Christ to some mystical “heart” place instead his reality in their thinking.

    Keep up the good work. I am preaching through Colossians right now, and I find this very enlightening.

  3. January 30, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    Your point about “bowels” and “heart” is well taken and has caused me to rethink a few things. But as I’ve been thinking, I recall the Great Commandment, which says, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength:” In this case what is the difference between “heart” and “mind”?

    Thanks,

  4. January 30, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    Good question, Jeff. The heart would be differentiated from the emotions for them in the way of the bowels, but the heart would carry with it more than the mind, very much like the understanding in Psalm 119:11—thy word have I hid in my heart. Obviously we hide verses in our minds, but it is more than that because of the nature of the will. I think in the Great Commandment, there is some overlapping for sure. I don’t think everything cuts clean. For instance, isn’t the mind part of the soul? And what’s the difference between the heart and the soul? That’s the tough part about anthropology. But I believe Paul is not talking heart as we would understand it today—that would be bowels—and the emphasis is more on the mind, but with perhaps something spiritual/volitional involved with the use of that word too.

  5. February 12, 2010 at 5:54 am

    I tackled that verse in preaching a couple of months ago (October) at the Gospel Mission – had never actually seen someone do it before, other than just a general overview.

    I believe heart is referring to the affections here. See Colossians 3:1-2; Matthew 12:34-35; 6:19-21.

    Soul (this was the hardest of the four to define) – The inner man/you – used in the same sense here as Jesus refers to spirit in John 4:23-24. (My opinion)

    Mind – thinking. 1 Corinthians 2:12-16; Philippians 4:8; 2 Corinthians 10:5.

    Strength – All that we do, all that we put our efforts to. Ecclesiastes 9:10; Colossians 3:23. Note the repeating phrase in the Kings (refers to might) and Chronicles (parallel passages refer to strength): the rest of his acts and all his might.

    Then I capped it with this verse: 2 Kings 23:25.

    Loving God with everything we have involves setting our affections on Him and His Word, loving Him with our whole being, thinking about the Lord according to the Word of God, and making Him the focus/the reason for all we do. (My attempt to sum it up quickly today – not exactly how I did it 3-4 months ago.)

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