Book information

Life-Study of Colossiansby Witness Lee

ISBN: 0-7363-0910-1
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry

Currently in: Chapter 1 of 65 Section 1 of 3

LIFE-STUDY OF COLOSSIANS

MESSAGE ONE

THE BACKGROUND AND POSITION OF THE BOOK

In the book of Colossians Christ is unveiled to a fuller extent than in any other book in the Bible. In this short book many terms and expressions are used to describe Christ. Before we consider the revelation of Christ in Colossians, we need to pay attention to the background and position of this book, both of which are crucial.

I. THE BACKGROUND

Three verses, all of which are warnings, enable us to see the situation which caused this Epistle to be written— Colossians 2:8, 16, and 18. Colossians 2:8 says, “Beware that no one carries you off as spoil through his philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the elements of the world, and not according to Christ.” This verse mentions four negative things which can cause us to be carried off as captives: philosophy, empty deceit, tradition, and the elements of the world. In the eyes of fallen mankind, philosophy is very good; it is the most highly developed product of culture. The elements of the world, elementary principles of certain teachings, may also be highly regarded by society. Nevertheless, philosophy, deceit, tradition, and the elements of the world can cause us to be carried off as prey.

In 2:16 Paul says, “Let no one therefore judge you in eating and in drinking or in respect of a feast or of a new moon or of Sabbaths.” Here Paul lists a number of things that are positive: eating, drinking, feasts, new moons, and Sabbaths. He warned the Colossians not to let anyone judge them with respect to these things.

In verse 18 Paul goes on to say, “Let no one purposely defraud you of your prize, in humility and worship of the angels, standing on things which he has seen, vainly puffed up by the mind of his flesh.” The prize spoken of in this verse is Christ as our enjoyment. It is possible to be defrauded of this prize through humility, a very positive human virtue.

A. Asceticism Having Saturated
the Church at Colosse

The reason Paul gave these warnings was that the church in Colosse had been saturated with asceticism. This asceticism was related to legality of ordinances (2:20-21) and to Judaistic observances (2:16).


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