The reason for this was seen clearly by Lightfoot, who said, “New forms of error bring into prominence new aspects of truth.” (Lightfoot, Saint Paul’s Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon, Zondervan, p. However, it does not seem to have been the pharisaic Judaism Paul combated in Galatians. Paul’s Prayer for the Colossians’ Growth (1:9-14), B. It was a native Phrygian and cultic variety that was mingled with Eastern or Oriental mysticism. Paul’s Greeting to the Colossians (1:1-2), 2. It has always furnished a proper antidote to humanly devised schemes of salvation. 3) He declared to Paul the Colossians' love "in the Spirit" (v. 8). Children and fathers are then addressed (Colossians 3:20–21). That type of belief is totally useless because “the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands [was] set aside, nailing it to the cross” (Col 2:14). He obviously thought it important enough to lay it on the heart of the apostle Paul. Truth, it is assumed, might exist in mathematics and science, but not in religion or morality. Col. 2:23), and (2) it is faithless or bypasses God’s solution for man’s sinful condition through Christ. Thus, as with the early church, so the church must not tolerate the syncretism of our day. According to the 1993-94 Barna research report, nearly two out of three adults contend that the choice of one religious faith over another is irrelevant because all religions teach the same basic lessons about life (George Barna, Absolute Confusion, [Ventura, Calif.: Regal Books, 1993], 15.).23. Q. 1:20 ). Go To Book of Colossians Index. This “wisdom” would release them from earthly things and put them in touch with heavenly things.18. Church and ministry leadership resources to better equip, train and provide ideas for today's church and ministry leaders, like you. They must grasp who Jesus is and what He did for them. Why all the harsh debate, misunderstanding, and confusion among those who argue... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VH6msTsClUs. Furthermore, they enjoyed the gay life of Hierapolis. The Book of Colossian’s purpose, besides showing the supremacy, sufficiency, and divinity of Christ, is how Christians are to live in the world and before God (Col 3). As evident from this statement by Price, pantheism is at the heart of the New Age movement. The story of the establishment of the church at Colossae illustrates an important truth. 3. But what place did it have in the more than 700 workshops that were held in during the eight-day conference? In the meantime Epaphras stayed with the apostle, perhaps because he was forced to because of his own imprisonment (Philemon 23, cf. It was a seaport town, a center of commerce, and, with the temple of Diana, it was also a center for idol worship. When we strive for “spiritual perfection” or “spiritual fullness” by means of formulas, disciplines, or rituals, we go backward instead of forward. As mentioned in the first chapter, legal tolerance is the right for everyone to believe in whatever faith (or none at all) he wishes. It sought to take a little from all religions. Introducing Spiritual Conversation Styles. A special man for His times. It appears that he was not only saved, but that he was trained and prepared by Paul to go back and plant a church in his hometown of Colossae (1:7; 4:12). Colossae was about ten miles from Laodicea and thirteen miles from Hierapolis. https://www.insight.org/resources/bible/the-pauline-epistles/colossians Some scholars believe angels weren’t actually worshiped but were simply thought of as guiding spirits and intermediators by which men thought they could worship or contact God.16 Whatever the case, there seems little doubt that in some way, they were advocating occult experiences with these angelic beings or guiding spirits or ascended masters as they are sometimes called in the New Age movement. Our evangelical churches are in danger of diluting the faith in their loving attempt to understand the beliefs of others. Let us not forget that Christians were killed in ancient Rome under Caesar, not because they worshiped Jesus, but because they would not worship Jesus and Caesar. As an illustration, Groothius also points out that John Randolph Price is a New Age writer who teaches that everyone should affirm, “I and the Father are one, and all the Father has is mine. The Purpose and Application of His Work (1:21-23), 3. In that phrase is the essence of all that Paul says in Colossians. Concluding Summary of Colossians Paul's letter to the Christians in Colossae in largely a letter urging his audience to repent of sinful behavior and to disregard the teachings of the world. Paul’s Gratitude for the Colossians (1:3-8), 3. It used Christian words and Christian phrases, but with different meanings. If your church starts to be about “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (Col 2:21) then do not stop on your way out the door. Exhortation Regarding the Methods of False Teachers (2:4-5), 2. 19:8-10, 26; & 20:31). This infinite eternal powerful being is shown in this epistle to be personal, He is shown to be the one who becomes our life! It was also to be read in the neighboring church at Laodicea (4:16). One such was the cult of Mithras, a popular Persian form of Zoroastrianism which had reached Rome by 67 B.C. Christ will be glorified in creation. Colossians is God’s polemic and rebuttal to many kinds of delusions and heresies, but it is especially relevant to what we see happening in the world today. ed., Ralph P. Martin (Word Books, Publisher, Waco, Texas, Vol. The purpose in writing Colossians was threefold: (1) to express Paul’s personal interest in the Colossians (1:3, 4; 2:3), (2) to warn them against reverting to their old pagan vices (cf. The names of the heresies have changed along with many of the religious and philosophical ideas, but certain elements are always there in the vain imaginations of man, and to these, no matter what the religious or humanistic idea being promoted in society, Colossians speaks loud and clear. Creation is designed for the glory of Christ. As with all heresy, it detracted from the person and work of Christ. Since God’s concern for His own is never based on human distinctions like size, the Colossian church was still close to the heart of God. What Is The Purpose Of The Book Of Colossians? Paul wrote, therefore, to counter this false teaching and sends this epistle to the Colossians by the hand of Tychicus (4:7). Paul's purpose is to refute the Colossian heresy. Green and Lee Martin McDonald, ed. Paul writes of Jesus as being “the image of the invisible God” and it is “by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 5. The letters to the Colossians and to Philemon are believed to have been written by Paul from prison sometime circa 60 to 62. ), and (3) to counteract both the theological heresy and its practice within the church at Colossae (2:4-23). This is an age of “syncretism.” People are trying to harmonize and unite many different schools of thought and come up with a superior religion. First, Paul spent three years ministering the word in Ephesus from the lecture room of the School of Tyrannus. Through one avenue or another, man continues to offer his own manmade solutions for the ills of society whether in the form of secular humanism or religious syncretism. As will be shown, the heresy confronting the Colossians had certain similarities to the New Age movement of our day. The purpose of Paul's epistle to the Colossians is to instruct the believers that salvation is only in Jesus Christ. Footnotes. It was written to counter and respond to heretical teachings and encourage believers to … Colossians 1:2 The Greek word for brothers and sisters (adelphoi) refers here to believers, both men and women, as part of God’s family; also in 4:15.; Colossians 1:2 Some manuscripts Father and the Lord Jesus Christ; Colossians 1:7 Or slave; Colossians 1:7 Some manuscripts your; Colossians 1:9 Or all spiritual wisdom and understanding; Colossians 1:12 Some manuscripts us And finally, concerning adding certain religious observances, he warned, “Therefore do not let anyone judge you with respect to food or drink, or in the matter of a feast, new moon, or Sabbath days that are only the shadow of the things to come, but the reality is Christ” (2:16-17). Yes, we do; and it is just as deceptive and dangerous! The product of this is some from of idolatry, mysticism, agnosticism, pantheism, monism, atheism, or dialectical materialism. The Book of Colossian’s purpose, besides showing the supremacy, sufficiency, and divinity of Christ, is how Christians are to live in the world and before God (Col 3). (3) Vices that were distinctively Gentile are mentioned in 3:5-7. 22:9 But he said to me, “Do not do this! Colossians Key Verses. citizenry) lay about 100 miles inland (east) from the port of Ephesus. There are two kinds of tolerance that are necessary, however. Hampton wrote many articles for the Biblical Studies Foundation and on... More, Wisdom Concerning The Secret And Revealed Things, The Net Pastor's Journal, Eng Ed, Issue 38 Winter 2021. Paul's Letter to the Colossians: An Exegetical and Devotional Commentary. As far as we know Paul never visited Colossae, at least not at the time he wrote this epistle; he had only “heard” about the church at Colossae (1:4, 9; 2:1). The universe finds its goal and perfection in Christ. 44), xxx. If Paul was the author, he probably us Second, there is social tolerance, a commitment to respecting all men even if we vigorously disagree with their religion and ideas. As in the past, this is a day where, duped by the age-old lie of Satan, man still continues to believe in himself and his ability to solve his problems apart from God as He is revealed in Scripture. The goal is to experience some kind of religious fullness and gain contact with God, something that fits with what we see today in advocates of the New Age movement. On the other hand, the Colossian heresy was altogether inadequate. The Supremacy of the Person of Christ (1:15-18), C. The Supremacy of the Work of Christ (1:19–2:3), 2. Purpose and Theme Paul’s purpose is to refute the Colossian heresy. Colossians shows Jesus Christ’s divine characteristics. Paul's request: God will fill them with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding (v. 9). Speaking of Him in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (2:3), Paul wrote, “I say this so that no one will deceive you through arguments that sound reasonable” (Col. 2:4). The parliament met to unify the world’s religions, to probe, to try to understand other religious heritages, but above all, they met to unify and break down the barriers that separated the various religions of the world. The exact nature of this angelic worship is debated. In the first of a series of articles entitled “Studies in the Epistle to the Colossians” he wrote: “Without doubt Colossae was the least important church to which any epistle of St. Paul is addressed.” So wrote Bishop Lightfoot some years ago in one of the finest commentaries on New Testament literature. While the available evidence is somewhat scanty, that which we possess argues for the authenticity of the writing.7. From a study of Colossians and from information derived historically, the features of the Colossian heresy fell into at least the following characteristics: 1. Others allowed that He was the Master of Masters, the one who shows us the way; the one who is to be loved and followed. Paul countered this with the futility of such practices against the flesh and by the fullness of the person and work of Christ and the believer’s completeness in Him (1:19-20; 2:9-10). New and fresh insights into God’s truth on every page are the rule, not the exception, in the letters of Paul.10. The indication is that the epistles to the Colossians, Philemon and the Ephesians were carried to their destination by Tychicus and Onesimus (cf. What I saw and heard in Chicago is a microcosm of your school, business, and community. The Book of Colossians was sent to the church at Colossae which is near Laodicea and was likely written about around A.D. 58-62. Lutzer, who attended to get a feel for what was being taught and believed writes: …At times He was variously admired, quoted, and favorably compared to other religious teachers, ancient and modern. The key personalities include Paul, Timothy, Tychicus, Onesimus, Aristarchus, Mark, and Epaphras. Paul is clearly the author of Colossians and there is really no reasonable argument against it. This report was for the most part favorable . Paul describes both the purpose of the Colossians’ prayers as well as the purpose of his imprisonment. In summary, Christ is the author, the means and the end of creation. Jesus is declared to be the Creator of all things and it was done through Him and for Him and before all these things existed, He was (John 1:1). Jesus says “You will recognize them by their fruits” (Matt 7:16a) and if there’s no real fruit then there’s no real root. Such tolerance is very important in our society, and we as Christians should maintain our conviction that no one should ever be coerced into believing as we do. It promotes the hideous idea that humanity, nature, and God are not separate from each other, but are one. The New Age worldview is what could be called “a cosmic humanism.”. A.D. 190) was the first to use the epistle definitely. Polemical: The Heretical Problems in Light of Union With Christ (2:4–3:4a), A. Exhortation Against False Teaching (2:4-8), 1. It did not deny Christ, but it did dethrone him. Human pride was tickled, and it jumped.2, The New Age movement promotes a belief in monism. Because of the rising tide of human philosophies confronting us today, no New Testament book speaks with more relevancy than does the epistle to the Colossians. Not only do we live in an atomic and space age, but in the most technologically advanced age of all time. We don’t need any more self-righteous Christians who piously judge others without the humble admission that we are all a part of a fallen human race; we are all imperfect and we are all created in the image of God. Letter of Paul to the Colossians, also called Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Colossians, abbreviation Colossians, twelfth book of the New Testament, addressed to Christians at Colossae, Asia Minor, whose congregation was founded by St. Paul the Apostle’s colleague Epaphras. The creator, the one from whom all things consist, the all powerful one, the master of time and space, the head of the church. James S. Stewart has put it this way: “Paul was always flinging out scouting parties into unexplored theological territory” (Lecture in New College, Edinburgh, January 19, 1961). Introduction and Exegesis,” The Interpreter’s Bible, XI, 144), or salvation truth to truth about the universe. Scholars are divided concerning the exact identity of the heresy that faced the Colossians since Paul does not identify the heresy or spell out its exact tenets. The letter was included among the Paulines in the Chester Beatty codex 46, and there is no textual evidence that it ever circulated under the name of any other person. Johnson points out: Apparently the wool business was particularly attractive to them (cf. Date of Writing: Galatians is likely the first New Testament book to be written, composed sometime soon after AD 49. When we became new creatures in Christ, we “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Colossians Series #14: The Point and Purpose of Angels Study Handout by Pastor Melissa Scott, Ph. Christ is the exalted Lord over both creation and the inaugurated new creation by virtue of his unique role in God’s project of cosmic reconciliation (1:15-20). Paul warns them to “beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (2:8). 2. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon. But let us not miss the fact that this movement has its source in the occult (though hidden under new names) and in Eastern religions that go all the way back to the beginnings of history with the fall of man. He was even described by some as a revealer of God, a man who had achieved the highest degree of enlightenment. What can be added to Christ’s work on the cross? Its Location: Located about 100 miles east of Ephesus, Colossae was a Graeco-Phrygian city in the Roman proconsular of Asia also known as Asia Minor. But the two categories are not parallel. On the basis of the finished work of Christ on the cross and His glorious resurrections, Peter said, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among people by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). The Purpose Of The Letter. Out of this naturally comes another idea. (4) There is almost no reference to the reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles that is found in Ephesians, though one might compare 3:11 and 4:11. 9 William Barclay, The Letters to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians (The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 2nd ed., 1959), 122. Acts 2:10).5. Shouldn’t every author have the right to change his vocabulary according to the need of his subject? Main Theme and Purpose of Colossians The main purpose of Paul’s Letter to the Colossians was to address the heresy (false teaching) Epaphras reported back to Paul while he was in Rome. Is it any wonder that Charles Wesley wrote: Thou, O Christ, art all I want, More than all in Thee I find. What does the Bible say to the church, and to the individual Christian, about the role of politics in the church? In light of this real threat Paul warns the Colossians to beware of “philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ” (Col 2:8). Colossians 2:5 "For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ." Though once a large and prosperous city, changes in road structure led to its decline until the time of Paul when it was only a “small town.” Again, it is situated about 10 miles from Laodicea and 13 miles from Hierapolis on the Lycus River (cf. He was writing to correct the effects of the religious theories and speculations of the Oriental minds of the ancients concerning (1) man, sin, and salvation, (2) the effect of this on Christology—the person and work of Christ, and (3) the practical behavior of the church. The person of Jesus Christ must be understood accurately and that "He is the image of the invisible God and in Him all the fulness of the Godhead dwells in bodily form (Colossians 1:15, 19). Colossians, which presents Him as the architect and sustainer of the universe, as well as the reconciler of all things, both earthly and heavenly, provides the church with the material it may and must use. Mysticism, legalism, Eastern religions, asceticism, and man-made philosophies are secretly creeping into churches. More will be discussed regarding the nature of the heresy. The usefulness of Colossians, however, is not a recent phenomenon. Paul begins his letter by telling the Colossians that he had heard of their “faith in Christ Jesus” from Epaphras. It is a cosmic book, presenting the cosmic Christ: the Creator/Sustainer who is also the one and only Redeemer/Reconciler of the universe. The early church rejected all forms of syncretism because they were convinced that Jesus alone was God and the only way of salvation. Acts 16:14), and this was an important trade in the district. Some of these Paul filled with biblical content and used them against the heresy itself showing that in reality such ideas can only be found in Jesus Christ because of who He is (His person) and what He has accomplished (His work). This new tolerance insists that we have no right to disagree with a liberal social agenda; we should not defend our views of morality, religion, and respect for human life. Included was the question, Why is there evil in this world if creation was made by a holy God? Moreover, it was an esoteric knowledge, open only to those who had been initiated into the mysteries of the Gnostic system.17. The special characteristic in both Colossians and Galatians is 'correction' of serious doctrinal deviation from the already-given standard." As A. M. Hunter puts it; “To all who would ‘improve’ Christianity by admixing it with spiritualism or Sabbatarianism or occultism or any such extra, it utters its warning: ‘What Christ is and has done for us is enough for salvation. Continual prayer [to God] for the Colossians (1:9-11). The cosmopolitan city of Colossae (with Phrygian, Greek, Jewish, etc. Identity Politics vs. Transactional Politics. All the features found in this cult at Colossae would later be found in full-blown Gnosticism. Paul obviously wrote the Book of Colossians or the letter as he opens it by writing “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae” (Col 1:1-2). The second half is a mini-ethics course, addressing every area of Christian life. Also, send me the Evangelical Newsletter. Those are the things we used to do (Col 3:7) but now we are to “put on the new self, which is being renewed in kno… Regarding the external evidence, S. Lewis Johnson writes: There is no historical evidence that the Pauline authorship of Colossians was ever suspect in the early church. It was a satanic deception in the following way: “While at its heart it was a combination of Judaism and paganism, it wore the mask of Christianity. In him “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” . With the sudden and startling intrusion of the space age and its astrophysics, nuclear power, missiles and rockets, the church of Jesus Christ has been forced to relate its Lord and Master to the ultimate frontiers. This new god is our one absolute, the one flag still deemed worthy of our honor. As Lutzer points out. We \"have been given fullness in Christ\" (2:10). Second, while on a visit to Ephesus, a young man from Colossae named Epaphras evidently heard the gospel from Paul and was converted. ... "Colossians stands in the same relation to Ephesians as Galatians to Romans. “Absent in the flesh … with you in the spirit”: Because he was a prisoner, Paul was unable to be present with the Colossians. It is revelatory of a deep basic lack of harmony with the mind of Paul to restrict the immense genius of the man. In light of biblical revelation, these angels turn out to be fallen angels or demonic spirits. 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