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The Book of Colossians
Week #1: Introduction
Instructor: Dr. Ernie Zarra
Purposes of the Class
(1) To know more about Jesus Christ and the deeper teachings of the Christian Faith,
(2) To grow in Christ and in our personal walk with Him, and
(3) To go into each week more confident about who Christ is, who we are in Him, and to be ready to share these truths from the Word with those outside the faith.
(1) Commit to class weekly, so as to enjoy the benefit of continuity;
(2) Read each passage and answer questions provided;
(3) Participate in discussions and in posing questions; and
(4) Read the Book of Colossians completely through, at one sitting, at least once during the ten weeks of the class.
Feel free to stay in contact on Facebook, or via email. You mail email me either at work [firstname.lastname@example.org] or at [email@example.com].
Members in the class should become proficient in topics which include:
(1) Reasons why was Colossians written
(2) The Preeminence of the Son
(3) Warnings against false teachers
(4) Man-made rules and Christian responsibilities
(5) Putting on the “new man”
(6) Serving Christ
(7) Domestic relationships
(8) Witnessing to those outside the faith. We will also be learning some important Greek words.
Purpose of Colossians
Paul wrote from prison to encourage the Christians who had been meeting in the home of Epaphras.
The Apostle also wrote to deal with a heresy that had made its way into the church.
Recommended Study Technique
As you read for each assignment weekly, jot down significant points, or words and concepts that catch your attention.
Write down any questions you might have and bring them to our next class.
Be praying that God would open our eyes to see how Colossian relates to today’s church, and to our lives as believers.
Some Key Terms
ASCETICISM (Greek, “exercise, or training”)—Denotes the practice of self-discipline, in relation to the body. Usually takes the form of renouncing things, like food, sex, etc., so as to focus on spiritual things.
SYNCRETISM (Greek, “to combine”)—the uniting of groups, focusing on commonalities, and laying aside their differences.
Key Terms Continued
HERESY (Greek, “choice”)—denotes the teachings that make their way into the church
PREEMINENCE (Greek, “first place”)—Term is used in contrasting Jesus with all others in creation. Used particularly to dispel Gnostic teaching that elevated angels.
Colossae was located 120 miles east of Ephesus in the Lycus River Valley in ancient Phrygia, part of the Roman territory of Asia Minor.
It was one of a triad of cities in the area (the other two being Laodicea and Hierapolis), resting at the foot of Mount Cadmus.
It’s biblical significance lies in the fact that the book of Colossians was addressed to the church here (Col 1:2) and that Philemon lived in this city.
Although no excavations have yet taken place, surveys of the site reveal remains on the acropolis including a defensive wall and a pit lined with stones to the west.
A theater lies on the eastern side and a necropolis to the north of the Lycus River, a branch of the Meander.
Flinders University of Australia is currently preparing for an excavation.
Paul Never Visited Colosse
Paul had never visited Colossae when he composed his epistle to the church here, but he does imply that Epaphras founded the church, along with those at Laodicea and Hierapolis (Col 1:7-8; 4:12-13).
This was probably during Paul’s third missionary journey, when he preached in Ephesus for two years, “so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks” (Acts 19:10 KJV).
The Book of Revelation
In John’s message to the Laodicean church (Rev 3:14-22), he speaks of the luke-warmness of Laodicea, that they were “neither cold nor hot” (vv. 15-16).
This local allusion would have been clear to citizens of Laodicea, who knew of the cold, pure waters of nearby Colossae.