2 Corinthians 10:5
KJV “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ…”
NASB “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”
Here are a few definitions to help clarify what this verse is talking about:
Casting down means to demolish, destroy.
Imaginations or speculations means to reckon, calculate, consideration, reflection. A purpose or thought still in the mind, not executed.
The lofty or high thing can be a barrier – interesting.
The knowledge is the experiential type of knowing God vs intellectual knowledge.
Thought means to perceive, a thought, concept of the mind, contrivance, understanding.
Obedience means to listen to something, to hearken
This verse comes just after Paul is talking about bringing down strongholds with the weapons that are mighty through God. Think about your mind being a place like a castle in the midst of a kingdom. It’s as if there is a battle right in the castle apart from the battle going on, on ground level. So if the battle is in the mind and thought life, then God’s power is just waiting to help us there to be free of anything that brings us down. I know I tend to just keep my castle for myself and guard it tightly and yet, that is where our enemy attacks us the most.
After thinking on some of the definitions, it spoke to me about how many times my thoughts seem to take over my mind when I don’t want them to. Do you find it hard to turn off a line of thinking? We can get so stuck on one line of thought at any given moment. I find what comes against the knowledge of God is thinking like this: “If I can think my way through any given situation then I’ll be in control and know just what to do and when to do it.” But here, I see that when I am doing this, it’s actually preventing me from experiencing God; it’s a barrier. I like the word speculations in the NASB, because, don’t we all speculate? We say to ourselves, “If I do this, than maybe God will move in this or that way? If I decide this thing, then maybe this or that will happen.” That sort of thinking drives me nuts because, how do we know what will happen if we chose this or that? Am I so smart as to know the future? Talk about wanting to take God’s place! Ouch!
These lofty things are things that just stay in our minds, it’s not something real just yet. We put things into our minds and then chew on them like a cow chewing its cud over and over again only to come up less able to make a decision in the end. Whatever those lofty things are, it states here that they come against experiencing God. That means, whatever comes against God’s love (for God is love) is our enemy.
To take my thoughts captive speaks to me of having authority; one in a position of ruling over something else and tell it to go here or go there and it has to obey you. I think Paul is telling us that we have the authority to tell our thoughts, our perceptions, our contrivances, and our speculations to either go or stay. How often I have just let my thought run erroneously thinking that I have no power over them.
And I like the definition of obedience – this obedience isn’t our obedience, it is the obedience “of” Christ, not “to” Christ. That changes the entire scene. It’s how well Christ obeyed the Father that sets us free and grants us salvation, justification and righteousness. It’s not our obedience. Our obedience fluctuates day to day and is not in any way steady or perfect. As we gaze upon our Savior, then and only then do we have the power to obey and the ability to take out thoughts captive. No two things can occupy the same space at once. Think on Jesus and all He did for you on the cross and the enemy cannot enter that place. Think on who you are “in Christ” – perfect, complete, made righteous by His blood and your thought life will grow into His likeness.
Just listening to the Lord, His Word, puts our thoughts (that we don’t want) into captivity, so that we can be the strong one and not have our thoughts rule us. This is also part of receiving all Jesus died to give you. He’s given you authority over your thoughts so that you can indeed win every battle on this earth.