The Well Community Church

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Ephesians / Colossians

November 3, 2013

The books of Ephesians and Colossians are two of four prison epistles (along with Philippians and Philemon) that the Apostle Paul penned while on house arrest in Rome. These two books are very similar in their presentation of a holistic, panoramic view of the Christian life, demonstrating who we are in light of the person and work of Jesus Christ. In each book, Paul shows us that an exalted view of the supremacy and sufficiency of Christ in salvation helps us understand how to live out a heartfelt obedience to Christ in both the church and the world.

Ephesians

Author

Paul, originally named Saul, a Pharisee until confronted by Jesus Christ.

Date

It is generally believed that Paul was in Rome under house arrest when he wrote this letter, although there is some debate as to whether he was in prison in Caesarea or Rome at the time. Most likely Paul wrote Ephesians first, followed by Colossians, Philemon and Philippians from this same house arrest situation in Rome, around A.D. 60-61.

Theme

The Church’s Blessing

The church has been given all the spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

Additional Info

Although Paul may not have been writing anything he hadn’t taught directly to the church at Ephesus, there seemed to be some concern that they weren’t getting it. He commended their faith and love but was concerned for their hope, their sense of what they had in Christ, and the power that God had made available to them to be able to live out the life they were given. It was most likely a letter sent to the church at Ephesus, but intended to be distributed to other nearby churches outside Ephesus.

© Dr. Rick Taylor

Colossians

Author

Paul, originally named Saul, a Pharisee until confronted by Jesus Christ.

Date

Likely around A.D. 60-61 when Paul was under house arrest in Rome awaiting trial. He probably sent it with the letters to Ephesus and Philemon.

Theme

The Church’s Master

The master and sustainer of the church is Jesus Christ, who is the beginning of all things and by Him all things hold together.

Additional Info

The city of Colossae is a small, almost insignificant city about 100 miles east of Ephesus, in Asia Minor. From all indications, Paul did not establish the church at Colossae personally; most likely Epaphras established the church there. The people were being pressured to embrace an unusual mix of Essene Judaism and Pagan Gnosticism, coming to be known as the Colossian Heresy. Paul spent most of the letter helping them understand and deal with the demands to conform to their world. This letter is probably best known for its passages in chapters 1-2 that provide the single most concentrated teaching on the theology of Christ. The book has many of the same words, phrases and themes as the letter Paul wrote to the Ephesians.

© Dr. Rick Taylor

Resources for Ephesians and Colossians

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