Paul's Letter to the Colossians was written to the church at Colossae, a town in Asia Minor east of Ephesus. This church had not been established by Paul, but was in an area for which Paul felt responsible, as he sent out workers from Ephesus, the capital of the Roman province of Asia. Paul had learnt that there were false teachers in the church at Colossae who insisted that in order to know God and have full salvation one must worship certain “spiritual rulers and authorities”. In addition, these teachers said, one must submit to special rites such as circumcision and must observe strict rules about foods and other matters.
Paul writes to oppose these teachings with the true Christian message. The heart of his reply is that Jesus Christ is able to give full salvation and that these other beliefs and practices actually lead away from him. Through Christ, God created the world and through him he is bringing it back to himself. Only in union with Christ is there hope of salvation for the world. Paul then spells out the implications of this great teaching for the lives of believers.
It is noteworthy that Tychicus, who took this letter to Colossae for Paul, was accompanied by Onesimus, the slave on whose behalf Paul wrote his letter to Philemon.
Outline of Contents
The nature and work of Christ 1.9—2.19
The new life in Christ 2.20—4.6