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Oct 7, 2018

Scripture Reading: Colossians 1:1-8 

When Paul was in his first Roman imprisonment, he wrote four letters which are usually known as his 'prison epistles.'  These letters are Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. 

The letter to the Colossian Christians bears some similarities to Ephesians, but has a unique element.  Drawn from some of Paul's references in Colossians, we can piece together the idea that there was a philosophy being taught in Colossae that undermined the supremacy of Christ and the gospel.  This teaching seems to be a blend of Jewish doctrines and pagan mysticism.  This odd combination is sometimes known as the 'Colossian heresy.' 

In the opening paragraph, Paul greets his readers with his typical thanksgiving, lauding their salvation in God's grace.  Here Paul thanks God for three things: (1) the conversion of the Colossian saints; (2) the spread of the gospel in the Roman empire; and (3) the work of Epaphras, who was probably the founder of the church in Colossae.  Paul did not visit Colossae in his missionary journeys and so is writing to people he had never met.

We should thank God for the same three things … the conversion of people in our church; the spread of the gospel in the whole world; and the work of gifted people God has sent to our fellowship to help exalt Christ in His kingdom.