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Colossians 1-4


A Devotional Journey 
    led by Dr. Gene Pearson
Thru the Bible in a Year
                        Colossae was at one time a leading town in Asia minor (modern day Turkey).  Like Ephesus, it lay on the banks of a navigable river and therefore could easily be involved in trade.  Because of the rise of more progressive cities in Laodicea and Hierapolis, Colossae became less and less important to trade.  During his 3 year ministry in Ephesus, one of Paul’s associates named Epaphras had gone on a mission to Colossae and established a church there.
                        By the time of this letter, some particularly deceptive doctrines were creeping into the congregation.  These can only be inferred from Paul’s comments and include:  1) a ceremonial legalism(2:16-17; 2:11; 3:11);   2) an emphasis on asceticism (2:21; 23);  3) the worship of angels (2:18);  4) a devaluation of the role of Jesus Christ (thus the emphasis in 1:15-20; and 2:2-3, 9);  5) a glorification of secret knowledge (thus Paul’s comments in 2:18 & 2:2-3);  6) an emphasis on human wisdom and tradition (see 2:4, 8).
                        Paul moves immediately from his thanksgiving prayer to a defense of supremacy of Christ.  The discussion in 1:15-20, leaves little doubt as to the deity of Christ, and combats the claims of those who would insist that the New Testament does speak of Christ being God.
                        In chapter 2, Paul emphasizes our freedom from rules as Christ’s followers.  Paul uses quite graphic language at this point:  “Let no one take you captive!”  In other words, we are  not to give up the freedom from sin and condemnation which has been provided through Christ.  Especially, we are to beware of highly complicated, intellectual arguments based on tradition and speculation.
                        In chapter 3, Paul lays down several essential rules for living as God intends.  First, after urging us to “set your hearts on things above ..... not on earthly things,”  Paul lists those things which need to be put off and those that need to be put on.  In addition, he discusses the nature of human relationships in a similar fashion to his writing in Ephesians. 
                        Chapter 4 adds Paul’s concern that as the Colossians devote themselves to prayer, they will remember him.  His instructions at the end are quite revealing.  Evidently, the first Christians shared their letters from apostles and leaders with each other.  In 4:16, Paul tells the Colossians to follow this practice with the Laodiceans. 
                        Are you ever tempted to put more emphasis on what you do and less on what God does to achieve and sustain your relationship with Him?  Remember the words of Ephesians 2:8-10, today:  “It is by grace that you have been saved, through faith – though even this was not from yourself; it is the gift of God that no one should have a chance to boast of his/her own accomplishments.” 
                        Isn’t it great to know God’s love?  Why not tell Him right now!
© A.  Eugene Pearson