In this article we are going to break down the question, what is the meaning of 2 Corinthians 10:5? Furthermore, we will define exactly what are the weapons of our warfare. Finally, the mysterious question, what are strongholds in the Bible will become clearer!

Title Taking Thoughts Captive Meaning

Taking every thought captive is in the Bible and it’s a very popular topic. We all want a little more control over our thought life, right? Every single person has thoughts that need to be replaced with thoughts that are lovely, delightful and true (Philippians 4:8). That last word- true … Is paramount.

Overview of the Meaning of 2 Corinthians 10:5?

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

In order to get the full meaning of 2 Corinthians 10:5, we have to go back a couple of verses (see above). The first thing to notice in the above passage is the emphasis on the word war or battle. Key points include, we (Christians) do not do war like the world. Our weapons have divine power (more on that in a moment) to tear down strongholds/arguments that don’t align with God’s Word. In other words, we have to discern truth from lies. Once we identify the lie, we wage war with our divine weapons…that, my friends, is taking every thought captive.

Let’s break down the meaning of 2 Corinthians 10:5 into smaller bites.

How to Discern Lies From Truth

People have an tendency to define their own truth. We make a lot of assumptions about people, the future and even God. Those assumptions lead to negative or false beliefs and thoughts. Additionally, there is a tendency to treat our beliefs and thoughts like facts. However, all of our thoughts and beliefs are NOT facts.

The world says you can define your on truth. Philosophy indicates all truth is subjective. If we operate on those principles we will be standing on shaky ground. All. The. Time. As Christians we must have a plumb line for truth. Our Truth comes from the Word of God. This is the only way to discern between lies and truth for a Christian. It’s solid and unchanging – the Rock on which we stand!

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. John 17:17

Trading Lies for Truth

After we accomplish the task of sorting the lies from Truth, we must be active in trading the lies in and replacing those lies with Truth. In other words, the beliefs or thoughts we have are examined and once they are identified as lies then the must be replaced with Truth.

This is where Truth is paramount. If we live our lives believing lies, it will change the way we do life!

When I was younger, I remember watching a movie in which the entire town was deceived into believing that if they went outside the bounds of the forest line they would surely die. This lie led to the entire town living within very small boundary lines. They also lived in fear constantly. Additionally, they passed those lies down to their children-leaving a legacy of fear. The reality was that there was another town on the other side of the forest where they could live more freely without the harsh control of the leaders of their town.

One younger person from the town kept trying to break the rules and head for the forest. Long story short- the truth was exposed. There was a town on the other side that had freedom and no fear of death. As a result, once the entire town learned they were deceived, they left. The truth changed their lives.

The Truth of God’s Word changes lives. When we choose to believe God’s Word over the lies, we experience more joy, peace and life abundantly. Truth literally and powerfully changes the way we do life.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Read through these three verses a few times before going on. We are going to unpack the meaning of 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 in bit sized pieces. Additionally, we are going to highlight important words and phrases.

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    What are the Weapons of Our Warfare?

    Paul is reminding the Corinthians that we are fighting differently than the world fights. In verse four, he specifies that our weapons have divine power to demolish strongholds (more on strongholds in a minute). So, what are the weapons of our warfare? Ephesians 6:10-18 goes into the full armor of God, but I want to highlight the last two weapons mentioned.

     Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:17-18 (bold emphasis mine)

    These are very special weapons with divine power. Additionally, these divine weapons are only for those in Christ. These divine weapons are not of the world, nor are they for the people of the world. You are special- set apart, therefore, equipped and empowered.

    If we intend to take thoughts captive, the Word of God and prayer are both necessary in the battle of the mind. God does not call us to do anything that He does not equip and empower us to do. Our equipping comes from His Word- where we find Truth to stand on. Equipping also comes through prayer. Did you notice in the Ephesians passage referred to God’s Word as the sword of the Spirit and we are told to pray in the Spirit. His Holy Spirit dwells in believers therefore, we are empowered by his Holy Spirit to take thoughts captive. This is important for anyone who believes they can’t change the way they think.

    What is a Stronghold in the Bible?

    A strong hold is defined as a place that has been fortified to protect it against attack. Earlier we talked about how our thoughts are often hidden in our mind. As a result, when our thoughts remain hidden – they go unchecked and are not held accountable. When thoughts are not brought into the light and held accountable they are protected against attack. Additionally, strong hold is defined as a place where a particular cause or belief is strongly defended or upheld. Your mind becomes a fortress for thoughts and believes that may not be grounded in Truth. Do you see the parallel?

    Paul is calling us to demolish any lies we might be believing about ourselves, others and even God. We are told to demolish those strong holds (lies) with our divine weapons.

    2 Corinthians 10:5 Meaning

    We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5

    Let’s begin by highlighting and defining a couple keywords in this passage and then we will put it all together.

    Pretension- a claim or assertion of a claim to something.

    Demolish- two pull or knock down; to comprehensively refute (an argument).

    Our thoughts are not facts unless they are aligned with the Word of God.

    We are first told to demolish arguments and pretensions that set itself up against the knowledge of God. In other words, we are going to refute lies. Earlier we discussed discerning lies and truth. We have a tendency to treat our thoughts like facts. Let me be clear here – our thoughts are not facts unless they are aligned with the Word of God. Consequently, when we are not aligned with Scripture in our thinking it leads to emotions and actions that lead to distress.

    Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

    This is the very reason Paul challenges us to take every thought captive. Once we know we are inadvertently believing a lie, we must act on it. We do that by refuting the lie with truth (Scripture). That means strongly held beliefs that don’t line up with truth (stronghold) must be torn down and replaced with Truth.

    Wrapping up the Meaning of 2 Corinthians 10:5

    These three simple yet powerfully transforming verses are the beginning of a life to the full (John 10:10). When we demolish strongholds in our lives that set themselves up against the knowledge of God, life transforms… Light comes in and eradicates darkness. Equipped with our God given weapons and empowered by His Holy Spirit – we can take thoughts captive! Taking thoughts captive will change the way you do life!

    Check out the only online course for “Taking Thoughts Captive”.

    1 Comment

    1. Donna on September 8, 2021 at 6:48 am

      I really enjoyed this article and how you broke down “taking our thoughts captive” and 2 Corinthians 10:5. Thank you for sharing!

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