Helping William Read

What do you do when someone reads Colossians 1:1-2 and get’s mad?

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother. To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse:

How could that make someone angry? Well, what if the idea of absolute truth turned this person off? What if taking a text and making it absolute made people walk away from Jesus?

I am reading a book where a character named William get’s angry because Paul claims to be writing out of the “will of God”. To William, this means “you can’t argue with me – you can’t disagree with me… God is on my side.” To William, Paul has not exactly opened the door to healthy conversation. To William, Paul has declared that he possesses absolute truth.

If this wasn’t enough to make William stop listening to Paul, then Paul goes and says he is writing to the “holy and faithful”…

William get’s the idea that Paul isn’t talking to him – because he doesn’t know a lot about saints and sinners, but he knows enough to recognize that he is no saint. So not only has Paul cornered William into a onesided conversation, but now he has totally excluded him from it.

So – Now I ask you this: What do you say in response to William???


  1. What book is that?

    What to say… Well, I might not say it out loud, but my first response is “Man, you are reading scripture more closely that I usually do! I can learn some some lessons from you.”

    But then I might say out loud, “That’s the Bible for you–one long mess of paradoxes. You have incredibly gentle, peaceful statements like ‘My yoke is easy and my burden is light,’ and ‘The Kingdom of heaven belongs to the spiritually depleted,’ but you also have these audacious and unequivocal claims like ‘by the will of God,’ and ‘If you have seen me you have seen the Father.’ It’s shaped the history of over half the world for hundreds of years even as its message has been ignored by the majority of humanity. You want to read some more?”

    But that sounds kind of challenging, kind of in-your-face. I need help with this. What would someone else say?

  2. Greg –

    The book is “Colossians Remixed” by Brian Walsh & Sylvia Keesmaat.

    I think your response was a good one – inviting William to continue to wonder aloud without providing “all the answers” for him (Jesus rarely provided complete answers to inquirers). Also liked how you invited him to read further and explore more before he came to any hard conclusions based on simply a salutation.


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