Colossians Introduction (Supremacy)

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Introduction to Colossians:

Credit goes to: Biblos.com

Credit goes to: Biblos.com
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At the immediate outset of introducing Colossians we must state that this book comes to us as a beautiful portrait of the Majesty of Christ.  Christ is shown to be superior.  Christ is the center and focus of Paul throughout just as Christ is to be the center throughout our lives.  Many consider this the best book on the supremacy of Christ.  Paul is beautiful in moving us to Worship our blessed Creator and realize who He really is, the center of all things. 

 

Location:

The city of Colossae was located west-central Asia Minor in the Lycus River valley.  It was 12 miles east of Laodicea and Hierapolis was 15 miles to the northwest.   In Paul’s day, Colossae was part of the Roman province of Asia which contained an important highway. 

Activity:

Although the decline of importance was due to a change in roadways the city still remained for its export of a red textile which became known as “Colossian wool”.  Ephesus was only 120 miles to the west allowing it still to have some effect on the rest of the local world. 

Occupations and Ethnicity:

Due to the textile being prominent and the important highway to go eastward to Sardis, this would have created a conglomeration of people with many ideas and influences.  A majority would have been Gentile but evidence shows that Jews were there also.  Josephus reports two thousand families in the area (213 B.C.).  (Moo 27)  For Jews and Gentiles to be in one town with a major highway it meant a lot of diversity of religion, philosophy and lifestyles. 

You could imagine a bustling town with bleating sheep, food markets, tight corridors for shops, prominent men in the center discussing various new ideas as they floated through.  Already having the influences of Rome the many deities being worshipped would have been prolific.  John MacArthur notes a few gods they worshipped at the time.  “The pagan culture…worshipped…Isis, Serapis, Helios, Demeter, and Artemis [were] among those worshipped.” (MacArthur 6) 

Observations, Theology and Authorship:

It must have been a challenge for anyone to live for Christ and not be confused as to who was superior and how to get to the true God for salvation.  In fact, we see Paul writing this epistle to help them center on Christ.  Colossians is a book that first focuses in on Christ and how He is superior in gaining spiritual “fullness” (being complete). 

Paul’s main concern is to counter false teaching showing how Christ is the center of all things both visible and invisible, the controlling force behind all powers and authorities and the creator of all things, translating that into our lives personally.   The false teaching was supplementing Christ so that they could get “fullness” in their spiritual growth.  They felt a compelling pull to “add to” what Christ has done to gain a certain closeness and protection from the world in which they lived.  Little do they realize that Christ has already provided everything they needed (compare Ephesians 1:3).

The theological development of Colossians is far above many other books in the New Testament.  This alone has some questioning if Paul even wrote this book.  The advanced theology may be due to Paul needing to address a society/city that had higher thinking because of the prolific amount of deities and thoughts flowing through, in and around the area.   It is my belief that Paul would have done this because when we address different social groups we talk differently and even write differently.  Beside this we have the Holy Spirit who would have been directing Paul what issues to write. 

Combine this idea with looking to Ephesians and Philemon we see that Paul would have wrote this book along with the other two.  They are called the prison epistles because he wrote them from Rome.  In Ephesians we see that Paul tells them that “Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant…will tell you everything…” (Ephesians 6:21) and then here in Colossians Paul basically states the same thing (Colossians 4:7).  Both Ephesians and Colossians are noted as been written about the same time, 60 A.D.  (see Ephesians Intro). 

 



Works Cited:

MacArthur, Jr., John. The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Colossians and Philemon. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1992. Print.

Moo, J., Douglas. The Letters to the Colossians and to Philemon: The Pillar New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Erdmans Publishing Co., 2008. Print.

About Ernest Grogg

First and foremost I am married to Olesya and looking forward to the rest of our lives together. Marriage is a journey and it is interesting and fun. Saved at the age of 25 and while salvation has been a challenge, God has always been faithful.

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