The Colossus of Rhodes towered more than one hundred feet tall above the harbor of the Greek island of Rhodes, making it one of the tallest statues of the ancient world. This gigantic statue of the Greek god Helios was erected about three hundred years before the birth of Christ and was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
The English language has adapted the term “colossal” from this monstrous work of art to speak of things of outstanding proportions. Even though the book of Colossians is actually one of the smaller of Paul’s epistles, this little volume seems to deserve the title “colossal” since it packs a mighty theological punch and weighs in as one of the most significant treatments of who Christ is in us and who we are in Him.
If this were a Bible college or seminary text, we would have to begin our study with a certain number of essential fact that many of us would find boring as we impatiently mutter under our breath, “Let’s get on with the good stuff. I want to learn what’s actually in the book, not a bunch of facts surrounding the book.” Well, try to be a bit forgiving as I take the first few lines to deal with these boring facts. Scholars believe that Colossians was written by the Apostle Paul around 60-62 AD from a prison cell in Rome. It has been widely noted that there is a very close parallel between this letter and the one to the Ephesians. Furthermore, many Bible teachers speculate that the letter to the Ephesians was not actually directed to the Ephesian church specifically; rather, they suggest that it is more likely to have been a circular letter that was intended to be read by all the churches in Asia Minor, which is modern-day Turkey. The very earliest copies of the letter to the Ephesians did not bear this title; they simply were not addressed to anyone at all. This lack of a title, along with the general terminology used throughout the book has led many scholars to conclude that Paul had intended it for a much wider audience than just one church. When compared to the way most of his letters give point-blank advice to specific issues in the churches, it is readily observable that the Ephesian letter has a rather unique generalized tone. [Read more…]