The book of Colossians has a wealth of truths. Paul had to correct false doctrine being presented to the Colossian’s. Here is outline of the book.
BOOK OF COLOSSIANS INTRODUCTION
DOCTRINAL CHAPTERS 1-2
PRACTICAL CHAPTERS 3-4
CHAPTER 1 THE PERSON OF CHRIST
CHAPTER 2 THE ANSWERS OF CHRIST
CHAPTER 3 THE STANDARDS OF CHRIST
CHAPTER 4 THE FELLOWSHIP OF CHRIST
The Epistle to the Colossians is one of the four prison epistles. It was written by the apostle Paul while he was a prisoner in Rome. Evidence suggests that Paul himself had never visited Colossae but that Timothy and Epaphras probably evangelized the city and founded the church during Paul’s three year stay in Ephesus while on his third missionary journey. Colossae was a town in Asia Minor about one hundred miles east of Ephesus and 12 miles south of Laodicea and Heirapolis.
OCCASION FOR WRITING
Epaphras either visited Paul in Rome or was imprisoned there with him. ln either case, he informed Paul of the dangerous theological error circulating in the churches of Colossae and Laodicea, in response to Epaphras’ plea for help, Paul writes the epistle to the Colossians, which is also to be read in the church of Laodicea, in an attempt to check the heresy’s influence. The heresy was syncretistic, that is, it was composed of elements drawn from paganism’, Judaism. and Christianity. The pagan element espoused a false philosophy that appears to have been an early form of Gnosticism. This movement viewed matter as evil, denied the divine creation of the universe, held to many angelic beings or spiritual intermediaries existing between God and men, advocated the worship of these angelic beings, and stressed secret “knowledge” (received when initiated into their cult) as the means of attaining salvation. The Jewish element was legalistic in nature, retained the Mosaic Law, imposed circumcision, followed dietary restrictions and calendar observations, and advocated asceticism. The heresy’s Christian component did not deny Christ, but dethroned Him. He was not regarded as divine or as Creator of the universe, and His death was thus deprived of any saving merit. The letter’s aim was to refute the Colossian heresy, to demonstrate the preeminence of Christ, and to confirm the addressees in the Christian faith.
Tomorrow we will look at chapter 1.
Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain, 907 715-4001