As a seminary student, I know that many people are interested in learning more about the information and ideologies presented in the Bible. Yet because the book is so complex and intricate, they often find themselves intimidated or overwhelmed when they attempt to understand its form and content. For this reason, quick reference guides which offer readers a brief overview of the Bible’s content can be helpful. Here’s one on the book of Colossians.
The book of Colossians was written by the apostle Paul somewhere between A.D. 58-62. Colossians contains four chapters, each of which emphasizes important aspects of the Christian life. Chapter One is of specific importance for several reasons, including the fact that it includes an important prayer as well as some foundational summations of what Christ’s work on the cross means for believers. As the chapter opens, Paul expresses his thanks for the Colossians (v.3) and discusses how the truth of the gospel is bringing forth fruit in their lives (v.6). Paul goes on to note that his prayers are marked by his desire for them to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will (v.9), to be fruitful in good works (v.10), and to be strengthened with all might by God’s glorious power (v.11). This strengthening, he said, would result in patience and longsuffering with joyfulness (v.11). After discussing his prayer life as it pertains to them, Paul discusses how God has delivered believers from the power of darkness and translated them into the kingdom of his dear Son (v.13). He goes on to note that we have redemption through his blood as well as forgiveness of sins (v.14).
As the first chapter of Colossians continues to unfold, Paul notes that Christ is the image of the invisible God (v.15). In detailing what this means, Paul notes that He created everything, including things in heaven and earth. His creative efforts include visible and invisible thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers (v.16). Paul then goes on to define the church as the firstborn from the dead (v.18). Additionally, Paul notes that the fullness of God dwelled in Christ (v.19). (This argument was contentious at the time it was articulated and remains the source of debate and disagreement today. Many people argue that the notion of God literally dwelling inside a human body is impossible and illogical, yet this is a fundamental tenet of the Christian faith.)
As the chapter continues unfolding, Paul argues that humans were reconciled to God by Christ’s death (v.20-22). Yet this reconciliation is contingent upon the believers remaining in the faith (v.23). He then goes on to discuss his call to the ministry (v.25). In so doing, he points out that this ministry includes sharing the truth of Christ with the Gentiles (v.27). Paul concludes the chapter by noting that he labours hard in these efforts. In pointing this out, he states that God is working in him mightily to complete the task given him (v.29).
Although this brief summation of the first chapter of Colossians is certainly not exhaustive, it can serve as a starting point through which individuals interested in studying the Bible gain a deeper understanding of its form and content. Readers who want to learn even more about the book of Colossians can access the following articles to get more information:
1. “Learn About the Epistle of Paul to the Galatians” by Saul Shandly
2. “Understanding Colossians 3:12-17” by D.W. Surbrook
3. “Life Worth Living: A Sermon Based on Colossians Chapter 1:1-14” by Pastor Tim Henry
My studies on the first chapter of Colossians has increased my understanding of the Bible’s ideological and epistemological import. I hope you found my brief overview helpful, also!
Jocelyn Crawley is a 28-year-old college student currently pursuing a Masters of Divinity degree in preparation to become a pastor. She holds B.A. degrees in English and Religious Studies.