BY GRAEME TEARLE
The Epistle to the Colossians stands alone as a unique document in the New Testament collection.
Colossae was one of a group of three cities located in ancient Asia Minor, which is south-west Turkey today. The other two cities were Laodicea and Hieropolis.
They were clustered together in a circle of about 30 kilometres, and were approximately 160 kilometres east of Ephesus.
No mention is made of the specific founding of the churches at these places, but in Acts 19v10, when Paul was in Ephesus for two years, the gospel spread throughout Asia. Paul himself did not establish these churches, as seen in Col.2v1, but it is understood from Col.1v7,8 that Epaphras did. From Col.4v12,13 we learn that Epaphras was with Paul at the time of writing; and he also refers to the churches in these three cities.
Paul probably wrote this letter from prison in Rome about AD62.
We can deduct from the following verses that these churches were predominantly Gentile:
The prime message of Colossians is summed up in Paul’s theme in writing, summarized in chapter 2v1,2:
He wanted them to know about his agonizing for their spiritual maturity and encouragement.
The two prime reasons for writing appears to be the following:
His teaching on doctrinal and ethical matters can be summed up in his statement in ch.3v3:
“For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”
These studies will seek to explore what this message will have for us today as Christians, as we look afresh at the supremacy of Christ and the implications on our mind and our behaviour.