Colossians 1:1-2


Outline of 1:1–13

A. Introductory; Col. 1:1-13

1. Author; Col. 1:1. Recipients; Col. 1:2 a. Greetings; Col. 1:2 b.
2. Prayer of thanks; Col. 1:3-8

a. When we give thanks—always; Col. 1:3
b. Why we give thanks; Col. 1:4-8

(1) Because we hear of your faith; Col. 1:4 a
(2) Because we hear of your love; Col. 1:4 b
(3) Your faith and love are caused by the hope you learned in the gospel; Col. 1:5-8

(a) The gospel is come to you; Col. 1:6 a
(b) The gospel increases and bears fruit; Col. 1:6 b
(c) You learned the gospel from Epaphras; Col. 1:7-8

—He is a faithful minister; Col. 1:7
—He declared unto us your love; Col. 1:8

3. Prayer of request; Col. 1:9-13

a. Why we make request; Col. 1:9 a
b. When we make request—without ceasing; Col. 1:9 b
c. What we request; Col. 1:9 c–13

(1) That you be filled with knowledge; Col. 1:9 c
(2) That you walk worthily; Col. 1:10-13

(a) Bearing fruit; Col. 1:10 b
(b) Increasing in knowledge; Col. 1:10 c
(c) Being empowered; Col. 1:11
(d) Giving thanks to the Father; Col. 1:12-13

[1] He made us meet to partake of the inheritance; Col. 1:12
[2] He delivered us into the kingdom of his Son. 1:13

Col. 1:1. Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 2. to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ that are at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.

Translation and Paraphrase

Col. 1:1. (A letter from) Paul, an apostle (one especially commissioned) of Jesus Christ through the will of God (with God’s special approval and help), and Timothy the brother (so well known to all),
2. to (all) the saints (the holy ones) and (the) faithful (Christian) brothers in Colossae (who are) in Christ (Jesus—in his church, his service, his care): May favor (that is, grace,) be unto you, and peace (also) from God our father (and the Lord Jesus Christ).


1. Paul opened his epistle to the Colossians with a greeting that both asserts his apostolic authority and his good will toward the Colossians.

2. Paul calls himself “an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God.” He needed to emphasize his office to these Colossians, who had never met him. The word apostle means one who is sent, or one specially commissioned. Paul was not merely one sent by some church, but he was one of the special messengers of Christ, on a par with the original twelve apostles of Christ. (Luk. 6:13; 2Co. 12:11-12). Paul had divine approval and divine commission for everything he wrote to the Colossians. Compare 1Co. 14:37.

3. Paul’s entire work and office was “through the will of God.” We also need this sense of divine sending, of doing our service through the will of God, even though we cannot claim the authority that Paul had. As long as we serve God according to the New Testament teachings, we are serving according to the will of God.

4. Timothy is named as co-sender of the epistle, although the composition of the letter was solely the work of Paul. Timothy was also co-sender of II Corinthians, Philippians, I and II Thessalonians, and Philemon. See notes on Php. 1:1 concerning Timothy.

5. Timothy is referred to as “our brother” (Gr. the brother). Evidently the Colossians had sufficient acquaintance with Timothy or his work with Paul to need no further introductions.
The title “the brother” is also applied to Quartus (Rom. 16:23), Sosthenes (1Co. 1:1), and Apollos (1Co. 16:12).
The Colossians could read this letter with assurance, for it came from those who referred to themselves as their brothers.

6. Paul addressed the Colossians as saints. Our generation (even most church members) seems to be afraid to be saints, or be called saints, Saints means holy ones, sanctified ones, those set apart unto God. Many people are bold to speak evil and do evil. Let us be bold as saints.

7. The expression “saints and faithful brethren” refers to just one group of people, the Colossian Christians. One Greek article relates to both descriptions.

8. Paul addresses this epistle to individuals, rather than to a church. Paul did sometimes address letters to churches in particular cities or areas, but his letters were directed to these smaller groups—to individuals, to saints in particular places, to particular churches. Paul would not approve of the practice of many in our generation who seek to use the whole church everywhere as a corporate pressure group for social revolution.

9. The Colossian Christians lived in two realms. They were in Christ, and also in Colossae at the same time. Colossae was an ungodly place, like nearly every city. But in the midst of Colossae the Christians had their real residence in Christ. They had not been taken out of the world, but yet they were not of the world. Joh. 17:14-15.

10. Paul wished for the Colossians; (1) grace (outward favor) and (2) peace (inner content). Here in Colossians as in all of Paul’s epistles except Hebrews he begins with a wish for grace to be with his readers. Compare Rom. 1:7; Php. 1:2; Eph. 1:2.

11. Paul’s greetings in Col. 1:1-2 reveals much about him. It reveals his firmness as an apostle; his willingness to share the honor of authorship with others like Timothy; his sincere high regard for the Colossians as saints and faithful brethren; his good wishes toward them.

Study and Review
1. What title does Paul use for himself as he begins Colossians? (Col. 1:1)
2. Whose will was it that Paul be an apostle?
3. Who was co-sender of the epistle with Paul?
4. How is the co-sender described?
5. What two terms does Paul use to describe the Colossians? (Col. 1:2)
6. What does grace mean?
7. In what two places, or realms, were the Colossians?
8. What two things did Paul wish for the Colossians?

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