Summary: Introduction to Colossians

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COLOSSIANS - Completion

INTRODUCTION: Colossians was one of the four Epistles written by Paul in his Roman jail. It is the most Christ-centered Book in the Bible. Its message is built around the theme of the supremacy if Christ. It has been called the “twin Epistle” of Ephesians: (1) Both were written about the same time; (2) Ephesians magnifies the Church of Christ, while Colossians magnifies the Christ of the Church; (3) Ephesians focuses on the Body, Colossians focuses on the Head.

I. The Author of the Book -

A. The Apostle Paul - Though his name only appears three times, 1st person pronouns are used 25 times.

1. Mentioned by name 3 times (1:1, 23; 4:18)

2. Wrote the post-script with his own hand (4:18)

3. Used 55 Greeks words not found in his other Letters.

II. The Recipients of the Book

A. The City of Colosse

1. Located on a hill overlooking Turkey’s Lycos River Valley.

2. 100 miles east of Ephesus.

3. Major trade route to the Orient

4. Smallest City to which Paul addressed a Letter.

5. Famous for black wool produced there.

B. The Church at Colosse (1:2).

1. No Biblical record of its establishment.

2. Paul had not personally been there at the time of writing the Letter (2:1)

3. Probably started during the time of Paul’s 3 year ministry in Ephesus (Acts 19:10)

4. Possibly started by:

· Timothy, Paul’s companion (1:1)

· Epaphras, their Pastor at the time of writing (4:12-13)

· Nymphas, in whose house the Church met (4:15)

· Philemon, in whose house the Church also met (Philemon 1-2)

5. Mostly Gentiles (2:13)

III. The Date & Place of Writing

A. Place: Written, together with Philippians, Colossians & Philemon, from Rome, while Paul was awaiting trial before Caesar (3:1; 4:1; Acts 28:30)

B. Date: Probably written in late 61 AD, or early 62 AD.

IV. The Purpose of the Book

A. To magnify Christ above all else (1:18):

1. As God - (2:9)

2. As Creator (1:15-17):

· He is the sphere of creation - “in Him” (1:19)

· He is the agent of creation - “by Him” (1:16)

· He is the goal of creation - “for Him” (1:16)

· He is the priority of creation - “before all things” (1:17)

· He is the sustainer of creation - “by Him all things consist” (1:19)

3. As Redeemer - (1:13-14)

B. To warn against a variety of false doctrine (Ch. 2);

C. To encourage godly living (Ch. 3).

D. To express appreciation to fellow-laborers (Ch. 4)

V. The Keys to the Book

A. The key thought = The Preeminence of Christ

B. The key phrase = " That in all things He might have the preeminence" (1:18).

C. The key verse = 1:18

D. Key Words:

1. Head - 3 times

2. Body - 7 times

3. Christ - 26 times

4. Mystery - 4 times

5. Wisdom - 6 times

VI. The Outline to the Book

A. Preeminence Declared - Ch. 1

1. In the Gospel (vv. 1-12)

2. In Redemption (vv. 13-14)

3. In the Creation (vv. 15-17)

4. In the Church (vv. 18-23)

5. In Paul’s Ministry (vv. 24-29)

B. Preeminence Defined - Ch. 2

1. Against Philosophies (vv. 1-10)

2. Against Legalism (vv. 11-17)

3. Against Mysticism (vv. 18-19)

4. Against Asceticism (vv. 20-23)

C. Preeminence Demonstrated - Ch. 3 - 4:1

1. In our Affection (vv. 1-4)

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