We start Colossians on Monday. Before we dive in – here are a few things you should know in order to have greater context and understanding!
About the City:
- Colosse was a small town near Laodicea about 100 miles east of Ephesus. (modern day Turkey).
- Colosse had been great at one time, wealthy and large, but changes in the Roman road system caused a decline so that by the time of Paul’s writing, Colosse was small and insignificant.
- Acts does not tell us how this church began, but it is assumed that it came out of the influence of Paul’s extended ministry in Ephesus (Acts 19:10).
Colossians is a letter written by Paul during his Roman imprisonment (much like the Philippian letter.) He wrote because he had heard from Ephaphras that the church at Colosse was threatened with false teaching inside the church by those who where downplaying the supremacy of Christ and presenting Gnostic philosophies.
What is Gnosticism?
- Gnosis means knowledge. Gnostics taught that salvation comes through knowledge not faith. “The knowledge of which the Gnostics spoke, however, was knowledge acquired through mystical experience, not by intellectual apprehension.”
- Gnostics believed that all matter is evil. They didn’t believe God created the world since it mostly consists of matter. “They therefore taught that God put forth from himself a series of emanations, each a little more distant from him and each having a little less deity.” So one of the offshoots of God who was hostile and ignorant of the original God created the world.
- “Belief that matter is evil also led to a distorted view of the Christian life. Some Gnostics turned to asceticism, others to libertinism.” Basically some punished their bodies and others did whatever they wanted with their bodies since only the spiritual mattered, not the body.
Paul’s purpose in writing:
- “To express his personal interest in the church.
- To warn them against reverting to their old pagan vices.
- To refute the false teaching that was threatening the Colossian church.”
The absolute supremacy of Christ
This book gives us a “full-length portrait of Christ”
- God’s Son (1:14)
- the object of our faith (1:4)
- the Redeemer (1:14)
- the image of God (1:15)
- Lord of creation (1:15)
- Head of the church (1:18)
- Reconciler of the universe (1:20)
Okay, there isn’t space to go on…. ladies that is just chapter one! Take a few moments today to praise Him for being these things in our lives. While we are not Gnostics – we can get too focused on “stuff” and our own “knowledge” and lose sight of the supremacy of Christ! I can’t wait to get started with you gals. See ya Monday with the first six verses of Chapter 1 – Changed Lives!
(All quotations are taken from the Expositor’s Bible Commentary.)