2 Corinthians 10:4
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;)
a. NLT: We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.
b. NIV: The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
c. YLT: for the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but powerful to God for bringing down of strongholds,
d. Amplified Bible Classic: For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds,
e. Worrell Translation: (For the weapons of or our warfare are not fleshly, but mighty through God for the casting down of strongholds;)
f. Wuest Translation: For the weapons of our warfare are not human but mighty in God’s sight, resulting in the demolition of fortresses.
g. Peshitta Eastern Text: For the weapons which we use are not earthly weapons, but of the might of God by which we conquer rebellious strongholds.
1. “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal…”
a. For [Strong: 1063 gar gar a primary particle; properly, assigning a reason (used in argument, explanation or intensification; often with other particles):--and, as, because (that), but, even, for, indeed, no doubt, seeing, then, therefore, verily, what, why, yet.]
b. the weapons [Strong: 3696 hoplon hop'-lon; probably from a primary hepo (to be busy about); an implement or utensil or tool (literally or figuratively, especially, offensive for war):--armour, instrument, weapon.] [Zodhiates: an instrument, implement for preparing a thing, and in the plural for weapons of warfare.]
c. of our [Strong: 2257 hemon hay-mone' genitive case plural of 1473; of (or from) us:--our (company), us, we.]
d. warfare [4752 * strateia] [Strong: from 4754; military service, i.e. (figuratively) the apostolic career (as one of hardship and danger):--warfare.]
e. are not [Strong: 3756 ou, oo; also (before a vowel) ouk, and (before an aspirate) ouch] a primary word; the absolute negative (compare 3361) adverb; no or not:--+ long, nay, neither, never, no (X man), none, (can-)not, + nothing, + special, un(-worthy), when, + without, + yet but.]
f. carnal [Strong: 4559 sarkikos sar-kee-kos' from 4561; pertaining to flesh, i.e. (by extension) bodily, temporal, or (by implication) animal, unregenerate:--carnal, fleshly.] [Thayer: fleshly, carnal, having the nature of flesh, i.e. under the control of the animal appetites, governed by mere human nature not by the Spirit of God, having its seat in the animal nature or aroused by the animal nature, human: with the included idea of depravity, pertaining to the flesh, to the body: related to birth, linage, etc.] [Vine: flesh…or as the equivalent of human with the added idea of weakness.]
1). Our minds can be used as weapons for God in our obedience to Him. We in obedience to Christ are to arm ourselves with the same mind Christ Jesus had.
a). 1 Peter 4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin.
b). Notice this is the same mind that Christ Jesus had, i.e., he would not sin against his Father God. We are to arm ourselves with that same mind. Most Christians have the lackadaisical attitude, I’m just a sinner saved by grace. Yes I have sinned, I sin, and if allow myself I will sin again, and thank God for the grace in forgiveness that is provided to me in Christ Jesus, but I am not a sinner saved by grace. Notice what the Apostle Paul wrote concerning the attitude I am supposed to adopt in my thinking.
(1) Romans 6:1-18 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
6:5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
6:7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
6:8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
6:9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
6:10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
6:15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
6:17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
6:18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
c). Notice the wording: The body of sin that was in me is destroyed so I should not serve sin, I am freed from sin, I am not to allow sin to reign in my life, I am not to obey its lusts, sin shall not have dominion over me because of grace. Grace gives me the power and ability through God to resist sin.I am free from sin, I am no longer a servant to sin but I am a servant of righteousness. Yes, the grace of God given to us in this New Covenant provides forgiveness if and when I sin, but it also provides me the power to resist sin and obey righteousness.
(1) Titus 2:11-15 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
2:15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.
2). Our minds can also be used as an enemy against God.
a). Colossians 1:22 “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works…”
b). Romans 13:14 ‘…and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.”
(1) provision [4307 pronoia pron'-oy-ah from 4306; forethought, i.e. provident care or supply:--providence, provision.] [pro-before; noeo-to think.]
3). If we don’t know the will of God, if we are ignorant, the devil will use our ignorance to keep parts of our lives in bondage to him. We can be our own worst enemy.
a). 2 Timothy 2:24-26 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
2:26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
b). Isaiah 5:13 Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honorable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.
4). It is the will of God that we use our minds to be weapons of righteousness, to grow spiritually using our minds to meditate the word of God. The weapons of our military service are not weak, merely human, i.e. self effort.
a). Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous and thou shalt have good success.
2. “…but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;)
a. but [Strong: 235 alla al-lah' neuter plural of 243; properly, other things, i.e. (adverbially) contrariwise (in many relations):--and, but (even), howbeit, indeed, nay, nevertheless, no, notwithstanding, save, therefore, yea, yet.]
b. mighty [Strong: 1415 dunatos doo-nat-os' from 1410; powerful or capable (literally or figuratively); neuter possible:--able, could, (that is) mighty (man), possible, power, strong.] [Thayer: able, powerful, mighty, strong, mighty, in wealth and influence, strong in soul, to bear calamities and trials with fortitude and patience, strong in Christian virtue, to be able (to do something), mighty, excelling in something, having power for something]
c. through God [Strong: 2316 theos theh'-os; of uncertain affinity; a deity, especially (with 3588) the supreme Divinity; figuratively, a magistrate; by Hebraism, very:--X exceeding, God, god(-ly, -ward).]
1). When we use our minds to meditate God’s words, our minds become mighty through God.
d. to [Strong: 4314 pros pros; a strengthened form of 4253; a preposition of direction; forward to, i.e. toward (with the genitive case, the side of, i.e. pertaining to; with the dative case, by the side of, i.e. near to; usually with the accusative case, the place, time, occasion, or respect, which is the destination of the relation, i.e. whither or for which it is predicated):--about, according to , against, among, at, because of, before, between, (where-)by, for, X at thy house, in, for intent, nigh unto, of, which pertain to, that, to (the end that), X together, to (you) -ward, unto, with(-in). In the comparative case, it denotes essentially the same applications, namely, motion towards, accession to, or nearness at.]
e. the pulling down [Strong: 2506 kathairesis kath-ah'-ee-res-is; from 2507; demolition; figuratively, extinction:--destruction, pulling down.] [Zodhiates: Demolition, destruction of a fortress.]
f. of strongholds [Strong: 3794 ochuroma okh-oo'-ro-mah; from a remote derivative of 2192 (meaning to fortify, through the idea of holding safely); a castle (figuratively, argument):--stronghold.] [Zodhiates: A stronghold, fortification, fortress.] [Thayer: a castle, stronghold, fortress, fastness, anything on which one relies, of the arguments and reasonings by which a disputant endeavours to fortify his opinion and defend it against his opponent.]
1). It will be shown that Paul is talking about thought processes, long held beliefs, philosophies that are entrenched in our minds that the enemy uses to keep us from getting born again, hinder or stop us from receiving revelation from the word of God, thus hindering spiritual growth, or even to cause us to sin or remain in sin. These mind sets, these thought processes can capture us and take us prisoner.
a). Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, and not after Christ.
b). Colossians 2:8 [Amplified Bible] See to it that no one carries you off as spoil or makes you yourselves captive by his so-called philosophy and intellectualism and vain deceit (idle fancies and plain nonsense), following human tradition (men’s ideas of the material rather than the spiritual world), just crude notions following the rudimentary and elemental teachings of the universe and disregarding [the teachings of] Christ (the Messiah).
2). The only way to overcome these strongholds, these thought processes these opinions is as the Scripture says, is to demolish them, destroy them and pull them down through the grace and power of God, and to replace them with what the Scripture says.
a). [Abridged Testimony] I got saved November 10th 1976 when I was 26 years old. What drove me to Jesus was the loss of controlling my thought life and hearing voices. In the years leading up to November 10th, 1976, my thought life was no doubt like many in my generation (I was born in 1950), I was in the ninth year of a drug, rock, lust filled life and the thought life that complimented it. Sometime in early 1975 I began a seemingly harmless interest into UFOs (Studying UFO’s is not harmless. It is the occult.).-It wasn’t long before the harmless interest turned into a consuming passion, reading everything I could get my hands on concerning UFOs. Much of what I read veered off into other areas of the occult, telekinesis, telepathy, channeling, séances, necromancy, witchcraft, and demonology. Little did I know the more demonic material I read, the more of an open door was given to evil spirits to enter my mind and thought life. Little by little my thoughts began to terrify me with tormenting thoughts and voices. The nature of the thoughts were vile profanities directed at God, words that would be characteristic of demons. All the while the Spirit of God was drawing me in His love, making absolutely clear to me that Jesus was my only way out of the torment. Incredibly, I continued to resist and as I did the demonic thoughts and voices increased to the point they consumed all my waking moments. While at home or work as long as I was awake, a sound track of vile profanities directed at God and everyone else played in my head. Words laced with pornographic images, along with blasphemies against God constantly ran through my mind. In the days before November 10th, in all my waking hours, I was tormented with thoughts and voices so horrible and terrified they were coming from me, my own mind. On November 10th 1976 I knelt down beside my living room couch and prayed more sincerely than I had ever prayed, repenting of my sins, believing Jesus rose from the dead and declaring Him as Lord of my life. In the days and weeks after my conversion I realized a very disappointing and inexplicable fact, after I got saved my thought life did not change; I was just as tormented as before I got saved. There may have been a miniscule difference but not much. I knew I had gotten saved because there were definitive changes in my life. Among them was my desire to smoke dope stopped, another definite change was I had a very filthy mouth that I struggled to keep in check before I got saved but it too just dropped off the radar. Another godly development was I quit smoking cigarettes. Three days after my conversion I put my cigarettes down and didn’t pick them up again; the difference was the struggle and desire to smoke stayed with me for months, though losing its power over me little by little as the weeks passed until it too was no longer on the radar screen. It was these victories in my life in the initial weeks and months of me getting saved and the infrequent sensations of feeling the presence of God that carried me and sustained me. I knew I was saved because there was definite change for the good in my life, but the constant battle over my thought life was a complete rout of me by the enemy and was deeply troubling. I slept with my Bible under my pillow every night. I read the Bible every waking moment I could, at home as well as at work. I probably read anywhere from 40 to 60 chapters a day and kept this pace for the next seven years of my life. God of course would not leave me in this state of torment; it wasn’t long before God in His mercy would put the right people in my life to teach me how to get total victory over this oppression of the devil. It wasn’t for another four months, after we began attending WPC and perhaps a month after that that I confided in Pastor Jerry that I was greatly tormented in my thought life. He said “Don, all you need to do is renew your mind in the word of God.” He pointed out to me that when we get born again, our spirits are recreated and new but our minds and bodies stay the same. He said it is our responsibility as covenant people to receive the grace of God and bring our minds and bodies into subjection to the word of God, that it was our responsibility and not God’s. We prayed and he shared with me a couple of Scriptures, Romans 12:1, 2 and 2 Corinthians 10:3-6. I not only memorized those passages, I recited them so often to myself I imagined that I branded them on my brain. From that moment on, relief began, slowly but surely and eventually I got total victory in my thought life.
b). Let me insert here that I am not against doctors, but if I had gone to the doctor and shared with him my symptoms instead of going to God, what probably would have happened is I would have been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. After the diagnosis the doctor would possibly have admitted me to the hospital and kept me there until they found a correct drug to straighten out the possible chemical imbalance in my brain which caused the voices. In the history of these types of things I have to say it probably would have worked, but I still would be lost and on my way to a devil’s hell. The fact is, people hearing voices and being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia are successfully treated every day with drug regimens all over the world, but it does not treat the spiritual need of salvation only found in Christ Jesus. Again, I am not against doctors, but doctors can only help the physical and sometimes the mental, outside of faith in the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus there is no solution to the sin problem.
c). Included in the renewing of my mind was changing the opinions I held before I got saved. Before I was born again I was pro- abortion. When I found out in God’s word what the Bible said about life in the womb I changed my opinion. Many other examples could be given where opinions and positions I once held that were contrary to Scripture were knowingly and purposefully changed in obedience to what the Bible clearly said. This practice not only kept me in line with what God said but it also literally rescued my mental health. Other than that very clear and practical obedience we need to spend quality time in God’s word in order to receive revelation grow spiritually either through preaching or meditating and speaking the word of God, then through the help of God to conform ourselves to the image of Christ.
2). A vital component to achieving the “sound mind” that we are given in Christ is obedience to the Scriptures.
a). Romans 12:1, 2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
3). Obedience is absolutely necessary for without obedience to the known will of God only deception awaits us.
a). James 1:21-24 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
1:23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
1:24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
b). Ephesians 4:21-24 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
4:23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.