The book of Colossians, despite being written nearly 2,000 years ago, is stunningly relevant today, with its warnings against following false philosophies, worshiping angels, and becoming mired in legalism.
Modern Christians are bombarded with false teachings, such as cultural relativism, universalism, Gnosticism, and the Prosperity Gospel. Many books and websites promote undeserved attention to angels, ignoring Jesus Christ as Savior of the world. Despite the Apostle Paul’s clear preaching on grace, some churches still command good works to earn merit with God.
Paul’s young friend Timothy likely served as his scribe on this letter. Colossians is one of four epistles Paul wrote from prison, the others being Ephesians, Philippians, and Philemon.
Several controversial passages occur in this book, where Paul tells wives to be submissive to their husbands and slaves to obey their masters. He counters those instructions by commanding husbands to love their wives and masters to treat slaves justly and fairly.
In listing sins, Paul says to put away “sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry,” along with “anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk.” (Colossians 3:6-7, ESV)
In contrast, Christians are to put on “compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” (Colossians 3:12, ESV)
With the rise of atheism and secular humanism, modern believers will find valuable advice in Paul’s short letter to the Colossians.
Author of Colossians:
61 or 62 A.D.
Colossians was originally addressed to believers in the church at Colossae, an ancient city in southwest Asia Minor, but this letter continues to be relevant to all readers of the Bible.
Landscape of the Book of Colossians:
Scholars believe Colossians was penned in a prison in Rome, to the church at Colossae, in the Lycus River Valley, now modern Turkey. Shortly after Paul’s letter was delivered, the entire valley was devastated by a severe earthquake, which further reduced Colossae’s importance as a city.
Themes in Colossians:
Jesus Christ is pre-eminent over all creation, God’s chosen way for people to be redeemed and saved. Believers share in Christ’s death on the cross, his resurrection, and eternal life. As the fulfillment of the Jewish covenant, Christ unites his followers with himself. In keeping with their true identity, then, Christians are to cast aside sinful ways and live in virtue.
Key Characters in Colossians:
Jesus Christ, Paul, Timothy, Onesimus, Aristarchus, Mark, Justus, Epaphras, Luke, Demas, Archippus.
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