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Who wrote the book of Colossians? Who was the author of Colossians?

author of Colossians

According to the salutation, the book of Colossians was written by “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother” (Colossians 1:1). Timothy was with Paul in Rome during the writing of the letter and may have served as an amanuensis.

The epistle was directed to the church of the Colossians. Paul had not met these Christians personally at the time of writing (Colossians 2:1). Much like his letter to the Romans, the apostle aimed to establish a personal connection with the people of Colossae, evident in his personal tone. The Colossian church was grappling with a heresy threatening the confidence of its believers. Paul, while imprisoned, received word of their struggles and penned a response. Colossians is one of four prison letters written by Paul, alongside Ephesians, Philemon, and Philippians. Paul wrote Colossians at the same time he wrote Philemon, addressed to a man within the Colossian church.

In Colossians, Paul emphasizes the supremacy of Christ to counter false teachings. Christ is portrayed in lofty terms as both Creator (Colossians 1:16) and Redeemer (verses 22–23), dispelling any doubt about His divinity and sovereignty. Also, Paul underscores that a correct understanding of Christ leads to sound Christian conduct, influencing all relationships. Thus, Paul transitions from exalting Christ to addressing practical and ethical concerns. He challenges prevalent false teachings in the Colossian church (Colossians 2:8, 16–23) and urges the believers to abandon sinful habits, cultivating godly virtues instead (3:5–10). He also offers guidance on relationships (3:18—4:1), encouraging conformity to Christ alone.

External evidence, supported by early church fathers such as Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, and Origen, corroborates Pauline authorship of Colossians. The book’s authorship only came into question in the 19th century. Critics of the traditional authorship cite linguistic differences in Colossians, compared to other Pauline Epistles.

However, the differences can be easily explained by human variability. Authors past and present do not limit themselves to a particular style, especially when the subject matter calls for diversity. Also, the use of an amanuensis can account for any perceived differences. There is no reason to doubt that Paul wrote Colossians.

As explored in the book of Colossians, false Christs, counterfeit religions and hostile ideologies abound, increasing the need for us to discern truth. Our view of Christ impacts every area of our lives, giving proper motivation for dealing with sin, gaining Christian character, and treating our loved ones with dignity.

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This page last updated: April 11, 2024