What is the Book of Colossians About?

Read this 2-minute introduction to help you find your bearings in the Bible story, and inspire you to read Colossians!


Historical Context

The apostle Paul wrote this letter to Christians living in the small city of Colossae. 

From Remember that the ultimate author of every book of the Bible is the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). He has written this book to equip you for life, to help you know the true God, and to give you hope (2 Timothy 3:16; Romans 15:4). The Holy Spirit wrote Colossians for your good and to lead you into joy.

It was probably written c. AD 62, while Paul was in prison in Rome (Acts 27–28). This was about the same time he wrote Ephesians and Philemon. All three letters were sent with Tychicus and Onesimus.

The Setting of Colossians

c. AD 62 

Paul wrote his letter to the Colossians while in prison, probably in Rome. The church at Colossae was likely established during Paul’s third missionary journey as he ministered for three years in Ephesus. It appears that Paul did not personally plant the church there, but instead a Colossian named Epaphras traveled to Ephesus, responded to Paul’s gospel message, and returned to share the good news in Colossae.   

Unless otherwise indicated, this content is adapted from the ESV Global Study Bible® (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright ©2012 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Message Series

Christ In You, the Hope of Glory by Sam Storms

Check out this phenomenal 23-part message series by Sam Storms. In 40-minute messages, Dr. Storms walks us through the book of Colossians, helping us know Christ better and live in light of our love for him. 

Colossians Dictionary

As you read through Colossians, you might come across words and ideas that are foreign to you. Here are a few definitions you will want to know!

Teaching or instruction, usually done as a warning.

Great trouble or pain.

A person from another country; a foreigner.

Heavenly beings created by God before he created Adam and Eve. Angels act as God’s messengers to men and women. They also worship God.

The Jews, as descendants of Abraham, were selected by God to be “a great and powerful nation, and all nations of earth will be blessed through him” (Genesis 18:18). The New Testament declares that the Church has also become the spiritual recipient of this blessing and responsibility (see 1 Peter 2:9).

The Greek word that means “God’s Chosen One.” “Messiah” is the Hebrew word meaning the same thing. Jesus was the Christ.

An assembly or gathering. The word church is used to refer both to local groups of believers in Christ (church) as well as to all believers (Church).

To cut an unneeded flap of skin, called the foreskin, from the penis. For the Israelites, circumcision was a sign of the special agreement (or covenant) they had with God: If they worshiped and obeyed Him, He would be their God and they would be His people. Abraham was the first Hebrew to be circumcised. After Abraham, Hebrew baby boys were circumcised when they were eight days old. Leaders in the Early Church said that it was not necessary for men or boys to be circumcised to become part of God’s family.

(1) To find someone guilty of doing something wrong and to declare or pronounce a punishment. (2) To be against or disapprove of something because it is wrong.

(1) To be certain about the things we cannot see or to trust someone because of who he or she is. For example, a Christian has faith that Jesus is God’s Son. (2) The whole message about Jesus Christ—that He is God’s Son and that He came to take the punishment for our sin so that we may become members of God’s family. This describes the faith of a Christian.

(1) Dinners, celebrations and banquets. (2) Jewish religious holidays and celebrations.

The first child born into a family. During Bible times, the firstborn son received special rights and power. He became head of the family after his father died, and he received twice as much money and property as his brothers.

(1) Literally, “good news.” The good news of the Bible is that God sent His Son, Jesus, to take the punishment for sin and then raised Him from the dead so that any person who believes may have new life. (2) The story of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ told in the first four books of the New Testament. The books are also called the four Gospels.

Someone who has the right to receive the property or position of another person when that person dies. In Bible times, the heir was usually a son. The Bible says that anyone who is a member of God’s family is His heir. God will never die, but because we are His children, God keeps on giving us great love, care and kindness.

A truth that is understood because of God’s revelation. The term appears only in the New Testament (mostly in the letters of Paul) and refers to God’s plan to redeem the world through Christ.

The weekly day of rest and worship that God set apart for all people. In the Old Testament, it is the seventh day of the week (Saturday); and today for many Jews and some Christians Saturday is still observed as the Sabbath. For Jews, Sabbath starts at sundown on Friday and lasts until sunset on Saturday. Because Jesus rose from the dead on a Sunday, most Christians set aside Sunday as the day of rest and worship (see Acts 20:7).

The unseen part of a person that controls what he or she thinks, feels, and does; soul. The Bible says that God is a spirit, showing that he does not have a physical body.

To choose to work with or to obey another person in a thoughtful, gentle way. The Bible says that Christians are to submit to each other in the same way that Jesus submitted to God when Jesus came to earth.

(1) The planet Earth. (2) People who follow Satan. (3) Anything that belongs to life on earth instead of eternal life with God.

This content is from What the Bible Is All About, written by Henrietta Mears. Copyright © 1953, 2011 by Gospel Light. Copyright assigned to Tyndale House Publishers, 2015. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. 

Tough Questions