Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Argument and Flow of Colossians

What follows comes from a paper I produced for Professor G. K. Beale in 2010 for his New Testament Theology class (one of the best classes I have ever taken):

Col. 1:1-2: Paul and Timothy greet the faithful saints in Christ at Colossae with grace and peace from God their Father. 
Transition:  Because the Colossians are faithful saints in Christ in response to the gospel of grace, Paul and Timothy have reason for gratitude to God, expressed in vv. 3-8.
Col. 1:3-8:  Constant thanksgiving is offered to the Father for gospel fruitfulness—faith in Christ and love in the Spirit—because of the heavenly hope of the gospel of grace.
Transition:  Based on manifest fruit, prayer is offered in v. 9ff for still more fruit.          
Col. 1:9-14:  Constant prayer is offered for the saints to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all Spirit-given wisdom so as to walk worthily of the Lord in his kingdom.
Transition:  Col. 1:15-20 specifies who the Son mentioned in v. 14 is. 
Col. 1:15-20:  The Son in whom the fullness of God dwells and who images forth God is Lord of Creation and Recreation and will therefore have the supremacy in everything.
Transition:  Having made peace by the cross, the results are spoken of in vv. 21-23.
Col. 1:21-23:  God reconciled the formerly alienated Colossians through the death of the Son to present them holy, faultless, and blameless before him.
Transition:  After speaking of becoming a minister of the gospel, Paul explains the design of his Christ-shaped, joy-filled sufferings.
Col. 1:24-29:  Paul’s joyful sufferings in the gospel for the church fulfill the prophetic word of God among the Gentiles—the mystery of Christ in them as the hope of glory. 
Transition:  In 2:1-5 Paul tells more specifically why he has been agonizing and toiling.
Col. 2:1-5:  In view of false teaching, Paul’s joyful struggle aims at encouraging the saints’ hearts unto gospel understanding and continued good order and firmness of faith in the Christ in whom reside all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Transition:  Paul’s exhortation in 2:6-7 accords with the aim of his struggles in 1:24-2:5. 
Col. 2:6-7:  Paul urges a grateful walk with reference to Messiah Jesus as the Lord of all.
Transition:  After urging the Colossians how to walk, Paul shows the way to continue that walk by issuing a warning to avoid what would lead away from Christ.    
Col. 2:8-15:  Do not be taken captive away from Christ in whom is the fullness of the deity and in whom you have been filled when you died and rose with him.
Transition:  On the basis of what was achieved through Jesus’ death and resurrection, Paul confidently exhorts the Colossians concerning shadows and substance.
Col. 2:16-19:  Let no one judge you concerning shadows that have their substance in Christ, nor let anyone disqualify you of the prize through not holding fast to the head.
Transition:  Verse 20 refers back to the condition of believers’ dying with Christ to the old world (vv. 11-12) as the basis for exhortation in v. 20ff.  
Col. 2:20-23:  Since you died with Christ to the elements of the world, do not submit to the doctrines of men that are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.
Transition: Col. 3:1 now refers back to the condition of believers’ rising with Christ (2:12-13) as the basis for exhortations in 3:1f.
Col. 3:1-4:  Seek the things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Transition:  Col. 3:5ff is an inference based on dying, rising, and being glorified with Jesus in vv. 1-4. 
Col. 3:5-11:  Put to death and put away the deeds of the old man because you have put on the new man who is being renewed according to the image of Christ—who is all.
Transition:  Verses 12ff give another inference based on having put off the old man and having put on the new man—where Christ is all. 
Col. 3:12-17:  As God’s holy and loved people, wear clothes that fit the new man, doing all—whether in word or deed--in the name of the Lord Jesus. 
Transition:  Verse 17 gives the general injunction, and 3:18-4:1 give specific injunctions that focus on deeds in Jesus’ name.
Col. 3:18-21:  Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus: serve the Lord Christ in the home!
Transition:  Verse 17 gave the general injunction, and v. 22ff continue the specific injunctions that focus on deeds in Jesus’ name. 
Col. 3:22-4:1:  Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus: serve the Lord Christ in society!
Transition:  Col. 4:2-6 continues to work out the general injunction given in 3:17, now focusing on words in Jesus’ name in relation to prayer, evangelism, and outsiders.   
Col. 4:2-6: Continue steadfastly in prayer for gospel proclamation and walk and speak wisely for gospel witnessing.
Transition:  The verses that follow elaborate upon the concerns of apostolic ministry.
Col. 4:7-9:  The faithful brothers will make known Paul’s circumstances.
Transition:  The following verses continue to expand upon apostolic ministry concerns.
Col. 4:10-17:  Gospel greetings, concerns, and love are extended from gospel workers. 
Transition:  After greetings from others, Paul himself adds his personal touch.
Col. 4:18:  Paul himself greets them in chains and extends the grace benediction.

One Sentence Exegetical Summary:  In the face of cosmic opposition, God is bringing about the promised new-creation kingdom of his Son through the apostolic gospel in order that the Lord Jesus might be pre-eminent in all things.

No comments:

Post a Comment