Christ Alone- Saturday, 22nd week in ordinary time – St Paul’s letter to the Colossians 1:21-23

It was Epaphras who brought the ‘Good News’ of Jesus Christ to the Colossians, and not Paul. We know, from the letter to Philemon, that this new Church met in the home of Philemon, his wife Apphia and their son Archippus. It is from this home that a slave by the name of Onesimus had run away and come to serve Paul who was under house arrest, necessitating the letter of Paul to Philemon, asking him to take Onesimus back as a brother, not merely a slave (Colossians 4:9, Philemon 8-21).

This community of Colossae is now under threat. Heretical (false) teaching had crept in no sooner than Epaphras left to labour with Paul in the mission field. Perhaps Epaphras thought that Paul and not he, would be best suited to clarify the matter to the new converts ‘in Christ’; after all Paul was the apostle ‘of Christ’.

The content of the heresy or false teaching was eclectic. It contained a mixture of Jewish legalism, Greek speculation, and the mysticism of the Orient, and this false teaching was causing problems in the ‘knowledge of God’ that Epaphras has sown in them. Paul now writes to correct the problem; an inadequate theology, which he calls a philosophy and an empty deceit (Col 2:8).

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