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Scripture reading – Colossians 1; Colossians 2

Our chronological Scripture reading brings us today to Paul’s letter to believers in Colosse, titled, “The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Colossians.” Though only four chapters in length, you will find it is a letter that expressed both the apostle’s love for the congregation, as well as his concern that they not be led astray by false teachings. The foremost theme of Colossians, in my opinion, is the preeminence and person of Jesus Christ.

Colossians is believed to have been written during Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome (4:18), placing the date of its writing around 60-63 AD. The city of Colosse was located about 120 miles east of ancient Ephesus, in what we know today as southwestern-central Turkey. In Paul’s day, Colosse was located on a major trade-route, and was a thriving city. Today’s Scripture reading is Colossians 1 and 2, and our devotional will be taken from chapter 1.

Colossians 1

The Salutation (1:1-3)

Let us remember that Paul was a prisoner in Rome at the time he penned this epistle. Yet, there is no hint of discouragement or anxiety when he saluted the church in his characteristic style: “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother” (1:1). Paul was the author, but he acknowledged the company of Timothy, whom we know as his “son in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2).

Colossians 2:1 seemed to indicate Paul had not visited the congregation in Colosse in person, for he wrote, “for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh” (2:1). Nevertheless, Paul’s affection for the Colossian believers flowed through his stylus, as he addressed them as “the saints and faithful brethren in Christ” (1:2). Declaring his longing for them to know God’s grace and peace (1:2b), Paul assured them of his gratitude, and his persistent prayers (1:3).

Reputation of the Colossian Believers (1:4-6)

Notice the great reputation the congregation in Colosse had with Paul and other believers. Paul wrote, “we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints” (1:4). Such a statement should give us pause to ponder, what might be said of us, and our congregations? When was the last time someone considered your life and testimony, and noted your faith in Christ, and love for other believers?

Meet Epaphras (1:7-8; 4:12-13)

How did Paul come to know so much about a church membership, many of whom had not seen his face? (2:1) The answer was recorded in verse 7-8, where we read, “7As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ; 8Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit” (1:7-8).

Who was Epaphras? He was a man of great reputation from Colosse, whose stellar, godly character was described as “our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister” (1:7-8). The Colossian believers had sent Epaphras to minister to Paul as he was in prison (4:12-13, 18). The apostle assured the congregation how they had been continually in Epaphras’ prayers, and of his longing for their welfare in his absence (4:13).

Closing thoughts (1:9-11) – So much more might be taken from our Scripture reading, but I will limit my conclusion to Paul’s prayer and challenge to the Colossian believers that was recorded in Colossians 1:9-11. Paul wrote: “since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you” (1:9).

What had Paul heard? (1:9-11)

From Epaphras, he heard of the love and affection the Holy Spirit had stirred in the hearts of believers in Colosse. In turn, Paul’s heart was stirred to pray for them, desiring they would be filled and controlled by the Spirit, and walk according to the knowledge of God’s will (1:9). Paul longed for them to not only grow in their knowledge of God, but be obedient to the truth (1:10). He challenged and exhorted them:

Walk worthy of the Lord” — reflect His person and character in their daily walk (1:10a). Please the Lord –and not the flesh (1:10b). Grow and be “fruitful in every good work” (1:10c; John 15:8).  Lastly, Be strong, not in your strength, but “strengthened with all might, according to [the Lord’s] glorious power” (1:11a).

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Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith

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