The Book of Colossians
This is a four-chapter epistle that Paul wrote as a prisoner in Rome along with Ephesians, Philippians and Philemon. This is another great work that came out of the Paul's faithfulness of continuing on in spite of his circumstances. We noted this in Philippians that Paul and all those that supported him could have given up when he was hauled off the Rome. They could have cried out "Why Lord? Why is it over? Paul's ministry was going so well? Paul didn't see imprisonment as an end. He saw it as another new beginning with many new opportunities. Paul was pressing on in spite of being a prisoner. And People like those in Philippi remained in fellowship with Paul supporting him in those efforts. This letter to the Colossians is part of the result of that faithfulness of Paul.
Paul wrote the letter to the saints of Colosse primarily to warn them of the false teachers. There were many false teachings of that day and its not clear which one was threatening the church at Colosse. The theme of the letter is the Preeminence of Christ. Regardless of the false teaching, this was the defense against it; showing Christ as superior and notable above all others and all else. As one comes to a fuller knowledge of Christ, we can't help hold him high and lifted up. This is true regardless of the claim the false teacher might make.
There was legalism, ascetism, mysticism, and gnosticism in Colosse. These false teachings all tend to interconnect and overlap because they all come from the same place and serve the same purpose. Isn't it funny how the false teachings and the things of darkness tend to overlap and intertwine so as not to offend each other? Yet the things of Christ always stand out. They are separate and holy and high, distinguishable from all others.
There have always been false teachers that are selling a false god, another gospel and another Jesus to the people. However, they are becoming more and more prevalent in these end times. That's why it is important for you to know God's word and hold your Christian leaders accountable to it. You should hold everyone to that same standard. Sadly, many Christians don't do that. We need to read and understand these things so we can guard our hearts and minds from the heresy that is all around us. We need to guard our fellowship also. This is holding to a standard of biblical accountability. If we fail at that, the consequences are great.
It's worth noting that Paul doesn't address all the different false teachings and show why they are false. He simply talks about why Christianity is right. He speaks about the things that set Christ apart and above all else. Whatever the problem was then or whatever the problem we face now, Paul offers the same solution, which is a better understanding of Jesus.
The city of Colosse was in Phrygia on the Lycus river. It was a hudred miles east of Ephesus and about 10 miles est of Laodicea. Colosse had been at the intersection of two major trade routes and in 6B.C. it was a large city. When the Romans came along, the north south highway was moved west to intersect Laodicea. Colosse declines in size and significants. Paul may have taught these folks when he was in Ephesians for a few years. Epaphras was a Colossian.