Monday, July 25, 2011

Introduction (Colossians 1:1,2)

Most people think that Colossians and Ephesians were written around the same time and sent out to be read by multiple churches in neighboring regions. (Along with Philemon, sent to an individual at one of those churches; and perhaps during the period of time when Paul wrote Philippians.) They certainly are very similar in tone, structure, and even to a degree in themes. Sometimes they are referred to as twins.

This may be in part, however, to a larger pattern of teaching that Paul used everywhere he went. He certainly did stick to a general pattern of teaching. This has been pointed out by, among others, people like Tom Wolf in his Universal Disciple material, where Ephesians and Colossians serve as the most obvious example of Paul’s “pattern.”

There is a huge difference, though. Whereas Ephesians teaches mostly about the body of believers, and the riches they have in Christ as the Head; Colossians focuses instead on Christ as the Head, and the way that the believers find their fulfillment and life in Him. So Ephesians is more about the Bride and Colossians more about the Groom, to borrow a Pauline metaphor. Perhaps Colossians was written first, or at least should be considered first, but it comes second in the way Scripture is ordered currently, so that is the way it is being read here…

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