Colossians & Philemon

by Mike Raiter
Overview

Around AD 52, Paul preached daily in the city of Ephesus. From there the gospel spread across the whole region, including Colossae. About eight years later, Paul found himself under house arrest in Rome. Epaphras came to see him, bringing news of the church in Colossae. From his prison, Paul wrote to the church in Colossae—a church he probably hadn’t actually visited, but with whom he felt a strong connection. He wrote to encourage them to be “rooted and built up in [Jesus]” (Colossians 2:7). Paul wanted the believers there to keep growing strong in Christ.

And while in the prison, Paul also wrote the epistle of Philemon. In it he tackled the problem of Onesimus, a runaway slave from Colossae. This tiny epistle gives us a wonderful example of how to exercise pastoral ministry in the church, showing how a person who is growing strong in Christ demonstrates true fellowship.

The Structure of Colossians

1:1–2:5
Paul’s thanksgiving and prayer for the Colossians’ maturity

2:6–23
Encouragements and warnings to keep growing in Christ

3:1–4:6
New life in Christ

4:7–18
Paul’s greetings to his friends

Key Verse
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” —Colossians 2:6–7

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