Before we had our Internet gap, I gave you a research assignment to help us start digging into Colossians. We’re digging for buried treasure, and we need a map to give us some understanding of the terrain where we’ll be digging. Putting things in context is kind of like studying a map before going on a journey. I hope you already answered the questions on context, because if not, this is your SPOILER ALERT!
You have time to click back over to that blog post and work through the research questions on your own right now before reading any further . . . otherwise you’ll see the answers below. I hope you’ll do the work of study yourself, so you can “take ownership” of your study!
- When was Colossians written?
Probably around 62 A.D.
- Who is the author?
The Apostle Paul
- Who was the book written to?
Believers in Colossae
- Why was it written? (Purpose)
False teachers were bringing confusing messages to this group of believers which caused them to question the
sufficiency of Christ alone for their salvation. Pagan belief systems were presented in a “mixture” with
Christianity which elevated supernatural beings and caused some of the Colossian believers to fear that these
(demonic) beings had the power to disqualify them from their position in Christ.
- Where was Colossae?
Colossae was about 100 miles west of Ephesus. Although Paul never actually visited Colossae, the church was
founded by Epaphras—who was probably impacted by Paul’s preaching at Ephesus during Paul’s three years
there (during his third missionary journey, see Acts 19:10, 28:23–31; Col. 4:12–13).
- What is the main theme of the book?
Christ is superior to all things seen and unseen, Lord over all creation, and sufficient for all. He has secured
redemption for His people through His Work on the cross and that redemption alone provides salvation.
- What was happening in Christian history and in the culture at the time of writing?
Christianity is beginning to endure persecution from the Roman Emperor, Nero. Colossians was probably
written during Paul’s imprisonment in Rome. Epaphras is from Colossae and has conveyed to Paul the
concerns arising from false teaching that devalued the supremacy of Christ. The Church is in its infancy (three
decades from the cross) and vulnerable to pagan folk belief and those who would claim to be a “spirit guide”
attracting a following and corrupting the true teaching of Christ.
- How would this book encourage the readers in the 1st Century?
By emphatically stating the supremacy of Christ and the work He has accomplished on the cross—these
believers could find their peace in His rescue! This passage describing who Jesus is and what He has done,
would serve to comfort and encourage them:
[box]He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For 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. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Col. 1:15–20)[/box]
- How does studying Colossians encourage you today?
I’d like to hear your answer to the last question. Several of you have been sharing your answers on previous blog posts and I love getting your input! If you’ve not answered that last question and you’re digging into Colossians with us, I hope you’ll leave a comment below ~
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