Introduction to Colossians

by Matt Slick

Colossians focuses on Jesus as the Head of the Church and the Church living in submission to that Head.  Paul’s purpose in writing this letter is to show that Christ is supreme and that the Christian’s life should manifest his/her union with the One who is above all things.  It would be inconsistent for a Christian to live a life apart from Christ since Christ is the fullness of the Godhead manifested in the flesh (Col 2:9), the focus of the saving Gospel (Col 1:5).

Colossae was a minor city about one hundred miles east of Ephesus.  It is by a mountain pass and was once a very populated city with a vibrant economy.  By the time of the writing of this epistle, Colossae had withered economically due, in part, to the success of its neighboring cities.

There is some doubt as to whether Paul ever visited Colossae, and, apparently, the Colossian church was founded by Epaphras (Col 1:4-8; 2:1).

Colossians was probably written about the same time as Philemon and Ephesians when Paul was first imprisoned in Rome.  If this is accurate, then Colossians was probably written around 60 A.D.

The letter was written in response to a heresy that was developing within the church.  Though it is not known exactly what the heresy was, it apparently was a religious system that combined elements from Greek speculations (Col 2:4; 8-10), Jewish legalism (Col 2:11-17), and Oriental mysticism (Col 2:18-23).

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