The Story of Paul and his Co-workers in Colossians

Paul became an Apostle (1.1), a servant of the gospel (1.23) and of the church (1.25) by the will of God (1.1, 25). God commissioned him to make fully known to the Gentiles His word, the gospel about the hope of glory found in Christ (1.25-27). Paul, along with his co-workers proclaim Christ, admonishing and teaching everyone with the goal of presenting them mature in Christ (1.28). For this he continues to toil and struggle, empowered by God (1.28), for the Colossians and for those in Laodicea and all those he has not met face to face (2.1). His desire is that all would be encouraged and united in love, and remain assured and steadfastly focused on Christ in whom all wisdom and understanding are found (2.2-3). As such he rejoices to here of their current firmness of faith (2.5). Ever since hearing of their faith Paul and Timothy have not ceased praying for them, thanking God for their faith, love, and hope (1.3-6), and asking that they would be filled with the knowledge of God’s will and receive Gods empowering so that they may live lives pleasing to God, continuing to bear fruit in every good work, and being enabled to endure all things as he has and is, while sharing in the joy and thanksgiving which comprehension of their salvation brings (1.9-12). To this end he writes to the Colossians, in order to encourage and instruct them towards maturity in Christ (2.6-7), and to make them wise to the dangers of teachings and practices that are not rooted in Christ (2.4, 8, 19). He is currently undergoing suffering for their sake and the church as a whole, a prisoner because of the gospel (3.4, 18), yet rejoices in this (1.24). He requests prayer as one who is as much a recipient of grace as all in Christ (1.13), looking forward to the future asking that the Colossians would pray for him and his co-workers in their work of proclaiming the gospel  (4.3), and for himself personally that he will be able to do so clearly (3.4).


Paul’s Self-Presentation in Colossians

Paul presents himself to the recipients of the letter as:

▪ An apostle of Christ and by God’s will (1.1), commissioned to be a servant of the church and the gospel (1.23) in order to make it fully known (1.25; particularly to the Gentiles 1.27) in order to present all mature in Christ (1.23, 28)

▪ As completely committed to this mission regardless of the trouble it causes him. He is a prisoner because of his proclamation of the gospel (4.3, 18) yet he takes joy in such sufferings, which are for the sake of Christ’s body, the church (1.24)

▪ As one who constantly struggles for the Colossians, the Laodiceans, and even those in Christ he has not met (2.1), seeking the unity of all in love (2.2)

▪ As a slave of Christ and fellow-slave of Epaphras (1.7; 4.12), his associate through whom they came to faith (1.7), and who he commends (4.12-13), and as grateful for and valuing of all those he works alongside (4.7-11)

▪ As one who constantly prays and thanks God for the Colossians, interceding for their growth in God (1.3, 9; 2.5)

▪ As deeply concerned for their perseverance and holding onto the gospel of Christ (1.11, 23; 2.5-7), and concerned for their being taken captive through teachings and practices not grounded in Christ (2.2, 6, 8-23)

▪ As one who is consciously reliant upon God for carrying out his commission (4.2-4)