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In Colossians, Paul emphasizes the preeminence and supremacy of Christ.


Lesson Thirty-four: Colossians


I. Authorship

A. Problems with Pauline Authorship

1. Hapaxlegomena

2. Issues of Style

3. Theological Issues

4. Missing Pauline Themes

B. Arguments in favor of Pauline Authorship

1. The letter claims to be Pauline.

2. Stylistic features

3. Typical Pauline theological emphases

4. Typical Pauline letter

5. Ties to the Philemon letter


II. Foundation of the Church


III. Occasion of the Letter

A. Response to problems in the church

B. Dangers referred to:

1. Worship of elemental spirits (2:8)

2. Worship of angels (2:18)

3. Observance of religious festivals and days (2:16)

4. Observance of food regulations (2:16, 21)

5. Ascetic behavior (2:20-23)

6. Emphasis on human wisdom and philosophy (2:8, 22)

C. Particular vocabulary

1. Wisdom (1:9, 28; 2:3, 23; 3:6)

2. Understanding (1:9; 2:2)

a. Gnosis (2:3)

b. Epignosis (1:6, 9, 10; 2:2; 3:10)

3. Perfect (1:28; 3:4; 4:12)

4. Pleroma (1:19; 2:9-10)

D. Gnosticism

1. Dualism

2. Anthropology

3. Soteriology

4. Ethics

a. Asceticism

b. Hedonism/Libertinism


IV. Paul's Refutation of the Dangers

A. Christ is all-sufficient.

B. Christ has defeated the powers and archons.

C. In Christ they have come to completeness of salvation and lack nothing.


V. Outline of the Letter

A. Salutation (1:1-2)

B. Thanksgiving (1:3-8)

C. Body - The All-sufficiency of Christ (1:9-2:23)

D. Ethical exhortation (3:1-4:6)

E. Closing (4:7-18)


VI. The Hymn of Colossians (1:15-20)

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