Epistle to the Colossians

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In the New Testament, Colossians is an epistle written, according the text itself, by Paul the Apostle. The epistle addresses the church in Colossae, a rather insignificant Phrygian city near Ephesus in Asia Minor. Members of the congregation had incorporated pagan elements into their practice, including worship of elemental spirits. Paul declared Christ's supremacy over the entire created universe and exhorted Christians to lead godly lives.

The letter is in two parts, first a doctrinal section, then a second regarding conduct. In both sections, Paul opposes false teachers who have been spreading error in the congregation. In the doctrinal sections, Paul explains that there can be no need to worship anyone or anything but Christ because Christ is supreme over all creation. All things were created through him and for him, and the universe is sustained by him. God had chosen for his complete being to dwell in Christ. The "cosmic powers" revered by the false teachers had been "discarded" and "led captive" at Christ's death. Christ is the master of all angelic forces and the head of the church. Christ is the only mediator between God and humanity, the unique agent of cosmic reconciliation. Further, Paul also denounces the ascetic practices or avoiding certain foods because Christ's death put an end to such distinctions. Believers are one in Christ, not divided between circumcised and uncircumcised, slave and free, and so on. He then calls on his audience to fulfill all domestic and social obligations. The letter ends with customary prayer, instruction, and greetings.

During the first generation after Jesus, Paul's epistles to various churches helped establish early Christian theology. Written in the 60s while Paul was in prison, Colossians is similar to Ephesians, also written at this time.

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