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Colossians, Epistle to The: was written by Paul at Rome during his first imprisonment there
(Acts 28:16,30) probably in the spring of A.D. 57 or, as some think,
62 and soon after he had written his Epistle to the Ephesians. Like
some of his other epistles (e.g., those to Corinth), this seems to have
been written in consequence of information which had somehow been
conveyed to him of the internal state of the church there
Its object was to counteract false teaching. A large part of it is
directed against certain speculatists who attempted to combine the
doctrines of Oriental mysticism and asceticism with Christianity,
thereby promising the disciples the enjoyment of a higher spiritual
life and a deeper insight into the world of spirits. Paul argues
against such teaching, showing that in Christ Jesus they had all
things. He sets forth the majesty of his redemption. The mention of the
"new moon" and "sabbath days"
(Colossians 2:16) shows also that there were
here Judaizing teachers who sought to draw away the disciples from the
simplicity of the gospel. Like most of Paul's epistles, this consists
of two parts, a doctrinal and a practical.
1. The doctrinal part comprises the first two chapters. His main
theme is developed in chapter 2
(Colossians 2:1-23). He warns them
against being drawn away from Him in whom dwelt all the fulness
of the Godhead, and who was the head of all spiritual powers.
Christ was the head of the body of which they were members; and
if they were truly united to him, what needed they more?
2. The practical part of the epistle
(Colossians 3:1-4:18) enforces
various duties naturally flowing from the doctrines expounded.
They are exhorted to mind things that are above
to mortify every evil principle of their nature, and to put on
the new man
(Colossians 3:5-14) Many special duties of the Christian
life are also insisted upon as the fitting evidence of the
Christian character. Tychicus was the bearer of the letter, as
he was also of that to the Ephesians and to Philemon, and he
would tell them of the state of the apostle
(Colossians 4:7-9). After
(Colossians 4:10-14) he bids them interchange this
letter with that he had sent to the neighbouring church of
Laodicea. He then closes this brief but striking epistle with
his usual autograph salutation. There is a remarkable
resemblance between this epistle and that to the Ephesians
(q.v.). The genuineness of this epistle has not been called in