Kohlohssaí (Colosse), situated on the Lycus River in the Roman proconsular province of Asia (modern Turkey) of which Ephesus was the capital (c. 120 miles to the West), was the oldest of three inland cities cited in this Epistle (4:13). Although a very important city in the fifth century B.C., after the trade route was relocated near Lah-ohdeekeh-ée-ah, it ranked third. Paul never visited Kohlohssaí (2:1). A second-hand report is implied (1:4). But no doubt he was responsible for the existence of the church (Acts 19:9,10) through his ministry at Ephesus and in the school of Tú-rahnnus. The church met in Feeláymohn's house ( 4:17 cf. Phlm. 1,2). It is concluded that Ehpahfráhs founded the church and reported the doctrinal problem to Paul (1:7,8 cf. 4:12)
The writer of Colossians was also the Apostle Paul, whom God used to write fourteen New Testament Books (see Notes on First Thessalonians, page 516).
Internal evidence to Paul's authorship is clear both by the accepted title that bears his name and the text. He identifies himself in his opening greeting (1:1) and his closing salutation (4:18). He also refers to his bonds (4:3,10,18).
External evidence comes from the writings of the "Church fathers" (patristic tradition of the early Church) and the Muratorian Canon (A.D. 160-200): "For the Epistles of Paul . . . he wrote to not more than seven churches, . . . the fourth to the Colossians." There is no contradictory evidence found in the early Church writings, but Paul's authorship was an accepted fact and never doubted until the eighteenth century.
Dating of Colossians is determined by the fact that he was in prison (4:3,10,18) in Rome (Phil. 1:12 cf. 4:22). Both the Ephesian (6:21) and Colossian (4:7,8) Epistles were delivered by Tukh-eekóhs, so were written at about the same time in A.D. 63, Colossians after Ephesians. Philippians, coauthored by Paul and Timothy, was written near the end of same two-year imprisonment (A.D. 61-63.) at Rome (cf. Notes on Philippians, p. 518). Paul indicated (Phil. 1:25,26) that he was near the end of his imprisonment and anticipated an early release in A.D. 63, but no such mention is made in Ephesians or in Colossians.
The Purpose of Paul in writing to the Colossians is to combat Jewish legalism and Gnostic philosophy (2:8,18) which claims there is evil in matter, therefore The Perfect God must, through successive emanations, become more and more feeble until contact with matter is possible and creation is performed.
Characteristics include: doctrinal and didactic; corrective; polemic and apologetic; and personal.
Contrast: Ephesians presents the Church as the Body of Christ, while Colossians presents Christ as The Head of the Church.
The Book may be outlined as follows:
I. Introduction (1:1-12): Personal Prayer Expressed.
II. Doctrinal (1:13-2:7): The Pre-eminence of Christ Presented.
III. Polemical (2:8-23): The Pre-eminence of Christ Threatened.
IV. Practical (3:1-4:6): The Pre-eminence of Christ Applied.
V. Conclusion (4:7-18): Personal Greetings Extended.