Friday, January 6, 2017

Colossians 1:1

In this first verse, Paul starts off by identifying the writer of the letter. Letters of this time period were often written on scrolls. These scrolls were rolled up and delivered to the recipient. Because one would have to unroll the complete scroll to see whom the letter was from, the custom of that day was to list the author of the letter at the very start.

Paul identifies himself as an apostle (Greek apostolos)[1] to verify his authority to write this letter and the corrections he will be establishing for the Colossian believers. Having never been to Colossae, he needed to establish this at the start to help them accept what he had to say. He says that he is sent from Christ Jesus[2] and emphasis is made that this is by the will of God. It was not his own doing, but God had made him the apostle. Paul identifies himself as an apostle in the opening statements of all of his existing letters except Philemon, Philippians and the Thessalonian correspondences. He moderates the noun by the phrase “through the will of God” in his correspondence to the Corinthians, Ephesians, and 2 Timothy.[3]

Paul was in the “will of God” as he ministered and served in the role of an apostle. Every believer is called to function in the Body of Christ. It is important to function, but more so to function in the right way. We can be very busy in the church, yet miss out the blessing of serving in the manner that God has designed and called us. Every one of us has a Gift of the Spirit (Greek pneumatikos), given by the Spirit’s choice and used to fulfill the mission of the Kingdom. No one’s gift is more important than another’s gift. All are necessary and God blesses all of them. We only receive full satisfaction in serving God by utilizing and functioning in the Body as He has made us. 

He includes Timothy in this greeting. Since Timothy accompanied Paul in his journeys, it is possible that the church of Colossae would be familiar with him. It is also possible the amanuensis[4] that wrote what Paul dictated. Paul calls him his brother, not necessarily a term of endearment as much as he is giving credit that Timothy had served beside him in much of his endeavors. Paul tends to refer to Timothy as his “son in the faith” as the term of endearment.

Prayer: Father, bless my time in Your Word to this Church and to me today. May I heed the lessons I am about to learn. Amen.

[1] The word literally means “one sent forth” 
[2] The order of Jesus’ designation is often important – Lord carries the designation of a Master/servant relationship; the Christ carries the concept of His Messiahship (the Anointed One - Prophet, Priest, King), and Jesus (Hesos) means salvation. Paul here establishes his authority as that of a servant to the Savior. 
[3] F. F. Bruce. The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Co.,1984) 
[4] An amanuensis was one employed to write from dictation or to copy manuscripts.

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