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Christian Life Church

September 6, 2023 - 7pm

September 6, 2023 - 7pm

Studies in Colossians Introduction

Locations & Times

Christian Life Church Columbia

2700 Bush River Rd, Columbia, SC 29210, USA

Wednesday 6:30 PM

Studies in Colossians September 6, 2023


· Located in the Phrygian region of the Roman province of Asia – western Turkey today

· Phrygians
o Older people group than the Egyptians
o Indo-European
o Torgarmah, grandson of Japheth, Noah’s son – Josephus
o Historically fierce, warlike people, often engaged in piracy- Adriatic coast

· Approximately 100 miles southeast of Ephesus, the capital city

· Lycus River valley and the sister cities of Laodicea (Revelation 3:15-16) and Hierapolis

· An area with frequent earthquakes (A.D. 61) – “a land good for earthquakes” – Strabo

· Situated along an important trade route

· Prosperous – fertile pastureland – famous glossy black wool


· Paul had never been to Colossae (Colossians 1:4, 9).

· During the day of Pentecost, Phrygians were present and heard Galileans supernaturally speak their language (Acts 2:10).

· Paul’s three-year ministry in Ephesus (A.D. 52-55)
o Unusual miracles were granted – deliverances – church purified in the fear of the Lord.
o The entire province of Asia is saturated with a witness of the Gospel (Acts 19:10).
§Estimated at 8.5 million people

· Epaphras – is the presumed founder of the Colossian church (1:7).
o A citizen of Colossae (4:12)
o An evangelistic and pastoral role over the churches in Colossae, Hierapolis, and Laodicea (4:12-13).
o A faithful companion and supporter of Paul
§Epaphras, prisoner of the Lord (Philemon 1:23)

· Philemon – Colossian church was hosted at his house (Philemon 1:4).

· Onesimus, Philemon’s runaway slave was from Colossae.

· A mixture of native Phrygians, Jews, and other Gentiles (Greeks)

· The Colossian church was predominantly Gentile.

· The social and economic dynamics of the church
o Jews, Gentiles, tribal identities, social classifications, and religious world views

· Polytheism was prevalent among most Gentile individuals and families.
o Greco-Roman deities, household gods, imperial cult

· Greek Philosophy – Paul in Athens (Acts 17)

· Syncretism – Ephesian Christians and the bonfire (Acts 19)

· Mysticism – Simon the Sorcerer – He “amazed the city of Samaria” with his magic (Acts 8:9-11).

· Mystery cults, such a Gnosticism – special revelation and knowledge served as the key to higher dimensions of true spirituality.

· Local, patron deities – Paul and Barnabas thought to be Zeus and Hermes at Iconium (Acts 14)

· Messianic Judaizers – Gentile believers must be circumcised, adhere to the teachings of Torah, observe kosher diets, keep the Sabbath, and observe the Jewish feasts (Acts 15).


· Paul was a prisoner in Rome during this time (Acts 21:17-28:31).

· Epaphras travels 1,800 miles from Colossae to Rome to seek Paul’s help concerning heretical teachings that were beginning to affect the church.

· Within this general timeframe, Paul wins Onesimus, a runaway Colossian slave, to Christ.

· Epaphras stays in Rome to assist Paul.

· Paul sends Onesimus and Tychicus to deliver the letters to Philemon, the Ephesians, and Colossians to their respective destinations.


· The precise nature of the teaching is uncertain.

· The letter’s evidence shows this teaching was a mixture of Eastern philosophy, Jewish legalism, and an early form of Gnosticism.

· We will discuss these false teachings in more detail as we move through the letter.

· Gnosticism
o “To know” the hidden, deeper revelations of God
o Spiritual elitism and “full knowledge”
o Philo of Alexandria, 1ST century Jewish philosopher, “Matter is evil.”
o Gnostics adopted this theme. Since matter is evil, God cannot come into contact with matter.
§Emanations of God and angelic intermediaries
§Rigid discipline and ascetism

· Jewish legalism
o Taught that Old Covenant observances were useful in attaining spiritual advancement.
§Dietary laws, Sabbath observance, and Jewish festivals (Colossians 2:16)
§Pagan astrology, much like horoscopes today
§Mysticism and folk beliefs added to their Christian faith – appealing directly to angels for protection against evil spirits and diseases.

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