You survived (I hope) the first month of bible study!!
This is a bit of a weird week. .
1/2 October and 1/2 November!
It will work out much better. .
to NOT start the book of Galatians this week. .
So in lieu of starting our next book with this half and half week. .
We’re going to do a week of something else. .
NOT taking a break though J
I had a hard time deciding what we should do. .
I will actually be at a conference in Boston the first part of the week. .
And since we are getting into some good reading habits. .
I didn’t want those to be put aside. .
so here is the deal. .
For the next week. .
I would like you to read the book of Colossians. .
at least 3 times (it’s only 3 chapters so don’t panic.)
My copy had so many notes and underlines and highlights. .
and it pulls in so many things that we have been learning!!
BUT. .it also highlights the importance of WISDOM in several verses. .
and my FIRST idea was to read through the book of Proverbs once during the week. .
At roughly 4 chapters for 7 days each. .
I was afraid that would be too overwhelming for some. .
SO. .read Colossians. .
but ALSO try to read at least the first 4 chapters of Proverbs and chapter 8. .
Those chapters talk a lot about why God desires us to become wise. .
and HOW we gain wisdom (aside from life experiences. .and when we learn from the school of hard knocks)
If you feel REALLY powerful this week. .
Read all of Proverbs. .
but be warned. .
have your highlighter in hand BEFORE you start. .
cause I KNOW. .that you will want to make some marks!
To get you started this week. .
Here is some background information on the book of Colossians by John MacArthur. .
Colossians is named for the city of Colosse, where the church it was addressed to was located. It was also to be read in the neighboring church at Laodicea (4:16).
Author and Date
Paul is identified as author at the beginning (1:1; cf. v. 23; 4:18), as customarily in his epistles. The testimony of the early church, including such key figures as Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen, and Eusebius, confirms that the opening claim is genuine. Additional evidence for Paul’s authorship comes from the book’s close parallels with Philemon, which is universally accepted as having been written by Paul. Both were written (ca. A.D. 60–62) while Paul was a prisoner in Rome (4:3, 10, 18; Philem. 9, 10, 13, 23); plus the names of the same people (e.g., Timothy, Aristarchus, Archippus, Mark, Epaphras, Luke, Onesimus, and Demas) appear in both epistles, showing that both were written by the same author at about the same time. For biographical information on Paul see Introduction to Romans: Author and Date.
Background and Setting
Colosse was a city in Phrygia, in the Roman province of Asia (part of modern Turkey), about 100 mi. E of Ephesus in the region of the 7 churches of Rev. 1–3. The city lay alongside the Lycus River, not far from where it flowed into the Maender River. The Lycus Valley narrowed at Colosse to a width of about two mi., and Mt. Cadmus rose 8,000 feet above the city.
Colosse was a thriving city in the fifth century B.C. when the Persian king Xerxes (Ahasuerus, cf. Esth. 1:1) marched through the region. Black wool and dyes (made from the nearby chalk deposits) were important products. In addition, the city was situated at the junction of the main north-south and east-west trade routes. By Paul’s day, however, the main road had been rerouted through nearby Laodicea, thus bypassing Colosse and leading to its decline and the rise of the neighboring cities of Laodicea and Hierapolis.
Although Colosse’s population was mainly Gentile, there was a large Jewish settlement dating from the days of Antiochus the Great (223–187 B.C.). Colosse’s mixed population of Jews and Gentiles manifested itself both in the composition of the church and in the heresy that plagued it, which contained elements of both Jewish legalism and pagan mysticism.
The church at Colosse began during Paul’s 3-year ministry at Ephesus (Acts 19). Its founder was not Paul, who had never been there (2:1); but Epaphras (1:5–7), who apparently was saved during a visit to Ephesus, then likely started the church in Colosse when he returned home. Several years after the Colossian church was founded, a dangerous heresy arose to threaten it—one not identified with any particular historical system. It contained elements of what later became known as Gnosticism: that God is good, but matter is evil, that Jesus Christ was merely one of a series of emanations descending from God and being less than God (a belief that led them to deny His true humanity), and that a secret, higher knowledge above Scripture was necessary for enlightenment and salvation. The Colossian heresy also embraced aspects of Jewish legalism, e.g., the necessity of circumcision for salvation, observance of the ceremonial rituals of the OT law (dietary laws, festivals, Sabbaths), and rigid asceticism. It also called for the worship of angels and mystical experience. Epaphras was so concerned about this heresy that he made the long journey from Colosse to Rome (4:12, 13), where Paul was a prisoner.
This letter was written from prison in Rome (Acts 28:16–31) sometime between A.D. 60–62 and is, therefore, referred to as a Prison Epistle (along with Ephesians, Philippians, and Philemon). It may have been composed almost contemporaneously with Ephesians and initially sent with that epistle and Philemon by Tychicus (Eph. 6:21, 22; Col. 4:7, 8). See Introduction to Philippians: Author and Date for a discussion of the city from which Paul wrote. He wrote this letter to warn the Colossians against the heresy they faced, and sent the letter to them with Tychicus, who was accompanying the runaway slave Onesimus back to his master, Philemon, a member of the Colossian church (4:7–9; see Introduction to Philemon: Background and Setting). Epaphras remained behind in Rome (cf. Philem. 23), perhaps to receive further instruction from Paul.
Historical and Theological Themes
Colossians contains teaching on several key areas of theology, including the deity of Christ (1:15–20; 2:2–10), reconciliation (1:20–23), redemption (1:13, 14; 2:13, 14; 3:9–11), election (3:12), forgiveness (3:13), and the nature of the church (1:18, 24, 25; 2:19; 3:11, 15). Also, as noted above, it refutes the heretical teaching that threatened the Colossian church (chap. 2).
Fast Fact will be back on Wednesday. .
with a little more information on the book of Proverbs. .
Instead of doing a discussion next weekend. .
I would just ask that you each plan to throw out some discussion sometime during the week. .
You may include one time with your fast fact if you choose. .
I know that there will be a LOT of information that will stand out to you all. .
just take a few minutes to throw out some meaningful scriptures, thoughts, or even questions (though know that I may not have time to do a ton of research to answer)
Next week. .the first full week of the month. .
be ready to get back into our routine. .
in the book of Galatians. .
Have a great week!!