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Book of Colossians

Introduction to the Book of Colossians

By

Book of Colossians

Epistles to the Colossians, 12th Century Codex Harleianus 5557

Public Domain

Book of Colossians:

The book of Colossians, despite being written nearly 2,000 years ago, is stunningly relevant today, with its warnings against following false philosophies, worshiping angels, and becoming mired in legalism.

Modern Christians are bombarded with false teachings, such as cultural relativism, universalism, Gnosticism, and the Prosperity Gospel. Many books and websites promote undeserved attention to angels, ignoring Jesus Christ as Savior of the world. Despite the Apostle Paul's clear preaching on grace, some churches still command good works to earn merit with God.

Paul's young friend Timothy likely served as his scribe on this letter. Colossians is one of four epistles Paul wrote from prison, the others being Ephesians, Philippians, and Philemon.

Several controversial passages occur in this book, where Paul tells wives to be submissive to their husbands and slaves to obey their masters. He counters those instructions by commanding husbands to love their wives and masters to treat slaves justly and fairly.

In listing sins, Paul says to put away "sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry," along with "anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk." (Colossians 3:6-7, ESV)

In contrast, Christians are to put on "compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience." (Colossians 3:12, ESV)

With the rise of atheism and secular humanism, modern believers will find valuable advice in Paul's short letter to the Colossians.

Author of Colossians:

Apostle Paul

Date Written:

61 or 62 A.D.

Written To:

Colossians was originally addressed to believers in the church at Colossae, an ancient city in southwest Asia Minor, but this letter continues to be relevant to all readers of the Bible.

Landscape of the Book of Colossians:

Scholars believe Colossians was penned in a prison in Rome, to the church at Colossae, in the Lycus River Valley, now modern Turkey. Shortly after Paul's letter was delivered, the entire valley was devastated by a severe earthquake, which further reduced Colossae's importance as a city.

Themes in Colossians:

Jesus Christ is pre-eminent over all creation, God's chosen way for people to be redeemed and saved. Believers share in Christ's death on the cross, his resurrection, and eternal life. As the fulfillment of the Jewish covenant, Christ unites his followers with himself. In keeping with their true identity, then, Christians are to cast aside sinful ways and live in virtue.

Key Characters in Colossians:

Jesus Christ, Paul, Timothy, Onesimus, Aristarchus, Mark, Justus, Epaphras, Luke, Demas, Archippus.

Key Verses:

Colossians 1:21-23
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation-if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. (NIV)

Colossians 3:12-15
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. (NIV)

Colossians 3:23-24
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (NIV)

Outline of the Book of Colossians:

  • Greeting, thanksgiving, and prayer - Colossians 1:1-14.
  • Christ's pre-eminence over everything - Colossians 1:15-23.
  • Paul's ministry and suffering - Colossians 1:16-29.
  • Follow Christ instead of philosophy, asceticism, or legalism - Colossians 2:1-23.
  • Behave as a true Christian should - Colossians 3:1-4:6.
  • Final greetings and instructions - Colossians 4:7-18.

Old Testament Books of the Bible (Index)
New Testament Books of the Bible (Index)

Jack Zavada, a career writer and contributor for About.com, is host to a Christian website for singles. Never married, Jack feels that the hard-won lessons he has learned may help other Christian singles make sense of their lives. His articles and ebooks offer great hope and encouragement. To contact him or for more information, visit Jack's Bio Page.

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