What makes Colossians unique?
The apostle Paul writes in
his letters about the great change that is soon to come when Christ
returns to overcome the powers of evil and to rule over all the world.
But COLOSSIANS describes what Jesus Christ has already done. When
Christ died on the cross, all the forces opposed to God were already
defeated (2:15,20). This letter also includes a beautiful hymn that
explains who Christ is (1:15-20). He is God's Son (1:15) and the head
of "his body, which is the church" (1:18).
The author goes on to say he
is the key to God's mystery (2:2).
Why was Colossians written?
author of COLOSSIANS wanted to encourage the Christians in Colossae to
keep following Christ Jesus (2:6) and not to be fooled by false
teachings or tricked into following any of the many religious ideas and
practices that were being taught in Asia Minor at that time
(2:8,16-23). The author also wanted to convince the Colossians to "live
a life that honors the Lord" (1:10). This meant that they were to leave
behind the bad things that were part of their old life (3:1-9) and live
as God's special people who are kind, humble, meek, patient, forgiving,
and loving (3:12-14). The author's advice also included some rules
about how family members were to treat each other.
What's the story behind the scene?
was a small inland city in Asia Minor, east of the major port city of
Ephesus and close to the cities of Laodicea and Hierapolis. All four of
these cities are mentioned in this letter. The writer of COLOSSIANS had
never actually been to Colossae, but he was pleased to learn that the
Christians there were strong in their faith (1:3-7; 2:6,7). Instead,
the Colossians had heard the good news about Jesus from Epaphras, one
of Paul's co-workers, who had once lived in Colossae (1:7; 4:12,13).
scholars believe this letter may have been written by one of Paul's
followers in the decades after Paul's death in A.D. 64 or 65, rather
than by Paul himself. It was not unusual in the ancient world for a
follower to honor his or her teacher by writing something in the
How is Colossians constructed?
is a letter that includes opening and concluding greetings that are
similar to the ones found in several of Paul's letters. The opening
greeting (1:1,2) is nearly identical to the opening of EPHESIANS ( Eph
1:1,2). The letter can be outlined in this way:
Greetings, prayers, and a hymn to Christ (1:1-23)
greets God's people in Colossae and gives thanks to God for all the
good things he keeps hearing about the Colossian Christians. He prays
that they will honor the Lord, and stay deeply rooted in their faith in
Christ. Verses 15-20 are probably an early Christian hymn that
describes who Jesus is and what he has done.
Paul teaches the truth about Christ (1:24-2:23)
reminds the Colossians not to be fooled or misled by false teachers who
were apparently trying to get them to follow certain rituals and
observe certain feasts, or to worship the stars or angels. Paul claims
that these false teachings no longer have control over the followers of
Jesus who have "died with Christ."
Living the new life in Christ (3:1-4:6)
encourages the Colossians to recognize what it means to be a person
raised to new life with Christ. This new life will affect the way they
live together as God's people. This section also includes advice for
family living and for the relationship between slaves and their masters.
Final greetings and advice (4:7-18)
explains how he will send his co-workers to share news about what has
been happening to him. He also sends greetings from other followers who
are with him and who the Colossian Christians know.
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