Book Overview - Colossians
by Joseph Parker
[Note.—"Colosse was one of the chief cities of Phrygia, which, at the date of this Epistle, was a very rich and fertile country; though now under the Moslem yoke, and is in a great measure uncultivated. Phrygia was twice visited by Paul, Acts 16:8; Acts 18:23, but whether he reached Colosse is doubted. The tenor of the Epistle favours the conclusion that he did not (see especially Colossians 2:1); but it is certain that he knew several of the Colossian Christians, of whom Archippus, their minister, and Philemon are expressly named. The Colossians having heard of Paul"s imprisonment, sent to him Epaphras, their minister, to comfort the Apostle, and to inform him of their state. Epaphras, shortly after reaching Rome, was also imprisoned, Philemon 1:24.
"This Epistle was written during Paul"s first imprisonment at Rome ( Colossians 1:24; Colossians 4:18); and probably at an early period of it, about the same time as those to the Ephesians and to Philemon; as they appear to have been all sent by the same messengers, Tychicus and Onesimus, the latter of whom was returning to his master, Philemon, at Colosse. The account given of the Church by Epaphras was on the whole satisfactory. There appears, however, to have been some danger from false teachers, who aimed to combine with Christianity the speculations of the philosophers ( Colossians 2:4-8), and superstitious observances ( Colossians 2:16).
"The striking resemblance between this Epistle and that to the Ephesians, indicates some similarity in the tendency of the two churches.
"The two Epistles must, in fact, be read together. "The one Isaiah," as Michaelis observes, "a commentary on the other." Both, moreover, are exceedingly rich in exhibitions of the glory of the Gospel.
"This Epistle was to be sent to Laodicea, and the Colossians were to receive from Laodicea the Epistle he had directed to be sent on to them, probably the present Epistle to the Ephesians."—Angus"s Bible Handbook]
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34