“Let no one who delights in humility and the worship of angels pass judgment on you. That person goes on at great lengths about what he has supposedly seen, but he is puffed up with empty notions by his fleshly mind. He has not held fast to the head from whom the whole body, supported and knit together through its ligaments and sinews, grows with a growth that is from God” (Colossians 2:18-19 NET).
One of the great dangers facing anyone who fails to hold fast to “…Christ, who is the head of the body” (GNT) is that he or she may begin to read things into the Bible that aren’t really there.
You see, it is one thing to take a Biblical principle or idea and apply it to various situations. We saw an example of this earlier in our look at Colossians 2:18 as we discussed the Biblical reference to “…the worship of angels…” (NIV). We applied that passage to similar interactions with other “spiritual advocates” such as ancestral spirits, patron saints, spirit guides, and the like.
However, it is quite different to read something into a Biblical text that isn’t there. Theologians refer to this practice as eisegesis, a word that describes the act of reading an opinion or personal bias into a Biblical text that is not supported by the text or context.
The opposite of eisegesis is exegesis, a word that defines an effort to extract the meaning of the Scriptures. For instance, we might exegete a text through the use of word studies, commentaries, historical research, contextual examination, and other resources to draw out the meaning of a passage and obtain a fuller, richer understanding of God’s Word.
These distinctions are important for they shape the way we approach the Bible. For instance, we can impose a subjective interpretation from the outside in (eisegesis) or we can work from the inside out in attempting to extract the objective meaning from the text (exegesis). Each approach will greatly influence the way we apply the Scriptures for better or worse
Unfortunately, a person who is disengaged from a genuine relationship with Christ is likely to impose an external bias upon God’s Word since the Author is unavailable to guide his or her understanding of the text. One source draws our attention to this danger…
“The fundamental problem with the false teachers was that they were not connected to Christ, the head of the body of believers. If they had been joined to him, they could not have taught false doctrine or lived immorally. Anyone who teaches about God without being connected to him by faith should not be trusted.” (1)
(1) Life Application Study Bible, Colossians 2:19 Copyright © 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 2004 by Tyndale House Publishers Inc., all rights reserved. Life Application® is a registered trademark of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.