Today’s reading is: Col. 1-4; Philem. 1
Colossians Chapter One
- The letter opens with a note of thankfulness for the work of Epaphras in establishing the Colossian church (Col. 1:1-6).
- Paul had never been to Colossae, but was engaged in a fervent prayer ministry on their behalf (Col. 2:1).
- Like Thessalonica, Colossae Bible Church✝︎ was grounded in faith, hope, and love (Col. 1:4-5).
- Paul outlines the Christian Way of Life (Col. 1:9-14). A faithful believer will:
- Pray for the ἐπίγνωσις epignōsis #1922 full knowledge of God’s will (v.9).
- Walk worthy of the Lord (v.10a).
- Please the Father (v.10b).
- Bear fruit in every good work (v.10c).
- Increase in the knowledge of God (v.10d).
- Receive Divine power for endurance (v.11).
- Joyously give thanks to the Father for His work in saving us through Christ (vv.12-14).
- The eternal glory of Christ is then described (Col. 1:15-20).
- The visible image of the invisible God the Father (v.15a).
- The firstborn of all creation (v.15b).
- The Deity of Christ is (of course) eternal (Jn. 1:1-2), but the humanity of Christ and therefore the hypostatic union of Christ was the first creative act of the Father (Prov. 8:22; Col. 3:15; Rev. 3:14).
- The humanity of God the Son was a source for Divine delight prior to the creation of man (Prov. 8:31), and the very cause for man’s creation to be in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26-27).
- The delegated Creator and Sustainer of all things according to the will of the Father (v.16-17; Jn. 1:3; Prov. 8:30; Heb. 1:3).
- The Head of the Church (v.18a; Eph. 1:22).
- The Firstborn from the Dead (v.18b; 1st Cor. 15:23).
- The Fulness of the Father’s plan manifest through Him (v.19).
- The Reconciler of all things to the Father (v.20), including the Colossian believers that Paul is writing to (Col. 1:21-23).
- The privilege of sacrificial intercessory sufferings is then outlined, as Paul rejoices in the mystery doctrine of the Church (Col. 1:24-29; Eph. 3:3-10; Rom. 16:25-26).
Colossians Chapter Two
- Paul prayed for the Colossian and Laodicean believers as those whom he had never personally taught (Col. 2:1-7).
- That these local churches would have hearts knit together in love.
- That these local churches would understand their grace blessings as the Bride of Christ.
- That these local churches would be equipped to handle false teaching.
- Paul gets to the chief corrective matter of the epistle when he addresses the false teaching that had crept into the Colossian church (Col. 2:8,16-23).
- False teaching is enslaving (Col. 2:8), whereas the Truth sets us free (Jn. 8:32).
- Human philosophy & tradition are snares to believers’ proper worship in the local church (Col. 2:8).
- False teaching makes issues out of non-issues, as the κόσμος kosmos wisdom of demonic teaching achieves its purpose (Col. 2:16-23; Jas. 3:15).
- Dietary issues.
- Calendar issues.
- Shadow ritual issues.
- Asceticism issues.
- Crusader issues.
- False teaching is the work of fallen angels promoting the worship of angels (Col. 2:18; 1st Tim. 4:1).
- Occupation with Christ, and the blessings of His work on our behalf, serve to put all false teaching into the proper perspective of emptiness (Col. 2:9-15).
- The cancellation of our certificate of debt, having nailed it to the cross (v.14).
- The disarming of our enemies, and His triumph over them by the cross (v.15).
- The essence of Church Age liberty is a right distinction between shadows and substance. This happens most readily as the growing Body holds fast to the Head (Col. 2:16-23).
Colossians Chapter Three
- Reality must shape our realizations. The reality is that we have been raised up with Christ (Col. 2:12; 3:1; Eph. 2:6). Our realizations must be seeking and thinking heavenly things (Col. 3:1-4).
- The heavenly-minded believer conducts his life according to seven principles of our new life in Christ (Col. 3:5-17).
- We are to consider ourselves to be dead to sin (v.5; Rom. 8:13).
- We are no longer among the sons of disobedience (vv.6-7; Eph. 2:1-3).
- We lay aside the old self, and put on the new self (vv.8-11; Eph. 4:22-25).
- We are to clothe ourselves with a compassionate & forgiving heart (vv.12-13), and most especially love (v.14).
- We are to submit to the peace of Christ, as it rules in our heart (v.15).
- We are to learn from the word of Christ, as it dwells richly in our heart (v.16).
- We are to dedicate every action in the name of Christ in thankfulness to the Father (v.17).
- These principles of zoe life have practical application in bios life relationships as well (Col. 3:18-4:1; Eph. 5:22-6:9).
Colossians Chapter Four
- Paul’s final two exhortations focus on the importance of corporate prayer within the assembly (Col. 4:2-4), and the critical importance of maintaining an outreach ministry outside the assembly (Col. 4:5-6).
- The Book ends with personal words of encouragement (Col. 4:7-18).
- Tychicus was the courier for the Ephesians epistle as well as the Colossian epistle (Col. 4:7; Eph. 6:21).
- Onesimus traveled with Tychicus, and carried the epistle to Philemon (Col. 4:9; Philem. 10).
- Archippus evidently pastored the Colossian church in Epaphras’ absence (Col. 1:7; 4:17; Philem. 2).
- Paul opens the letter with a personal address to three people by name, and to a local assembly in general (Philem. 1-3).
- Philemon “kisser” was a believer in Colossae, who hosted the local church there.
- Apphia “fruitful” was likely his wife.
- Archippus “horse-master” was possibly their son, and certainly the pastor of the Colossian church (cf. Col. 4:17).
- Paul begins with a note of thankfulness for Philemon’s love (Philem. 4-7).
- Love and faith for Christ motivates love and faith for the saints (v.5).
- Faith becomes effective in a fellowship with other believers through a full knowledge (ἐπιγνώσις epignōsis) of the eternal grace blessings every believer possesses (v.6).
- Although he has the authority to issue a command, Paul also has the love to issue an appeal (Philem. 8-9).
- Paul’s appeal was for the runaway slave, Onesimus (Philem. 10-16).
- Onesimus was a slave, separated from Philemon for an unstated reason (vv.15,16).
- In the course of his departure, Philemon was financially harmed (v.18).
- Onesimus became saved under Paul’s ministry in Rome (v.10).
- Onesimus became a minister to Paul (v.13).
- Onesimus became his heart-friend (v.12).
- Paul sent Onesimus back to Philemon, giving him the opportunity to do the right thing under his own positive volition (v.14).
- Paul prompted Philemon to consider God’s purpose for Onesimus’ departure (v.15).
- Onesimus “useful” was formerly useless, but is being returned useful (v.11).
- A slave ran away, but now, a slave and a beloved brother is returning (v.16).
- Partner acceptance and vicarious penal substitution are fundamental doctrines pertaining to the plan of God for humanity (Philem. 17–20).
- Partner acceptance is grounded in God the Father’s and God the Son’s unity partnership (Prov. 8:30-31; Ps. 2:7; 8:4-6; 89:5-10; Isa. 42:1; Zech. 13:7; Mt. 3:17; Jn. 10:30; 17:21).
- Every wrong and every debt owed by the first Adam is charged to the account of the last Adam (Isa. 53:1-12; Jn. 1:29; 2nd Cor. 5:21; 1st Pet. 3:18; 1st Jn. 2:1-2).
- The conclusion bears many similarities to Colossians, mentioning many of the same people (Philem. 21-25).
✝︎ Pastor Bob’s nickname for the local church founded in Colossae. They didn’t really call themselves that.