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Literature / Book of Colossians

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The 12th book of the New Testament and the seventh of the Pauline epistles.


Structure of the book:

  • Greeting (Colossians 1:1-2)
  • Thanksgiving and prayer (Colossians 1:3-23)
  • Paul's ministry to the church (Colossians 1:24-2:5)
  • Alive in Christ (Colossians 2:6-15)
  • Let no one disqualify you (Colossians 2:16-23)
  • Put on "the new self" (Colossians 3:1-17)
  • Rules for Christian households (Colossians 3:18-4:1)
  • Further instructions (Colossians 4:2-5)
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  • Final greetings (Colossians 4:6-18)


Tropes:

  • Corrupt Church: Paul criticizes the sect in Colossae for imposing Loony Laws on people, all to puff up their own image without actually doing anything.
    "These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh." (Colossians 2:23, ESV)
  • Forgiveness: Colossians 3:13 encourages believers to forgive one another just as Jesus forgave them.
  • Good Parents: Like in Ephesians 6:4, Colossians 3:21 instructs parents to not provoke their children, or they will get discouraged.
  • Listing the Forms of Degenerates:
    • Colossians 3:5 instructs the reader to put aside these sinful qualities.
    "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry."
    • Colossians 3:8 also instructs this to the readers:
    "But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth."
  • God in Human Form: "For in Him [Christ] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Colossians 2:9, NKJV) - this is a verse that orthodox Trinitarian Christians often cite to show that Jesus fits the bill for "God in human form". On the other hand, Non-Trinitarian believers commonly interpret this to simply mean that Jesus is holy like God, and that God worked through him.
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  • No Ontological Inertia: "And [Christ] is before all things, and in Him all things consist. (Colossians 1:17, NKJV)" Literally, if Christ, that is, God the Son, ceased to exist (which is impossible), then the universe would also cease to exist.
  • No Woman's Land: Subverted in Colossians 3:18-19. Like in Ephesians 5:22-23.
    "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.
    Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them."
  • Sympathetic Slave Owner: Colossians 4:1 instructs masters to provide for slaves what's just and equal because they have a Master in heaven.
  • What You Are in the Dark: The epistle instructs slaves and employees to do the work they're meant to do at all times, not only when their earthly masters' eyes are on you.
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