As intimations from the book’s internal groundss point ( Col. 1:4. 23 ; 2:1 ) . the church at Colossae was non founded by the Apostle Paul. but instead the fruit of one of his associates’ labour – viz. . Epaphras. His words like “we heard of your religion. ” “the Gospel which you heard. ” and “for every bit many as have non seen my face in the flesh. ” indicate clearly that these people to whom he was composing were known by him merely through means other than himself. However. they are close to him since they are the consequence of Eparhras’ delivery of the Gospel in their topographic point (Aid to Bible Understanding1971 ) . Epaphras was Apostle Paul’s boy in the religion much like Timothy and Titus.
He had come to cognize the Lord through the sermon of Paul in Ephesus and finally carried the message with him back to Colossae and the consequence was the initiation of the church at that place. Like any male parent would experience of important achievements of his boy. the Apostle was exhilarated merely by reflecting on such achievement wrought by his boy in the religion ( Henry 1998 ) . Indeed. it’s rather a effort. To the eyes of a true apostle of Christ who have grasped the vision of the Lord of the crop. nil more and none else bears the grade of incontestable success than the reliable resignation of antecedently rebellious evildoers to the Lordship of Jesus ( Walvoord & A ; Zuck 1997 ) .
The church in Colossae is yet another landmark to the advancement of the Gospel and the promotion of the land of God as good. In Biblical position. this is true success. This missive. therefore. was Paul’s response to the study he received from Epaphras sing the religious status of the Colossians. The inside informations of the study. nevertheless. are non exhaustively positive.
Concurrently. the whole scenario was one of good chances. with respect to what they are already basking being in Christ. and the possibility of some of them being dragged off to spiritual bunk because of the presence of false instructors among them who actively prosecuting them into a sort of philosophies that sidetrack them from the right focal point. These false instructors are so elusive in their attack that caught the Colossians off guard. The presence of these cultic instructions in their thick brought them to a state of affairs that is really unsafe. and Paul had to compose to them a polemist on the basicss of the Person of Christ and what He achieved on the cross for them ( Duncan p. 1 “The Incomparable Christ” ) .
Historical & A ; Cultural Background
It is interesting to observe that Phrygians are one among the many peoples present in Jerusalem during the Feast of Pentecost at the clip when the promised Holy Spirit descended upon the first set of adherents in the upper room ( Acts 2:10 ) . These people were at that place at the really centre of God’s activity when He was mobilising His first set of missionaries to make the first of the mark geographic domains – Jerusalem. Earlier. Jesus pronounced that his adherents would go His informants in “Jerusalem. in all Judea and Samaria. and to the terminal of the Earth. ” At the threshold of this monolithic missional activity. a people who would finally go direct donees of an apostolic missive were present – witnessing a affecting presentation of the Gospel by Apostle Peter.
The metropolis of Colossae was one time known to be a great metropolis and was hailed by celebrated historic figures such as Alexander the Great and Herodotus. Both spoke. in their several times. of Colossae as “a great metropolis. ” However. at the clip of the authorship of the Apostle Paul of his missive to the Colossians. the metropolis was non every bit celebrated as Laodicea and Hierapolis ( Smith The Letter To The Colossians.New Testament Introduction) in comparing. However. along with these greater Phrygian metropoliss. Colossae was famed for its fabric industry. In the ancient universe. a assortment of fabric called “Colossinum” with its violet wool was one of the exquisite that it was really much valued. Therefore. Colossae was among the three of known centre of the fabric industry.
Geographically. it was positioned along the Bankss of the Lycus River. and was 160 kilometres travel to the east side of Ephesus. It’s easy to believe of a Christian adherent from Ephesus to hold gone to this nearby metropolis to widen the Gospel ; and so. it might hold been Epaphras who blazed the trail of evangelistic work at that place and likely since so keeping the reins of pastorate at that place. Since Colossae was in the parts of Phrygia which was itself portion of Greece. the population was of course Phrygians. Greeks. and considerable figure of Jews.
In his book. “The Antiquities of the Jews. ” Josephus Flavius recorded that during the reign of Antiochus the Great ( 223-187 B. C. ) . he banished into expatriate from Babylonia 2. 000 Judaic households and relocated them into the territories of Phrygia and Lydia ( Antiquities 12. 147-153 ) . The chance was high that the posterities of those Hebrews who immigrated there two centuries earlier. were without a uncertainty still populating in the same part. and in Colossae peculiarly were rooted and settled by the first century A. D.
The mixture of population in Colossae doubtless contributed to the trouble in finding resolutely what sort of doctrines or false instructions have crept into the family of Christians at Colossae. The mode through which the job is identified in the book makes bookmans conclude that it was syncretism. Because these false instructors have ne’er outrightly denied Christ in their instructions. if looked at the surface. they appear to be Christian instructors in the eyes of the new converts whose degree of apprehension of the Christian philosophies was at this clip non yet thorough strong.
False instructors used Christ merely as their launching station to convey these people into the true substance of their belief. For illustration. it would merely upset the Colossians if these instructors uncunningly had presented themselves as Gnostics. or Judaizers. or some heathen gurus propagating their paganistic doctrines ( Bauer et al. 1979 ) . Therefore. they stealthily conducted themselves among Christians and seemingly they have successfully injected some of the of import characteristics of their philosophies into the head among the scriptural truths which the Colossians were antecedently oriented to concentrate their heads on. viz. . the domination and sufficiency of Christ. Paul elaborated on the deductions of everything that the Person of Christ stood for.
From unveiling the olympian Person of Christ to the natural branchings of what it means he went on in scrupulous inside informations. The confusion that these false instructors created among the Colossian church was really unsafe that it threatens the really character of their individuality as Christians ( i. e. adherents who follow Christ’s instructions ) . And besides. it endangers the religious lives of the trusters at Colossae. Gospel truths will take to true godliness while half-truths or the Gospel assorted with other philosophical elements which are non found in Christ will ever take to the devastation of life in general.
Harmonizing to Paul. it’s non possible for them to pattern Jewish spiritual rites. and embrace paganistic beliefs and doctrines. and still retain the true nature of Christianity. As can be seen. the cultural background through which Colossians was written played a immense function on how Paul developed his subjects in the book. They could non hold escaped the applications of Paul’s instructions since he made everything clear to them. The construction of Gnosticism’s doctrine was based on presuppositions such as. God is the Supreme Being who is spirit and good in nature. He is the nameless Father. and out of the nucleus of His being flows a series of emanations/aeons or go-betweens. and the material universe is evil.
Reading Paul’s missive in the thick of a civilization that is so familiar with the Gnostic instructions. one would non lose the images he was utilizing and its deductions ( Shelley 1982 pp. 52-54 ) . To the things advocated by these Gnostics. like for case. that they needed “mediaries” to be able to tap to that particular wisdom which entirely could be received from God. Christ is the “wisdom of God. ” The protagonism of Jewish traditions which are besides present and rampant among these trusters were merely every bit attractive as all these Hellenistic doctrines in that it lay claim to the really roots of Christianity ( Gaebelien 1998 ) . To those who find the statements of Judaizers logically appealing. the Apostle would state: “They are but a shadow of things to come. ”
All of the legitimate patterns of the people of God as sanctioned by the Old Testament Scriptures were all types and merely a shoal of the existent thing ( Gill 2000 ) . They all pointed to Christ and when Jesus came all of them were done off with because the whole substance of those things is Christ. And Christ was manifested in the flesh. To the Gnostic who does non believe in the embodiment of the Christ in actual physical organic structure. Paul’s word is: “In Him ( Jesus ) dwells all the comprehensiveness of the Godheadbodily”( Col. 2:9 ) .
To those Judaic Christians who invariably were being “Judaized” by the Judaizers desiring them to integrate certain elements of their tradition. Paul’s message is: “You were circumcised by the Circumcision of Christ. ” He made it in the spirit “without custodies. ” “God has forgiven all your trespasses because Christ has wiped out everything that the righteous demands of the jurisprudence have been demanding from you. ” Christ neutralized all the criminative cogent evidence written in the Judaic canon that would declare Christians guilty. whether Jews or Gentiles. before the saloon of God’s justness ( Metzer 1975 ) . In Paul’s ain words. “He ( Christ ) has taken it out of the manner. holding nailed it to the cross” ( Col. 2:11-14 ) . The Colossians were reminded of the all sufficiency of Christ ( Wenham et al 1994 ) .
Overall Message of the Book
Since what is under onslaught is the really Person of Jesus Christ. and because this assault has far-reaching effects and of course hit the Colossians at different foreparts of their religion. Apostle Paul saw it necessary to concentrate his treatise on the Person and the work of Christ. For case. as it was the averment of certain instructors inside the church that the comprehensiveness of religious experience which until so had non been realized in their lives could be attained merely through means other than Christ ( e. g. worship of angels ) . Paul had to emphasize the sharpness and the exclusivity of the function of the 2nd Person of the Godhead in redemption and in procuring the comprehensiveness of experience of every truster in their relationship with God.
The completeness and the fullness of Christ’s Person and work have covered everything that the Colossians could of all time conceive of. There is no angel. no spiritual practice/rituals. and no tradition could of all time excel Christ. Christ is supremely leading. The Colossians. contrary to what these false instructors wanted them to be convinced of with their instructions. has the comprehensiveness already in Christ. They needed merely to recognize this through the clear amplifications of an Apostle. Epaphras discovered the significance of this function of Paul. hence he asked for his support. During this clip of the church’s history. Christ’s instructions were still significantly guarded by legitimate apostles.
In Colossians 1:1. Paul opened his missive with this salute:“Paul. an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God. . . to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse. . . . ”He has non yet by this clip visited the church at Colossae and hence has non known personally many of them. They might hold heard of him though through Epaphras. And so. his first words reflect the averment that what will follow are instructions coming from the 1 who has been sent straight and authorized by Jesus Christ himself. Paul said. “I am an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God. ” This debut stands in crisp contrast to the false instructors in their thick who go along professing to be religious elites who were toilets to God. and perchance. Jesus.
Therefore. the first few words of Paul are important and their force is carried through the full missive. It bears the grade of apostolicity and hence it is non merely an ordinary epistle. Paul was one of the privileged few in his clip. like Peter and the remainder of all the 12 reliable apostles. who had seen and were committee by Jesus personally. And at the clip of his authorship. there were many still populating apostles who could certify to his claim. although it was non necessary.
His apostleship was widely known among the first coevals of Christians. and at Colossae. Epaphras was at that place as direct consequence of Paul’s apostleship – and the Colossians the indirect merchandise of Paul’s committee. In puting forth really clearly the fact of his authorization. what he had to state to them in this missive were non sentiments or merely exalted conjectures coming from a individual who mustered plenty of his baronial ideas about Christ. His instructions were at that clip the standard instruction of true apostles of Jesus ( Clarke 2003 ) .
Another paganistic component in the instructions of these false instructors was the contention that insights into religious powers – diabolic powers – that could protect and screen the Colossians could be acquired through certain observations and rites. In peculiar. rites that were thought of as effectual in keeping the flesh from prosecuting even in legitimate usage of the organic structure in matrimony between hubby and married woman. and lawful ingestion of nutrient and usage of things were put frontward as necessary for superior spiritualty. Again. to conflict these cultic accents on the superficial visual aspect of spiritualty among the Colossians. the apostle Paul presses over and over once more the subject of Christ’s overall sufficiency.
The absolute distinction of Christ has overarching cosmic deductions. To cognize Christ is to cognize God. To cognize Christ is to cognize the Creator who non merely created the existence and all of the planets. but besides by His power hold these things together ( Col. 1:15-20 ) . If Christ is. as the Apostle’s Creed dependably declares. “very God of really God. ” so they have all good grounds to swear in Himentirely.
No spiritual leader should make bold to compare Him to angels nor to spiritual mediaries because He Himself is God.“He is the image of the unseeable God. the eldest over all creative activity. For by Him all things were created that are in Eden and that are on Earth. seeable and unseeable. whether thrones or rules or princedoms or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him”( Col. 1:15-16 ) .
Subjects of the Book
One of the pressure concerns that had earnestly affected the demeanour of the Colossians was their fright of the “stoicheia” – Greek word for “elementary rules. ” The beginning of the unorthodoxy that Paul was combating among the Christians in Colossae was the doctrine that had successfully sneaked into their consciousness. It was really unfortunate to see an apostolic fold being victimized by this philosophical bunk ( Balz & A ; Schneider 1990 ) . Paul would hold to state them in his missive of the arrant rubbishness of what they are entertaining in topographic point of Christ. They were playing with “philosophy” which amounts to “empty deception” because it comes from “the tradition of men” ( Col. 2:8 ) . In the ancient times.stoicheiaagencies many things. But fundamentally. it means. as it is translated in English. “elementary instructions. ”
These include the physical elements like Earth. H2O. fire. and air current. Besides. the ancient people would hold meant it to be “elemental liquors. ” These elemental liquors are believed to be those powerful existences that control nature. These are evil liquors and hence hostile in nature. They command the regard and commitment of human existences because they rule over the destiny of worlds. They can do “sicknesses. consequence a expletive. bring in hapless harvests. pestilences. temblors. and natural disasters” ( DeWaay “Colossian Heresy” p. 1 ) . The Colossians find this sort of learning so attractive. Their job nevertheless was that in this sort of odds and ends faith. they had already fallen into devotion from whence they had been delivered when they believed the Gospel.
In the first chapter of Colossians. Paul established the world of Jesus’ deity. Jesus Christ is the 1 who is genuinely in control of the “elemental spirits” because He is in fact the Creator of everything “seen and unobserved. ” In Colossians 2:15. Paul presented Christ as one who through His decease on the cross. “disarmed princedoms and powers. ” and by the power of His Resurrection. “He made a public spectacle of them. prevailing over them in it. ” The civilization where they happened to be populating in has much influence on their lives that they ne’er have suspected.
This sinister influence had been at that place all along and merely biding clip. and had found the juncture through the false instructors. It was observed that this belief in “elemental spirits” had been characteristic of ancient Pagans and Jews. It could be that some of the novices to the Colossian church were looking for aid in Christian faith to debar the enchantment ofstoicheiain their lives. This belief in “evil forces” in the air might even be their common background. They were brought up from this superstitious environment. Paul. therefore. had to remind them of what has transpired when they surrendered and have put their trust in Christ.
They “died with Christ from the basic rules of the world” ( Col. 2:20 ) . There’s the word “stoicheia” once more. The Colossians should hold wholly forsaken any hint of this paganistic reserve. If Christ regulations the existence. why fear the immoralities that these baleful liquors could bring down them? And if Christ is the Creator andforwhom all things were created. including “invisible elements. ” and all the religious hierarchy in the celestial spheres. so He must be Supreme and Sovereign. The Colossians did non hold to subject themselves to useless ordinances.
The apprehension of the Person of Christ is important to the constitution of the Christian’s religion. After this amplification of Paul on the stateliness of the Person of Jesus Christ in his epistle to the Colossians. there should be none any more room for any additives to the religion and pattern of the Christian life. Christ’s Person and His redemptional work are sufficient beginning of unshakeable assurance. Thinking about the Person of Christ. of who He truly is as portrayed by Paul in Colossians. how could perchance anyone who knows all these things refering Jesusaddto Him the doctrines of mere work forces? What is it there that advanced human existences can add to Christ?
False instructors of Paul’s twenty-four hours would state that if one wanted to be freed from the rule and powers of darkness. even if he or she has Christ already. at that place needed to be certain things to be added. To this. Paul would come back: “Christ has saved us from the powers of darkness and there’s nil to be added. He is adequate and we are complete in Him. ” To look for “fullness” someplace else and other than Christ is to doubt His Person. All things consist in Him and in Him all the comprehensiveness dwells. In Christ we received salvation and the forgiveness of our wickednesss.
Anonymous. 1971.Aid to Bible Understanding. Brooklyn. New york: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York. Inc. ( Aid ) .
Bauer. Walter ; Arndt. William ; Gingrich. F. Wilbur ; Danker. Frederick. 1979.A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. Second Edition. Chicago. Ailment: The University of Chicago Press. ( BAGD ) .
Balz. Horst and Schneider. Gerhard. 1990.Exegetic Dictionary of the New Testament. 2 Volumes. Grand Rapids. Myocardial infarction: Eerdmans. ( EDNT ) .
Barnes. Albert.Notes on the Bible. Electronic E-Sword Files. E-Sword right of first publication 2000 – 2003 by Rick Meyers. World Wide Web. e-sword. cyberspace
Beveridge. WilliamA Short History of the Westminster Assembly.Revised. edited. and introduced by J. Ligon Duncan III. Greenville: Reformed Academic Press. 1993.
Clarke. Adam.Commentary on the Bible.Electronic E-Sword Files. E-Sword right of first publication 2000 – 2003 by Rick Meyers. World Wide Web. e-sword. cyberspace
Duncan. Ligon.Christology. Soteriology. and Eschatology. Orlando: RTS Media Ministries. 1993. [ with attach toing audio tapes ] . Ligon Duncan III. Greenville: A Press. 19911. 19932. 19943.
Cunningham. WilliamAn Introduction to Theological Surveies. Edited and introduced by J. Ligon Duncan III. Greenville: A Press. 19911. 19932. 19943.
DeWaay “Colossian Heresy” p. 1. Retrieved March 20. 2008 & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //cicministry. org/commentary/issue71. htm & gt ;
Douglas. J. D. and Comfort. Phillip.The New Commentary of the Whole Bible: New Testament: Based on the Authoritative Commentary by Jamieson. Fausset. and Brown. Electronic Measure Files. Cedar Rapids. IA: Parsons Technology ( JFB ) .
Gaebelien. Frank. editor. 1998.The Expositor’s Bible Commentary. Electronic Measure Files. Grand Rapids. Myocardial infarction: Zondervan. ( EBC ) .
Gill. John.Exposition of the Entire Bible. Electronic E-Sword Files. E-Sword right of first publication 2000 – 2003 by Rick Meyers. World Wide Web. e-sword. cyberspace
Henry. Matthew. 1998.Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible. Electronic Measure Files. Cedar Rapids. IA: Parsons Technology.
Metzger. Bruce M. 1975.A Textual Commentary on the Grecian New Testament. 3rd Edition. Stuttgart. Germany: United Bible Societies.
The Holy Bible. New King James Version. Power BibleCD Version 3. 3 Copyright 1999. 2000. 2001 Phil Lindner. Online Publishing. Inc.
Shelley. Bruce. Church History in apparent linguistic communication. 1982 pp. 52-54.
Walvoord. John and Zuck. Roy. 1997.The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament.Electronic STEP Files. Cedar Rapids. IA: Parsons Technology. ( BKC ) .
Wenham. G. J. . Motyer. J. A. . Carson. D. A. and France. R. T. 1994.New Bible Commentary: twenty-first Century Edition. Downer’s Grove. Illinois: Intervarsity Press. ( NBC ) .