The Epistle of Colossians is a letter of Paul to the church at Colossae, the word means punishment or correction. The letters to the Colossians, Philippians, Ephesians, and to Philemon are all written by Paul in chains.

Paul had never visited Colossae. Still in a prisoner in Rome he could not visit the church in Collossae but he could send a letter. There was no postal service in those days but Paul could send it to them by one of his helpers, Tychicus, who was also to conduct the slave Onesimus back to his master Philemon.

Tychicus takes three letters from Paul, the letter to Philemon and the ones to the churches at Ephesus and Colossae, from Rome about AD 62. The occasion of the letter to the Colossians was the intelligence brought him by Epaphras respecting the internal state of the church, which apparently he himself had not visited. The ascetic and formal practices of legalism are being evident at Colossae. "Handle not, nor taste, nor touch" which are becoming fashionable at Colossae, are likewise without religious value and foreign to Christianity. Another problem was a false philosophy that was being taught there which would later be identified as Gnosticism. there were also Judaizing teachers at Collosae that wanted Christians to be bound by the Sabbath and feast day laws. Paul would preach that these were just a "shadow of things to come but the body is of Christ."

Matthew Henry: This epistle was sent because of some difficulties which arose among the Colossians, probably from false teachers, in consequence of which they sent to the apostle. The scope of the epistle is to show, that all hope of man's redemption is founded on Christ, in whom alone are all complete fullness, perfections, and sufficiency. The Colossians are cautioned against the devices of judaizing teachers, and also against the notions of carnal wisdom, and human inventions and traditions, as not consistent with full reliance on Christ. In the first two chapters the apostle tells them what they must believe, and in the two last what they must do; the doctrine of faith, and the precepts of life for salvation.

Some think that the Christian church there was founded by Epaphras because of 1:7 and 4:12 and believe that Paul had not been there previous to writing the epistle. The city was destroyed by earthquake in the 9th year of Nero and rebuilt. The letter of reply was sent by Tychicus and Onesimus toward the middle of Paul's two-year imprisonment at Rome.
[358, 374, 380, BD]

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