Introduction to Colossians
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, and Timothy our brother:
2 To the saints in Christ at Colossae, who are faithful brothers and sisters.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father. (Colossians 1:1-2)
The letter to the church in Colossae was written around A.D. 60 by the apostle Paul from a prison cell. The theme of the letter that we will be observing in the coming weeks is a letter of both encouragement for the believers who were growing spiritually and a warning of impending false teachers who were undermining Jesus Christ and the gospel message.
In verse 1, Paul identifies himself as “an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will.” Before having a miraculous encounter with Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus (see Acts 9:1-22), going by the name of Saul, he was actively persecuting the church, being present at the death of Stephen. Paul recognizes that without God’s intervention in his life, he would have continued on being lost. The title of “apostle” was not something he personally pursued; it was all because of God.
As mentioned previously in the devotionals about 1-3 John, for refresher, being in prison during this time period is vastly different from our prisons of the modern era. In the past, people outside the prison had to provide for your food, clothing, and medicine in order to survive your sentence. Thankfully, Paul had his trusted and loyal companion to help him, “Timothy our brother.”
In verse 2, Paul addresses the believers in Colossae with three titles. First, “to the saints in Christ,” meaning that they were acknowledged to be holy, set apart by Christ to do His will. Second, they were “faithful.” Paul had heard of the believer’s commitment to do Christ’s will and were dedicated to sharing the gospel. Finally, they were “brothers and sisters,” united through the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Closing out the introduction, Paul gives a standard greeting that believer had for one another, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father,” two wonderful blessings from God.
Even though Paul was in prison, he was still faithfully serving the Lord, writing this letter to a group of believers that needed some encouragement to continue to stay steadfast against false doctrine. Even in difficult circumstances, may we be faithful to seeking out the Lord’s will and serve others as Paul does, encouraging one another.
Isaac De Guzman