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Putting Colossians in Context

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!

  1. When was Colossians written?

Probably around 62 A.D.

  1. Who is the author?

The Apostle Paul

  1. Who was the book written to?

Believers in Colossae

  1. 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.

  1. 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).

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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]

  1. 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 ~ 

Image courtesy of phasinphoto/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

11 Comments

  • Pauline Butler

    Colossians encourages me to persevere in my walk with the Lord even when it is not always easy to do so. It is a great reminder and exhortation to continually lift others up in prayer with a spirit of love and thankfulness, desiring that they would grow in their faith and bear much fruit for God’s glory. And, as it is so easy for me to feel condemned, Paul’s words remind me that I have been delivered from the power of darkness into “the kingdom of his dear son”. It is Christ who will “present [me] holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight”. O, praise His holy name!

  • Julie Musil

    Studying in depth like this is new to me, but as a lover of history, I’m fascinated. I did do the research on this book! Studying the background on it, and studying chapter 1 gave me a sense of peace.

  • Margie

    That by Jesus, and for Jesus, all things were created, and hold together. I need to remember that in EVERYTHING HE is to be preeminent.

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Yes!! I agree, Pauline! I love the truth and the reminder of what we’ve been delivered FROM and where God has delivered us TO! 🙂

    Thanks for the comment, looking forward to hearing more from you as we work our way through chapter 1!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Julie ~

    I am so glad you are diving into this study with us! Yes, reading the truth of God’s gracious work and His power to rescue does provide great peace. I look forward to hearing what God is teaching you as we continue working our way through Chapter 1 🙂

  • Kimberly Wagner

    YES!! He is preeminent and yet, we don’t always look to Him or treat Him that way. Thanks for sharing, Margie. So glad you’re studying Colossians with us! 🙂

  • Vivian Etherington

    Studying Colossians encourages me in keeping my focus where it needs to be! “Christ is all and in all”;”Set your mind on things above not on things on the earth, for YOU HAVE DIED AND YOUR LIFE IS HIDDEN WITH CHRIST IN GOD.” The truths in Colossians are some of my favorite in all of Scripture! Colossians also gives me some great Scriptures to pray for my children, my friends, my husband and me.

  • dori baxter

    Colossians is encouraging me everyday in knowing that what was happening during this time period is still happening today in the church and in Christians lives. God knew we would be going through the same perils regardless of the date. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. His truth lives as He does.