Intro to the book
Colossae resides in modern Turkey.
By Paul’s day the city had collapsed, and it’s former glory was long gone. An earthquake leveled Colossae, and then the main road was diverted, sending most traders to nearby Laodicea (about 12 miles) instead of Colossae. If you stayed on that road you end up in Ephesus.
That’s not to say people didn’t live there, the place had money and a robust agricultural economy. Water and the right kind of weather were in abundance, but the urban feel was all but gone.
Colossae and the surrounding region grew crops with medicinal and herbal properties. Notably, an eye salve grew nearby, something known to take away dreaded eye infections.
The people were good hearted folk with a strikingly cosomopolitan feel. Greeks lived in Colossae in good numbers, as did the Jews, Persians and Scythians (Russians).
Neighbors got along nicely, and we would say everyone there was nice.
Interestingly enough, the gospel is not about being nice, it’s about being saved, redeemed and then transformed from the inside out. Christians are forward movers and forward thinkers, by no means dangerous in the vioent sense, but dangerous disrupters of the status quo, especially if the status quo is against Christ.
In such an easy going – let’s all just get along kind of place – compromise was bound to set in, and Paul feared those things, so he wrote his brothers and sisters a loving, kind, doctrinal letter.
The Apostle Paul, as far as scripture records, never visited Colossae. He heard of their faith, and good name, and commends them for it. The gospel came to them through Ephaphras, a loyal and fellow soldier in the cause of Christ.
Paul writes to the Colossians and bids them to understand and internalize Jesus as Supreme over all things. With Christ as God, Paul explains, there is no room for compromise. Never.
It’s a tiny letter.
It’s a small church.
But they changed the world.