Notes on the Study of Colossians; Pt. 3


1. Colossians and Ephesians contain many phrases, sentences, and expressions that are much alike.
2. The fact that there is so much similarity between the two books could be accounted for by one of the following explanations:

(1) Some later author borrowed quotations from one of the books to write the other. Edgar Goodspeed[2] expressed this idea, saying that Ephesians is a book written long after Paul’s time by some writer (Onesimus is suggested as possible author) who borrowed expressions from several of Paul’s authentic letters, particularly Colossians, to produce a grand summary of Paul’s writings, which we call Ephesians.
[2] Edgar A. Goodspeed, The Key to Ephesians, (Chicago: U, of Chicago Press 1956), v-xv.
This contradicts what the book of Ephesians says about its own authorship; it contradicts the unanimous testimony of the early Christian writers, who all held that Paul wrote Ephesians; it raises far-reaching suspicions against the accuracy of the Holy Scriptures and the honesty of their writers. We reject this idea.
(2) More probably Colossians resembles Ephesians simply because they were written by the same author (Paul) at nearly the same time. We have frequently written several friendly letters to people to be sent off at the same time, and found ourselves writing about the same subjects, and using similar expressions in all the letters.
3. In spite of the similar phrases in Ephesians and Colossians we must assert emphatically that Ephesians and Colossians are quite different books. Ephesians deals with the unity and glory of the church. Colossians deals with the supremacy of Christ and the heresies and opposed it. Ephesians and Colossians both present material that the other book does not touch upon at all.


1. Colossians is the most Christ-centered epistle in the New Testament.
2. Our outline of the book (See Study I, Outline.) shows that every topic in the book is a discussion of how Christ relates to various subjects.

For example the purpose of Paul’s ministry (Col. 1:24-29; Col. 2:1-5) was to make known the mystery of God, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col. 1:27).
Furthermore the antidote to the false doctrines of men is Christ, “for in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” (Col. 2:9)
Also Christ is the basis of the Christian’s holy new life. “Ye died and your life is hid with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:3).

3. Other particularly outstanding verses in Colossians about Christ are:

(1) Col. 1:18—“That in all things he might have the preeminence.”
(2) Col. 2:10—“In him ye are made full.”
(3) Col. 3:11—“Christ is all, and in all.”
(4) Col. 3:17—“Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

4. An analysis of the teachings about Christ in Colossians:

1. God is the father of Christ; Col. 1:3.
2. Christ is God’s beloved Son. 1:13.
3. Christ is the image of the invisible God; Col. 1:15.
4. Christ is the firstborn of all creation; Col. 1:15.
5. He is before all things; Col. 1:17.
6. In him all things consist (hold together); Col. 1:17.
7. He is the beginning; Col. 1:18.
8. He is the firstborn from the dead; Col. 1:18.
9. He has preeminence in all things; Col. 1:18.
10. In him all the fulness dwells; Col. 1:19.
11. In him are all treasures of wisdom and knowledge; Col. 2:3.
12. All the fulness of the Godhead dwells in him; Col. 2:9.
13. He is head over all principality and power; Col. 2:10.
14. He is the body, of which rituals were shadows; Col. 2:16-17.
15. He is at the right hand of God; Col. 3:1.
16. He is all and in all; Col. 3:11.

II. The Work of Christ.

1. Past:

a. Redemption; Col. 1:14.
b. Forgiveness of sins; Col. 1:14.
c. Created all things; Col. 1:16.
(Created in him, through him, and unto him.)
d. Gave us the circumcision not made with hands; Col. 2:11.
e. He despoiled the principalities and powers; Col. 2:15.
f. He made an open show of the principalities; Col. 2:15.

2. Future:

a. He will reconcile all things; Col. 1:20.
b. He will present us holy and without blemish before God; Col. 1:22.
c. He will present men perfect; Col. 1:28.
d. He shall be manifested; Col. 3:4.
e. We shall receive just recompense from the Lord; Col. 3:24.

III. Christ and the Church.

1. We are translated into Christ’s kingdom by God; Col. 1:16.
2. Christ is head of the body; Col. 1:18; Col. 1:24.
3. We may suffer for Christ, like Paul; Col. 1:24.
4. Christ is our hope of glory; Col. 1:27.
5. Our task is the reveal Christ among the Gentiles. Christ is God’s revealed mystery; Col. 1:27; Col. 2:2; Col. 4:3.
6. We preach and admonish every man in Christ; Col. 1:28; Col. 4:3.
7. All the body is supplied from the head; Col. 2:19.

IV. Our Relationship and Responsibility to Christ.

1. Relationships:

a. We are made full in Christ; Col. 2:10.
b. We are buried with him by baptism; Col. 2:12.
c. We are raised with him; Col. 2:12; Col. 3:1.
d. We died with Christ; Col. 2:20.
e. Our life is hid with Christ in God; Col. 3:3.
f. Christ is our life; Col. 3:4.
g. We shall be manifested with him in glory; Col. 3:4.
h. All relationships (wife-husband, slave-master, etc.) are based on our relationships with Christ. Col. 3:18-25; Col. 4:1.

2. Responsibilities:

a. Faith; Col. 1:4.
b. Walk worthily of the Lord; Col. 1:10; Col. 2:6.
c. Steadfastness; Col. 2:5.
d. Order; Col. 2:5
e. Receive Christ; Col. 2:6.
f. Be rooted and builded up in him; Col. 2:7.
g. Beware lest any make spoil of us, by human traditions that are not after Christ; Col. 2:8.
h. We must hold to our Head; Col. 2:18-19.
i. Seek the things in heaven where Christ is; Col. 3:1.
j. Let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts; Col. 3:15.
k. Let Christ’s words dwell in us richly; Col. 3:16.
1. Do everything in Christ’s name; Col. 3:17.
m. Wives, be in subjection in the Lord; Col. 3:18.
n. Servants be obedient, fearing the Lord; Col. 3:22; Col. 3:24.
o. Work as unto the Lord; Col. 3:23.

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