Colossians 1:1-2

In Colossians 1:1-2 Paul begins his letter to the church at Colassae. He was in Roman custody, most likely in Rome and it is written around AD63. It was probably written because of a visit from Epaphras which we’ll see in a few sentences. “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.” This is written with Timothy likely being the scribe. He was not yet an apostle, which was what gave Paul the authority to write these instructions. He addresses all of the believers, but does differentiate those he called faithful and likely are the ones who have stood firm against false teachings in the church.

Guzik explains “The city of Colosse was probably the smallest and least important city that Paul ever wrote to. It might surprise us that Paul would turn his attention to the Christians in Colosse at a time when he had so many other concerns. Yet he apparently thought the situation in Colosse was important enough for apostolic attention. The first century religious environment was much like our own. It was a time of religious mixing, with people borrowing a little from this religion and a little from that religion. Whatever the problem was precisely, Paul dwelt on the solution: a better understanding of Jesus. Knowing the real Jesus helps us to stay away from the counterfeit, no matter how it comes packaged.”

Historically, Colosse was a prosperous city, and famous (along with other cities in its region) for its fabric dyes. Yet by Paul’s time the glory it had as a city was on the decline. All our Biblical information about the church there comes from this letter and a few allusions in the letter to Philemon. Epaphras was responsible for bringing the gospel to the Colossians. He was a native of the city, and also got the message out to neighboring towns. Perhaps Epaphras heard the gospel himself when Paul was in Ephesus. As Paul taught in the lecture hall of Tyrannus, all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord.” “This letter – full of love and concern, written to a church Paul had neither planted nor visited – shows the power of Christian love. Paul didn’t need to see or meet or directly know these Christians in order to love them and be concerned for them.”  The city of Colosse is not even mentioned in the Book of Acts. Adam Clarke added “That this city perished by an earthquake, a short time after the date of this epistle, we have the testimony of Eusebius.” Tacitus also mentioned this earthquake, which happened around a.d. 60.  On the surface this doesn’t seem like an important city or church for Paul to be focusing attention on, but he has a might message to tell that applies not only to them then, but to us today!

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