Written to believers in Colossae, Asia Minor or modern-day Turkey. Another of the “prison epistles” written, most likely, while Paul was imprisoned in Rome.
Overall, the letter’s intent is to correct the false teaching that had infiltrated the church of Colossae.
“Colossians is one of the most Christ-centered books of the Bible. Paul stresses the supremacy of the person of Christ and the completeness of the salvation He provides in order to combat a growing heresy in the church at Colossae. Christ, the Lord of creation and Head of the body which is His church, is completely sufficient for every spiritual and practical need of the believer.” (1.)
Christ is the sovereign King of the universe, there is no other. That’s always a comfort and recalibration.
As we have mentioned, Pauline literature is Christological at core. We can miss the obvious, but he is writing about the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Terminology used in Colossians:
God -20 times
Christ –24 times
Lord –13 times
Jesus –7 times
Jesus Christ –3 times
Divine Pronoun –39 times
Whom –6 times
Firstborn –2 times
The Head –3 times
The Son –1 time
Master –1 time
Observations about Gnosticism:
- Many different explanations / forms of Gnosticism.
- A false teaching emerged 2nd Century
- A philosophical / elite view of philosophy that one needed revealed knowledge, or gnosis.
- Tied to Judaism and paganism, reviving the importance of OT laws, regulations, and statutes.
- A part of Gnosticism involved angel worship or at least the teaching that angels were mediators to God (Colossians 2:18)
- It held a negative view toward the physical / material world.
- It had a Christological base but did not recognize Jesus as deity or on equal (Trinitarian) grounding with God the Father.
- To explain the deity and supremacy of Christin the face of the Colossian heresy (Colossians 1:18; Colossians 2:9).
- To lead believers into spiritual maturity(Colossians 1:28; Colossians 2:6–7).
- To inform them about his state of affairs and elicited their prayers on his behalf (Colossians 4:2–8).
Walk in a worthy manner (Colossians 1:10)
If you and I focus our time on prayer, meditating on Scripture, Bible study…are we also beginning to walk in a worthy manner that pleases Him?
What does it mean to please God?
I’d suggest in involves bearing fruit and increasing in the knowledge of God.
The supremacy of Christ (Colossians 1:15-20)
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
There’s always a rationale between what God says and what He does. Let’s shift our thinking as we’re studying Scripture to examine not just what He says, but what He does. The words and works.
How do we believe in a God we can’t see? Scripture is clear: if you want to see God, look at Jesus Christ.
Knowledge requires growth and maturity as it gets more and more complex. Why would we think the knowledge of God should be easy? It takes ongoing education for all of us to grow.
For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.
Whether with a microscope or telescope, we can’t plumb the depths or reach the edge of what He has done. All things are exist for him, nothing exists without Him.
He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
This is why I like the phrase:
He’s the sovereign Creator and Sustainer of the universe.
He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.
What does it mean that Christ is the head of His church? For one thing: it’s not about us.
Firstborn is about supremacy. Another way of thinking about it is “owner,” He’s the owner of everything.
For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.
No one—NO ONE—can make lasting peace apart from Christ. His peace is more important than even peace between two nations. His peace is between those who were eternally lost, and those who will be eternally saved.
Warning: Don’t be deceived (Colossians 2:8-10)
The pressure from the elite to live according to worldly standards rather than according to Christ was huge. This is so pertinent today.
Consider Social Media, watch what trends among Christians.
Human philosophy, Paul says, is not just empty—it’s deceptive.
Warning: avoid self-made religion (Colossians 2:20-23)
Another text that’s striking then and today. We’re all frogs in the cultural kettle and have got to be aware that the temperature is rising. These have no value against fleshly indulgence.
Keep seeking Christ (Colossians 3:1-3)
The only way you and I are going to grow is to be in the Word.
Lesson: What takes first place in your life?
It’s really that simple.
There are a lot of things that crowd out Christ: health issues, being single or going through divorce, financial issues, politics…fill in the blank.
The Bible never says, “worry about today.” It says keep seeking the things above.
When you and I focus on our problems, they’re not going to get any better. Look a little bit up. Look to Christ.
Do you really think Christ is unaware of your challenge? Do you think he’s uncaring about your condition?
The strangest part of the Christian life is we tremendously underestimate how interested Jesus Christ is in every area of our lives.
We live in a different world than the ancients did…but not really. Technology has made some things easier, but it hasn’t changed human nature.
“He rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13)
There is no other way, and as we saw in Colossians1:18:
He Himself will come to have first place in everything…
How do you keep Him first?
Look at Him—His words and His works.
- Bruce Wilkinson and Kenneth Boa, Talk Thru the Bible(Nashville: T. Nelson, 1983), 410.
- Norman L. Geisler, “Colossians,”in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 668.