Colossae was located about one hundred miles east of Ephesus in a mountain canyon near where the Lycus River joined the Maeander River. Mt. Cadmus rising to over 8,000 feet above sea level stood only three miles away. Colossae was an important city of ancient Phrygia, in Asia Minor. It occupied a very strategic location guarding the entrance to the aforementioned canyon and also lying on the great highway linking Ephesus and the great cities of the Euphrates River Valley. Colossae lay very close to Laodicea and Hieropolis. They gradually grew more important and Colossae gradually lost significance. About a year after the Apostle Paul sent his letter to Colossae, the city was devastated by a terrible earthquake.
In New Testament times Colossae was still a very important city and many Jews lived there, making it a logical place to plant a church. Most scholars agree that the Apostle Paul wrote Colossians about 59 A.D., while he was imprisoned in Rome. He wrote in response to heresy that had sprung up in the church. The Colossians were mixing Oriental mysticism, Jewish legalism, and asceticism (self-deprivation) with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some were worshipping local, mythical “river spirits” and angels alongside God. Paul responded by pointing out the truth about the person and work of Jesus Christ. When government officials are trained to recognize counterfeit money, the focus is on the real thing not the various counterfeits. The real thing must be completely burned into the mind of the examiner. If someone tells you a lie about someone you do not know very well, you are inclined to believe the lie. If you are told a lie about someone whom you do know very well, you will not believe the lie. You will immediately recognize the lie because you know the truth. Thus, the Holy Spirit and Paul set out to make sure that you and the Colossians recognize Christ and His work. The more truth you know about Christ, the less danger false teaching is to you. By the same token, the less truth you know, the greater danger that false teaching is to you.
Paul, in chapter one, turned his attention to pointing how awesome Christ is. Colossians 1:15-22 says, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach.” NASU Hallelujah and Amen! Read that passage over and over again. Meditate on it. Savor it. Remember it. And Paul was just getting started. The rest of the book contains much about the grandness of Christ. You will be blessed by reading it. Make sure that you know the truth about the One who claims to be The Truth. He is a Treasure to be treasured!