25: Christ Is All and in All (Introduction
The author of
this epistle was the apostle Paul (1:1; 4:18). In the salutation, Paul also
includes Timothy, his fellow worker.
identifies the recipients as the church in Colosse
(1:2), which was probably established during Paul’s three-year ministry in Ephesus (cf. Acts 19:10).
It may have been the converts of Paul who brought the gospel to this city as
well as the nearby towns of Laodicea and Hierapolis.
Colosse was situated on the bank of
the LycusRiver and was about a hundred miles east of Ephesus. Hundreds of years
before Paul’s day, Colosse was a prominent city in
Asia Minor because of its location on the east-west trade route from the Aegean
Sea to the EuphratesRiver. But after the road
system was changed in the first century A.D., the city declined in its social
and economic status and eventually became an insignificant market town.
epistle provides no information on its place of origin, many believe that Paul
wrote this epistle around 62 A.D while he was imprisoned in Rome. It was during this period that Paul
also wrote the epistles of Philemon, Ephesians, and Philippians.
Epaphras had come to Rome and brought Paul
reports about the situation in the Colossian church (1:8). While the believers
have made great progress in their faith and love, they were also facing the
threat of heresies. In response to this danger, Paul wrote this letter and
asked Tychicus and Onesimus
to bring it back to Colosse (4:7-9). Thus, the main
purpose of the epistle was to counter the false teachings and to strengthen the
believers’ faith in Christ. Other than achieving this main objective, Paul also
wrote the epistle to exhort the believers to forsake the sinful living of the
pagans and lead a Christ-centered life.
Paul does not
describe the teachings of the heretics in the epistle. But we can infer from
Paul’s polemics that the false teachings consist of the following errors:
1. Adherence to circumcision (2:11; 3:11) as
well as strict regulations about food, drink, and festivals (2:14, 16).
2. Asceticism (2:21-23).
3. Exaltation of human knowledge and
4. Worship of angels (2:18).
“As you have
therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up
in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it
with thanksgiving” (2:6-7).
Survey of Colossians
1. Read through the entire epistle and record
section headings in chart E.
Look up the list
of references under each theme and summarize its related teachings.
Supremacy of Christ
Salvation through Christ
knowledge, wisdom, fullness, perfect/complete, all, mystery, faith, love,
In this age of
pluralistic thinking, the doctrine that Christ is the only way of salvation has
come under severe attacks. Today, many believe that there is no single
objective truth and that one religion is just as good as another. As a result
of this seemingly encompassing attitude towards all religions, people often
view Jesus Christ as simply a moral teacher who died for a good cause.
Therefore, facing the challenges of secular philosophies, believers
today need to reaffirm that Christ is our only Savior and that He is the
fullness of God. The message to the Colossians to remain steadfast in Christ
also serves to strengthen our faith today.
As with many of
the other epistles, the exhortations on Christian living are timeless. The
command to put off the old man and put on the new man is applicable to everyone
who has accepted Jesus Christ as Lord. The teachings on interpersonal
relationships, and, in particular, family living, are all the more necessary
for Christians who live in a time when family values have greatly declined.
Whether in terms
of our salvation or daily conduct, Colossians offers Christians today valuable
insights. A careful and prayerful study of this epistle will serve as an
opportunity for us to deepen our knowledge of Christ and renew our commitment