Introduction to Colossians

Text: Colossians 1:1-2


The church is facing pressure to accept Jewish doctrines (Colossians 2:5; 8, 16-17, 20-23). Paul is countering that everything needed is in Christ, not in the Old Law. All knowledge is in Christ (Colossians 2:2-3) and Christ fully represents God (Colossians 2:9-10). Thus, the brethren in Colossae needed to stay rooted in the teachings of Christ (Colossians 1:9-11, 23). They needed to seek heavenly things (Colossians 3:1-2).


The book is divided into two parts, like the book of Ephesians.
• Chapters 1-2 argue the supremacy of Christ
• Chapters 3-4 emphasize the practical application of submitting to Christ


  1. Introduction - Colossians 1:1-14
    1. Salutations - Colossians 1:1-2
    2. Paul’s thankfulness for the Colossians - Colossians 1:3-8
    3. Paul’s prayer - Colossians 1:9-14
  2. The Preeminence of Christ - Colossians 1:15-29
    1. First place in the Creation - Colossians 1:15-18
    2. First place in redemption - Colossians 1:19-23
  3. Paul’s service - Colossians 1:24-2:7
  4. False teaching - Colossians 2:8-23
    1. The empty philosophy of Judaism - Colossians 2:8-10
    2. Ceremonialism - Colossians 2:11-17
    3. Worship of Angels - Colossians 2:18-19
    4. Ascetic rules - Colossians 2:20-23
  5. The believer
    1. Seek the things above - Colossians 3:1-4
    2. Put off the old man of sin - Colossians 3:5-9
    3. Put on the new man - Colossians 3:10-17
    4. Family relationships - Colossians 3:18-21
    5. Work relationships - Colossians 3:22-4:1
    6. Prayer - Colossians 4:2-4
    7. Conversation - Colossians 4:5-6
  6. Conclusion
    1. Introduction to Tychicus - Colossians 4:7-9
    2. Greetings from those with Paul - Colossians 4:10-14
    3. Instructions concerning this letter - Colossians 4:15-18

The Senders

The letter is sent from Paul and Timothy. As with his other letters, Paul emphasizes a characteristic of himself that his audience needs to keep in mind. Since he is arguing against false teachers, he points out that he is an apostle of Jesus Christ. He didn’t seek out the position. He was chosen by the will of God (Acts 9:15-16; 22:14-15; 26:16-18). In other words, Paul has authority behind his words that the false teachers could never obtain.

Timothy was from the neighboring region of Galatia, having grown up in Lystra. It is likely that Timothy served as the scribe for this letter. His name appearing here would serve as a witness to the authenticity of the letter.

The Receivers

The Christians in Colossae are described as “saints” (set apart for a holy purpose) and “faithful” (trustworthy, sincere, and dedicated to Christ). These designations are important as Paul is emphasizing that they must remain steadfast in face of false teachings.


As in most of Paul’s letters, he starts out relaying a message from God: Grace and peace to you. The one difference in this greeting is that Paul didn’t include Jesus Christ as he does in other letters. Many commentators feel that Paul’s salutation combines the common Greek salutation (“grace to you”) with the common Hebrew salutation (“peace to you”) to emphasize that God is interested in all people.

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