Colossians- An Introduction

Colossians: An Introduction
Written by: Larry Elliott

General info: This week we embark on a study of the short letter to the church at Colossae (or Colosse). If you are not familiar with this book (or even if you are 😊) you are in for a treat! This is theologically profound and culturally antithetic literature. If you did nothing but read, reread and study this letter for the next year you would feed your soul on the rich truths of God’s Word and not feel for a moment that you had missed out on any of God’s goodness. Herein you will find one of the greatest treatises on the deity of Christ to be found anywhere in scripture!

The letter was written during one of Paul’s imprisonment in Rome (Acts 28:30) about 60-62 AD. Carried by Tychicus along with letters to Ephesus and Philemon this letter, though addressed to the church at Colossae, was also intended to be read by multiple churches in the area. (4:16)

Internal biblical evidence indicates that Paul had never been in Colossae (1:7; 2:1) but one of his disciples, Epaphras, was instrumental in establishing this body of believers and brought news from the fledgling church to Paul in prison prompting the writing of this letter.

Apparently, some social pressures were being imposed on the new believers - Jewish legalism regarding keeping the Jewish Law, some exclusive, philosophical “higher knowledge” proponents, and a questioning of the deity of Christ.
Purpose:  Paul was prompted to write for several reasons, but we might simplify them to these 3:
  1. Demonstrate the deity of Christ and his supremacy over all the created order
  2. Warn the Colossians not to be deceived by the error of false human philosophies that were in conflict with the philosophy of Christ
  3. Teach the essence of the new life and relationships in light of the resurrection and how it framed the context of their new life in Christ.

Key concepts/verses to consider as we study together: I know of no better way to “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” than to simply list some of the magnificent truths with which we will be confronted in the weeks ahead. Enjoy!

  • True “spiritual wisdom and understanding” 
  • “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” 1:13,14
  • The preeminence/deity of Christ
  • “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.” 1:28
  • Thanks, mystery, prayer
  • “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” 2:8
  • “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” 2:15
  • Appearance of wisdom
  • Set your minds, put on…
  • Peace of Christ, word of Christ
  • “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” 3:17
  • Paul redefining relationships in households under Christ - wives, husbands, children, fathers, bondservants, masters
  • “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” 4:6

I would encourage you to pick one or two or ten of these verses or some other of your choosing and memorize them in the weeks ahead. Write them out on a card and place them prominently on a mirror, write them daily, enlist a friend or family member to recite them to, “…guard the good deposit entrusted to you.” You will never regret the effort. Oh, come on, give it a try!

Finally, I am attaching the link to the Bible Project summary of the book for your use. May God richly bless us as we dig deeply into the truth of his Word in the weeks ahead!!
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