1 Be careful not to allow anyone to captivate you through an empty, deceitful philosophy that is according to human traditions and the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him all the fullness of deity lives in bodily ( Colossians 2:8 10, net) Workbook OnColossiansDavid quoted by permission. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, aretaken from the NET Bible copyright 1996 2006 by Biblical Studies Press, All rights reserved. This material is available in its entirety as a freedownload or online web use at Tell of ColosseWorkbook On To ColossiansColossians is perhaps the most Christ-centered book in the Bible.
2 In it Paul stresses the preeminence of the Person of Christ and the completeness of the salvation He wrote this epistle from prison, as he did ephesians , Philippians, and Philemon. Although Caesarea and Ephesus have been suggested as possible locations of authorship, the bulk of evidence suggests that Paul wrote it in 60 or 61 during his first Roman imprisonment (Acts 28:16 31) and sent it with Tychicus and the converted slave Onesimus to Colosse (4:7 9; cf. Eph 6:21; Philem. 10 12). Colosse was a minor city about one hundred miles east of Ephesus in the region of the seven Asian churches of Revelation 1 3.
3 Located in the fertile Lycus Valley on the road from Ephesus to the east, Colosse had previously been a populous center of commerce, but by the time of Paul it had been eclipsed in importance by the neighboring cities of Laodicea and Hierapolis. Apart from this letter, Colosse exerted almost no influence on early church history. The precise character of the Colossian heresy has been a matter of debate. The nature of this heresy can only be deduced from Paul s incidental references to it in his refutation in 2:8 23. It was apparently a religious system that combined elements from Hellenistic Greek speculation (2:4, 8 10), Jewish legalism (2:11 17), and Oriental mysticism (2:18 23).
4 It involved a low view of the body (2:20 23) and probably of nature as a whole. With its stress upon the importance of circumcision, dietary regulations, and ritual observances, together with its worship of angels and preoccupation with mystical experiences, the Colossian heresy denied the sufficiency of Christ, and any attempt to fit Christ into such a system would undermine His Person and redemptive and Literary StructureThe resounding theme in Colossians is the preeminence and sufficiency of Christ in all things. The believer is complete in Him alone and lacks nothing because in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (2:9).
5 The first part of the epistle is an exposition of Christ s supremacy (chs. 1 2); the second part explains the implications of Christ s supremacy in terms of the believer s submission to Christ the Lord (chs. 3 4). Particularly in the second half of the epistle, Paul explores the implications of the believer s union with Christ. The believer s union with Christ in His death, resurrection and exaltation is the foundation upon which earthly life must be built (3:1 4). Because of their death with Christ, Christians must regard themselves as dead to the old way of sin (3:5 11); because of their resurrection with Christ, believers must regard themselves as alive to Him in righteousness and must put on the new qualities that are prompted by Christian love (3:12 17).
6 The new life in Christ is to be manifested in the personal relationships of the Christian. Paul provides specific instructions for husbands and wives, children, servants, and masters (3:18 4:1). ephesians and Colossians ComparedThough written at approximately the same time and reflecting similar themes, the books of ephesians and Colossians have their own distinctive emphases. If the book of ephesians can be labeled the epistle portraying the Church of Christ, then the focus of Colossians must surely be the Christ of the Church. Christ Above AllThe apostle does not directly argue with the Colossians about their false doctrines.
7 Rather, beginning in the first chapter, he builds a positive case for Christian truth by showing the preeminence of Christ in on ChristThe first two chapters of Colossians constitute one of the great Christological passages in Scripture. In stressing the role of the Son as Creator and Redeemer, and in his recognition that in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (2:9), Paul affirms the full deity of Singing FaithAs is evident in the Old Testament, the Hebrew faith emphasized the joy of singing to the Lord, but Christianity is even more profoundly a singing faith. Singing can help to make teaching and preaching even more useful.
8 The Colossians were to emphasize the ministry of teaching and admonition by the singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. (Nelson s Complete Book of Bible Maps And Charts, pp. 416 418) Workbook On lies about a mile below the present village of Honaz on the north slope of Honaz Dagi and about 18 km east of Denizli. Of the sites described in this book it is one of the least rewarding to a casual tourist, but a walk from Honaz to it might give a hint of rural Anatolia as Paul experienced it. Its place in Christian history is because of a 1st century ad letter addressed to it that was included in the New the 5th century bc Colossae was a major commercial center on the trade route from Sardis to Konya.
9 It lost its importance by the 1st century bc when Laodicea was founded. It, along with Laodicea and Hierapolis, was destroyed in the earthquake of ad 60. The cities of the area declined in the 7th and 8th centuries ad under the pressure of Arab invaders. Later the Byzantines and Sel uks fought over it. The remains of a theater are still discernible, along with a few other buildings; but the site has not been excavated and is rarely visited. Colossae was famous for the dark red wool cloth that carried its name, Letter to the Colossians , attributed to Paul, The City Of Colossaewas probably written about ad 60 or 65.
10 The grammar and the vocabulary of the letter have called into question Paul s authorship. However, it could be that he asked one of his companions to put his thoughts into words and then gave his mark of approval by adding a note at the end in his own hand. From various references in the letter, it would appear that some of the Christians in Colossae were Jews (Col. 2:11, 16, 21); and that Paul had not visited the city (Col. 1:4; 2:3). Rather, he had heard about the group from Epaphras and from Onesimus who apparently was from Colossae (Col. 4:9). Paul was in prison at the time (Col. 4:3), possibly in Rome.