Colossians : The backstory

For the keen amongst you I thought I would give you the ‘backstory’ to the letter to Colossians.  As our Church is going through a study of it right now.  Once you have read it take a look at our website This is Amazing Grace and engage with a Colossians experience!

Paul was writing to the Church in Colosse around 60AD from prison, probably in Rome. He had never met the Church before, we know this from Colossians 2:1, but Epaphrus the pastor of the Church found Christ through Paul and was trained at his school of ministry in Ephesus. Colosse was 160km inland from Ephesus.

Colosse had been a wealthy city and on a major trading route from east to west.  The city had begun to decline by this point and probably the pressures of economic decline, loss of work and sociological change led to pressures upon the church also.

After some time Paul sent Epaphrus back to Colosse to start a church.  A church which we learn through this letter that is faithful.

However, Epaphrus is facing some challenges of false teaching infiltrating the congregation.  Some are adopting human philosophies that are common in the city, region and culture of the time.  Some are starting to believe that Jesus was not more than a good man, a prophet or teacher.  Some were influenced by old religious traditions that did not encourage freedom in Christ.

He seeks Paul’s help and advice, whilst also looking to serve and help Paul during his imprisonment.

Paul, together with Timothy, put together a letter that very clearly lays out who Christ is, what He has done and what our response to this should be.  Its a letter not written in criticism but in wonder at God’s grace and Christ’s supremacy over all creation and over the Church.

This letter is delivered by Tyhcicus along with Onesimus (the run away slave of Philemon) whilst they were also delivering letters to Philemon back in Laodicea, & a letter to the Church at Ephesus.

Paul was clear who about his apostleship.  But never abused this position.  He referenced a lot of people in the letter, as he used relationship to build influence not position. Paul always sought to be inclusive of others, and both protective and empowering of the Church.

You and I are included in this great adventure and calling of God.  You will find your call as you serve and devote yourself to Christ and the Church, just as Paul shows he did through this great letter.

 

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