Sunday, September 16, 2012
As we begin our study of Colossians, you may find some background information helpful in understanding the book and the culture to which it was originally written. The city of Colossae was 10 miles east of Ephesus in modern day Turkey. The area was prone to earthquakes. Once an important city, at the time of Paul it had become a small market town focused mainly on the production and export of wool products. The city ceased to exist by around 400 AD. The population was a mixture of Jews and Gentiles. A man named Epaphrus founded the body of believers there, probably during the time Paul was ministering in Ephesus. (Random trivia fact – Philemon and Onesimus were from Colossae.)
The book of Colossians was written by Paul around 60 AD and is possibly the first of his prison epistles written from Rome. The letter was written to confront false teaching which grew out of a mixture of Judaistic teaching and other philosophies. False teachers were convincing members of the church that more than faith in Christ was needed. These heresies negated the glory of Christ and the sufficiency of His sacrifice. In fact, “Christ” is the most repeated word in the book of Colossians. Paul emphasizes the role of Christ as the head of the church.