See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.
Our English word Philosophy comes nearly directly from the Greek, “philosophia”. It is a compound word made up of two Greek words, “Philo”, which is the affectionate love for something, and Sophia, meaning wisdom. Quite plainly, “philosophy” means “love of wisdom”. It is a love of thought, rational thinking and the laying out of things, and ordered structural analysis.
While this might sound very noble and the very thing a Christian would want, and in some capacity, it may be, Paul warns directly of being taken captive by it.
So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.
Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies. If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know; but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him.
1 Corinthians 8:1-3, beginning in the middle of verse 1
You see, it was a people that saw knowledge, and understanding of the Word, according to how they had interpreted it, that missed Jesus in the first place, and rejected and killed Him. When He taught on forgiveness of sins, they recoiled. When He spoke of eating His flesh and blood, many turned away. And, when He healed on the Sabbath and commanded a man to pick up his mat, they plotted to kill Him. They missed the very word in their midst. The opening verse continues with the following.
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.
For Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. In Him is all the fullness of deity, and our fullness is in Him. All authority, power, and dominion are in Him. What the Jews failed to see was their very maker, because they were blinded to not see by the heart (Ephesians 1:18), to not see with the eyes that God required (John 12:40).
To those calloused, unfeeling, the Lord of Glory was not revealed, but to the simple, to the lowly, and to the meek.
At that very time He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and said, I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight.
Jesus said, in Matthew 18:1-4, that the greatest in the Kingdom was those like little children. He said that unless we humble ourselves and become like them, we would in no wise enter it. There is no escaping this today.
The love of wisdom, the love of rules and philosophy might get you to some level of form. Even Solomon had the greatest house because of his great wisdom. But, Jesus’ wisdom surpassed that, and so does His house.
Reading on in Colossians 2, we see more distinctions. Many, even in the church, have put forth various “philosophies”, claiming that God requires us to do certain things. They say we must own land in order to have increased authority in the Earth, they insist that sound waves have some intrinsic power, they claim many, many things. But, like the cart before the horse, they have reversed the truth, for the flesh profits nothing, it is the Spirit that gives life.
As Colossians 2:8 (above) says, they depend upon the basic principles, or “elemental spirits” (KJV) of the Earth. But, Colossians 2:20, we have died to them. We are no more subject to the elemental powers of this age than Jesus was when He walked on water. And, if we do not see it as of yet, it does not change the its truth any more than the fact that all authority and power belong to Christ, today (Matthew 28:18). As Hebrews 2:8 says, it is made subject, even though we do not see everything made subject, but it does not change the fact that it is.
Yet, it is philosphies, the love of wisdom, the love of Church wisdom, which takes us captive (again, Colossians 2:8) from faith to man’s rules. It binds us to the earthly realm, to the realm of the basic created order and the unseen laws of this Earth. Jesus, who owned no property, now possesses it all (Matthew 5:5). Jesus, who did not open His mouth before His accusers, shook the Earth at His passing and tore the veil (Mark 15:38). And, it was the love of the Father that raised Him again from the dead, for His perfect, spotless life, in fulfillment of Song of Solomon 8:6, love being as strong as death, Psalm 119:126, it being time for God to act because His laws were being broken, and Matthew 5:10, that when we are persecuted for righteousness, ours then is the Kingdom of Heaven. In perfect justice, the Lord stepped in from above, with perfect restitution for the offenses against His son, and exalted Him. For no other reason, other than the absolute, Eternal glory of God the Father.
No one has ever fully comprehended this mystery, this glory, this majesty. No one has completely understood this grace, and this mercy, that now we may be called children of God. But, what we know in part now, then, when the perfection comes, we shall know in full, even as we are fully known.
God’s wisdom is above our wisdom, and the foolishness of God is counted as greater wisdom than the wisest wisdom of men. History if full of places where man’s wisdom, his organization, and his attempt to bring his ideas of decency and order, and every time that it has, whenever it has forced out the simple, childlike wisdom of God, it has always quenched the Spirit, and drawn out freedom and revival from our midst. There is a right order, and a right leading, but it is always by His Spirit, of His Spirit, and led by His Spirit.
Our best philosophy is to say, have your way, Oh Lord, have your way. It is the anointing that breaks the yoke, and nothing else, and the best plans of man always fall short. As high as the heavens are above the Earth, so is the least in the Kingdom above those that are born only of the flesh.