In order to counter the heresies of the day Paul makes a declaration of the SUPREMACY and all SUFFICIENCY of Christ.
Author & Date
Written by the apostle Paul during his first imprisonment at Rome. Ephesians, Philippians and Philemon were written at the same time. They are known collectively as the ‘prison letters’.
Christ is all in all
A. The Supremacy of Christ Ch.1:1-2:3
Christianity is about a person, the Lord Jesus Christ:
- The one in whom his people trust Col.1:1-8
- The one in whom his people are to walk Col.1:9-11
- The one in whom we have redemption Col.1:12-14
- The one in whom all the fullness dwells Col.1:15-20
- The one in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Col.1:21-2:3
B. The Sufficiency of Christ Ch.2:4-3:4
Paul gives warning of 4 dangers. The apostle shows that Christ is the answer to every one of them.
- Deceived by false reasoning: the answer – Walk in Christ Col.2:4-7
- Carried off by men’s philosophy: the answer -We are Complete in Christ Col.2:8-15
- Legalism: the answer – Christ is the reality Col.2:16-17M
- Mysticism: the answer – Christ is our life Co.2:18-3:4
C. The Substantiality of Christ Ch.3:5-4:18
If the gospel message is to mean anything, then it has to be seen to work in everyday life
- In the personal life of the believer Col.3:5-8
- In fellowship with other believers Col.3:9-17
- In the domestic and work life Col.3:18-4:1
- To those outside of Christ Col.4:2-6
- In service Col.4:7-18
Colossae was one of three cities in the Lycus valley in Phrygia (modern Turkey), the others being Laodicea and Hierapolis. In Paul’s days Colossae was the least important of them.
Based on Col.1:9;2:1, it seems that Paul never visited Colossae.
b. The problem
There were false teachers about, and although Paul never visited Colossae, he said he had great conflict for them. Col.2:1. The false teaching was made up of elements from Greek philosophy, Judaism and Eastern mysticism. This would develop, in the decades following, into what we call Gnosticism. It wasn’t a sect or denomination but a school of thought that was creeping into the believers’ thinking. Paul wasn’t the only NT writer to put pen to paper to counter the Gnostic ideas, John’s gospel and first epistle for example contain many references countering these false ideas.