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Research Papers on the Books of the Bible: Colossians

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Books of the Bible: ColossiansThe 12th book of the New Testament contains the Epistle of Paul to the Colossians, a letter written by the Apostle Paul to the Church of Colossae around 50 CE. Colossae was a small city located within the Phrygian kingdom that dominated much of Anatolia region until it was conquered by the Romans during the 5th century. Colossae was also located near the cities of Laodicea and Hierapolis, which also developed early Christian churches during this time period. Colossians is considered to be one of Paul’s prison epistles that, along with Ephesians, Philippians, and Philemon, were written near Jerusalem between 57 and 60 as Paul was imprisoned for preaching against circumcision, dietary restrictions, and other aspects of the Jewish faith. The book of Colossians has two primary purposes.

  1. First, members of the Colossian Church had begun to incorporate aspects of naturalistic or elemental pagan worship into their Christian beliefs. In this letter, Paul wanted to clarify that Christ’s divinity placed him above all aspects of the creation.
  2. Paul’s letter also attempts to eliminate many of the social distinctions that had been created between Jews and Gentiles, thereby establishing a religion that was available to all aspect of ancient society.

Paul’s authorship of Colossians has been questioned due to thematic and literary differences that appear to differentiate between this particular book and other books known to be written by Paul during this time.

It is through the example of Paul that one can witness the merits of civic leadership without the abuse of power. Paul reminds all men in leadership positions that all power comes from God. Paul states in Colossians:

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.  Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.  For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.  And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power. (Colossians 2: 6-10)

The specific recommendations that Paul makes in Thessalonians demonstrate that Paul was using his leadership position and position of power to provide concrete advice to the converts on how to lead a proper Christian life. In 1st Thessalonians 4, Paul repeats the instructions that he had given to the Thessalonians in person. The reasonably concrete mandates are to keep away from fornication, to avoid taking advantage of other people, and to live quietly so pagans will think well of Christians. 1 Th 5 contains other specific advice such as warn the idlers, give courage to the fearful and do what is best for the community. After building an atmosphere conducive to the receptiveness of the Thessalonians in the early part of the epistle, Paul is now taking advantage of his position of power by reinforcing the principles by which the early Christian community operates.

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