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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

The Letter of Paul to the Colossians - Introduction

Colossae was a city of the Roman province of Asia, east of Ephesus and near Laodicea and Hierapolis. It had been evangelized by Epaphras (see 1.7 ). The unity, stability, and survival of the church were threatened by doctrinal diversity, especially by a faction which had blended together with the Christian gospel some pagan and marginal Jewish elements. This amalgam detracted from the uniqueness and supremacy of Christ through the worship of heavenly beings. The principal aim of Colossians is to assert the preeminence of Christ.

Paul's authorship of Colossians is sometimes questioned because of the differences in style, vocabulary, and doctrine between it and his undisputed letters. Those who uphold its authenticity explain these differences as due to the new situation to which he addresses himself and to the maturing of his thought. If authentic, Colossians probably dates from the Roman imprisonment of Paul (61–63 C.E.). The certainly genuine Letter to Philemon has several points of contact with Colossians (see Introduction to Philemon ).

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Oxford University Press

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