About the Book of Colossians
The Book of Colossians may not be the first place you would go to focus on the birth of Jesus! While that is very true, I believe we can discover some insights from this graceful book that will help us see Christmas and the birth of Jesus in a new light.
We know that the community of Colossae was a sizeable cosmopolitan city that was filled with a rich cultural and spiritual diversity. It was located on a major inland trade route just east of the coastal city of Ephesus. Even though it had been a very important city, by the time of the Apostle Paul, it may have been the least significant city in the area. In 61 A.D., the city was devastated by an earthquake that also damaged its neighbors all the way to Laodicea. The city never really recovered or rebuilt.
The Apostle Paul came to Colossae and other communities in the Lycus Valley on his third missionary sweep through the area. Even though Paul is often credited as the founder of the Christian church in the area, we know from the text (Col 1:7) that a worker named Epaphras was the first to share Christian love with the people and to share his faith among them.
The opening verse attributes the words that follow to the Apostle Paul himself along with his young friend Timothy. The Book of Colossians is actually an open and general letter from Paul to the church with a focus on correcting some false teachings that were flowing throughout the area. Some in the city were engaged in the study of astrology while others were impacted by the Gnostic teaching of the day. The Gnostics believed that there was a certain (and often secret) knowledge that was essential for salvation. There were also many who were focused on the smaller ‘mystery religions’ of the day.
It was clear to the Apostle Paul that the Christian community could flourish only if these false teachings were addressed with the crisp message of the Gospel taking their place in the lives of the people. To this end, he wrote to the people to clarify the basics of the faith.
We will be reading the Book together over the four weeks of Advent. Our reading schedule will help us focus on one chapter for each of our weeks of Advent waiting. Along the way we will take time to memorize one key verse each week. Our memory verses will help us frame the primary message of Paul to the people of Colossae so the same message can flow into our lives as a Christmas gift from God.
Scripture Memory Verses:
Week One / Chapter One: Colossians 1:15 NIV
“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.”
Week Two / Chapter Two: Colossians 2:6-7 NIV
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
Week Three / Chapter Three: Colossians 3:12 NIV
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”
Week Four / Chapter Four: Colossians 4:6 NIV
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
Note that you will find the full text of the Book of Colossians by clicking on the Colossians menu item to the left.