By Eli Ayala
“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised up against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,”
(2 Corinthians 10:5)
Why so rough Paul? This doesn’t seem very polite, does it? Why does Paul seem so militaristic and aggressive with talk of “destroying” arguments and taking every thought “captive to obey Christ?”
These are strong words to be sure, but I believe they highlight the importance of resisting error and standing for the truth. Jesus Christ said that he is the way, and the TRUTH, and the life (John 14:6). Furthermore, Jesus said elsewhere, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth” (John 17:17). On the other hand, that which is not true is false. An important element of standing for the truth involves refuting error.
The Apostle Paul is instructing his readers not only to stand upon the truth, but he is also calling for the complete destruction of what he called “arguments and every lofty opinion raised up against the knowledge of God.” That which is raised up against the knowledge of God is idolatry. This idolatry can come in the form of thoughts, ideas, speculations, reasonings, philosophies, theories, etc. The point is, that if any of these things are raised up against the knowledge of God, they are to be “destroyed.”
When we think of “arguments” and “lofty opinions” we typically think of these as coming from the unbeliever as it is the unbeliever who would be the one raising objections to our Christian faith. However, we can make personal application here. Sometimes, throughout the course of our thought life, we too can hold to “lofty opinions” that are raised up against the knowledge of God. We too can hold to beliefs that are inconsistent with God’s Word. While perfection in our beliefs and theology is not possible this side of heaven, it is still important that we think long and hard about how we think, reason, speculate, argue, and live day to day.
If by God’s grace, we come to recognize a thought, idea, speculation, reasoning, and philosophy that we hold to that is not in line with the knowledge of God as taught in the Bible, it is important that we go out of our way to bring even those thoughts captive to obey Christ.
The life of the mind for the believer is one of sanctification. Sanctification is that life-long process whereby God, through the working of the Spirit, molds us and conforms us into the image of Christ. The goal here is that by the end of our lives, we look more like Christ than we did when we started.
Of course, this “looking like Christ” is not to be understood necessarily as something visual (although, the more we are conformed to Christ, the more our behavior’s will change), but this conforming involves the transformation of our thinking. In essence, as we are being sanctified, our minds are being renewed and conformed to that of Christ which by extension, involves our bringing every thought captive to obey him.