Welcome to our brand new study of the book of Colossians.
Colossians is a great little New Testament book jam packed with both theology and practical instruction for the Christian’s daily life. One area of theology we’ll be learning more about as we study Colossians is Christology, the study of Jesus Christ- who He is, what He did, and why. If you look at the layout of Colossians, you’ll see that the Christological passages come first, followed by the life instruction passages, subtly teaching us that right living is informed by a right understanding of Christ.
Ready to dive in? Here we go!
Introduction to the book of Colossians:
Before we begin studying a book of the Bible, it’s very important that we understand some things about that book. We need to know…
Who the author was and anything we might be able to find out about him or his background.
Who the audience of the book was: Jews or Gentiles? Old Testament Israelites or New Testament Christians? This will help us understand the author’s purpose and approach to what he’s writing.
What kind of biblical literature we’re looking at. We approach books of history differently than books of wisdom, books of wisdom differently than books of prophecy, etc.
What the purpose of the book is. Was it written to encourage? Rebuke? Warn?
What the historical backdrop is for the book. Is Israel at war? At peace? In exile? Under a bad king? Good king? What was it like for Christians to live under Roman rule? Understanding the historical events surrounding a piece of writing help us understand what was written and why it was written.
When the book was written. Where does the book fall on the timeline of biblical history? This is especially important for Old Testament books which are not always arranged in chronological order.
So this week, before we start studying the actual text of the book of Colossians, we need to lay the foundation to understanding the book by finding the answers to these questions.
Read the following overviews of the book of Colossians, taking notes on anything that might aid your understanding of the book, and answer the questions below:
Colossians at Grace to You
Overview of the Book of Colossians at Reformed Answers
Book of Colossians at Got Questions
1. Who wrote the book of Colossians? What authority or position did he have to write this book? What was his relationship to the audience of this book?
2. Who is the intended audience of the book of Colossians? Was it written to the church or an individual? How should knowing Colossians was written to the church rather than an individual shape our reading of this book? Which two local churches was it written for?
3. Which genre of biblical literature is the book of Colossians: law, history, wisdom, poetry, narrative, epistles, or prophecy/apocalyptic? What does this this tell us about the approach we should take when studying this book versus our approach to books of other genres?
4. What is the theme or purpose of the book of Colossians? Describe the heresy Colossians combats.
5. Who are the key people mentioned in or connected to the book of Colossians? Who founded the church at Colossae?
6. What is the historical backdrop of the book of Colossians? In approximately which year was it written? Where was Paul residing when he wrote this epistle? Who was the political and governing authority at the time Colossians was written? What was the government’s attitude toward the church? Where was Colossae located, and what kind of economy, populace, and culture did it have?
7. What else did you learn about Paul, Colossae, or the setting of this book that might help you understand the text of the book better?