Christ Above All a study in a study

Christ Above All a study in a study

Christ Above All a study in a study in Colossians for the Twixt N Tween Class March-April 2009 about

Mac Hendersonville native; Laura: St. Louis Lipscomb University

Director of Public Services at Disciples of Christ Historical Society, 19th Ave South near Vandy Research into anything and everything Restoration Movement, 3 years High School Bible, Ezell-Harding, 7 years Associate Minister and Deacon, Central Church, downtown Nashville, 12 years Christ Above

All Left: Byzantine icon depicting Christ pantokrator, or Christ the allpowerful Fruitful, worthwhile, engaging, stimulating, transformative Bible Study:

Head (exegesis) Heart Hands (prayer and worship) mission) (service, Gods Goals:

Appreciate Colossians as inspired scripture; it is foundational for our understanding of God, ourselves, the world and Gods saving work Gain a thorough knowledge of Colossians

Attempt to hear Colossians as it was originally heard by its original readers, as intended by its author Responsibly apply its message in our own setting To know God, listen to and respond to God Strategies

Cultivate a desire to hear Colossians as Gods message for us Read Colossians at least once at home and study through it together on Sunday mornings Examine the literary, historical, archaeological, social, political and theological backgrounds

Intentionally seek the points of connection between the text and our lives as Christs disciples in Smyrna in 2009open our hearts, minds and lives to God March 1 Introduction 8 Introduction concluded 15 1.1-2 and 3-14 22 1.15-23 29 1.24-2.5 April 5 2.6-23

12 3.1-11 19 3.12-4.6 26 4.7-18 Introduction --Historical Background --The Church in Colossae --The Colossians: Recipients of Gods Grace and Pauls Letter --The Occasion of the Letter --The Colossian Heresy

--Structure of the Letter Colossae Prison Epistles: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon Downtown Nashville

Brentwood Smyrna Google Earth Historical Background Tri-cities: Hierapolis, Laodicea, Colossae See 2.1 and 4.13-16 Important city on the main road across Asia Minor from Ephesus to the Euphrates River Laodicea was a medical, judicial, financial and

banking center of the region (overshadowing Colossae). Both were economically prosperous (wool) and culturally diverse. 5th-4th c BC: large, prosperous, populous See Revelation 3.14-22 Both cities were damaged by earthquakes. Laodicea was destroyed by an earthquake about 60 AD, but rebuilt using their own resources with no assistance from Rome.

There are Jewish settlers in this area for about 300 years before Paul writes Colossians 2000 Jewish families relocated in 2 nd c BC One estimate puts about 9,000 Jewish males over the age of 20 in Laodicea about 60 BC. Jews were allowed to practice their religion without hindrance (observing Sabbath, etc) By Pauls day Colossae waned in importance The Church in Colossae

The origin of the community of faith in Colossae is unknown Paul did not establish the church in Col (2.1) See Acts 2.10 for Phrygians at Pentecost Paul spends considerable time in Ephesus and Asia (Acts 19.10) @ 110 miles away The Church in Colossae The origin of the community of faith in

Colossae is unknown Paul did not establish the church in Col (2.1) See Acts 2.10 for Phrygians at Pentecost Paul spends considerable time in Ephesus and Asia (Acts 19.10) @ 110 miles away Epaphras (1.7 and 4.12, also Philem 23) brought some of them to faith, perhaps during Pauls time in Ephesus in Acts 19.

The Colossians: Recipients of Gods Grace and Pauls Letter The church is at least ethnically mixed, with both Jewish and Gentile converts. It may have been primarily Gentile 1.24-27 may indicate they were outsiders

Allusions to the OT are scarce (only 6). OT isnt quoted at all in Col. (quoted 6x in Eph.) Vices in 3.5-7 are Gentile vices? 3.11 is the only mention in Col of reconciliation of Jew and Gentile in the body of Christ Occasion for the Letter Colossians, like all NT letters, is occasional. Some situation in life (recipients or senders) prompts the writing of the letter

Letters are task-theology Epaphras visits Paul. Of concern is some kind of teaching or influence at Colossae and possibly Laodicea and Hierapolis (see 1.8 and 4.12-16) This teaching = the Colossian heresy Is it a single threat or a set of problems? Is it full-blown heresy or dangerous tendencies? Is it a clear-cut system?

Does it come from inside or outside? What is/are its root/s? Jewish? Xian? Pagan? Blend of some or all of the above? What is the best way to characterize it? Philosophy? Heresy? Way of life? Paul does not give us the benefit of a full, formal description and exposition of this heresy The Col church knows what it isEpaphras

has told Paul about itand Paul responds We discern it by mirror-reading Ask: What do Pauls statements reflect? Is it a single threat or a set of problems? Probably a single point of view All its diverse elements (and they are diverse) seem to somehow hang together

Paul easily moves from one element to another when countering them It appears to be a world-view large enough to encompass a degree of variety in the details Does it come from inside or outside the community of faith? What is/are its root/s? Jewish? Xian? Pagan? Judaizers or Jews?:

Food, festivals, sabbaths: see 2.16 and Gal. 4.8-10 Circumcision: 2.11; 3.11 Angels: 2.18; also Gal. 3.19 and Heb. 2.2 Christian: May be rooted in a low view of Christ.that Christ is a fine beginning, but one needs to move beyond and above Christ to be mature

In this sense it would be correct to characterize it as a Christian heresy Possible pagan (Graeco-Roman) elements: Wisdom and knowledge: 1.9-10; 2.2-3 Philosophy: 2.8 Asceticism: 2.20-23 Elemental spirits of the world: 2.8, 20

What is the best way to characterize it? Philosophy? Heresy? Way of life? It certainly affects how life is lived: see Pauls argument in 3.1-8 follows naturally from 2.20-23 Caution: Modern preacher who warns a church against taking stock in horoscopes isnt necessarily addressing heretics who

have infiltrated the congregation Structure of the Letter In form, ancient letters share these elements: Author Recipients Greeting Prayer/thanksgiving

Body of the letter Farewell/final greeting Structure of Colossians Author 1.1 Recipients1.2a Greeting 1.2b Prayer/thanksgiving 1.3-8 or 14 Body 1.9-4.6 Farewell/final greeting4.7-18

March 8 Introduction concluded 15 1.1-2 and 3-14 22 1.15-23 29 1.24-2.5 April 5 2.6-23 12 3.1-11 19 3.12-4.6 26 4.7-18 Christ Above

All

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