The Book of Colossians was written by the Apostle Paul while he was imprisoned in Rome. A primary purpose of Paul was to correct the heresy/ false teaching that had sprung up in the city of Colossae.
Paul never explicitly describes the false teaching he opposed in his letter to the Colossians. The nature of the heresy must be inferred from statements he made in opposition to the false teachers. Some of the elements seem to fall into two categories, Jewish and Gnostic. It is likely, therefore, that the Colossian heresy was a mixture of an extreme form of Judaism and an early stage of Gnosticism which was a legalistic outgrowth of Judaism stressing the need for observing Old Testament laws and ceremonies while denying the deity of Christ.
Three purposes seem to have been in Paul’s mind as he wrote Colossians:
- First, he wrote to warn the Colossians of the danger of returning to their former beliefs and practices.
- Secondly, he refuted the false teaching that was threatening this congregation. The primary Christian doctrine that this letter deals with is Christology, i.e. the nature and work of Jesus.
- Thirdly, Paul’s purpose was to set forth the absolute supremacy and sole sufficiency of Jesus Christ. (1:18; 2:9) in the face of the Colossian heresy (2:8, 18).
The church today desperately needs the message of Colossians. We live in a day when religious toleration is interpreted to mean ‘one religion is just as good as another.’ Some people try to take the best from various religious systems and manufacture their own private religion. To many people, Jesus Christ is only one of several great religious teachers, with no more authority than any of their other teachers. He may be prominent, but He is definitely not preeminent.
The matter of supreme importance to the church is her understanding of the doctrine of Christ. Our Christian life and service will flow out of our doctrine of Christ. Not only must Christ occupy the central place in our lives, but our understanding of Christ must be accurate. We can avoid all the errors that Paul warned against in this epistle by keeping a proper view of Christ. Modern preaching is often quite shallow because it focuses on man rather than on God and Christ.
The whole message of Colossians may be summarized in 2:9-10a.: “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ.” This letter, written by Paul, is all about Jesus Christ and exactly who He is and what He has done.