COLOSSIANS
by Paul, the apostle
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Colossae, the city [EBD]

Or Colosse, a city of Phrygia, on the Lycus, which is a tributary of the Maeander. It was about 12 miles above Laodicea, and near the great road from Ephesus to the Euphrates, and was consequently of some mercantile importance. It does not appear that Paul had visited this city when he wrote his letter to the church there (Colossians 1:2). He expresses in his letter to Philemon (ver 1:22) his hope to visit it on being delivered from his imprisonment. From Colossians 1:7; 4:12 it has been concluded that Epaphras was the founder of the Colossian church. This town afterwards fell into decay, and the modern town of Chonas or Chonum occupies a site near its ruins.


Colossians, Epistle to the [EBD]

Was written by Paul at Rome during his first imprisonment there (Acts 28:16,30), probably in the spring of A.D. 57, or, as some think, 62, and soon after he had written his Epistle to the Ephesians. Like some of his other epistles (e.g., those to Corinth), this seems to have been written in consequence of information which had somehow been conveyed to him of the internal state of the church there (Colossians 1:4-8). Its object was to counteract false teaching. A large part of it is directed against certain speculatists who attempted to combine the doctrines of Oriental mysticism and asceticism with Christianity, thereby promising the disciples the enjoyment of a higher spiritual life and a deeper insight into the world of spirits. Paul argues against such teaching, showing that in Christ Jesus they had all things. He sets forth the majesty of his redemption. The mention of the "new moon" and "sabbath days" (2:16) shows also that there were here Judaizing teachers who sought to draw away the disciples from the simplicity of the gospel.

Like most of Paul's epistles, this consists of two parts, a doctrinal and a practical.

  • The doctrinal part comprises the first two chapters. His main theme is developed in chapter 2. He warns them against being drawn away from Him in whom dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead, and who was the head of all spiritual powers. Christ was the head of the body of which they were members; and if they were truly united to him, what needed they more?

  • The practical part of the epistle (3-4) enforces various duties naturally flowing from the doctrines expounded. They are exhorted to mind things that are above (3:1-4), to mortify every evil principle of their nature, and to put on the new man (3:5-14). Many special duties of the Christian life are also insisted upon as the fitting evidence of the Christian character.

Tychicus was the bearer of the letter, as he was also of that to the Ephesians and to Philemon, and he would tell them of the state of the apostle (4:7-9). After friendly greetings (10-14), he bids them interchange this letter with that he had sent to the neighbouring church of Laodicea. He then closes this brief but striking epistle with his usual autograph salutation. There is a remarkable resemblance between this epistle and that to the Ephesians (q.v.). The genuineness of this epistle has not been called in question.


Colosísians, the Epistle to the [SBD]

was written by the apostle St. Paul during his first captivity at Rome. (Acts 28:16) (A.D. 62.) The epistle was addressed to Christians of the city of Colosse, and was delivered to them by Tychicus, whom the apostle had sent both to them, (Colossians 4:7,8) and to the church of Ephesus, (Ephesians 6:21) to inquire into their state and to administer exhortation and comfort. The main object of the epistle is to warn the Colossians against the spirit of semi-Judaistic and semi-Oriental philosophy which was corrupting the simplicity of their belief, and was noticeably tending to obscure the eternal glory and dignity of Christ. The similarity between this epistle and that to the Ephesians is striking. The latter was probably written at a later date.


Colossians, the Epistle to [ISBE]


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