Philippians & Colossians, Joy and Completeness in Christ

by Glen H. Jones

These two Pauline letters were written while Paul was imprisoned in Rome for his faith. Paul wrote to the Philippians with overflowing joy for the comfort he has in the Lord Jesus Christ. Philippi was the first place in Europe that the gospel was preached. On his second missionary journey, Paul and Silas were directed by the Holy Spirit to go over into Macedonia (Europe). The two evangelists were shamefully treated and thrown into prison for preaching the gospel. That imprisonment led to the conversion of the Philippian jailor and his family. This was probably the beginning of the church in that city. Paul had a warm place in his heart for this church. Paul wrote this letter in response to reports of disunity in the church. Some members were bickering against each other. The apostle reminds them that such conduct is displeasing to the Spirit of Christ. He also informs them that one of their own-Epaphroditus-has improved in health. Finally, he thanks them for their financial contribution to meet his needs while he was in prison. In closing, Paul encourages them to live the Christian life in the midst of persecution. Paul wrote to the Colossian church for an entirely different reason. It is doubtful that the apostle ever visited this city, but he was familiar with their spiritual situation. Jewish legalism had infiltrated the church. The Colossian church seemed to lack mature Christian leadership to combat the error. This legalism was mingled with Gnostic philosophy, which taught that only those with superior intellects could understand mature spiritual truth. If one wanted to gain this understanding, he must climb a ladder of ascending angels who could reveal truth. In the strongest terms Paul stated that all spiritual wisdom comes through Christ who is the creator and sustainer of the world. We are complete in Him, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. In chapter three Paul encourages the Colossians to conduct themselves in such a manner as to bring glory to Christ. In chapter four the apostle advises husbands, wives, children, and slaves of their unique responsibilities in their daily living. A set of discussion questions is included at the end of each section. Some may want to use this as a textbook or as a Bible study guide.
2011 Disciple 155x50 2011 AMG 155x50
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