Colossians – The Preeminence of Christ

colossians

The Book of Colossians

The resounding theme in Colossians is the preeminence and sufficiency of Christ in all things. The believer is complete in Him alone and lacks nothing because “in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”

In this letter, Paul clearly teaches that Christ has paid for sin, that Christ has reconciled us to God, and that Christ gives us the pattern and the power to grow spiritually. Because Christ is the exact likeness of God when we learn what he is like, we see what we need to become. Since Christ is Lord over all creation, we should crown him Lord over our lives. Since Christ is the head of the body, his church, we should nurture of vital connection to him.

Writer of Colossians

Written by Paul, in the company of Timotheus (Timothy) – (Colossians 1:1), having been commissioned of God with an apostleship (job) in the dispensation of grace to write a book.

For more than two years the influence of his ministry reached “all who dwelt in Asia” (Acts 19:10). Epaphras must have heard Paul in Ephesus and then carried the gospel to Colossae.

Paul wrote the epistle from prison, but he did not indicate where he was imprisoned. Caesarea and Ephesus have been suggested, but the most probable place is Rome. 

Date Written

During the two years that Paul was in his own hired house (A. D. 61-63), continuing to preach the kingdom of God (Acts 28:31). Paul wrote Colossians at about the same time that Mark wrote the Gospel of Mark. Written from Rome, during Paul’s imprisonment.

To Whom Written

To “the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colossae” (Colossians 1:2). A city in Asia Minor.

Purpose of Colossians

The purpose of the book of Colossians was to address the doctrines of false teachers. Paul had heard of the new believers in Colossae who had believed without seeing (signs) in the new dispensation of grace. He thanked God for them but was writing them because of the misleading of certain false teachers. Many think these were Gnostics, a group that claimed secret knowledge through angels or other powerful beings they called aions (out-flowing sources of “truth” that only the initiated supposedly had access to). There is some question, however, as to whether the Gnostics really were a problem among the believers in the first century. At any rate, the Colossians were being urged to worship angels and look to principalities and powers rather than to Christ. Others were promoting the keeping of religious works and tenets of Judaism, such as the keeping of feasts and dietary laws. Instead, Paul urged the Colossians to a religion less faith in Christ. Then, he advised them as to the worthy walk of the believer, with teachings very similar to those represented in the last three chapters of Ephesians.

Historical Setting

False teaching had taken root in Colossae. This teaching combined Jewish observances and pagan speculation; it is possible that this resulted in an early form of Gnosticism. This teaching pretended to add to or improve upon the gospel that, indirectly at least, had come from Paul.

Theological Setting

Paul unmasks the false teaching as “empty deceit… of men” (2:8), having the “appearance of wisdom” (2:23), but useless in fact. He declared that the addition of such things dilutes rather than strengthens the faith (2:20).

 



 

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