Taking Every Thought Captive
I want to use the post again today to deal with another commonly misunderstood passage in the Bible. This one isn't as well-known as some of the others we've dealt with, but it's important to understand within the context of this letter:
2 Corinthians 10:5
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ... (emphasis mine)
Usually "taking every thought captive" is treated as a verse dealing with our personal thought lives, but the context of this passage definitely informs us otherwise. What is Paul talking about here if not an individual's thought life?
"Paul's fight to “take captive every thought … to Christ” (10:5), which epitomizes this chapter, is often misapplied in our contemporary context. The issue in view is not Paul’s private struggle with his own “thought life,” as important as it is to make sure that we are thinking in ways that honor Christ. Paul is not striving to control his worry or lust or arrogance or tempting thoughts. Nor is it a criticism of philosophy or of intellectual pursuits as such, though it does contain an implied warning that all truth-claims must be subjected to the constraints of the gospel and its worldview.
Rather, Paul’s concern in 10:1–18 is with a public dispute over the content of the gospel and the true nature of God’s commendation of those who preach it. His self-defense is not the expression of a hurt ego, but the necessary response against those who deny the gospel by their lifestyles and teaching. To take captive every thought to Christ is to evaluate every teaching concerning who Jesus is and what it means to follow him in order to ensure that whatever is said and thought conforms to the character and purposes of Christ himself."  (emphasis mine)
Hafemann goes on to suggest several ways in which this happens or should happen in the church today:
1. Apologetics: We need to be ready to "defend the faith". We take every thought captive by equipping ourselves to know our faith well and defend it against attack from the outside.
2. Church Discipline: This is protecting ourselves from within. Not every attack comes from outside the faith. We need to be ready to spot and deal with thought that denies God, even from within our churches. We must always be on guard.
3. Spiritual Substance Over Style: It is very popular now to seek out "good speakers" or "good music" in a church. This is not new - Paul speaks in this chapter about the situation in Corinth, which was basically the same. Taking every thought captive means not seeking entertainment from church, but spiritual nourishment.
4. Proclaiming the Gospel: The most obvious way to take every thought captive, but do we do it? Do we truly seek to make Jesus' name known to the world?
Getting control of your private thought life is important, but not really what this passage has in mind. Paul isn't speaking of a defensive fight against sin within ourselves, but an offensive move brought to the world to bring the Truth the the world. Can you think of any other important ways are we are or can do this?