Author Paul’s authorship is supported by abundant evidence 1) Three personal references in the letter (1:1; 1:23; 4:18) 2) References to Paul’s associates a) Tychicus 4:7 b) Onesimus 4:9 c) Aristarchus 4:10 d) Mark 4:10 e) Justus 4:11 f) Epaphras 4:12 g) Luke 4:14 h) Demas 4:14 i) Archippus 4:17 3) Tychicus carried both Colossians and Ephesians. 4) Although 34 new Greek words are used only here they do fit the theme and character of the book. “visible” (1:16, “supremacy” (1:18), “fill up” (1:24), “philosophy” (2:8) “deity” (2:9) 5) The Gnostic heresy is a second-century deviation but there is reason to believe this heresy was in incipient form already in Paul’s lifetime. 6) There are some stylistic differences such as unusual genitival combinations: (designating, or pertaining to, that case of inflected nouns which expresses primarily the relation of source or possession usually using “of”) a) “hope of glory” 1:27 b) “body of. . .flesh” 2:11 c) “growth. . .from God” 2:19 d) “reward of . . .inheritance” 3:24 These stylistic differences are generally attributable to changing circumstances or subject matter. 7) Strongest evidence is the close link to the book of Philemon: a) both books include Timothy’s name b) Greetings are sent in both books from Aristarchus, Mark, Epaphras, Luke, and Demas (Col. 4:10-14 and Phile. 23-24) c) Archippus’ ministry is referred to in both books d) Onesimus the slave is mentioned in both (4:9 and Phile. 10) Date Colossians was written from Rome during Paul’s imprisonment as in Acts 28:30. It was written at the same time as Ephesians and Philemon This would be between the years 60-62 AD Neither Colossians, Ephesians, or Philemon mention the outcome of Paul’s trial. The outcome is anticipated in Philippians 1:19-21so Colossians and Ephesians must have been written before Philippians. This book would have been written around 60 AD Colossae -100 miles East of Ephesus in Asia Minor. -In the Lycus River valley in what is now Turkey -Population: Greek, Jewish, native Phrygians, Roman army veterans. -Name came from the large statue there, Colossus -12 miles from Hierapolis and Laodicea -The area was rich in mineral deposits -Paul had never been there (Col. 1:7; 2:1; 4:12) Occasion There was a heresy that had risen in Colossae It seems to have been the beginning of what would become gnosticism. Paul wrote this letter to combat the heresy. It contained both pagan (Greek and Oriental religions) and Jewish elements It was a “higher thought” cult with philosophic roots masquerading as Christianity Gnositcism comes from the Greek word gnosis because its followers claimed to have a superior, hidden knowledge. They believed: 1) In the worship of angels as intermediaries between God and man 2) There was a sharp distinction between matter and spirit. 3) Material was evil; God and good were essentially spiritual. 4) God could not have created the physical world. 5) Christ could not have become a real man. 6) Salvation could be achieved only when the divine spark held captive in the material body was released. 7) Their behavior went to two extremes: a) outward behavior did not affect spiritual b) asceticism would loosen the cords which held the inner man in the flesh 8) It was exclusivistic, stressing the special privilege and “perfection” of those select few who belonged to this philosophical elite. 9) It denied the deity of Christ Paul’s Purpose in Writing a) Show the deity and supremacy of Christ (1:18; 2:9) b) Wanted to lead believers into spiritual maturity c) Wanted to inform them about his state of affairs and elicit their prayers (4:2-8) Paul’s Responses to the Heresy The material world is evil; God is spiritual. God can have nothing to do with the material universe. “For by Him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible.” (1:16) If Jesus created the world, He could not be God. “God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him.” (1:19) Nothing that happens in the material world can really make a difference spiritually. “You. . .were God’s enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death.” (1:21-22) We don’t need to be reconciled. Our bodies are evil because they are material. Our minds aren’t material and so we are good. “You were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature. Then God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins.” (2:13) Real spirituality is still a matter of one’s inner life. We approach God mentally and what we do here is irrelevant to Him. “As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility. . .do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (2:12,17) Paul’s Prayer and Spiritual Maturity Colossians 1:9-11 a) Know What God Has Willed (9a) b) Spiritual Wisdom and Understanding (9b) c) Live a Life Worthy of the Lord (10a) d) Bearing Fruit in Every Good Work (10b) e) Grow In Your Experiential Knowledge (10c) f) Strengthened for Endurance (11) Review In scope, Colossians presents the all supremacy, all sufficiency, uniqueness, and the fullness of the person and work of Jesus Christ as the God-man Savior, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, and the total solution for man’s needs both for time and eternity. It presents Christ as the Creator/Sustainer and Redeemer/Reconciler of man and all the universe. Christ is: a) “the head of all principality and power” 2:10 b) “the Lord of creation” 1:16-17 c) “the Author of reconciliation 1:20-22 ; 2:13-15 d) Basis for the Believer’s hope 1:5,23, 27 e) Source of the Believer’s power for a new life 1:11, 29 f) Redeemer and Reconciler 1:14, 20-22; 2:11-15 g) Embodiment of full Deity 1:15, 19; 2:9 h) Creator and Sustainer of all things 1:16-17 i) Head of the church 1:18 j) the resurrected God-Man 1:18; 3:1 k) All-sufficient Savior 1:28;2:3, 20; 3:1-4 Outline 1) Doctrinal: The Person and Work of Christ (1:1-2:3) a) The person of Christ (1:15-18) b) The work of Christ (1:19-2:3) 2) Polemical: The Heretical Problems in Light of Union with Christ (2:4-3:4) a) Exhortation Against False Teaching (2:4-8) b) The instruction of the True Teaching (2:9-15) c) The Obligations of the True Teaching (2:16-3:4) 3) Practical: The Practice of the Believer in Christ (3:5-4:6) a) The Inward Life (3:5-17) b) In the Home Life (3:18-4:1) c) In the Outward Life (4:2-6) 4) Personal: The Private Plans and Affairs of the Apostle Paul (4:7-18)