Paul's letter to the Colossians reveals the greatness of Jesus Christ by dealing with such important subjects as the fact that he is fully God, that he has authority over principalities and powers, and that those who believe in him are complete and wonderfully at liberty. It also touches powerfully and relevantly on practical Christian living in the home and work place. Colossians is a letter for today as it reveals to us the historical Jesus that so many people try to find without success in extra-biblical sources.
“The church at Colosse was troubled by theological strife. There were some there, whom we will call ‘spoilers’, who were of the opinion that Christ Jesus alone was not sufficient for salvation, so they questioned his divinity and his gospel. Their hotchpotch of theology included philosophy, traditions of men, and worldly thinking (2:8). They gave place to authorities other than Jesus Christ and worshipped angels (1:16; 2:15, 18). The spoilers were also insisting that Jewish ceremonial laws were necessary for salvation and sanctification (2:16). All these things were part and parcel of the Colossian heresy. Intellectual it may have been, but spiritual it was not. It is generally agreed that this was not a full-grown heresy, but the beginnings of second-century Gnosticism.” (Pages 10–11)
“There are very important themes dealt with in the Epistle to the Colossians. They include the doctrine of salvation, Christian liberty, ethics, prayer, slavery and the Christian Sabbath. However, the main emphasis is on Jesus Christ and his position in relation to the universe and the church. In Paul’s view, ‘Christ stands supreme and unique’. He is before all things, he created all things and he is first over all creation (1:15–18). He is the Saviour who delivers us from Satan, makes atonement and brings forgiveness of sins (1:13, 14; 2:14, 15). So the epistle is all about the greatness of Christ’s person and our position in him through faith. Paul’s intention is to bring Jesus Christ to the fore, because he must be acknowledged as Creator and Redeemer.” (Pages 11–12)
Ian McNaughton studied theology at the Free Church of Scotland College, Edinburgh, and gained his ThM in historical theology from Westminster Theological Seminary, Pennsylvania. He is also the author of Darwin and Darwinism 150 Years Later, Opening up Colossians and Philemon and Opening up 2 Thessalonians. He has served as a pastor in FIEC churches for almost 30 years (in both Scotland and England) and now represents Day One Christian Ministries as their Scottish Secretary.