Taking Thoughts Captive

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What’s the meaning of 2 Corinthians 10:5?

In this first section of 2 Corinthians 10, Paul is defending his ministry as an apostle of Christ. But he takes a moment to talk about the spiritual battle of fighting false doctrine in the church. Paul was a fighter, and he had to be because of all the false teachers that followed him around and caused confusion in the churches he founded.

He was humble and meek when he was among the Christians in these churches, but he had to write letters to correct false doctrine and false practice. And in those letters, like Corinthians, Galatians, and some other letters, Paul had to be tough and bold (2 Corinthians 10:1-2).

A very familiar concept appears in 2 Corinthians 10:3, which we also see when Paul talks about spiritual warfare in Ephesians 6:12. He says that although we walk in the flesh we don’t fight according to the flesh. In Ephesians 6:12, Paul states that we don’t fight against flesh and blood.

The point of this principle is that we wage war in the spiritual realm. And we don’t use carnal weapons, or weapons that are of the flesh. Spiritual battles require spiritual weapons. Many times we think of spiritual battles as battles with evil, with the devil, with demons.

But spiritual battles also include the kinds of battles Paul was in all the time, battles with false teachers, false doctrine, confusion in the church, and false prophets. It’s all included in the devil’s schemes against us and the church.

He doesn’t only talk about the fact that spiritual battles, but he shows how these weapons are used. He describes spiritual warfare weapons as having divine power to destroy strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4). These weapons have the ability to break down all of the strongholds that the devil puts up, including false doctrine and false teachers in the church.

Because the context here deals with spiritual battles with false teaching and false teachers, Paul has in mind specifically the mental aspect of spiritual warfare. He talks about the spiritual weapons destroying arguments, opinions, and thoughts. These are raised against God, and opposition to him (2 Corinthians 10:5).

It is with these weapons, the kinds of weapons that renew the mind (Romans 12:2), that Paul takes every thought captive to Christ. No matter what the thought may be, the opinion someone may hold, or the argument they make, if it doesn’t agree with Scripture and with God, if it stands against God, it will be broken down by the power of the Spirit through these mighty spiritual weapons.

Not only is the Word of God that renews our mind a powerful spiritual weapon, but also obedience (2 Corinthians 10:5). The thoughts are taken captive because of obedience. When we obey the Spirit of God, the flesh cannot compete.

When we are obedient to God, we cannot be disobedient to the Spirit. We cannot follow the flesh and the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-17). The spiritual battle is won when we follow the Spirit instead of our flesh. The mind is the battlefield, but as long as we do not allow our minds to rationalize sin or desires of the flesh, we will victory through Christ and his Spirit.

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