Colossians Graphics

Vital statistics

 Purpose: To combat errors in the church and to show that believers have everything they need in Christ
 Author: Paul 
 Original audience: The church at Colosse, a city in Asia Minor
 Date written: Approximately A.D. 60 during Paul's imprisonment in Rome
 Setting: Paul had never visited Colosee. Evidently the church had been founded by Epaphras and other converts from Paul's missionary travels. The church, however, had been infiltrated by religious relativism, with some believers attempting to combine elements of paganism and secular philosophy with Christian doctrine. Paul confronts these false teachings and affirms the sufficiency of Christ. 
 Key verses:  "For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority" (2:9, 10).
 Key people: Paul, Timothy, Tychicus, Onesimus, Aristarchus, Mark, Epaphras  
 Key places: Colosse, Laodicea (4:15, 16)
 Special features:  Christ is presented as having absolute supremacy and sole sufficiency. Colossians has similarities to Ephesians, probably because it was written at about the same time, but it has a different emphasis. 

Ephesians and Colossians: Companion Prison Epistles Compared

Jesus Christ: Lord of the Church
Jesus Christ: Lord of the cosmos
Emphasis on the church as the body of Christ but also affirms Christ as Head of the church.
Emphasis on Christ as the Head of the cosmos and the church.
Less personal and probably a circular epistle.
More personal and local-church-oriented.
Addresses the errors of false teaching less directly (heresy is not yet a major danger).
Speaks to the errors of false doctrine directly (heresy is more threatening).
Common themes treated extensively.
Common themes treated briefly.
New Geneva study Bible. 1997, c1995 (electronic ed.) (Col 1.2). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Colossians: Christ is All

1:1, 2 Salutation to Saints
1:3–8 The Growth of the Gospel of Grace
1:9–14 Paul’s Prayer for a worthy Walk
1:15–18 Christ the Supreme Lord
1:19–23 Christ the Reconciler
1:24–29 Serving the Mystery and Striving for Maturity
2:1–5 Christ the Teasurehouse
2:6–10 Christ the Fullness of the Godhead
2:11–23 Christ the Reality Supersedes Man-Made Regulations
3:1–4 Hearts and Minds Seated Above with Christ Our Life
3:5–11 Christ is All-So Sinful Practices Must Fall
3:12–17 Christian Virtues and Christian Worship
3:18–4:1 Christian Relationships
4:2–6 Prayer and Proclamation
4:7–18 Farewells from Faithful Friends
Key Verses
“For in Him dwell all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.”
2:9, 10)
New Geneva study Bible. 1997, c1995 (electronic ed.) (Col 1.2). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

The Four Great Christological Passages

1; 14
Philippians 2
Colossians 1; 2
Hebrews 1; 2
(1) His divine Relationship to the Father
The Word 1:1; 14
Form of God 2:6
The image of the invisible god
The revelation of God 1:2
Radiant glory 1:14; 14:7
Only begotten 1:14, 18
Equal with God 2:6
Firstborn 1:15, 18
Firstborn 1:6
Son 3:16
Bondservant 2:7
The Son He (God) loves 1:13
Son 12a, 5, 8
(2) His Divine Work
Creation of All
1:2, 3, 10
1:12, 13
1:4, 5, 19–22, 2:6, 13–15
1:3, 2:10, 11
(3) His Divine Nature
Theos (God) 1:1, 18
Theos (God) 2:6
Theotetos (Godhead) 2:9; 1:19; 2:9
Theos (God) 1:8
1:18; 14:6
1:19; 2:9
In the Flesh
2:7, 8
1:6; 2:14–18
New Geneva study Bible. 1997, c1995 (electronic ed.) (Col 1.19). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

The Colossians Heresy

    Paul answered the varios tenets of the Colossians heresy that threatened the church. This heresy was a "mixed bag," containing elements from several different heresies, some of which contradicted each other (as the chart shows). 
 The HeresyReference  Paul's Answer
 Spirits is good; matter is evil1:15-20  God created heaven and earth for his glory 
 One must follow ceremonies2:11, 16-23  These were only shadows that ended when Christ came. He is all you need to be saved. 
 One must deny the body and live in strict asceticism. 2:18-23  Asceticism is no help in conquering evil thoughts and desires; instead, it leads to pride. 
  Angel must be worshiped. 2:18 Angels are not to be worshiped; Christ alone is worthy of worship. 
 Christ could not be both human and divine. 1:15-20; 2:2, 3  Christ is God in the flesh; he is the eternal one, head of the body, first in everything, supreme. 
 One must obtain, "secret knowledge" in order to be saved or perfected - and this was not available to everyone.  2:2, 18  God's mysterious plan is Christ himself, and he has been revealed to all. 
 One must adhere to human wisdom, tradition, and philosophies.  2:4, 8-10; 3:15-17 By themselves, these can be misleading and shallow because they have human origin; instead, we should remember what Christ taught and follow his words as our ultimate authority.  
 It is even better to combine aspects of several religions.  2:10 You are complete through your union with Christ, he is all-sufficient.  
 There is nothing wrong with immorality. 3:1-11 Get rid of sin and evil because you have been chosen by God to live a new life as a representative of the Lord Jesus.  

How to pray for other Christians

  1. Be thankful for their faith and changed lives (1:3).
  2. Ask God to help them know his will (1:9).
  3. Ask God to give them spiritual wisdom and understanding (1:9).
  4. Ask God to help them live to honor and please him (1:10).
  5. Ask God to give them more knowledge of himself (1:10).
  6. Ask God to give them strength for endurance and patience (1:11).
  7. Ask God to fill them with joy and thankfulness (1:11, 12).
How many people in your life could be touched if you prayed in this way?

The Blueprint

 1. What Christ has done (1:1-2:23)

 2. What Christians should do (3:1-4:8) 
 In this letter Paul clearly teaches that Christ has paid for sin, that Christ has reconciled us to God, and that Christ gives us the pattern and the power to grow spiritually. Because in Christ lives all the fullness of God, when we learn what he is like, we see what we need to become. Since Christ is Lord over all creation, we should crown him Lord over our lives. Since Christ is the head of the body, his church, we should nurture our vital connection to him.  

Colossians Overview

Titles of Christ

 Name or Title Significance Biblical Reference
 Adam, Las Adam First of the new race of the redeemed 1Co 15:45
 Alpha and Omega The beginning and ending of all things Rev 21:6
 Bread of Life The one essential food Jn 6:35 
 Cornerstone A sure foundation for life Eph 2:20
 Chief Shepherd Protector, sustainer, and guide 1Pe 5:4
 Firstborn from the Dead Leads us into resurrection and eternal life Col 1:18
 Good Shepherd Provider and caretaker  Jn 10:11
 Great Shepherd of the Sheep Trustworthy guide and protector Heb 13:20
 High Priest  A perfect sacrifice for ours sins Heb 3:1
 Holy One of God SInless in His nature Mk 1:24
 Immanuel (God With Us) Stands with us in all life's circumstances Mt 1:23
 King of Kings, Lord of Lords The Almighty, before whom every knee will bow Rev 10:16
 Lamb of God Gave His life as a sacrifice on our behalf  Jn 1:29
 Light of the World  Brings hope in the midst of darkness Jn 9:5
 Lord of Glory The power and presence of the living God 1Co 2:8
 Mediator between God and Mankind Brings us into God's presence redeemed and forgiven 1Ti 2:5
 One and Only Son The unique, one-of-a-kind Son of God Jn 1:14
 Prophet  Faithful proclaimer of the truths of God Ac 3:22
 Savior Delivers from sin and death Lk 1:47
 Seed of Abraham Mediator of God's covenant Gal 3:16
 Son of Man Identifies with us in our humanity Lk 19:10
 The World  Present with God at the creation Jn 1:1