Notes on Paul’s Letter to Colossae

As with certain other New Testament letters, the authenticity of the epistle to the Colossians has been met with a certain degree modern skepticism. However, nevertheless, the letter has come down to us as Pauline, and is therefore worthy of consideration for its theological merits.

Colossae was a small Phrygian town in southern Anatolia (modern day Turkey). Apparently, the town was known for its hybrid of religions and its claim to fame was a mysterious “angel cult” which venerated the archangel Michael, whose healing powers were said to be present in a local spring.

The letter comes from Paul and Timothy. Perhaps the letter was written by Paul in Rome during his first imprisonment. Paul praises their faith and references someone named Epaphras. Again, Paul reiterates his mission on earth -to reveal the mystery which has been kept hidden throughout the ages. Paul prays that the people of the surrounding region of Laodicea who have not ever met him will still have the “full riches of complete understanding” so they can “know the mystery of God” (2:2).

A rather complex perspective of a universalist Christ appears in the letter: one who commands all ‘authorities and powers’ across the globe, and sits at the right hand of God.

Paul condemns all earthly things like sexuality, lust, greed, idolatry and so on. He reiterates his command for household order among spouses, children, and slaves.

Paul sends the letter with Tychicus and Onesimus. closes in Chapter 4 with greetings from Aristarchus and Mark, brother of Barnabas, as well as a host of other people with Paul.

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