Colossians is, to me anyway,
Paul's "intellectual" Epistle. Though, as is usual with the
great Apostle, the Book's last half is intensely practical.
Still, it's really the first 2
chapters that amaze this preacher. They are both profoundly
"deep" and yet supremely "uplifting."
Yes, Paul is at his "doctrinal
best" in Colossians. Didactic to the core, yet brief and lucid!
Truth be told, only the Holy Spirit could have written this
Epistle. Though Paul's personality bleeds through constantly!
Colosse is a rather unimportant
city, at least in reference to the Roman Empire. Today the
little metropolis is no longer in existence. But Biblically
Colosse is vital! Paul's Letter to the Church there is
priceless, irreplaceable. And a man named Philemon lived there,
who had a slave named Onesimus. They are the subjects of the
beautiful short Pauline Epistle called Philemon too!
Colossians has only 4 chapters,
95 verses. And it can be read quickly, less than half an hour.
But Oh what Truth it contains, it presents. It "is" Truth in
fact, being part of God's inspired Word! (Jesus prayed to His
Father in John 17:17, saying "Thy word is
Also, Paul wrote Colossians from
a Roman jail cell! Nearly his last words in the whole Epistle,
"Remember my bonds," my "chains!"
Colossians 4:18, the 95th verse in the Book! So here we have one
of the New Testament's "Prison Epistles."
Paul calls the Christians who
lived in Colosse "faithful brethren." He held them in high
And Paul's "prayer" in Colossians
is a classic! "For this cause we also,
since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you,
and to desire ... that ye might be filled with the knowledge of
his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye
might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful
in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power,
unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; giving
thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers
of the inheritance of the saints in light." Colossians
1:9-12, very thorough!
Colossians is one of even Paul's
most Christo-centric writings ever. Jesus-centered! For example,
this one-liner: "For it pleased the
Father that in Him should all fulness dwell."
Colossians 1:19, in Jesus!
Colossians chapter 2 gives as
lovely a view of Jesus' Victory on Calvary as is found anywhere.
"Blotting out the handwriting of
ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and
took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and
having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them
openly, triumphing over them in it." Colossians 2:14-15
Then Colossians chapters 3 and 4
present the practical side of Christian living. How to behave
day after day, loving the Lord. "If ye
then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above,
where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your
affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye
are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ,
who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear
with him in glory." Colossians 3:1-4
Then Paul teaches us what to "put
off," a list of sins follow ... plus what to "put on" as
followers of the Lord Jesus Christ! "Put
on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of
mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man
have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also
do ye. And above all these things put on charity,
which is the bond of perfectness." Colossians 3:12-14
Then Paul, by chapter 4, is
asking prayer for himself! "Continue in
prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; withal praying
also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to
speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: that
I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak." Colossians
4:2-4, in some ways parallel to both Second Thessalonians 2:1-2
and Ephesians 6:19-20.
To study on your own, notice the
interesting people we meet in the Epistle. Epaphras in 1:7 and
Tychicus (4:7) and Onesimus (4:9) and Aristarchus (4:10). Also
John Mark is mentioned again, Colossians 4:10. Even a man named
Jesus Justus in 4:11. Plus Luke, "the
beloved physician," in 4:14. Not counting Nymphas (who
allowed a church to meet in his house) 4:15. Plus Archippus,
also mentioned in the Book of Philemon! Paul was a
Colossians, read it today.
It is still God's Word.
Always will be!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
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