Christology in Colossians

Primarily, the Christology in Colossians is a summary of who Paul says Christ is both as being fully man, and fully God. The reason for such high Christology was that there were false teachers that came to shake the firmness of the believers. The believers were looking to other practices such as “asceticism”, “worship of angels”, “vision”, and the man with the “sensuous mind” who was one of the false teachers that were there to relieve their fear of evil. (Colossians 2:18) Their focus was being directed at God and on earthly solvents. In Paul’s prayer, in chapter 1 he mentions the Colossians need of “spiritual wisdom and understanding.” They needed prayer for this because they were seeking other ways to obtain what only God could provide. Paul intercedes for them by way of prayer, and through showering them with the truth of who Christ is. Prayer for the believers to not fear evil spirits, and not to follow evil ways was the first thing Paul did. The Scriptures teach us that God has given us Himself to go to when we see a need in the body of Christ.

Before addressing false teachers Paul starts off his letter with his confession of the deity of Christ in Colossians 1:15-20. This follows the theme of Philippians 2:9 known as the Christ Hymn. O’Brien comments on the development of Christology in Colossians noting, “it is spelled out in relation to and as a correction of the false teaching at Colossae.” (DLP p.151) Paul takes the declaration of the deity of Christ directing the Colossian’s minds away from the false teachers to the power of Christ who is over all creation. (Colossians 2:9-10) Paul not only tells them of who Christ is, but instructs them in chapter 2:2 “full understanding” 2:6 “received Christ-walk in Him”, 2:20 “died with Christ to”, 3:1 “raised with Christ”, 3:12 “as God’s chosen ones”, 3:15 “peace of Christ rule”, and 3:24 “knowing that from the Lord” to live out their own knowledge of Christ. Paul lays out the foundation of who Christ is so that the Colossians may find comfort that no one else has this type of knowledge and power than Christ. He has “disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to shame by triumphing over them.” (Colossians 2:15)

The false teachers are tried to disqualify or prohibit their minds from being on Christ. The deceit that was being taught was not of Christ. O’Brien states, “It was a fabrication that stood over against the tradition of Christ the tradition which stems from the teaching of Christ which finds its embodiment in him. (DPL p.149) Paul brings the deity of Christ in the introduction to fixate the Colossian’s mind to the things of the Lord. And then in chapter 3 urges them to “set their minds on the things above.” How will they know where to look if they do not have a proper understanding of who Christ is? Who better to tell them that the apostle who received his gospel “through a revelation of Jesus Christ”? (Galatians 1:12) Paul, qualified by God passionately brings to light who Christ is in the midst of a dark world. Christ has given us a way to embrace His light. In order to “put to death” the earthly, we need to be brought to a full understanding of the heavenly. Paul lays this Christology for the unstable believers both for the church at Colossae and today’s church.


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