Author: The apostle Paul was the primary writer of the Book of  Colossians (Colossians  1:13). Timothy is also given some credit (Colossians  1:1).

Date of Writing: The Book of Colossians was  likely written between A.D. 58-62.

Purpose of Writing: The Book of Colossians is a mini-ethics course, addressing every area of  Christian life. Paul progresses from the individual life to the home and family,  from work to the way we should treat others. The theme of this book is the  sufficiency of our Lord, Jesus Christ, in meeting our needs in every  area.

Key Verses: Colossians 1:15-16, “He is the image of the invisible  God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created: things  in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or  rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him.”

Colossians 2:8, “See to  it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which  depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on  Christ.”

Colossians 3:12-13, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people,  holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility,  gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances  you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

Colossians  4:5-6, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every  opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt,  so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

Brief Summary:  Colossians was written explicitly to defeat the heresy that had arisen  in Colosse, which endangered the existence of the church. While we do not know  what was told to Paul, this letter is his response.

We can surmise based  on Paul’s response that he was dealing with a defective view of Christ (denying  His real and true humanity and not accepting His full deity). Paul appears also  to dispute the “Jewish” emphasis on circumcision and traditions (Colossians 2:8-11; 3:11). The heresy  addressed appears to be either a Jewish-Gnosticism or a mix between Jewish  asceticism and Greek (Stoic?) philosophy. He does a remarkable job in pointing  us to the sufficiency of Christ.

The Book of Colossians contains  doctrinal instruction about the deity of Christ and false philosophies  (1:15-2:23), as well as practical exhortations regarding Christian conduct,  including  friends and speech (3:1-4:18).

Connections: As with all the early churches, the issue of Jewish legalism in Colosse was of  great concern to Paul. So radical was the concept of salvation by grace apart  from works that those steeped in Old Testament law found it very difficult to  grasp. Consequently, there was a continual movement among the legalists to add  certain requirements from the law to this new faith. Primary among them was the  requirement of circumcision which was still practiced among some of the Jewish  converts. Paul countered this error in Colossians 2:11-15 in which he declares that circumcision  of the flesh was no longer necessary because Christ had come. His was a  circumcision of the heart, not the flesh, making the ceremonial rites of the Old  Testament law no longer necessary (Deuteronomy 10:16, 30:6Jeremiah 4:4, 9:26; Acts 7:51; Romans  2:29).

Practical Application: Although Paul  addresses many areas, the basic application for us today is the total and  complete sufficiency of Christ in our lives, both for our salvation and our  sanctification. We must know and understand the gospel so as not to be led  astray by subtle forms of legalism and heresy. We must be on guard for any  deviation that would diminish the centrality of Christ as Lord and Savior. Any  “religion” that tries to equate itself with the truth using books that claim the  same authority as the Bible, or which combines human effort with divine  accomplishment in salvation must be avoided. Other religions cannot be combined  with or added to Christianity. Christ gives us absolute standards of moral  conduct. Christianity is a family, a way of life, and a relationship—not a  religion. Good deeds, astrology, occultism and horoscopes do not show us God’s  ways. Only Christ does. His will is revealed in His word, His love letter to us;  we must get to know it!