WRITER: The Apostle Paul ( Colossians 1:1 )
DATE: Colossians was sent by the same messenger who bore Ephesians and Philemon, and was probably written at the same time.
THEME: Epaphras, who laboured in the Word in the assembly at Colosse, was Paul's fellow-prisoner at Rome. Doubtless from him Paul learned the state of that church. As to fundamentals that state was excellent ( 1:3-8 ), but in a subtle way two forms of error were at work: The first was legality in its Alexandrian form of asceticism, "touch not, taste not," with a trace of the Judaic observance of "days"; the object of which was the mortification of the body (cf Romans 8:13 ). The second form of error was false mysticism, "intruding into those things which he hath not seen"--the result of philosophic speculation. Because these are ever present perils, Colossians was written, not for that day only, but for the warning of the church in all days.
The Epistle is in seven divisions:
- The apostolic prayer1:9-14
- The exaltation of Christ, Creator, Redeemer, Indweller1:15-29
- The Godhead incarnate in Christ, in whom the believer is complete. 2:1-23.
- The believer's union with Christ in resurrection life and glory3:1-4
- Christian living, the fruit of union with Christ, 3:5-4:6
- Christian fellowship, 4:7-18