Life-Study of Philippiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to God.” Here Paul says that the word of Christ should dwell in us, inhabit us. This implies that the word of Christ is living. In order for something to dwell in us or to inhabit us, it must be living.
Paul’s expression in this verse indicates that the word of Christ is very much like a living person. Paul almost personifies the word of Christ; he tells us to let this word inhabit us, as if it were a living person. The word of Christ is actually the living Person of Christ. Moreover, according to the New Testament, the living Person of Christ is the Spirit. Jesus is the name of this Person, and the reality of this Person is the Spirit. For this reason, whenever we call on the name of the Lord Jesus, it is the Spirit who comes. We have also pointed out that the Word and the Spirit are one. Hence, when the word of Christ dwells in us, the Spirit inhabits us.
In Colossians 3:16 Paul tells us to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly “in all wisdom.” Have you ever considered what it means for the word of Christ to dwell in you in all wisdom? If we would understand the meaning of this expression, we must differentiate between wisdom and knowledge. Knowledge is related primarily to the function of the mind, whereas wisdom is related to the function of our spirit. This means that if the word of Christ is to dwell in us in all wisdom, we need to exercise our spirit. If we use our mind to memorize the Word, the Word will then dwell in us in knowledge. Memorizing Bible verses is a function of the mind related to knowledge, not a function of the spirit related to wisdom. For the Word to dwell in us in all wisdom refers to its indwelling every way possible through the exercise of the spirit. Wisdom is deeper, finer, and more profound than knowledge. It comes from the exercise of the spirit.
The difference between knowledge and wisdom can be illustrated in married life. Suppose a brother’s wife is murmuring and even rebukes him. If he fights back by reasoning with her, he will exercise his mind with its knowledge. In this, there is no wisdom. But suppose while his wife is murmuring, he calls on the name of the Lord Jesus and prays. This is wisdom. To reason is related to knowledge, but to pray is related to wisdom. Pray-reading and singing may also be related to wisdom. The brother may also show wisdom by exercising his spirit to share a helpful testimony he heard recently in a church meeting. The point here is that knowledge involves the exercise of the mind, but wisdom involves the exercise of the spirit by such means as praying, pray-reading, singing, and testifying.
When Paul speaks in Colossians 3:16 of letting the word of Christ dwell in us richly, he does not mention reading, which is an exercise of the mind. Rather, he mentions wisdom, which implies the exercise of the spirit. What issues from the exercise of the spirit is wisdom, but what comes through the exercise of the mind is knowledge.
In this verse Paul also speaks of “teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace” in our hearts to God. Here Paul does not speak of teaching and admonishing in an ordinary way, but of teaching and admonishing in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Furthermore, Paul indicates that it is by singing that we let the word of Christ dwell in us richly. We may also teach and admonish by singing.
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