Summary: Paul gives thanks for the church and his prayer for the church.
(Much of the material comes from Barnes’ Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft.)
COLOSSAE A city of commercial importance on the Lycus in Phrygia, about twelve miles above Laodicea. The most competent commentators think that the Christian church there was founded by Epaphras (Col 1:2 Col 1:7; 4:12) and believe 2:1 proves that Paul had not been there previous to writing the epistle. The city was destroyed by an earthquake in the ninth year of Nero and was then rebuilt. The modem town Chonas is near the ruins in modem day Turkey. Paul is writing a letter to a church which he did not help start. It is written apparently from his Roman imprisonment. The epistle is a strong argument against a Judaic Gnostic, (Gnosticism, a name indicating the assumption of superior capacity for knowledge (Grk. gnosis, "knowledge"). Gnosticism in its diverse forms received its inspiration, and in the main its guidance, from pagan philosophy. In different ways it denied the humanity of Christ, even to the extent of denying the reality of His human body), this heresy with its ceremonialism and doctrine of evolution This unsound teaching sought to reduce Christianity to a legal system and Christ to the position of a lesser god. Paul directed the impact of revealed truth against the Jewish element (circumcision, meats, drinks, fast days, new moons, and Sabbaths; Col 2: 11 16), a rigorous element (2:20 23), and a false philosophical and speculative element (2:8), with the worship of intermediary beings (2:18 19). Apparently, Epaphras and his colleagues were unable to handle this situation and went to Rome to consult Paul about it (1:7 8). The letter of reply was sent by Tychicus tik’i kus, and Onesimus (4:7 9) toward the middle of Paul’s two year imprisonment at Rome, about A.D. 60.
Paul attacks the errors at Colossae by the clear presentation of counter truths. After first giving thanks for the Colossians’ achievements and interceding for their progress (Col 1: 1 14), he expounds the supremacy of Christ over all principalities and powers (1:15 19), the fullness of His redemption (1:20 23), and his own hardship in making known the gospel message (1:24 2:3). He warns the Colossian church against philosophic errors that set aside the provision of fall deliverance from sin and freedom from legalism (2:4 15). He warns them accordingly to reject ritual instruction and the worship of inferior beings (2:16 19), emphasizing their complete position in Christ (2:20 3:4). He urges them to embrace Christ’s death and resurrection in practical Christian living (3:5 17) and in discharging the various special relations of life (3:18 4:6). He explains the mission of Tychicus and Onesimus (4:7 9) and sends salutations (4:10 17), ending with a benediction (4:18).
The letter is divided into two parts.
Part One: The Supremacy of Christ in the Church (1: 1 2:23)
Part Two: The Submission to Christ in the Church (3:1 4:18)
Today we will look at Paul’s introduction.
1. Introduction 1:1 14
COLOSSIANS 1: 1 14
A. Paul’s Greeting to the Colossians 1:1 2
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
There was a particular reason why Timothy should be associated with him in writing this Epistle. He was a native of the region where the church was situated
1. Acts 16:1 3 Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. And a disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek,
2 and he was well spoken of by the brethren who were in Lystra and Iconium.
3 Paul wanted this man to go with him; and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those parts, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. , and had been with Paul when be preached there, and was doubtless well known to the church there;
B. Paul’s Thanksgiving for the Colossians 1:3 8
3 We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,
4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints;
5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel
6 which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth;
7 just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bondservant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf,