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Colossians: Introduction

The beauty of the mist over the water reflects the beauty of the book of Colossians.
Photo credit: Ruthann Dellandra

June 5, 2024

Praying friends,

For the next few articles, we will take a look at the New Testament book of Colossians. When the book was written, the city of Colossae located in the Lycus valley in Asia Minor, which is modern day Turkey, was relatively small and insignificant. "Colossae was never fully rebuilt after an earthquake devastated the city sometime between AD 60 and 64.”

There was a local church of Jesus followers in the city, and the Apostle Paul wrote a letter to them in the same approximate period. Imagine the comfort this letter must have brought to believers who had experienced such trauma and loss! How good when the Word of God meets us where we are in our present circumstance and gives us exactly what we need in the moment. 

The genre that Paul employs is categorized as an epistle or letter. As an epistle, Colossians follows typical protocol for this genre, including opening greetings and thanksgiving, the body of the letter containing theological teachings and exhortations, followed by closing salutations.

The structure of this epistle is consistent with other known writings of Paul, although his authorship has been contested by scholars throughout history. He starts and ends with the common greetings and goodbyes. He provides them with the theme, then gives exhortative and practical help to believers in accomplishing the will of God.

Colossians Outline: 

I. Opening Greetings (1:1-2)

II. Supportive prayer of Paul (1:3-14).

III. Supremacy of Christ (1:15-23).

IV. Suffering and Service of Paul (1:24-2:5)

V. Sufficiency of Christ (2:6-23).

VI. Sanctified Life in Christ (3:1-17, 4:2-6).

VII. Statutes for Christian Households (3:18-4:1).

VIII. Closing Salutations (4:7-18).

The purpose of Paul in writing to the Colossian believers cannot be limited to one single theme. Firstly, Paul is writing to deepen their understanding as to what the truth of the gospel really is. Four times in Chapter 1, he uses the word "gospel," which reveals his deep interest in sharing it and getting them to do the same. He was informing them that this message was not just an added idea to tack onto their lives but impacted them in a holistic manner. 

Secondly, Paul is writing to inform them that Jesus Christ is supreme and that He is fully able to supply what is needed for His people. The section from Chapter 1:15-22 highlights the supremacy of Jesus. Like a hymn, Colossians 1:15-20 affirms that Christ:

  • holds a place of primacy in creation (1:15)

  • is the center and source of creation (1:16)

  • holds the universe together (1:17)

  • is the head of the church (1:18)

  • and is God Himself (1:15, 19)

There is no one higher, there is no one greater, there is no one more powerful than Jesus Christ and He is the one to whom all believers surrender and worship! As for His sufficiency to meet every need of every one of His children, Paul says, "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority" (Colossians 2:9-10 NIV).

The third purpose of Paul in writing to the Colossians was to warn them of the dangers of false teaching, often referred to as "The Colossian Heresy," which would lead them away from finding their fullness in Christ. After multiple readings of Colossians, it is safe to say that Paul focuses mostly on the truth, which is a healthy way of detecting and steering away from the error. 

As we go through the book we will find that the truth will build us up, fill us up, and cause us to flourish for the benefit of others. If read, studied, and embraced, it will change you from the inside out. It will keep our understanding of the gospel clear and produce a spirit of gratitude for the blessings of God. This is a life that is Christ-focused, Christ-honoring, and Christ-appealing to those you meet.

Thank you for praying for our prodigals and for revival among us!

Love in Christ,

Bryan and Rachel


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