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Studies In Colossians-Intro. & 1:1-2

by Larry Miles

Preface & Introduction

         All scripture will be taken from the English Standard Version (ESV) unless otherwise noted.  This is a study of the Apostle Paul’s epistle to the Colossians. It is our aim to present the epistle in a way to bring out the practicality of the book, both to the 1st century readers and to Christians in the 21st century. Also, we want to help our readers to take the teachings and principles of the book and apply them to our day-to-day faith in the Lord Jesus.  The Word of God is a living and up to date and will help us live in the present world and live out our faith.

         Introduction: The author of the epistle is the Apostle Paul. David Jeremiah, in The Jeremiah Study Bible, gives us these words of introduction:

         “The apostle Paul may have never even visited the small town in the Lycus Valley, some 100 miles east of Ephesus in the province of Asia. But at least in one way, his heart was joined to Colossae. That living link had a name: Epaphras.”

 

         What was the background for the establishment of the Lord’s Church in Colossae?  As we know, Paul spent a lot of time ministering in Ephesus and the surrounding areas. This was approximately AD 53-56. This is recorded in Acts 19.  It appears that Epaphras, a native of Colossae, was a convert of Paul’s ministry in Ephesus and that he brough the message home to share.

         A few years ago, I wrote an article in my book, “Renewing Your Mind Spiritually” called “Christians from Colossae”  where I wrote about Epaphras. 

         Even a casual reading of the text will give the reader an insight into the character of Epaphras. Paul uses terminology that we all would like to be described by. Paul calls him a dear fellow servant and a faithful minister in Col. 1:7-8. He is mentioned as one who loved his fellow believers. He is called a servant.

Paul uses a term in Col. 4:12 that should describe all Christians, that of a bond servant. This describes one who serves his master willingly and faithfully. We see Epaphras described as a man of prayer. He is genuinely concerned with the spiritual wellbeing of his fellow believers and is described as laboring fervently for them. His motivation is that they would be made complete in the Lord and stand for Him. He puts into practice the admonition of Paul in 2 Tim. 3:16-18 where faithfully preaching and teaching the Word of God will lead believers to be equipped for service to the Lord Jesus. Col. 4:13 shows that he didn’t just center his efforts in his hometown but was willing to share the Word with those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. May we ever be thankful for this faithful brother.”

 

As Members of God’s Family, We Have Reasons to Be Glad!

(Col. 1:1-2)

1 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: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.

We Should celebrate our personal calling (Col. 1:1). In this epistle, Paul follows his custom of identifying himself to his readers.  When he has others with him in his ministry, he identifies them also. Here he tells us that Timothy is with him in Ephesus. Paul also gives his credential for writing to the Colossian Christians.

         Paul identifies himself as “an apostle of Christ Jesus.”  He uses the same in Rom. 1:1; 1 Cor. 1:1; 2 Cor. 1:1; Gal. 1:1; Eph. 1:1; 1 Tim. 1:1; 2 Tim. 1:1, and in Tit. 1:1.  This is of special importance in this letter since he has not visited there personally (Col. 2:1). His authority as an apostle serves as the basis by which he will assertively declare the doctrinal truth found in the epistle and refute false teachers and their teachings.

         As followers of Christ, we have been called out of a “kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of the Son of his love” (Col. 1:12-14). We have been saved individually but because of our faith and obedience to the gospel of Christ, we are now a corporate body of Christians.  We are now members of the family of faith and can and do share in our personal calling.

         We Should Celebrate our Spiritual Community (Col. 1:2). Although Paul often refers to Christians as “saints,” (the redeemed) in his letters; “faithful” is only. Used here and in the. Introduction to the Ephesians (1:1).

         In this salutation, Paul emphasizes the communal nature of salvation. As we said earlier, we’re saved individually but we become a corporate body of Christians. We have many things in common and share in the same values.

         He stressed the fact that we “are in Christ.” This, we are to share and enjoy the blessings therein. Paul emphasized that in Eph. 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.”  Christians have enjoyed the grace of God which according to Eph. 1:7 that has been “lavished upon us.” (NIV)

         Our common faith and salvation that Jude wanted to write about in Jude 3 unites us together as brothers and sisters as a family of faith. Also, as members of God’s spiritual family, we are joined together as members of Christ’s body, the marvelous light of the gospel, the church of the Living God, thus collectively serving Jesus and strengthening one another (Col. 3:12-17; cf. Eph. 4:15-16).

         Christians today, as well as those in Paul’s day, share these same blessings and we should relish our spiritual community as we encourage one another to fulfil our spiritual calling.

-Larry Miles is Co-Editor of Word and Work on line-- and is a member of the Cherry Street Church of Christ in New Albany, IN




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The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10