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Strolling Through the Book of Colossians September 25, 2012

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
Tags: , , , ,

I’ve recently started reading through the Epistle to the Colossians with the aid of a commentary by J.B. Lightfoot. I should note that I’ve previously read through Colossians. As in my recent stroll through the book of Philippians, I hope to comprehend Colossians as a whole. I also hope to be able to compare – and contrast – this epistle with Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, as both of these letters were 1) composed in the latter stage of Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome and 2) delivered to churches in Asia.

I plan to blog about this experience as I read through both the epistle and Lightfoot’s commentary. Each post will correspond to a specific section in the NIV translation.

For starters, here are my thoughts on Colossians 1:1-2.

Summary: In this passage, Paul – who has been commissioned as an apostle by God’s unmerited grace – and Timothy greet the saints in Colosse who have been steadfast in their faith in the Lord. Paul and Timothy wish them God’s unmerited favor and His peace.

Thoughts: In verse 2, Paul addresses those believers in Colosse who he characterizes as “faithful.” Lightfoot offers some insights on this point:

The apostle makes it plain that when he speaks about the holy brothers, saints, he means the true and steadfast members of the brotherhood. In this way he obliquely hints at the defection…He does not directly exclude any, but he indirectly warns all…The apostle assumes that the Colossian brethren are steadfast in Christ. Their state thus contrasts with the description of the heretical teacher who (2:19) “has lost connection with the Head.”

It is apparent that this opening passage actually hints at the main thrust of the letter – Paul’s desire to refute the Gnostic heresy that is threatening the Colossian church. It will be interesting to see how he develops his argument against this heresy in the rest of the letter. We are also reminded that Paul should be included in the ranks of New Testament writers who urge their readers to be firm in their faith; clearly Paul desires that his readers be preserved for the day of judgment and approved by God at that time.



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