Colossians


An Outline:


Bible books contents

1. Background

  • Colosse  was one of three cities in the Lycus valley in Phrygia ( modern Turkey), the others being Laodicea and Hierapolis. In Paul's days Colosse was the least important of them.
  • Some people think that Paul never visited the Colossians   based on Col.1:9;2:1, but  some say that Acts. 16:6-7  suggests otherwise.
  • A number of people are mentioned in this epistle, for more details look at the outline on Philemon 
  • This is one of the so called Prison letters,  written during Paul's  first imprisonment at Rome.

 2.The Problems

There appears to have been three main problems in the Colossian assembly:

a.  Judaisers  

 This was and, to some extent is today, a perennial problem among believers. That is those who want to bring  believers back under the Mosaic laws and ceremonies to some degree. Galatians  deals with this in greater detail.

b. Gnosticism  

This was a 'mystery' religion: that is one in which its secret were only divulged to the initiates; it was a salvation by knowledge. The belief system was based on the  theory that God is good and matter is evil. God being too holy to have created the material world, created a hierarchy of angels ('emanations'), one slightly inferior to the last one. They claimed that Jesus was the last emanation who, being emptied of deity, created and  could be in contact with the evil material world.  

c. Asceticism

 This being linked to Gnosticism, it was the teaching of total renunciation of all material  goods in order to seek the  invisible and spiritual. This involved the suppression of bodily appetites and a strict control of  everything. Examples of this can be seen in the so called church mystics during the centuries that followed right down to the present day.

3. Paul's reply


In order to counter the heresies Paul  makes a  declaration of the SUPREMACY of Christ: he shows Jesus'  deity  and the work He did in destroying the works of the wicked one.


4. Outline:

Christ is all and  in all


Introduction & thanksgiving

1:1-8
Prayer for the Colossians

1:9-14
The Supremacy Of Christ:
Jesus:
Notes
Ref.
As creation's Firstborn
That is:  in position and responsibility
1:15
As Creator
This verse shows  that Jesus was not created! See also Jn 1:1-4 & Heb.1:1-2
1:16
As Sustainer
Not only creator, but also
sustains His creation.
1:17
As Head of the church
Ephesians emphasises the body, Colossians emphases the Head.
1:18a
As the Preeminent one
To have the FIRST place in all things
1:18b
As the Holder of God's fullness
 Can a container be smaller than what it holds?
1:19
& 2:9
As the Peace maker
He is our peace  Eph. 2:14
1:20a
As the  Reconciler
All things in earth and heaven!
 see also Heb. 9:22-23
1:20b-23
As the subject of the Gospel Mystery
a. Mystery here means secret see. Eph. 3:1-13
b. The mystery is CHRIST IN YOU
c. The treasure house of wisdom and knowledge.
1:24-2:3

1:15-2:3
The  seduction of the cults
The Error
God's  Answer: Jesus
 Ref
Beguilers    


Walk in Christ as ye
 have received Him
2:4-6
Philosophy
We are complete  in HIM
2:7-10
Judaism
Christ is the reality   cf. Gal. 5:1-3
Heb. 10:1

2:11-17
Mysticism           /Angelolatry

Christ is the Head  from whom the body  is built up.
2:18-19
Asceticism
We are dead with Christ from the elements of the world & its ordinances.
2:20-23

2:4-23
The  solution for the Christian
Christ is our life  so seek those things above                         3:1-4
Christ is all and in all  so put off the old man      
3:5-11
Christ has forgiven us   so forgive one another
3:12-13
Christ's Words to  dwell in us  so put on these things
3:14-16
Christ is our  master so serve Him in all things
3:17-4:1

3:1-4:1
Final words

4:2-4:18