Paul’s letter to the Colossians is one of the four “prison epistles” (he also wrote letters to the Ephesians, the Philippians, and to Philemon while in prison). The date of writing is generally thought to be about 62 A.D., which assumes that he wrote it from prison in Rome after his fateful voyage in Acts 27-28.
Some scholars believe that Paul did not have a hand in establishing the church at Colossae personally. This is partially due to the reference in verse 7 to them having learned the truth from Epaphras. But if one reads verse 6 along with it, the mention of Epaphras appears to be an additional source of preaching of the gospel to the brethren there. It is likely that he at least had a hand in it, and we find it difficult to believe (as some have stated) that he never even visited them – especially being at Ephesus for three years during his third missionary journey. Regardless, Paul’s letter to them demonstrates no small measure of familiarity, and it should be noted that Philemon, to whom another prison epistle was written, was himself a Colossian. And Timothy, who apparently acted as Paul’s secretary for this letter (verse 1), was likely no stranger to them either.
Some parts of this letter appear to be addressing a problem with false teachers, possibly rising from within the ranks of the brethren, just as he warned the Ephesian elders about in Acts 20:28-30. One passage that particularly seems to allude to this is in Colossians 4:18, which says “let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind…”
But the overriding message to the brethren at Colossae (and to us) is about the gift of life given to us by Jesus. It is summarily contained in great detail in chapter 2:8-15. There, Paul speaks of Jesus Christ as deity and “the head of all rule and authority,” with whom we have been buried in baptism. And we, who were dead in our sins, have had our debts paid for us by Him and they were “nailed to the cross.”
(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.