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Bible Commentaries

Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes


- Colossians

by E.W. Bullinger

Col THE EPISTLE TO THE COLOSSIANS. THE STRUCTURE AS A WHOLE. Colossians 1:1-2 . EPISTOLARY AND SALUTATION. Colossians 1:3-8 . REPORTS AND MESSAGES BY EPAPHRAS. Colossians 1:9 - Colossians 2:7 . PAUL''S SOLICITUDE FOR THE COLOSSIANS, AND PRAYER THAT THEY MIGHT ACKNOWLEDGE THE MYSTERY. Colossians 2:8-23 . DOCTRINAL CORRECTION FOR FAILURE AS TO EPHESIAN TRUTH. HAVING DIED WITH CHRIST. Colossians 3:1 - Colossians 4:1 . DOCTRINAL CORRECTION FOR FAILURE AS TO EPHESIAN TRUTH. HAVING RISEN WITH CHRIST. Colossians 4:2-6 . PAUL''S SOLICITUDE FOR THEM, AND THEIR PRAYERS ASKED CONCERNING HIS PREACHING THE MYSTERY. Colossians 4:7-9 . REPORTS AND MESSAGES BY TYCHICUS AND ONESIMUS. Colossians 4:10-18 . EPISTOLARY AND SALUTATION. INTRODUCTORY NOTES. 1. Doctrine has more place than practice in the Epistle to the Colossians. There is a marked resemblance between it and the letter to the Ephesians, a prominent element of both, as well as Philippians, being the apostle''s insistence upon the reality of our union with Christ, as having died and risen again in Him, and the necessity for holding fast the Head" (Colossians 2:19 ). 2. SUBJECT. Colossians, like Galatians, proclaims our freedom from the elements, or rudiments, of the world. What those elements are, is sufficiently explained by the term ceremonialism, the rites and ceremonies of religion as distinct from Christianity. Hence Paul''s earnest admonition against a return to such, Jewish or other, inasmuch as this is to deny our completeness and perfection in Christ. Practically, it is to say that He is not sufficient, that something more is needed to be added to Him, some ordinance is wanted to make us quite complete. But, as the apostle unfolds to us, we died with Christ, and, consequently, ordinances are of no use to dead persons. In this Epistle all practical holiness is shown to spring from the holding of true doctrine, i.e. our life is the outcome of our belief. Then, our standing being complete and perfect in Christ, we cannot grow in this standing , but we may grow in the knowledge, experience, and enjoyment of it. 3. The statement in Colossians 2:1 indicates that, at the time of writing the Epistle, Paul had not yet visited Colosae, although commentators are divided on this point. Some believe that the apostle could not have missed out the city in one or other of his missionary journeys, although no mention is made in Acts. Others, referring to 1:7, hold that Epaphras had been Paul''s deputy to bear the good news to his fellow-citizens, for he was a Colossian (Colossians 4:12 ). 4. DATE. The Epistle was written towards the end of the apostle''s first imprisonment in Rome, about A.D. 62 (Appendix- 180). 5. The Phrygian city of Colossae was only a few miles from Laodicea, the importance of which gradually increased as the other city declined. Both so entirely disappeared that only in recent times were the sites discovered, and various ruins traced, by modern explorers.