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Colossians and Philemon

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In Colossians, Paul emphasizes the deity of Christ. Philemon was written to a gentlema Paul knows to encourage him to welcome back Onesimus, his runaway slave, who became a disciple of Christ and was returning.


Letters of Paul

Part 6

VI. Introduction to the Prison Epistles

A. Character Links between the Prison Epistles

1. Philemon/Colossians

a. Epaphras

b. Onesimus

c. Mark

d. Aristarchus

e. Demas

f. Luke

2. Colossians/Ephesians


3. Philippians

B. Colossians and Philemon

1. Notes on Philemon

a. "Fellowship of your faith" in v. 6

b. Compare non-violent protest movements

c. Vv. 13-16, 17, 21 crucial for Paul's intent

d. Justice for others vs. demanding my rights

e. Letter a key model of tact, persuasion throughout

2. Background to Colossians

a. Authorship debate

i. Too different from Paul's other letters?

ii. Too similar to Ephesians?

b. The problem of the heresy

i. Is it all Jewish (e.g. Dunn)

ii. Pythagoreanism (e.g. Schweizer)?

iii. Phrygian folk religion (e.g. Arnold)?

c. The Colossian heresy: Christians not fully saved

i. Christ not fully God – must add works – various rituals for spiritual maturity

ii. Christ not fully human – only spirit not body – inner spirituality divorced from outward actions

d. Colossians outline

i. Introduction: Greeting, thanksgiving and prayer (1:1-14)

ii. Theological exposition (1:15-2:23)

iii. Ethical implications (3:1-4:6)

iv. Conclusion: Final greetings (4:7-18)

C. The "Domestic Code": (Haustafel) in the Epistles

1. Colossians/Ephesians (must be consistent with Colossians 3:11)

a. Husbands – Wives

b. Parents – Children

c. Masters – Slaves

2. 1 Peter

a. Government – Citizens

b. Husbands – Wives

c. Masters – Slaves

d. Elders – Rest of Church

D. "How Would You Respond to…"

1. Colossians 1:15 and "firstborn" as first created being?

2. Colossians 1:20 as teaching universalism

3. Colossians 1:23 used to support "eternal insecurity"

4. Colossians 1:24 used to support incomplete atonement

5. Colossians 2:8 for Christians not to study philosophy

6. Colossians 2:11-12 baptism equivalent to circumcision, thus appropriate for babies

7. Colossians 3:1-3 cultivating inner spirituality, Christian mysticism is highest priority

8. Sabbatarianism

9. Fasting as necessary part of Christian spirituality

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