The following commentary is based on
the NIV translation of the Bible. The
section titles found in these pages are the same section titles that are
found in the NIV Bible, 1995 edition, which should make it easier for study
The city of Colossae
(population of roughly 11,000 people when Paul wrote this lettr) was not as influential in Paulís day as some other cities like Ephesus. The church at
appeared to consist of mostly Gentile Christians, although there were some
Jewish Christians within their community.
appears that at the time of Paulís writing this letter he had not yet been
to Colossae. His contact with this church
had been through a man named Epaphras. Some
suggest that Epaphras was a convert from
Paul wrote and sent this letter to Colossae
when he returned Onesimus, a Christian slave, back to Philemon, Onesimusís
original owner. Apparently
Onesimus escaped to find his freedom, then became a Christian and discovered
that his owner was a Christian as well.
You can read the story in Paulís letter to Philemon.
letter was most likely written around 61 or 62 AD from
where Paul was a prisoner. He
wrote his letters to the Ephesians, Philippians, and to Philemon at or
around the same time.
particular letter is somewhat more philosophical in nature than most of his
other letters and for that and other reasons liberal theologians believe
that Paul did not write this letter. I
believe he in fact did write this letter.
in most of Paulís writings, he is writing to correct a wrong way of
thinking, a heresy. The heresy
here is called "Gnosticism". The
basic thinking in this teaching is that God cannot come in contact with
natural matter because it is very evil.
As a result He needs to be buffeted from, or kept back from evil
matter. He thus created a world
of deityís, angels, or spiritual
beings, in which they can do His work on His behalf.
They act as intermediates on between Him and mankind.
Christ Jesus is the primary super being, or angel, in this angelic
host. This means that Jesus is
only one of a myriad of these special beings.
Therefore, Gnostics believed that there is a whole spiritual world
around us that are full of beings just like Jesus.
Yes, Jesus is special in the sense He is the most important of these
deity beings, but He is not the only deity.
He is created. This idea
led to a very spiritual way of thinking and worshiping.
It led to angel worship. It
led to exclusivism for those who believed such things.
They believed that they had special spiritual insight, far beyond the
normal Christian because they were in touch with the vast spiritual world
around them. This put Jesus on a
much lower level of existence than He really is.
This made Jesus an angel, not divine.
Jesus is one of a kind. There
is no one like Jesus. He is in
fact God, and while on earth God in human flesh.
Paul will point this out very clearly. The Gnostic way of thinking is
far from Scriptural.
Elements of Gnosticism appear in
almost every generation of Christians. These
so-called super spiritual Christians, who always major on dreams, visions,
appearances of angels, and the subjective, are still with us today.
These people appear to be really spiritual, yet most of the time they
lack a good understanding of Godís objective truth as found in Scripture.
They prefer the inner workings of the spiritual world over the
objective truth of Scripture. They
often get led astray because all that they claim to be from God is from
their own over active imagination.
There was nothing really special
about the city of Colossae
as I've pointed out. It was more
of an agricultural town. It was
Alexandria, which were cities of education, affluence, and commerce.
It was located in present day Turkey, or, the Roman province of
in Paul's day.
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