1 This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy.
2 We are writing to God’s holy people in the city of Colosse, who are faithful brothers and sisters in Christ.
May God our Father give you grace and peace.
Col. 1:1-2 (NLT)
The Apostle Paul is under house arrest in Rome. While there he continues the ministry that Jesus called him to. He writes letters to various churches not only to encourage them but to offer sound teaching. This is especially true in the case of those in Colosse. Colosse had once been a great city but its importance and prosperity had waned by the time of Paul. Both Laodicea and Heirapolis had eclipsed it but the church there still was still involved with those in the neighboring cities.
Paul often wrote to churches that he had helped start but Colosse was not one of them. That didn’t stop him from addressing the issues there as one with authority. After all, Jesus hand picked him to be an Apostle to the Gentiles. It isn’t unusual that Paul would have felt a burden and responsibility to speak to those there. Some believe that Epaphras, a fellow prisoner with Paul, was instrumental in founding of the church there. While this cannot be proven without a shadow of a doubt it does make sense.
Paul is writing to this group to remind them that Christ should be at the center of all they say and do. False teachings had sprung up and were threatening to undermine the work there. While scholars aren’t certain about the nature of the heresies Paul addresses, the Apostle refers to them as “empty philosophies” and “high-sounding nonsense” in a later chapter. Paul is ready to deal with a serious matter that has eternal consequences for those affected by it. I believe that is what makes these opening words so interesting.
Paul makes it very clear that he is writing as one with authority. He expects his message to be heard and taken to heart. He also lets them know that Timothy is with him and supports this message. It is even possible that Timothy is the co-author of the letter. This gives credence to Timothy’s own ministry and the vital role he will play in the spread of the Gospel throughout that area.
Secondly, Paul greets them as beloved brothers and sisters. He has a difficult message to share with them but he assures them that is because he values them so much. He reminds them that they have been faithful followers of Christ and he only wants that to continue. He then shares a salutation that is found in much of his writing. Once again, he is reminding them of the grace and peace that they have known in Christ.
Tomorrow I will look at the prayer Paul offers for those he is about to admonish.
Grace ane peace.