1. The faith, hope, and love of the Colossians (1:1-8)
2. Paul's prayer for the Colossians (1:9-12)
3. What God has done for us (1:13-29)
4. Being wary of false doctrine (2:1-23)
5. Proper attire for the new person (3:1-17)
6. Proper relationships (3:18-4:1)
7. Final exhortations (4:2-6)
8. Greetings (4:7-18)
Colosse looks to be about ten miles from Laodicea on the map,
which may explain the reason that both congregations are mentioned in
this letter (2:1). Colosse, however, is not mentioned as one of the
seven churches in Asia in the book of Revelation-despite its proximity.
The variety of problems that Paul was dealing with in this brief
epistle might best be summed up by Philip Schaff's description of the
The special reason which prompted Paul to write to the Colossians
was the rise of a new heresy among them which soon afterward swelled
into a mighty and dangerous movement.... It differed from the
Judaizing heresy.... The Colossian heresy was an Essenic and ascetic
type of Gnosticism; it derived its ritualistic and practical
elements from Judiasm, its speculative elements from heathenism;
it retained circumcision, the observance of Sabbaths and new moons,
and the distinction of meats and drinks; but it mixed with it elements
of oriental mysticism and theosophy, the heathen notion of an evil
principle, the worship of subordinate spirits, and an ascetic struggle
for emancipation from the dominion of matter. It taught an antagonism
between God and matter and interposed between them a series of angelic
mediators as objects of worship. It thus contained the essential
features of Gnosticism, but in its incipient and rudimental form,
or a Christian Essenism in its transition to Gnosticism (History
of the Christian Religion 1:772-73).
The word translated "full" or "fullness" is used 8 times.
VERSES TO MEMORIZE
1:13-14 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and
translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,
in whom we have redemption through His blood, the
forgiveness of sins.
1:16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that
are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or
dominions or principalities or powers. All things were
created through Him and for Him.
1:17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
1:18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the
beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things
He may have the preeminence.
2:8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty
deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the
basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.
2:9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
2:11-14 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision
made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of
the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in
baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through
faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the
dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the
uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together
with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped
out the handwriting of requirements that was against us,
which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the
way, having nailed it to His cross.
3:1-4 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things
which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of
God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the
earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in
God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also
will appear with Him in glory.
3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom,
teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns
and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the
3:17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name
of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through
4:5-6 Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming
the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned
with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each
1:6, 23 The gospel was preached to the entire world.
1:15 Jesus is the firstborn (the pre-eminent one).
2:8-3:17 Most of this material deals with the false teachings
of the "Colossian heresy."
2:23 "Self-imposed religion."
*Send comments or questions concerning this survey to Gary Summers.[New Testament Survey Index]