A. Church at
Colossaewas once a populous center of commerce, but had been eclipsed by neighboring cities, and Hieropolis. Laodicea
- Likely a “church plant” by Epaphras during or after Paul’s three year ministry in nearby
- A mostly gentile church (1.21).
- …the bulk of the evidence indicates that Paul wrote all four Prison epistles during his first Roman imporsonment. If so, Paul wrote it in a.d. 60 or 61 and sent it with Tycicus and the converted Onesimus to
(4.7-9; see Eph. 6:21; Philem. 10-12) --Bruce Wilkinson in Talk Thru the New Testament Colossae
- One of the prison epistles written about the same time as Colossians, Philemon, and Ephesians.
- Close relation to Philemon is demonstrated by the mention of many of the same people. (Timothy1.1---Archippus 4.17--- Onesimus 4.9, Aristarchus & Mark 4.10, Epaphrus 4.12, Luke & Demas 4.14)
- Epaphroditus’ visit and report about the conditions in
(1.7-8) prompted this letter. Colossae
- Written to affirm Apostolic teachings about Christ, salvation, and the church and to refute the beginnings of the Gnostic heresy and Judaism’s legalism.
- Gnostics assert that matter is inherently evil and spirit is good.
- Gnostics claim to possess an elevated knowledge, a “higher truth” known only to a certain few. Gnosticism comes from the Greek word gnosis which means “to know.”
- Judaism place emphasis on the keeping of the physical aspects of the Law while missing the Truth that they ponted to.
- Probably a combination of Judiaism and the precursers of Gnosticism, which would become a formal school of thought in the second century. / "When the gospel was introduced to the area, a Jewish-Hellenistic syncretism would find not great difficulty in expanding and modifying itself sufficiently to take some Christian elements into its system, and the result would be something like the Colossian heresy as we may reconstruct it from Paul's treatment of it.?" —FF Bruce in NICNT
- “A proper view of Christ is the antidote for heresy.” —Walk Thru the NT by B. Wilkinson & K. Boa
E. Theme in each chapter
1.18 ...that in all things He [Christ] might have the preeminence
2.9-10a For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him…
3.11 Christ is all and in all…
4.12 ...a bondservant for Christ, greets you...
Introduction vrs. 1-2
The opening follows the standard form of ancient epistolary prescripts (name of sender, name of recipients, and greeting.) –IVPBBC
* Some versions omit “and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Minor and unimportant in this context and reflects preferences in textual criticism.
Philippians 1 servants to describe both and adds bishops and deacons
Philemon 1:1-7 Leaves out Timothy and idsentifies himself as a prisoner. Primarily to an individual, Philemon.
Ephesians 1 Leaves out Timothy, but otherwise closest in form to Colossians.
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ
by the will of God,
- independence (not of men, but of God Gal. 1.10-12; 1 Cor. 4.1-3),
- Authority (He spoke with authority for God. Gal. 1.8-9; 2 Thess. 3.14-15)
- humility (It was God’s choosing, not his merit. 1 Cor. 15.9-10)
and Timothy our brother,
1. Our Position: Separated to Christ
>>>2 To the saints
- The word "saints" must be treated as subsantive in accordance with its usage in parallel passages, and not as an adjective connected with "faithful." —JB Lightfoot
- In the OT, holiness ascribed not only to person, buts also to places and things. This suggests that the root idea in "holy" is not excellence of character but dedication, the state of being set apart for the work and worship of God. —Curtis Vaughness in EBC
- Agios (hafios, “holy”), though not primarily an ethical term, does (in the NT) imply a relationship with God and demands conduct that expresses and corresponds to that relationship. Persons consecrated to a God of absolute Moral purity must of necessity take on something of his character. —Curtis Vaughness in EBC
- 1 Peter 1.15-17
2. Our Practice: Faithful followers of Christ
>>>and faithful brethren
- The epithet pistos cannot mean simply 'believing'; for then it would add nothing which is not already contained in agiois and adelfois. —JB Lightfoot
- Acts 16.15
- “Saints” speaks of position and relationship, whereas, “faithful brethren” speaks of behavior. … So Paul is not only addressing those who were born again but also those who were honoring God in their daily lives as trustworthy, responsible believers. –Theodore H. Epp in All-Sufficient Christ: Studies in Colossians
- 1 Cor. 4.1-4
3. Our Priorities: "in Christ"
- “In Christ,” a phrase used by Paul more than 160 times in various forms (“in the Lord,” “in him,” “in who,” etc.), emphasizes the spiritual position of believers. They are “in Christ: in the sense they are united with Christ, joined with him as closely as limbs are joined to the body of which they are a part. --Curtis Vaughan in EBC
- In barest terms it means that the Colossians, and indeed all authentic believers, partook of all that Christ had done, all that he was (and is), and all that he ever would be. —K. Hughes in Preach the Word series
- Note the literal sense that Paul give to this in Colossians 3.1-2. 1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
in Christ, who are in Colosse:
D. The Greeting
- “As is customary in Paul, “greetings” (Greek charein) becomes “grace” (Greek charis); “peace” was a standard Jewish greeting, sometimes combined with “greetings in Jewish letters.” –IVPBBC
- The fact that Paul changed the standard greeting to better suit his meaning indicates that it was more than a platitude.
Grace to you and peace
- Grace is the source and peace is the result. It is like cause and effect; the one who has experienced the grace of God is able also to experience the peace of God. –Theodore H. Epp in All-Sufficient Christ: Studies in Colossians
- Grace is much more than “God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense.”
- The meaning of grace goes beyond the idea that salvation is free. It refers to the desire and ability that God gives to do His will.
- 2 Peter 3.18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.
- Peace, in this context, doesn't mean peace as specifically opposed to fighting, but is a state of contentment and quietness of the heart, a sense of well-being as in Phil’p 4.6-7.
from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Are you a saint (salvation)?
- Are you faithful to the Lord? How are you teaching your children to be faithful to the Lord?
- Are your desires and priorities “in Christ”? How do your children see that in your lives? What about you or your family’s values or practice is inconsistent with being “in Christ” like described in Col. 3.1-2?
Segway to next week:
Next week is Colossians 1.3-6
Next week Howard will answer the questions…
- What does it mean to have faith in Christ as a believer?
- What does it mean to have having a love for others?
- What does it mean to have our hoped anchored in Christ?
The majority of the population was Phrygian, but the Epistle to the Colossians supposes the presence of a Jewish colony. In 62 B.C. there were at least 11,000 adult male Jews in the district of which