Colossians – The People and the Place (Colossians 1:1)

Colossae, a somewhat insignificant city in what is now south-west Turkey, situated on a rocky ledge overlooking the Lycus valley, held no insignificant believers. God does not abandon any of His children to the wiles of the Devil, but always sends help in their time of need. 

When Paul wrote to the church at Colossae he wanted to remind them of who Christ is and what Christ had done. This may oversimplify matters, but meditating on the Person and work of Christ will answer many of the struggles believers face. 

As Paul had witnessed many times before, false teachers had weaseled their way into the fellowship of believers at Colossae. By this time in Paul’s life, he had repeatedly reached out to churches in danger to try and settle disputes and correct error. He had written God’s Words to the Thessalonians, Corinthians, Galatians, Romans, Ephesians, and Philippians. 

Each letter had a focus, an arc of purpose which provided a theme for the epistle, but also tied together many other related truths. Whatever the theme may be, he always brought the believers back to a single solution, a Person, Jesus Christ. 

The focus in Paul’s letter to the Colossian believers was to settle their faith by reminding them that they were complete in Christ. And in so doing, their struggle to live righteous lives, which only found failure in their own strength, would be enabled and empowered by the grace of God. 

The error at Colossae combined false teachings from Jewish legalists, speculative Greek philosophers, and eastern mystics. 

The fellowship at Colossae was most likely founded by Epaphras (Colossians 4:12). The founding of the church at Ephesus and their subsequent outreach to the surrounding areas may indicate when the church at Colossae began (Acts 19).

Paul had led Epaphras to the Lord, and follow his conversion, Paul had discipled and trained him. We see the Great Commission fulfilling its purpose when a trained convert replicates what others have done before him, evangelism and church planting. One of the faithful families at Colossae, and who possibly helped plant the church, was that of Philemon.  

But issues arose that Epaphras felt ill-equipped to deal with, and so he turned to his friend and mentor, Paul. 

When Paul begins his letter to the Colossian believers he does so in the format normal for his day. Paul introduces himself and gives his credentials. He reveals two important truths. He is an apostle, and his office of apostle was ordained by the will of God. 

To a church led astray and sinking under the burden of false teachings, Paul wanted to simply bring them back to God. His message was all about the Person and work of Jesus Christ, and he acted according to the will of God. 

The troubles faced by the believers at Colossae were not unique, but rather they are common to many believers. If you are sinking under the burden of doubts and failures in your Christian life, then I urge you to read Colossians and meditate on Who Christ is, and what He has done. Find your rest in Him. And let Him empower your service to Him and others. 

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