1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
2 To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father.
Thanksgiving and Prayer
3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people—
As was the custom in this time period, Paul states his authorship at the beginning of the letter. He instantly asserts that he is an apostle of Jesus Christ, not simply one among many philosophers stating an opinion, and that he received this authority directly by the will of God. We learn that Timothy is with Paul at the time of the writing of this letter. Paul describes his readers as “saints” or “holy” (set apart by and for God), “faithful”, and “brothers and sisters in Christ”. He then gives a standard greeting of grace and peace.
Rather than immediately confronting the false teaching at Colossae, Paul first points out the positive things in the church body that are a result of the transforming power of Christ. He commends the Colossians for their reputation of showing faith and love. The false teachers at Colossae were convincing many that the evidence of spirituality was the ability to follow rules, understand secret knowledge, or have ecstatic experiences. But Paul believed as Jesus taught, “They will know you are My followers by your love” (Jn 13:35).
There have always been false teachings within Christianity – those who would directly contradict scripture or add additional teachings. Thankfully there have also always been those who would stand up for truth against heresy. As believers we must know our theology and understand Scripture so that we will not be led astray, no matter how enticing the false teaching.
It strikes me that Paul prays often for the believers at this church even though he has not met them. We should lift up believers from around the world, especially in this day and age when we can so easily connect and understand prayer needs as well as praises. Take time today to pray for the worldwide body of Christ as the Lord moves mightily among the nations!