To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

This epistle to the Colossians is one of four “Prison Epistles” along with Ephesians, Philippians and Philemon. Paul wrote all of these epistles during his first imprisonment while he was in Rome awaiting trial before Caesar. As we have already seen, some of the most encouraging letters of Paul were written when he was in prison. Internal evidence suggests that although Paul had not visited Colosse (2:1), Timothy and Epaphras (1:7) had evangelized the city and founded the church during Paul’s three year stay in Ephesus while on his third missionary journey. Colosse is about 100 miles east of Ephesus and the church there was primarily composed of Gentiles.

The epistle was written to combat certain heretical teachings that had crept into the church and have never gone away! We will address these heresies as we go through this powerful epistle. These false teachings were Gnosticism, Legalism, Mysticism, and secular philosophy. False teachers also denied the Deity of Jesus Christ as Creator and His all-sufficient atonement for sin that grants salvation to sinners by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, not of works or ritual lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:9). According to Colossians 4:16, this epistle was also to be read to the neighboring church of Laodicea, and a letter that was written to the Laodicean church (not included in the canon of Scripture) was to be read to the saints at Colosse.

As we work our way through this powerful epistle, we will learn once again about the all sufficiency of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice to atone for our sin. We will see Him presented as the fulness of the Godhead in bodily form. We will once again be reminded of the many practical aspects of what it means to be in Christ and live for Christ. It is a book that begins and ends with the word grace, for it is by the grace of God that we are saved. It is by the grace of God that we walk with Christ. It is by the grace of God that we stand against the powers of darkness. It is by the grace of God that we have life in Christ, and that more abundantly. Selah