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Purpose of The Book of Colossians:
To declare in extremely positive terms the superiority of Jesus Christ over other tempting powers.
Summary of The Book of Colossians:
Paul's letter to the church at Colosse was to dispel errant teachings that had confused and misled many of the believers there. We don't know exactly what group was spreading this misinformation, but two particular aspects of the letter itself shed some light on the nature of the heresy, and suggest that some form of Jewish mysticism was being disbursed among the Colossians.
Author and Dates of The Book of Colossians:
The most likely imprisonment that Paul refers to in this letter is his Roman custody, which dates the letter's composition around 60 AD, the period in which he also penned Ephesians and Philemon.
Paul's house arrest in Rome is chronicled in Acts 28:14-31, and this seems to be the circumstances in which the letter to the Ephesians was written. Colosse was a dying city. Several hundred years before, it had been a thriving metropolis, but the booming neighboring cities of Laodicea and Hierapolis diminished its economic importance. The church at Colosse was founded by Epaphras, a convert of Paul's. Perhaps it was the fact that this church was started by a young Christian rather than Paul himself made is especially vulnerable to false teachings like the one Paul is thwarting.
Outline of The Book of Colossians:
Themes of The Book of Colossians:
The Supremacy of Christ: Probably in response to heretical teachings concerning angel worship or the exaltation of the Old Testament mediators, Paul emphasizes the qualitative difference between the Christ and the other significant messengers of God (1:15-20).
Wisdom: It seems that the false teachers were claiming some kind of secret knowledge of God, a knowledge that Paul speaks against. The simple beauty of the gospel is not something reserved for profound thinkers, but is for all men. It is not something to be hoarded in secret, but proclaimed (2:1- 8).
Regulations: Part of the false teachers' doctrine included many strict rules and regulations about what must or must not be handled, eaten, or engaged in. Paul dismisses such false piety as an offense to Christ, who fulfilled the law in our stead and offers instead the Spirit to show us divine love, and lead us into spiritual maturity. Rules have no power to curb the sinful nature, but the knowledge and experience of God do (2:20-23).