Robert Carroll and Stephen Prickett

in The Bible: Authorized King James Version

Published in print February 1998 | ISBN: 9780192835253
Published online April 2009 |

Series: Oxford World's Classics


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Colossians is another letter not now believed to be by Paul. Like Ephesians, but unlike Paul's normal style, Colossians has long, well-rounded Greek sentences. The theological development is also different. The church at Colossae is warned against ‘heresy’ and false teaching. Jesus is described as ‘the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell’ (1: 15–19). Elsewhere we are told: ‘For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily’ (2: 9). The benefits of being in Christ are manifest: ‘And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ’ (2: 13–17). Critics infer from this that the ‘false teaching’ opposed by this letter included subjection to elemental spirits which insisted on regulations already invalidated by Christ. The history of the Christian churches could be written in terms of their failure to grasp the force of 2: 14–17 and their constant reinscribing of the negation of 2: 16. Much of what is in Colossians can be found in Ephesians and in other genuine letters of Paul (cf. 3: 11 with Gal. 3: 28; 3: 18–22 with Eph. 5: 21–8).

Chapter.  382 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies ; Biblical Studies

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