Summary: Paul writes a tremendous teaching letter to the believers in Colossae, but it carries transcendent truth to this day... let’s look at an overview of what He has to say in this GREAT letter by the Apostle Paul!
September 19, 2012
Oak Park Baptist Church – Wed Bible Study Series
Colossians 1-4 (Overview/Introductory Sermon/Teaching)
Colossians 1:23 [NLT]
23But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God’s servant to proclaim it.
Let’s look at the book of Colossians and look at some of the facts behind the book… facts we can know from the book itself… and other Scriptures as well…
Who wrote the book?
In His greeting Paul states that he was the one writing this letter. (Col 1:1)… NLT states, “…this letter is from Paul…” HCSB states, “…Paul, an apostle… to the saints in Colossae…” implying a message from Paul to these believers!
There is overwhelming evidence for Paul’s authorship and it is generally accepted throughout Christian scholarship that Paul is the author of this letter to the church in Colossae.
We also see Paul closing his letter in 4:18 with this statement:
“…Here is my greeting in my own handwriting…” [NLT]
“…This greeting is in my own hand—Paul…” [HCSB]
Now we also know something else of importance about Paul and the church in Colossae. In Col 2:1 Paul reveals that he had never been to their city… meaning this was NOT a church Paul had started directly, but we find that it is a church possibly started by someone who met Paul and was mentored by Paul in Ephesus…
I believe that in this letter to the Colossian believers, Paul was hoping to develop a personal connection with these believers. I believe that these were people that Paul truly hoped to one day teach and serve with them in person!
When we get to the end of this letter we find an even more personal tone… this transition in tone by Paul is especially significant in creating that connection with the Colossian believers.
ESPECIALLY since a main focus of Paul’s letter… a main reason for Paul’s writing this letter was to call the heretical teachers who had infiltrated the Colossian church…and were obviously gaining influence within the church in Colossae.
So we can rest assured that it was Paul who wrote this letter… from his greeting to his salutation to the style of teaching and challenge that he gives his readers… this letter has Paul written all over it!
Where are we (Dating the text)?
Most scholars place the writing of Colossian around AD 60–61, OR during Paul’s 1st imprisonment in Rome. Paul penned this letter to the Colossian church after he had received a report that they were struggling with a Christological heresy.
This report came from Epaphras, likely a leader within the church of Colossae OR THE leader/pastor of the church at Colossae. Epaphras was actually a convert to Christ because of Paul’s more than two-year ministry in Ephesus.
Epaphras had come to Rome in part to serve Paul during his imprisonment (Philemon 1:23) but also to confide in him regarding the dangerous teachings the Colossians were hearing.
So Paul sent this letter was sent, with Tychicus who was accompanied by the former runaway slave Onesimus…
We can know that Paul was very meticulous about teaching those in the church the right and proper way to live for Christ, but Paul knew he could not go, so Paul sends a trusted friend and fellow minister, Tychicus!
Tychicus was a coworker of Paul who would have been able to help the Colossian believers understand and apply the apostle’s teachings in the letter.
All of these events fall into the time line we set for the dating of this letter which was between 60-61AD…
Why is Colossians so important?
So what makes Colossians worth of being included within Scripture? Well Paul was an apostle, one who had seen and learned from Jesus.
Paul’s time with Jesus came AFTER the resurrection… Paul’s time with Jesus came on the Damascus road! Paul was considered an apostle after this experience… it took some longer than others to accept him, but Paul was eventually accepted by all believers to be a leader within Christianity.
AND… this letter was tremendously important for at least 2 reasons… FIRST it was important to the church in Colossae, as they needed wise, godly counsel at a time of influx within their fellowship.
BUT… this letter transcends time because of the truth that is revealed… the Holy Spirit moved Paul to write and because of that, Paul’s letter to the Colossian church ALSO carries great weight with all believers from all times…