Colossians 2:3

All Treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge


Wisdom and Knowledge

A. Wisdom

1. Dictionary of Biblical Languages: – the capacity to understand, and hence act wisely.

2. Zodhiates: skill; tact; expertise in any art; skill in the affairs of life, shown in forming the best plans and selecting the best means, including the idea of sound judgment and good sense.

3. Most dictionaries include the concept of practical application of knowledge. (knowledge = facts; wisdom = the ability to put the facts to good use).

4. Wisdom in this passage is the enlightenment that comes from being in Christ and having Christ in us.

B. Knowledge

1. Strong’s: Knowledge signifies in general intelligence, understanding.

2. Dictionary of Biblical Languages: understanding, perception, comprehension.

3. Jamison, Faucet, and Brown:

a. Wisdom – general, and as to practical truth; related to “understanding” (sunesis) (Co.l 2:2).

b. Knowledge – intellectual, in regard to doctrinal truth; related to “the full knowledge” (epignosis) (Col. 2:2).

4. Rom. 11:33a – O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God.

a. There is a depth and there are riches to the wisdom and knowledge of God.

b. These riches are found in the Person of Jesus Christ for the believer.

Wisdom and Knowledge Are Hidden in Christ

1. Hidden: Most commentators agree that Paul is using the buzz words from the Gnostic like cult to expose their teachings, and to demonstrate the Colossians the difference between their message and the message of Christ.

a. The false teachers in Colossae claimed to have special divine secrets (mysteries) that only the initiated could ever know… (not unlike the Masons and the Mormons today).

b. They also claimed that all true wisdom and knowledge was hidden away in their cult… it was “apocryphal”…

2. Using their terminology, Paul exposes their error.

a. Paul states that the real Divine secret… the real mystery, has to do with Christ… and the Body of Christ… kept secret in the mind of God for ages and generations…

b. Paul also states that wisdom and knowledge are not to be found in the gentile cult; they are to be found in Christ… and in Him alone.

3. Hidden: wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ.

a. πόκρυφος (apokroo-phos) – (apocrypha comes from this term).

b. Defined: the term has two related meanings… or shades of meaning.

c. Hidden; concealed; OR — stored away; deposited.

d. This may well have been a play on words on Paul’s part.
• The cult leaders implied that truth was hidden in them.
• Paul states that truth is stored up… RESERVED and AVAILABLE in Christ… for the same term can both shades of meaning.

4. Wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ.

a. Of course, God isn’t trying to HIDE wisdom and knowledge from His people!

b. Think of it this way: wisdom and truth hidden away in Christ. But they are not hidden FROM us there. They are hidden FOR us there!

c. Spiritual wisdom and knowledge are available and accessible to every believer… both small and great.

d. Don’t think of wisdom as being hidden and thus difficult for us as believers to find. Think of it as being stored up for us in Christ… reserved for us… waiting to be used.

e. This wisdom is IN Christ… and every believer is also IN Christ. Hence, wisdom and knowledge needed for living the Christian life are never far away!
• I Cor. 1:20-21 – Christ is the wisdom of God.
• I Cor. 1:30 – He is made unto us wisdom.
• To have Christ is to have true wisdom…

f. Paul speaks of this wisdom and knowledge as treasures that are “hidden” = hidden treasure is found in Christ.
• God’s wisdom is not meant to remain hidden…
• It is more like a gold mine with untold wealth… ready to be mined… all there for the digging.
• It is not hidden in the sense that God is trying to keep us away.
• Rather, God tells us exactly where it is to be found… and places us there… in Christ.
• It is like putting gold miners in a new gold mine… and letting them know that there are endless resources of gold hidden beneath the surface… there for the digging: ready, available, accessible. So dig in!

g. Prov. 2:1-7 – In the Old Testament, wisdom is spoken of as hidden treasure too.
• It is hidden just beneath the surface FOR us… but it is only for those who seek for a hidden treasure… placing great value upon it… and hence, the effort to dig.
• Vs. 2 – incline your ear toward wisdom… and you will find it.
• Vs. 3 – Cry after knowledge…
• Vs. 4 – Seek her as you would seek for a hidden treasure (the same illustration Paul uses).
• Vs. 5 – If you seek God’s wisdom and knowledge that way… that diligently… you will find it.
• Vs. 6 – God GIVES wisdom and knowledge to those who genuinely want it… as the branch that constantly thirsts for the sap and nutrients of the Vine is satisfied.

h. Spiritual truth, knowledge, and wisdom are to be found IN CHRIST… and from no other source!
• It is FOLLY to seek wisdom apart from God.
• It is FOLLY to seek to have knowledge of God apart from Christ.
• It is folly because all spiritual wisdom and knowledge are FOUND in Christ.
• Those claiming special knowledge, insight, or wisdom drawn from any other fountain are to be immediately suspect.

i. True spiritual wisdom and knowledge are not hidden from believers… for we are in Christ.
• But it IS hidden from those outside of Christ. They do not have access to this kind of wisdom.
• They have earthly wisdom which is good as far as it goes… but they do not have access to the wisdom of God.
• God’s wisdom is available to “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord”… it is accessible to all who come to Christ and are saved… to all IN CHRIST.

5. The wisdom of the world vs. the wisdom of God in Christ.

a. I Cor. 1:20-21 – A contrast between two kinds of wisdom.

b. Paul’s point is NOT that the wisdom of the world is evil… and that the wisdom of God is good.

c. Rather, it is that the wisdom of the world is incomplete… and the wisdom of God is complete.

d. The world’s wisdom is good as far as it goes.
• They have good wisdom in the field of science, technology, medicine, etc.
• But it is extremely limited. It cannot extend beyond the natural realm.
• I Cor. 1:21 – by its wisdom, the world could NEVER come to know God. God and spiritual things are beyond their realm.
•I Cor. 2:14 – spiritual things are foolish to the natural man… even if endowed with great earthly wisdom.
• The wisdom of the world CANNOT penetrate into the spiritual realm. Spiritual truth is unable to be grasped by the natural man or his earthly wisdom.
• The world’s wisdom is thus limited, imperfect, and since it does not know God and cannot know the spiritual realm, it is susceptible to drawing wrong conclusions.
• Ex: the world has made huge strides in treating various physical, natural diseases.
• But because they are ignorant of the spiritual realm, they are susceptible to drawing wrong conclusions about certain behavioral problems. They view it all as physical and natural… calling such behavior “sicknesses”… chemical imbalances that require medical treatment… drugs… chemicals… etc.
• They are thus foolish in that they are ignoring the spiritual realm.
• They are unable / unwilling to acknowledge that matters of the mind, heart, and soul are spiritual issues… and completely beyond their grasp.

e. Spiritual issues require spiritual wisdom and knowledge, and they are found only in Christ.
• When it comes to matters of the human heart…
• When it comes to matters of fears, worries, anxiety, interpersonal relationships, the thought life, etc… we are not talking about the physical/natural realm where a medical doctor might apply his wisdom.
• We are talking about spiritual issues which require the resources we have in Christ.
• If your heart (the physical organ) malfunctions—consult a wise medical doctor. But if your heart (your inner man) is sick, you need Christ, the Great Physician!
• If your brain malfunctions, (the physical organ) consult a wise medical doctor. If your mind is not thinking properly, you have a spiritual problem… and Christ is the solution to all spiritual problems.
• The world’s folly lies in its failure to acknowledge the existence of the spiritual realm.

6. And note that ALL TREASURES of wisdom and knowledge are found in Him.

a. Treasures: thesaurus; a storehouse; a treasury;

b. Note that it is Christ as the MYSTERY.
• “In whom” and marginal reading “wherein” refer either to Christ or the mystery.
• But Christ IS the mystery… so it matters little.
• Paul is saying that in the mystery… namely in Christ… in our new relationship to Him (in Him and He in us)… is a storehouse of all wisdom!
• As we function in His Body… and as His life and character are manifested in our lives… we have access to a treasury of wisdom and knowledge.

c. This means that Christ is sufficient. He is all we need.
• Christ the Living Word… and the written Word… Christ, His Person, His Word, and His body are all we need.
• Christ is the embodiment of Divine wisdom.

d. That means that all the so-called mystery secrets of the Gnostic like cult were not needed by the Colossians.
• They already had ALL the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. If you have it all… why look elsewhere?
• This means that all EXTRA biblical writings are not needed.

e. We don’t need any additional books to the Bible:
• The secret wisdom recorded by the Gnostic cults
• Book of Mormon
• Watchtower Publications of the Jehovah’s Witnesses
• Science and Health; Key to the Scriptures, written by Mary Baker Eddy, founder of Christian Science Cult… (born in Bow, NH)
• The writings of Ellen White, founder of the 7th Day Adventists…
• Papal decrees or apocryphal books

f. II Peter 1:2-3 – Christ is all we need… the Living Word and the Written Word are all we need for life and godliness.
• Vs. 2- Peter emphasizes the importance of the knowledge of God… and the knowledge of Christ.
• Vs. 3 – We have ALL we need for life and godliness THROUGH the knowledge of Christ. (epikgnosis)
• By knowing Christ in a deep and meaningful way, we have all we need for life… and for all the issues of life that may arise.
• By knowing Christ and His Word we have all we need for godliness; for living a victorious Christian life.
• “All things” have been GIVEN to us (granted to us) by God.
• Given = It is a perfect participle, speaking of the past completed act of presenting the gift with the present result that it is in the possession of the believer.
• The believer presently possesses ALL THINGS needed for life and godliness… because we are in Christ… the Source of it all.
• He IS our life! He is the WAY of life.
• He is all we need. We are complete in Him.

g. We don’t need man’s opinion; we don’t need the latest book on pop psychology; or the newest trend in philosophy; or the latest fad in yoga or new age techniques.

h. What we need is Christ. He is all we need. This is how Paul deals with the issue of the false teachers: he wants believers SETTLED on this issue first: Christ is all we need! We are complete in Him and have all wisdom and knowledge.

i. Do YOU have that settled in your mind and heart? Or are you looking elsewhere for answers to life’s problems?

Spiritual wisdom and knowledge are linked to KNOWING Christ.

1. The relationship between spiritual knowledge and the knowledge of Christ.

a. To possess Christ is to possess wisdom.

b. To be in Christ is to have access to wisdom and knowledge.

c. To seek Christ is to seek wisdom.

d. To know Christ is to know wisdom and knowledge.

e. To abide in Christ is to abide in wisdom.

f. To love Christ is to love wisdom.

2. The one who KNOWS Christ has a special kind of wisdom. (Phil. 3:8-10)

a. Technology, culture, the medical realm, politics, and the world around us are all creating brand new ethical issues and challenges for us to consider.

b. The world is changing so rapidly that it would be impossible to keep abreast of all the latest issues in each of these areas… and it is impossible to know exactly how to deal with such changes as a Christian. (What is acceptable to the Lord and what is not acceptable…)

c. But by knowing God… knowing Christ… by knowing who He is, what He is like… what He loves and what He hates… and by knowing His Word… and by spending time in fellowship with Him… we begin to love the things He loves and hate the things He hates.

d. This is a practical wisdom that is ours because of our relationship to Christ.

e. Spending time with Him influences us: the way we think… the way we walk… and it will always lead us to walk in wisdom.

f. As we grow in our relationship to Christ, we are growing in wisdom and knowledge. The more we know of who He is… what He loves and hates… the more wisdom and discernment we will have in making important decisions in life…

g. Spiritual wisdom and knowledge come from a close relationship to Christ. The closer we draw to Him… the more like Him we become.
• We will have the mind of Christ… the heart of Christ for the lost… the compassion of Christ…
• Of course this wisdom is not entirely subjective and experiential.
• A close relationship to Christ the Bread of Life will generate a genuine hunger for the Word of Life.
• A love for Christ will manifest itself in love for His Word.
• We spend time with Christ BY spending time in His Word.

h. II Peter 3:18Grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. As we grow in the knowledge of Him, we grow in spiritual wisdom and knowledge.
• As we grow in our knowledge of Christ, we are also growing in wisdom.
• Do you need more wisdom in your home life? Do you need wisdom in dealing with your kids? Do you need wisdom in getting your priorities right? Do you need wisdom in your finances? Do you need wisdom in dealing with sin and temptation? Do you need wisdom in getting along with your neighbor?

i. The popular trend today is to attend self-help seminars.
• Men have devised all kinds of methods in growing and obtaining special knowledge… only available through their seminar… for $199.99.
• Some are helpful; some are not; some are quite complicated.

j. God’s method? Simple! Draw near to Christ… nearer still nearer… into the very Holy of Holies with Him… and spend time in communion with Him… meditating upon HIS Word (forgetting the other voices shouting so loudly for your attention)… functioning in His Body…
• The heart that abides in Christ… stays close to Christ… is yielded and surrendered to Him… is the heart that is ABLE to be led, guided, and directed in the way of wisdom.

k. Matt. 6:22-23 – “If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.”
• Illumination is the result of being focused on and submitted to ONE MASTER, Christ. This is a moral issue
• Illumination in the way of wisdom is related to being single-mindedly focused on Christ… and submitted to Him.
• When we choose to set our eyes and affection elsewhere, our whole body will NOT be full of light… but darkness… spiritual ignorance will set in.

l. John 7:17in order to KNOW and be fully assured of the truth of doctrine… one must be WILLING to do God’s will…
• If we are unwilling to surrender to God’s will (whatever it may be)… unwilling to OBEY His word… unwilling to participate in His program… God will be unwilling to show His will to us. And why should He?
• If we are unwilling to surrender, we will NOT have the spiritual wisdom and knowledge needed for daily living.
•Ps. 25:9 – “The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.” (Cf. vs. 12)
• Meekness is a prerequisite for being LED of the Lord or TAUGHT by God.
• If our heart is not meek… not submissive… not surrendered, then we will NEVER be taught of God…
• We will be lacking the spiritual wisdom and knowledge that is treasured up for us in Christ.
• Christ our treasure house is full of such riches. There is no lack of wisdom there. The Vine has an endless supply of all that the branch needs… and the branch will experience that rich supply ONLY as it abides in the vine.
• So too with wisdom and knowledge needed for living the Christian life. It is all stored up for us in Christ… but it is only experienced as we abide in Christ… walking by faith… yielded to Him.
• That is the place of wisdom… the yielded, surrendered, spiritual man is wise. The carnal believer lacks such wisdom.
• If the heart relationship to Him isn’t right, then our wisdom and knowledge of spiritual things will be darkened… corrupted…

The Practical Side

1. Could you imagine how massive the Bible would be if it covered every possible situation and issue that would ever arise in every country and in every generation?

2. We need wisdom and knowledge for the multitude of various issues that arise in daily living.

3. Every generation faces similar issues… but different details.

a. Entertainment: imagine such a list of all forms of entertainment in every age?

b. Clothing: imagine a list of acceptable and unacceptable styles?

4. God has NOT given us such a list. He has done something FAR better. He lives within us! And we can have daily fellowship with Him!

a. This close, personal relationship to the indwelling Christ IS our wisdom and knowledge!

b. When we face a situation not specifically spelled out in the Bible, and we are not sure what to do… our answer is our relationship to Christ, the Living Word.

c. We also have His written Word… and the principles in His Word are broad enough to give wisdom and knowledge in making God honoring decisions.

d. And we KNOW Christ! And the more we get to know Him… the nearer our hearts are drawn to His, the more wisdom and knowledge we will have in making a right decision.

e. Ex: I know my wife. After 25 years of marriage, I know what she likes and I know what she doesn’t like. Hence, when something new comes on the scene… because I know her so well, I have a pretty good idea of whether this new item would be pleasing to her or not!

f. We have never discussed moving to a tropical island before… and even though we have never discussed it, I know that she would not be in favor of it… because I know HER.

g. We have had many other related conversations… I know her… how she thinks… what she likes and what she does not like.

h. Knowing a PERSON gives knowledge and wisdom that can be exercised in making decisions that will PLEASE that person.

i. Knowing CHRIST gives us knowledge and wisdom in carrying out His will… and pleasing Him. And that should be our goal!

j. Wisdom and knowledge comes from KNOWING Christ… more and more… a deeper and deeper relationship… so that we begin to THINK like He thinks… we learn to love what He loves and hate what He hates.

k. This is growing in grace and in the KNOWLEDGE of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is also growing more and more into His image… becoming more like the Savior. This is true spiritual transformation…

l. We increase in wisdom, not simply by storing more facts in our heads, but by increasing in our relationship to Christ… for all treasures of wisdom and knowledge are found IN HIM…

m. The closer we get to Him, the closer we get to wisdom… for all the treasures of wisdom are found in Him.

n. And as we DWELL IN HIM… abide in Him… and thus learn of Him… we are growing in wisdom and knowledge.

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