By Barnard C. Taylor
1. AUTHOR. — Paul.
2. DATE. — Between 63 and 64 A. D., about the same time as that of the Epistle to the Ephesians.
3. TO WHOM WRITTEN. — To the Christians at Colosse, a town in Phrygia on the Meander river. This church was probably not founded by Paul, but he was interested in it.
4. HISTORICAL OCCASION. — Epaphras, a minister of the Colossians, had brought word to Paul that some were attempting to pervert the belief of the Colossians. These seem to have been partly Judaizers and partly certain philosophizing Gnostics, who would deny the real nature and work of Christ and the true relation of Christians to him. Thus Paul was led to send this letter. It was written while he was in prison at Rome.
5. LEADING TOPICS. — The doctrine of the nature of the person of Christ; that he was the Creator of all things; that he is the living Head of the redeemed church; and that Christians are new creatures as they are united to Christ, and should live in accordance with this fact, not relying upon mere dead forms.
6. CHIEF PURPOSE. — To show that Christ as Son of God and Creator of all things had really died to redeem men, and had risen and ascended to be the Ruler and Head of the Church; and to show that the Christian is a new creature in Christ. It thus gives the real work and position of Christ, and the real nature of the Christian,
7. GENERAL ANALYSIS.
8. SPECIAL TEACHING OF THE BOOK. — Christians have been translated into the kingdom of Christ; he was the Creator, and Head of the church; the fullness of the Godhead dwelt in him; baptism symbolizes the Christian's death to sin and rising again to newness of life.
9. RELATION TO OTHER N. T. BOOKS. — In the unfolding of the doctrine of Christ, this book shows that he is Head of all things. In the development of the doctrine of the Christian church, this shows the real nature of the Christian.
10. TOPICS FOR SPECIAL STUDY. — History of the doctrine of the person of Christ; Gnosticism in the early centuries.
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