Coachlight Bible Study

Colossians Chapters 1 – Who Christ Is


Colosae was a town located about 100 miles east of Ephasis in the Roman province of Phyrgia (Asia), where Turkey is located today.  Colosae at one time was a prominent city on a main road.  The highway was relocated through Lyodicea nad Hieropolis, and Colosae became eclipsed by its neighbors.  The city is in ruins today.  The people of Colosae were made up of native Phrygians, Greek colonists, and Jews. Paul had prophesied to the Ephesian Elders that ‘grievious wolves’ would appear and not spare the people.

Epaphras had been converted, probably during Paul’s third missionary journey. On this trip, Paul ministered for three years out of Ephesus. (Acts 19:10;20:31).  Epaphras brought the Gospel to the Lycus valley, about 100 miles east of Ephesus, where Collosae, Laodicea, and Hieropolis were located. During Paul’s fist imprisonment in Rome, Epaphras visited Paul, or maybe was a fellow-prisoner. (Colossians 4:12,13; Philemon 23) In prison, Epaphras informed Paul of the false teaching of Mysticism & Gnosticism that had been introduced into the group at Collosae.

The false religion that crept into the group was a synthesis of Paganism, Judaism, and Christianity. The Pagan influence came from the dualistic Greek Philosophy & Phrygian mystic worship of Cybelle, The Jewish part bound people to the law, and the Christian element came from a wrong understanding of Who Christ is. The end result, if this false teaching was adhered to would be 1.) Strict asceticism, 2.) Antinomianism 3.) Secret societies, 4.) Angel worship.

Paul’s purpose was to combat this false teaching.  His intension was not to refute the false teaching point by point, but to give the Antidote for false teaching, a good dose of Who Christ is. Paul plan carries this out by first demonstrating Christ’s Preeminence, and then demonstrating how the Christian should walk.



The Christological Letter To The Colossians


To give the antidote (Christology) for false teachings





Preeminence of Christ

Freedom In Christ

The Affection of the Christian

The Walk of the Christian






Supremacy of Christ

Submission to Christ

What Christ Did For Us

What Christ Does Through Us


A Prison In Rome


AD 60-61

I. Introduction


Colossians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will<2307> of God, and Timotheus our brother,

Colossians 1:2 To the saints<40> and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.


A. This Epistle was from Paul

1. The people of Colosae had never met Paul

2. Paul was an apostle (messenger sent by God)

3. Paul was an apostle by the will of God – By God’s pleasure

B. This Epistle is also fromTimothy – our brother (Adelphos)


2307 yelhma thelema thel’-ay-mah - from the prolonged form of 2309; n n

will 62, desire 1, pleasure 1; 64

1) what one wishes or has determined shall be done

1a) of the purpose of God to bless mankind through Christ

1b) of what God wishes to be done by us

1b1) commands, precepts

2) will, choice, inclination, desire, pleasure


B. This Epistle was to the saints (Holy Ones) – Their Relationship To God

1. Separated to God

2. Separated by God

3. Separated from the world


40 agiov hagios hag’-ee-os - from hagos (an awful thing); adj

holy 161, saints 61, Holy One 4, misc 3; 229 - 1) most holy thing, a saint


C. The Colossians Demonstrated The Characteristics of a Christian – Had not yet succumbed to the false teaching


Colossians 1:3 We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,

Colossians 1:4 Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,

Colossians 1:5 For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;

Colossians 1:6  Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:


1. Paul heard of their faith in Christ

2. Paul heard of their love for all the saints

3. Paul heard that they had hope that brings forth fruit

4. Notice the hope came from the Gospel they heard at the very first


B. Epaphras had sent news to Paul- Paul’s Prayer For The Colossians


Colossians 1:7 As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant,<4889> who is for you a faithful minister of Christ;

Colossians 1:8 Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit.


1. Epaphras was a fellowservant – co-slave


4889. sundoulov sundoulos soon’-doo-los; from 4862 and 1401; a co-slave, i.e. servitor or ministrant of the same master (human or divine):— fellowservant.


2. Epaphras was a minister to the Colosians

3. Paul wrote because Epaphras told Paul the Colossian’s love in the Spirit


C. What was Paul’s (And the Holy Spirit’s) Desire for the Colossians?


Colossians 1:9  For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will<2307> in all wisdom<4678> and spiritual understanding;

Colossians 1:10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge<1922> of God;

Colossians 1:11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;


1. They be filled with the knowledge of God’s Will - Pleasure


2307 yelhma thelema thel’-ay-mah – Remember above? – God’s pleasure


2. Their knowledge of God’s Will would be in wisdom – Skill


4678. sofia sophia sof-ee’-ah - from 4680; TDNT-7:465,1056; n f  - wisdom 51; 51

1) wisdom, broad and full of intelligence; used of the knowledge of very diverse matters

1a) the wisdom which belongs to men

1a1) spec. the varied knowledge of things human and divine, acquired by acuteness and experience, and summed up in maxims and proverbs

1a2) the science and learning

1a3) the act of interpreting dreams and always giving the sagest advice

1a4) skill in the management of affairs

1a5) devout and proper prudence in intercourse with men not disciples of Christ, skill and discretion in imparting Christian truth

1a7) the knowledge and practice of the requisites for godly and upright living

1b) supreme intelligence, such as belongs to God or Christ


3. They have Spiritual Understanding – Inteligence


4907. sunesiv sunesis soon’-es-is; from 4920; a mental putting together, i.e. intelligence or (concretely) the intellect:— knowledge, understanding.


4. They have all three above  So That

a. They walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing

b. They are fruitful in every good work

c. They Increase in the knowledge of Who God Is


1922. epignwsiv epignosis ep-ig’-no-sis; from 1921; recognition, i.e. (by implication) full discernment, acknowledgement:— (ac-)knowledge(-ing, -ment).


d. They are strengthened by God’s might

1. So that they persevere through trials with patience

2. So that they endure the faults and offences of others with joy


Colossians 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

Colossians 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: {his…: Gr. the Son of his love}

Colossians 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:


e. They give thanks to God that has made them fit for their inheritance

1.  God has delivered them from the power of darkness

2. God has translated them into His Son’s Kingdom

f. Through God’s Son

1. They have been set free – Redemptive price has been paid with blood

2. The result is the forgiveness of sins


II. Who Christ Is


A. Christ is Preeminent in Creation


Colossians 1:15 Who is the image<1504> of the invisible God, the firstborn<4416> of every creature:

Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

Colossians 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.


1. Christ is the Image of the Invisible God – Physical manifestation


1504. eikwn eikon i-kone’; from 1503; a likeness, i.e. (literally) statue, profile, or (figuratively) representation, resemblance:— image.

Image From Key Word Study Bible Page 1479:

Eikon (1504) “image” always assumes a prototype (the original form from which it is drawn), not merely the thing it resembles (e.g.: The reflection of the sun in the water is an eicon)


2. Christ is the Firstborn – An implied Metaphor meaning Above all creation


4416. prwtotokov prototokos pro-tot-ok’-os; from 4413 and the alternate of 5088; first-born (usually as noun, literally or figuratively):— first-begotten(-born).


Firstborn From Key Word Study Bible Page 1479:


Prototokos (1416) Translated as “firstborn”. What it means in this passage is that Christ holds the same relation to all creation as God the Father, because He is above all creation.


Firstborn From The King James Study Bible Page 1862:


First-born here signifies two things.

1.) Temporal priority, As the firstborn child in a family is born before his brothers and sisters, similarly Christ existed before Creation.  He existed before the universe was created. 

And owing to the privileges usually given an eldest child, firstborn also signifies:

2.) Positional authority.  The firstborn in a family was customarily accorded more honor, greater authority, or a larger share of the inheritance., and so held a privileged position in relation to his brothers and sisters.


As Paul meant in Hebrews:


Hebrews 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

Hebrews 1:2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;


Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

Philippians 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

Philippians 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. {fashion: or habit}


Also read John 1:1-18


Note that firstborn is also used in verse 18 “firstborn of the dead”.  Here again it is not meaning being born, but showing the preeminence of Christ.  Because He was the first to resurrect, we also have the “Lively hope” as Peter wrote about, and Paul in I Corinthians 15.


3. Christ is the Jehovah in the Old Testament - Creator

a. Christ created all things in heaven and earth

b. Christ created All thrones

c. Christ created All dominions

d. Christ created All principalities

e. Christ created All powers

4. Christ is and was (existed) before all things

5. By Christ All things consist – (Are held together)

6. Christ is the Head of the Church – Body of Christ

a. Christ was the beginning of the Church

b. Christ was the firstborn from the dead – so we can resurrect

c. This is all demonstrating that Christ has preeminence


B. Christ is Preeminent in the Church


Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. {in…: or, among all}


C. Christ is Preeminent in Redemption


Colossians 1:19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;

Colossians 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. {having…: or, making}

Colossians 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled {in…: or, by your mind in}

Colossians 1:22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

Colossians 1:23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;


1. It pleased the Father that it was accomplished this way

2. All the fullness of the Godhead dwelt in Christ’s physical body (Colossians 2:9)

3. Because He did His work on the cross

a. Reconciliation (Bring to Himself) is for things in earth

b. Reconciliation  for things in heaven

4. Christ reconciled Colossians that were enemies in their mind by evil works

5. Christ will Present them Holy and Unblamable in His sight -- IF

a. They continue in the faith

b. They are not moved from the Hope of the Gospel


This is an example of the BIG IF.  If we continue in the faith.  This is the message of the New Testament.  Being presented unblamable and unreprovable in His sight is the beginning of the inheritance of the saints, and then we will be with Him forever. 


C. Christ is Preeminent in the Gospel Message


Repeating verse 23 so we don’t forget the context: (Paul’s ministry)


Colossians 1:23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

Colossians 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up<466> that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:

Colossians 1:25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation<3622> of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; {to fulfil…: or, fully to preach the word}

Colossians 1:26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:

Colossians 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: {in: or, among}

Colossians 1:28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

Colossians 1:29 Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.


1. In Paul’s ministry – He rejoices in his present sufferings

2. Paul was sent to uncover the mystery of Christ in the Gentile in this age


3622 oikonomia oikonomia oy-kon-om-ee’-ah - from 3623; TDNT-5:151,674; n f

dispensation 4, stewardship 3; 7

1) the management of a household or of household affairs

1a) specifically, the management, oversight, administration, of other’s property

1b) the office of a manager or overseer, stewardship

1c) administration, dispensation


3. As Christ managed the events of redemption by His sufferings

4. It is now Paul’s turn to suffer for the Gospel in this dispensation – or age that Christ is managing the events of this age

5. To fill up:


466 antanaplhrow antanapleroo an-tan-ap-lay-ro’-o - from 473 and 378; TDNT-6:307,867; v - fill up 1; 1

1) to fill up in turn

1a) in Colossians 1:24, the meaning is, ‘what is wanting in the afflictions of Christ to be borne by me, that I supply in order to repay the benefits which Christ conferred on me by filling up the measure of the afflictions laid upon me’.


From Robertson’s Word Pictures: Fill up (antanaplhrw). Very rare double compound verb (here only in N.T.) to fill up in turn. It is now Paul’s "turn" at the bat, to use a baseball figure. Christ had his "turn," the grandest of all and suffered for us all in a sense not true of any one else. It is the idea of balance ….There is plenty left for Paul and for each of us in his time.

That which is lacking (ta usterhmata). "The left-overs," so to speak. Late word from usterew, to come behind, to be left, to fail. See Luke 21:4; 1Thessalonians 3:10; II Corinthians 8:14; 9:12.


5. Why did Paul preach Christ?


Colossians 1:28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:


Application: This is a great promise to keep. If I continue in the knowledge in the Scripture of Who Christ is,  and apply the wisdom gained by the Holy Spirit,  steadfast to the end,  I will be presented blameless in His sight.


And not forgetting I Thessalonians:


I Thessalonians 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

I Thessalonians 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

I Thessalonians 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. {prevent: or, come before, or, anticipate, or, precede}

I Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

I Thessalonians 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words. {comfort: or, exhort}