Summary: Paul wanted to reassure the believers in Colossae that Christ was sufficient for all redemption and salvation.
Colossians 2:1-5 [NLT]
December 19, 2012
Oak Park Baptist Church – Wed Bible Study Series
Colossians Bible Study
Paul’s encouragement and teaching on heritical teaching:
To this point, we can read where Paul has been extremely uplifting to the believers in the church at Colossae. However, in the beginning verses of chapter 2, Paul begins to shape his argument against the current trend of false teaching that has been invading this fellowship!
[show v1-5 now]
1I want you to know how much I have agonized for you and for the church at Laodicea, and for many other believers who have never met me personally.
Paul wants these believers to know that they are NOT alone in their walk for Christ! He is with them, even if he cannot be there physically, he is with them in spirit and is sending this letter as a means of encouragement and teaching to them!
But another aspect of Paul’s letter is NOT that he is with them in spirit, but that there are also other congregations that are facing the same issues and false teachings that they were currently facing.
In this area called the Lycus Valley there were three cities located closely to one another. This triangle of cities was… Colossae, Laodicea and Hierapolis.
Of the three cities Laodicea was the largest and most influencial city. Paul indicates in his letter to the Colossians that he had also sent a letter to the church in Laodicea as well, although that letter has been lost.
I believe it is safe that this heresy was being taught in the entire region, and that Paul had also written to the church in Hierapolis as well, but we have no evidence of such a letter.
Needless to say, Paul’s words here in ch2 v1 reveal that this false teaching being spread throughout the church in Colossae was not limited to Colossian church, but Paul had rec’d word that it was a much larger issue and he wanted these church members to know that they were not alone in the fight against such teaching!
This would have been an encouragement to them, but it would have also served as a warning that they could not rely upon the world and its philosophy, but must remain focused in Christ!
2I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself.
Paul’s ultimate desire was to strengthen the faith and increase the courage of these believers to be proactive in their walk in Christ.
Many had fallen away from being proactive and had succumbed to a ‘blend in the woodworks’ mentality… they were NOT spreading the Good News as they had been in the past, instead they were being deceived by a message that changed the Gospel from Christ centered to something else.
Paul advice to them is simple! His desire is the same as Jesus’ in Jesus’ high priestly prayer given in John 17 where Jesus calls for the church to be unified in Christ! But also in John 14 where he calls them to love one another as He has loved them!
His words here in the NLT say that his desire for these believers is that they become ‘knit together by strong ties of love’. The ESV also translates this passage as the believers being ‘knit together in love’! What does it mean to be ‘knit together in love’?
Well the picture we all get in our head when we hear the word KNIT is one of a sweater or scarf or some baby blanket or socks… that grandma or our Aunt did for us…
But I want us to delve into the process itself… for an item to be ‘knit together’ there has to be an outside force! Knitting needles and yarn don’t magically get up on their own and begin to create things… it is done by one who has mastered the craft!
A sweater, scarf or afghan does not knit itself, and it is not the product of someone who is indifferent about those they are knitting for… in other words, our grandma or aunt sits around knitting these things out of a genuine care for those they are knitting for…
This ‘outside’ force that must be present for believers to be ‘knit together in love’ is described by Paul in later verses in this passage… it is Christ Himself! We are knit together because of our bond with Christ! It is Christ who brings us together! It is because of the love of Christ that we CAN be knit together as one body!
When we look at the original Greek we find that Paul uses the Greek VERB soom-bib-ad'-zo to describe this union of believers! Its meaning is to come together as one, which is what ‘knitting’ does for the yarn. The yarn is useless in its original form, but when it is ‘knit’ together, it becomes a useful and productive item!