About this letter
Colossae was an important city in western Asia Minor, about 160 kilometres east of the city port of Ephesus. Paul had never been to Colossae, but he was pleased to learn that the Christians there were strong in their faith (1.3–7; 2.6,7). They had heard the good news from a man named Epaphras who had lived there (1.7; 4.12,13), but was in jail with Paul (Philemon 23) at the time that Paul wrote this letter (1.14; 4.3,10,18).
Many of the church members in Colossae were Gentiles (1.27), and some of them were influenced by strange religious ideas and practices (2.16–23). They thought that to obey God fully they must give up certain physical desires and worship angels and other spiritual powers. But Paul wanted them to know that Christ was with God in heaven, ruling over all powers in the universe (3.1). And so, their worship should be directed to Christ.
Paul quotes a beautiful hymn that explains who Christ is:
Christ is exactly like God,
who cannot be seen.
He is the firstborn Son,
superior to all creation.
God himself was pleased
to live fully in his Son.
And God was pleased
for him to make peace
by sacrificing his blood
on the cross.
(1.15,19,20a)
A quick look at this letter
1. Greetings (1.1,2)
2. A prayer of thanks (1.3–8)
3. The person and work of Christ (1.9—2.19)
4. New life with Christ (2.20—4.6)
5. Final greetings (4.7–18)
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