The Book of Colossians Summer Quarter 2006 Prepared by Chris Reeves
Epaphras brings word to Paul Col. 1:8 Paul in prison Acts 28:30-31 Col. 4:3,18 A.D. 60-63 Writes Ephesians Philippians Colossians Philemon Paul sends a letter by Tychicus Col. 4:7-8 Colossae
Introduction • Who? • Paul, the author (1:1,23; 4:18) • Colossians, the recipients (1:1,21,27) • Epaphras, the minister (1:7-8) • Tychicus, the letter carrier (4:7-8)
Introduction • Why? • To warn against human philosophy (2:8) • To tell the Colossians about Paul (4:7-8)
Introduction • When? • Paul was in prison, A.D. 60-63 (Acts 28:30-31; Col. 1:24; 4:3,18) • Where? • Paul in Rome (Italy) • Collossians in Asia Minor, SW Phrygia, near Laodicea and Hieropolis (4:13,16)
Introduction • What? • Salutation (1:1-2) • Paul’s Prayers in Christ (1:3-12) • The Preeminence of Christ in Christian Doctrine (1:13 - 3:4) • Person (Preeminence) of Christ (1:13-23) • Paul’s Preaching of Christ (1:24-29) • Prize in Christ (2:1 - 3:4) • The Preeminence of Christ in Christian Conduct (3:5 - 4:17) • Putting On of Christ (3:5-17) • Personal Practices in Christ (3:18 - 4:6) • Partners of Christ (4:7-17) • Benediction (4:18)
Introduction • How? • Paul addressed the danger of human philosophy by reminding the Colossians of the preeminence of Christ • Theme: the “All-Sufficiency of Christ” (1:9,11,15-19,20,28; 2:2-3,9-10; 3:11,16; 4:12)
The Colossian Heresy Gnosticism = gnosis = knowing one 1. Its Content • It was beguiling seduction (2:4) • It was based on human philosophy and tradition (2:8) • It was according to the rudiments of the world (2:8,20)
The Colossian Heresy 2. Its Practice (part Jewish) • It involved physical circumcision (2:11) • It involved observing dietary restrictions of meat and drink (2:16) • It involved observing the Sabbath and special days (2:16) • It involved man-made rules and regulations (2:20-22)
The Colossian Heresy 2. Its Practice (part Greek) • It involved voluntary humility (2:18) • It involved the worship of angels (2:18) • It involved visions (2:18) • It involved rigid asceticism (2:23) • It involved loose antinomianism (3:5-8)
The Colossian Heresy 3. Its Focus • It was an attempt to subtract from Christ through human wisdom (attacked the supremacy of Christ) • It was an attempt to divide Christians through exclusivism (intellectual superiority)
The Colossian Heresy 4. Its Origin • It came from Jewish religion • To be saved, you had to be a Jew, or converted to Judaism • To be saved, you had to keep the Law of Moses
The Colossian Heresy 4. Its Origin • It came from Greek philosophy (Persian Zoroastrianism, Greek Platonism) • All physical matter is created evil • True knowledge is available to certain ones only (Gnosis = knowledge) (adapted from William Barclay, The All-Sufficient Christ, pp.33-56)
Light Good Material Realm Spiritual Realm Supreme God Pneumatic Knowledge Gnostics Emanations Angels (Jesus) Psychic Faith Christians Darkness Evil Hylic Carnal World Devil
Gnosticism (the knowing ones) 1. Dethroned Christ - Jesus is a created angel (Answer: 1:15,19,22; 2:9) - Jesus is only a step to heaven (Answer: 2:10; 3:11) 2. Declared all matter is bad - The world was created by evil (Answer: 1:16) - The body (flesh) is evil (Answer: 1:22; 2:9) - The body is mistreated (Answer: 2:23; 3:5-11) 3. Assumed all wisdom is in philosophy - Wisdom only for a few (Answer: 1:9,28; 2:3; 3:16) - Man’s hope is in philosophy (Answer: 1:5,23; 2:8)
Applications for TodayColossians 1:1-8 • Christians are to be saints (holy, set apart), faithful (dependable, trustworthy) and brethren (family) • Christians should be thankful to God and pray for their brethren • True faith and love can be “heard” (demonstrated for others to see) • Hope of heaven motivates us to stay active
Applications for TodayColossians 1:1-8 • The gospel is for all the world • The gospel is to bear fruit in our lives and increase • Christians are to be fellow-servants • Christians must show true “love in the Spirit”
Applications for TodayColossians 1:9-14 • Prayer for others must be earnest and constant • We can be filled with the knowledge of God’s will, wisdom and understanding when we study the Bible • Knowledge of God’s word should be applied and should lead to walking worthily, bearing fruit and every good work
Applications for TodayColossians 1:9-14 • Knowledge of God’s word should increase through study • Knowledge of God’s word brings strength, power, patience, longsuffering and joy • We should thank God for our inheritance, our deliverance, our transfer, our redemption and our forgiveness
Applications for TodayColossians 1:15-23 • When you want to know what God is like, look at Jesus • Jesus is Creator, not created • All things are created unto him (for his glory and service) • Jesus is head – HE gives the orders, not us • Jesus is the beginning – HE founded the church, not us
Applications for TodayColossians 1:15-23 • Jesus is preeminent – HE is first, not us • Jesus is fully God (divine, deity) • Reconciliation comes through Jesus’ cross • We must live holy, without blemish and unreprovable lives • We must continue in the faith after we begin in the faith
Applications for TodayColossians 1:15-23 • We are to be grounded, steadfast and not moved away • The gospel is for all creation
Applications for TodayColossians 1:24-29 • Sometimes we suffer for others • We must rejoice in our sufferings • All Christians are to be humble ministers (servants) of God • We must carry the gospel to the lost • God’s word is made known; can be known
Applications for TodayColossians 1:24-29 • Christ must be in us in order to have hope • Proclaiming, admonishing (warning) and teaching God’s word makes every one complete (mature) in Christ • Hard work must characterize the Christian • God works in us mightily
Applications for TodayColossians 2:1-7 • Like Paul, we must strive hard to work for other brethren, even those who we have never seen • Christians can be comforted and unified in love and the knowledge of God’s word • All true wisdom and knowledge is found in Christ • Do not be deceived or beguiled by persuasive speech
Applications for TodayColossians 2:1-7 • Christians can walk orderly and steadfastly even though an apostle is not present • It is a joy to hear of that Christians are orderly and steadfast • Christians can walk with a firm foundation – rooted, built up, established in the faith – as they were once taught • Christians should be thankful for their walk and teaching in Christ
Human wisdom (philosophy)… Makes spoil Vain deceit Traditions of men Rudiments (elements) of the world Not after Christ Vain pride Human wisdom (philosophy)… Fleshly mind Does not hold fast the Head Precepts and doctrines of men Will-worship No value against the flesh Applications for TodayColossians 2:8-23
Applications for TodayColossians 2:8-23 • Jesus is fully divine (deity) • Christians are “full” with all spiritual blessings • Christians are circumcised in heart (Rom. 2:28-29; Phil. 3:3) • Christians die to sin and are raised to walk in newness of life
Applications for TodayColossians 2:8-23 • The Old Law… • What it was – ordinances • What it did – against us • How long did it last – the cross • Why was it given – a shadow • What this means – let no one judge you
Applications for TodayColossians 2:8-23 • Wealthy Christians need to be careful not to be robbed of their prize • The body (church) must be unified and growing
Applications for TodayColossians 3:1-4 • Christians need to set their mind and focus on heaven, not earth • Christ is now reigning at the right hand of God • Christians died to sin when they were baptized • Christ is supposed to be our life • Christians will be glorified when Christ returns
Applications for TodayColossians 3:5-9 • Christians can and must stop any sinful habit they have • Sin (fornication, etc.) is defined by God’s word, not society or culture • Covetousness is idolatry • Christians who continue in sin are disobedient and will face God’s wrath
Applications for TodayColossians 3:5-9 • Some sins lead to other sins (passion leads to fornication, covetousness leads to idolatry, anger leads to shameful speaking, etc.)
Died with Christ Mind on the earth Put to death/away/off Old man Fornication, uncleanness, passion, etc. Wrath of God Raised with Christ Mind on heaven Put on New man Compassion, kindness, lowliness, etc. Beloved of God Contrasts in Colossians 3
Applications for TodayColossians 3:10-17 • Sins removed must be replaced with holy conduct, or else the sins will return • Our “image” we follow is Jesus Christ • We forgive as the Lord forgave us (conditioned upon repentance) • Love will bind and unify Christians together • Peace is to be the ruler / arbitrator in all that we do
Applications for TodayColossians 3:10-17 • The word of Christ is to dwell in us richly, not poorly • We teach and admonish when we sing • We must have New Testament authority for all we say and do • Thankfulness should characterize our lives (2:7; 3:15,17; 4:2)
Ephesians 5:22-24,33 Wives, be in subjection unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, being himself the saviour of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives also be to their husbands in everything…and let the wife see that she fear her husband. Parallels Between Ephesians and Colossians Colossians 3:18 Wives, be in subjection to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
Ephesians 5:25-33 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself up for it; that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. Even so ought husbands also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his own wife loveth himself: for no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as Christ also the church; because we are members of his body. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great: but I speak in regard of Christ and of the church. Nevertheless do ye also severally love each one his own wife even as himself… Parallels Between Ephesians and Colossians Colossians 3:18 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.
Ephesians 6:1-3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honor thy father and mother (which is the first commandment with promise), that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. Parallels Between Ephesians and Colossians Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing in the Lord.
Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but nurture them in the chastening and admonition of the Lord. Parallels Between Ephesians and Colossians Colossians 3:21 Fathers, provoke not your children, that they be not discouraged.
Ephesians 6:5-8 Servants, be obedient unto them that according to the flesh are your masters, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not in the way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers; but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as unto the Lord, and not unto men: knowing that whatsoever good thing each one doeth, the same shall he receive again from the Lord, whether he be bond or free. Parallels Between Ephesians and Colossians Colossians 3:22-25 Servants, obey in all things them that are your masters according to the flesh; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing the Lord: whatsoever ye do, work heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that from the Lord ye shall receive the recompense of the inheritance: ye serve the Lord Christ. For he that doeth wrong shall receive again for the wrong that he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.
Ephesians 6:9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, and forbear threatening: knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no respect of persons with him. Parallels Between Ephesians and Colossians Colossians 4:1 Masters, render unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.
Applications for TodayColossians 3:18 – 4:1 • Christians have guidelines to follow in every aspect of their life (the Lord,home, community, employment, government, local church) • Husbands, wives, parents and children have roles and responsibilities to fulfill in the Lord • Employees (servant) and employers (master) have roles and responsibilities to fulfill in the Lord
Applications for TodayColossians 3:18 – 4:1 • “In all things” (children, servants) is qualified by the rest of scripture • Subjection (wives), love (husbands), obedience (children) are all qualified by the rest of scripture • Christians do what is right because the Lord is watching and rewarding (3:18,20,22,23,24,25; 4:1)
Applications for TodayColossians 4:2-18 • Pray with regularity, watchfulness and thanksgiving • Pray for open doors and then walk through them • The way that we preach is just as important as the content • Our conduct, time and speech must be wise and proper in the presence of outsiders
Applications for TodayColossians 4:2-18 • Christians are beloved brothers, servants and slaves in the Lord, prisoners, workers • Christians need comforting and need to comfort others by the way they live • Pray for other Christians to stand fast • Work hard for other Christians
Applications for TodayColossians 4:2-18 • Open your home to the church • Read all you can of God’s word; what was written to others can help you • Complete the service you started • Remember the hardships of brethren; think of others (Heb. 13:3)