The Colossian Heresy

Powerful Essays
The city of Colossae
Located on the South bank of the Lycus River in the province of Phrygia stood Colossae. Before the Christian era, Colossae was a principle city in the Lycus Valley . Part of a major trade route in Asia minor from Ephesus to Miletus, the city was most known for its production of textiles, especially its purple wool . With other large cities such as Laodicea and Hierapolis, this was a well-populated and high business area in the Lycus Valley. Yet, with changes in the road system, Laodicea became a more important trade city than Colossae. And though once a city of great prominence, by A.D. 61, Colossae had suffered a great deal. An earthquake shook the city that year, Eusebius writes, and had disappeared from the literature of its day .
However, there is much more to the story of this once prominent city. For instance, the city is written to by the Apostle Paul in the late 50’s A.D., concerning what was considered to be dangerous teachings that might be infiltrating the church in that city. What was this false teaching that Paul was concerned enough to write about? Was there truly a danger? What did this teaching consist of? These questions will attempt to be answered in the following pages. It would be wise to first begin with the church in Colossae.

The Church in Colosssae had a problem
The church in Colossae was not planted by Paul. Rather, many believe that one of his students, Epaphras, was the man who built this Gentile church . It is believed that Epaphras is the man who first sent word to Paul about the problems facing the church there. And while it is generally agreed that Paul writes to a specific problem affecting the church in Colossae, it is not agreed upon what exactly the problem was. There are as many possibilities as there are scholars who have written on the subject. For the time being, some of the more likely views will be briefly examined.

The heresy
Often referred to as the “Colossian Heresy”, many debated as to who might be the ones responsible for the false teachings and wrong influences that Paul was so concerned about. Arnold writes that though Paul had probably not visited the church in Colossae before he wrote, he believed the teaching to come from a Pagan and Jewish style of thought and law . This would imply that two different groups were responsibl...

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