Paul had never been to Colossae, but he’d heard from a good friend that the church in that city was blossoming in faith and love. They’d been rooted in Christ—but young churches had been misled before. Paul desperately wants to encourage the church and head off any persuasive arguments from false teachers, so he writes them a letter.
The brief book of Colossians is all about who we are in Christ. In the first two chapters, Paul teaches the Colossians who they are in Christ; in the last two chapters, he instructs them on how to walk in Christ. Paul emphasizes the mind throughout the book—the better the Colossians know what they believe, the harder it will be for someone to persuade them otherwise.
This letter is still a profound, encouraging word to us today for several reasons:
- We, like the Colossians, have never met Paul face-to-face (Col 2:1)
- We continue to face persuasive arguments that contradict sound Christian doctrine (Col 2:8).
- We need to remember that our lives are hidden with Christ in God (Col 3:1–3).
- We should walk in a manner worthy of the Lord Jesus (Col 1:10).
If we know who we are in Christ, we’ll have a much better idea of what to believe and how to behave.
Theme verses of Colossians
“Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.” (Col 2:6–7)
Colossians’ role in the Bible
Colossians is the seventh of Paul’s letters. Of the 27 New Testament books, Paul wrote 13. Nine of these book are letters to local churches (like the one in Colossae).
Paul makes a few statements as to why he wrote this letter:
- He heard about their growth and wants to encourage them (Col 1:3–8)
- He wants them to walk in Christ and remain established in their faith (Col 2:6–7).
- He knows false teachers are trying to lead them astray (Col 2:8, 16, 20).
Like his letters to the Ephesians and Philippians, this epistle is meant to encourage the Colossians to walk in a manner worthy of the gospel (Eph 4:1; Php 1:27; Col 2:6). Whereas Philippians focuses on the believer’s attitude and Ephesians focuses on how to walk as part of God’s family, Colossians emphasizes the believer’s mind (Col 2:8; 3:1–2). Paul addresses what Christians should know (Col 1–2) and what it looks like to set our minds on things above (Col 3–4).
Quick outline of Colossians
- Who we are in Christ (Col 1–2)
- Christ: our head (Col 1)
- Christ: our God (Col 2)
- How to walk in Christ (Col 3–4)
- Christ: our life (Col 3)
- Christ: our Master (Col 4)