As the reader can tell, we have momentarily left the canonical order in our discussion of its writings. For, as all know, Philippians follows Ephesians. But because Ephesians and Colossians are both considered pseudonymous by NT scholars, and because they are so extraordinarily similar in content, character, and purpose, it seem appropriate to consider them both in close proximity.
The letter to the Colossians was written by a student of Paulís who lived in Ephesus and wrote around 80 CE. Colossae was a major city located in the Lycus River valley in Phrygia in the province of Asia Minor. The church there was established, not by Paul, but by an associate of his, Epaphras.
The purpose of this letter is identical to the purpose of Ephesians (which see, above). This has led some to suggest that there may have been a certain group of Paulinists (disciples of Paul) who associated together and shared many of the same ideas and theological perspectives. This is certainly a possibility, though there is no way to demonstrate it. One of the more interesting aspects of Colossians is the very old hymn found in 1:15-20. This hymn must have been in widespread use among the Christians of the early Church.
An outline shows the similarity to Ephesians:
1- Greeting (1:1-2)
2- The Lordship of Christ (1:3-23)
3- The Mystery of Christ (1:24-2:5)
4- Christís Lordship (Revisited) (2:6-23)
5- Ethical Admonition (3:1-4:6)
6- Farewell Remarks (4:7-18)
ASSIGNMENT: Read Philippians and Brownís Introduction, chapter 20.
Copyright © Quartz Hill School of Theology. All Rights Reserved.