When Was Colossians Written?

This post is background information for the sermon from 2/9/2014 on Col. 1:1-8.


What we call the Book of Colossians was actually a letter written to the church in the city of Colossae. It was written by the Apostle Paul, also called Saint Paul, also called, simply, Paul. Colossae was located in the ancient province of Asia which is modern day Turkey and it was across the river from a sister city called Laodicea (10 miles).

The letter was most likely composed while Paul was imprisoned and probably while he was located in Ephesus which is relatively close to Colossae. Paul would often go to the influential city of a region to establish a beachhead for the church, and from there he would send out evangelists and church planters to the various smaller cities of the region. This seems to be what happened in Colossae. Paul was in Ephesus and his worker Epaphras brought the gospel to Colossae.

If, as seems likely, Paul was in Ephesus during the composition of the letter (I follow NT Wright in this suggestion), then it was composed between 52 and 55 AD.

This is truly remarkable, because within 20 years of the resurrection of Jesus we have a fully developed theology of his divinity and humanity. In other words, there was not enough time for people to pass away, for mythical accretions to accrue, or for additional tradition to develop. So where did people come up with the idea the Jesus was fully God and fully man?

The most compelling answer is that they got this idea from Jesus teaching and his actual, bodily resurrection from the dead.