Get your travel planner out for our fifty-fourth flight over the Bible from 30,000 Feet! On this flight, we will take a look at the young church in Colosse, and how they became the target of a heretical attack. The main theme in the book of Colossians is the complete adequacy of Christ as contrasted with the emptiness of mere human philosophy. The key chapters to review are Colossians 1-4.
The church at Colosse was a young church that had become the target of heretical attack. The "Colossian Heresy," which this book was written to counteract, included ceremonialism, asceticism, angel worship, the depreciation of Christ, secret knowledge, and the reliance on human wisdom and tradition. These elements seem to fall into two categories, Jewish and Gnostic. It is likely, therefore, that the Colossian heresy was a mixture of an extreme form of Judaism and an early stage of Gnosticism.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS:
c. 60 A.D.
Writing of Colossians
The theme of Colossians is the complete adequacy of Christ as contrasted with the emptiness of mere human philosophy. Paul's purpose is to refute the Colossian heresy. To accomplish this goal, he exalts Christ as the very image of God, the Creator, the preexistent sustainer of all things, the head of the church, the first to be resurrected, the fullness of deity in bodily form, and the reconciler. Thus Christ is completely adequate. We "have been given fullness in Christ." On the other hand, the Colossian heresy was altogether inadequate. It was a hollow and deceptive philosophy, lacking any ability to restrain the old sinful nature.
PLACES OF INTEREST:
Colosse -- City of Asia Minor where a church was founded,
Laodicea and Hierapolis -- Two cities nearby to Colosse. Laodicea is mentioned by Christ in Revelation 3.
PEOPLE OF INTEREST:
Timothy -- One of Paul's most constant companions on his missionary journeys; he was with Paul when Paul wrote to the Colossians from prison in Rome.
Epaphras -- A teacher in the church at Colosse, whom Paul calls a "bondservant for Christ."
Aristarchus -- A missionary along with Paul, and a fellow prisoner with him in Rome.
Tychicus -- Paul's emissary to Colosse, and a traveling companion on his third missionary journey.
Onesimus -- A former runaway slave who was saved by Christ and then became a messenger for Paul.
Located on a great east-west trade route, Colosse had once been a leading city in Asia Minor (present-day Turkey). By the first century A.D., it was a second-rate market town.
Colossians was probably written in the same year as Ephesians and Philemon.
The Prison Letters (Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians and Philemon) are so called because Paul wrote them from jail in Rome.