Reading: Colossians 1-2
Summary: Paul had never personally visited Colossae. The city was very possibly evangelized during the time of Paul’s lengthy stay in Ephesus on the third missionary journey when that city served as a base of operation for evangelizing “all the residents of Asia” (Acts 19:10). Even though he had never personally visited there, they had many mutual friends and acquaintances, such as Tychicus, Aristarchus, Epaphras, and others (see 4:7ff).
Paul’s information about the church at Colossae had come to him from Epaphras (1:7-8). There were many good things to be said about the Colossian church but also some bad news about a particular false teaching that had infiltrated the church (often called the “Colossian heresy”).
The opening of this letter contains one of the most beautiful, concise statements of glory and greatness of Jesus (1:15-20). Paul speaks of his work that though not directly carried out in Colossae it did affect the church there, nonetheless. We also see clues to the nature of the threat against these Christians (2:6-23).
These Three Again
Faith, hope, and love are famously linked together by Paul. “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:13).
Hardly, though, is that the only time the connection is made. For instance, “since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven” (Col. 1:4-5).
Elsewhere we read, “remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 1:3) and “let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith…let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering,..let us consider how to stir up one another to love…” (Heb. 10:22-24; see also Rom. 5:1-5).
A good measure of one’s spiritual condition is certainly that status of their faith, hope, and especially love. If one is to take inventory, this is the place to begin.