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In Part One, this word was mentioned in understanding the definition of this heresy. It will help us to understand why Paul was so anxious to write to this church. I will present Part One later. I believe this section is important considering what was taught in the first lecture.
Source: AMG's Complete Word Study Dictionaries
This word's origin stems from the Greek word gnosis, which means knowledge. It finds it root in the word Gnosticism. It is a cult of pre-Christian and early Christian centuries. Its conviction is that matter is evil. It teaches that matter is evil, and that emancipation comes through twisted knowledge. Rev. 2:14. Bible commentaries say that it "carries a negative connotation..." It is classified as a "quasi-religious doctrines and speculations. It cannot be included in Christian doctrine.
This word is sometimes used as a reference to modern thinkers. It is a historical term. It is associated with various heterodox sects. They existed between "the second and fifth centuries CE." [Dictionary of Theological Interpretation of the Bible.] They did not last long. Although many cults lived and died, this particular "cult" was serious danger to the infant churches.
Gnosticism took its shape in "Hinduism, Buddhism, Babylonian astral speculation, Iranian mythology, Canaanite religion, Jewish apocalyptic and Greek mystery religions..." [Dictionary of Theological Interpretation]
One of the supporters of this "belief" was R. Bultmann and his influential commentary. I did a paper in college on this individual. I may present my findings on this individual later. I must first seek the Mind of God on this. Irenaeus opposed this cult, and it is explained in the "Rule of Faith." Tertullian also opposed it. If you so desire, I can give you more information on Irenaeus and Tertullian. I recognize the fact that some of you may not know who these individuals is. I will write a paper on them, but this addendum to the study will appear on my website. I do not have enough space here to study these two Christian men.
When speaking of those cults that exist now, it has been found that Ti Chai, near death experiences, Hinduism, Christian consciousness, and Christian Science fall under this category. This is just to name a very few. There is a list of various "religious" cults that are mentioned in Encyclopedia World Religions.
I could give more references to this false religion. I hope that this brief instruction give you the basic knowledge of Gnosticism. You can see from these brief statements that Paul to write to the congregation of Colosse. It was important that such foolishness not mingle with the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Dear souls who were once enslaved would return to bondage.