Bible Query from
Colossians

Q: In Col, what is the main point of the book?
A: To a godly church infiltrated by those with an "extra-fancy" theology leading people to focus on angels, philosophy, etc. instead of God, Paul's message was very simple in a single main point, though many rich ramifications: Christ is all you need; if you are alive in Christ, you should be dead to other things. Other religious things might be nice or interesting, but if they take the place of your devotion to God, then they become bad things for you.
It is actually rather difficult to find "the" verse that best summarizes the book of Colossians, because there are so many good choices. Some of these are Colossians 1:17-18; 2:3; 2:6; 2:8-10; 3:1-3; 3:11; 3:17. Personally, my two favorites are Colossians 2:8-10 and 3:1-3.
 

Q: In Col, what is an outline of the book?
A: Here is a fairly detailed outline.
Since received Christ, continue in Christ's gospel
I. Introduction
...A. Greetings Col 1:1-2
......1. From Paul and Timothy Col 1:1
......2. Greetings to the holy and faithful at Colossae Col 1:2
...B. Thanking God for them Col 1:3-8
......1. Their faith and love springing from hope Col 1:3-6a
......2. The gospel is bearing fruit in them. Col 1:6b-8
...C. Praying to God for them Col 1:9-14
......1. Filled with knowledge and live pleasingly and fruitfully in His power Col 1:9-11
......2. That they would be thankful to God too Col 1:12-14. (Transition: Col 13:b-14)
II. Understanding Christ's supremacy Col 1:15-23
...A. How Christ is all you need Col 1:15-18
......1. Image of God and Lord of all Creation Col 1:15-17
......2. Head of the Church and firstborn Col 1:18
...B. Why Christ is all you need Col 1:19-23
......1. Fullness of God dwelling in Christ Col 1:19
......2. Christ Reconciled you Col 1:20-22
...C. But only if you continue Col 1:23 (Transition: Paul a servant of this gospel Col 1:23b)
......1. Continue in your faith and hope in the gospel Col 1:23a
......2. This gospel you already heard and has been proclaimed by Paul. Col 1:23b
Continue in Christ, so don't get take captive
III. Paul's struggling and work for them Col 1:24-2:7
...A. What Paul is doing for them Col 1:24-29
......1.Rejoicing in Paul's suffering Col 1:24
......2. Servant proclaiming the mystery Col 1:25-29
...B. Why Paul was struggling Col 2:1-5
......1. What Paul is struggling for Col 2:1-3
......2. What Paul is struggling against Col 2:4-5
...C. Continue to be rooted and built up in Christ Col 2:6-7
......1. Continue to live in Christ Col 2:6
......2. Rooted and built up in faith taught to them and thankfulness Col 2:7
IV Standing in Christ against old errors Col 2:8-3:4
...A. No trusting in human means, but Christ
......1. Not human philosophy but the fullness of Christ Col 2:8-10
......2. Not human circumcision but baptism by Christ Col 2:11-12
...B. No abiding in sins or rituals, but Christ
......1. Not dead in sins but alive in Christ, by the triumph of the cross Col 2:13-15
......2. Not the shadow of old rituals, but the reality of Christ Col 1:16-17
...C. No delight in angels or rules, but Christ
......1. Not false humility and angel worship, Col 1:18-19
......2. We died to Christ, so not ascetic rules Col 2:20-23
Since died and raised with Christ, live in Christ
V. New life in Christ Col 3:1-4:6
...A. Inner life: dead to self, alive in Christ Col 3:1-3:17
......1. put to death earthly things Col 3:1-9
......2. Our life is clothed in Christ Col 3:10-17
...B. Family and work relationships Col 3:18-4:7
......1. Marriage and family Col 3:18-21
......2. Slaves and masters Col 3:22-4:1
...C. Communicating Col 4:2-6
......1. Devotion to prayer Col 4:2-4
......2. Wise speaking to others Col 2:5-6
VI. Final Greetings Col 4:7-18
...A. Greetings from Paul and friends Col 4:7-15
......1. Tychicus and Onesimus are coming Col 4:4-9
......2. Paul and 6 others send greetings Col 4:10-15
...B. Paul's instructions and blessing Col 4:16-18
......1. Exchange letters with the Laodiceans Col 4:16
......2. Archippus, do you job Col 4:17
...C. Paul's final words Col 4:18
......1. Paul's own handwriting in chains. Col 4:18a
......2. Grace be with them. Col 4:18b
 

Q: In Col, what is the relationship to the book of Ephesians?
A: There are two similarities and one main difference.
In time, "...surely not much time separated the two epistles" according to The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.11 p.166.
In content, about one-fourth of the material in Colossians has similarities to content in Ephesians.
Yet, Paul has no rebuke of the Ephesians, but in Colossians contends against a syncretistic Judaizer/Ebionite legalism, ascetism, and worship of angels. Some see arguments against proto-Gnosticism. Early church writers traced some of the origins of later Gnosticism back to Simon of Samaria in Acts 8:9-25. Proto-Gnosticism differs from true Gnosticism in that proto-Gnosticism did not reject the Old Testament as being from a different god.
 

Q: In Col is Paul arguing against proto-Gnosticism?
A: No, but let's understand the question first.
Gnostic religions were a family of 30+ pagan Greek-Christian syncretisms that were against the Old Testament. The various sects Gnostics were united in these things: they believed the God of the Old Testament was malicious or foolish, the material world was created evil/dark/lower than the esoteric spiritual world, they had elaborate pantheons of Greek and newly invented divine beings, and they alone had the secret knowledge essential to join the divine beings and escape the material world. Some were ascetic and some were libertine. Proto-Gnosticism differed from true Gnosticism in that proto-Gnosticism did not reject the Old Testament as being from a different god. Early church writers traced some of the origins of proto-Gnosticism back to Simon of Samaria in Acts 8:9-25.
Some suggest there may be arguments against proto-Gnosticism, because Colossians speaks against 1) worship of angels, 2) reducing the pre-eminence of Christ, 3) Christ not being sole mediator, 4) special rituals, 5) ascetism, and 6) secret knowledge. Furthermore, Marcion, the father of Gnosticism, was a Phrygian from Pontus, north of Colossae. See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.11 p.166, The NIV Study Bible p.1811, Believer's Bible Commentary p.1986-1987.
However, I disagree because these six elements warned against in Colossians were present in Jewish sects and/or the Judaizers/Ebionites too. Second and equally important, while Marcion rejected many books of the New Testament, he accepted Paul's book of Colossians, so Marcion apparently did not see any explicit anti-Gnostic teachings in it.
 

Q: What do we know about the city of Colossae?
A: Colossae was a major city 100 miles east of Ephesus on the Lycus River. It is only about 12 miles from Hierapolis and Laodicea. These three cities had mineral deposits and rich pastures, but were subject to earthquakes. As Greek influence spread eastward after Alexander of Macedon's conquests, it remained was an ethnic outpost of Phrygians and Lydians, though Greeks lived there too. In the 2nd century B.C. the Seleucid Emperor Antiochus III forced many Jews to settle in Colossae.
 

Q: In Col 1:3, since there is a God and Father of Jesus, then how can Jesus be God?
A: Jesus voluntarily "emptied Himself" before He came to earth, as Philippians 2:7 and John 17:5 tell us. While on earth, Jesus was submissive to the Father in the role as His God. Hebrews 1:9 shows multiple senses of the word "God" when it says "Therefore God, your God, has anointed you." The doctrine of the Trinity teaches three distinct persons, God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit, and only One God in Trinity.
 

Q: The Bible critic Bart Ehrman writes, "Colossians 1:3-8 is all one sentence in Greek; it's a whopper, and quite unlike the kind of sentence Paul typically wrote." (Jesus, Interrupted p.126).
A: Colossians does not differ much from other books of Paul. I am mystified why Ehrman gives no basis for comparison. I have provided one below. Since a few people think Hebrews might have been written by Paul, I went ahead and included it too. Luke and Acts are agreed to be by the same author, so those are included just for comparison.

Sentence Word count of the longest 3 sentences Average of 3 longest sentences Total Greek words in the book References. These are based on Aland et al. 4th edition.
2 Thessalonians 158, 57, 54

90

823

2 Thess 1:3-10; 2:8-10; 2:1-3a
Colossians 157, 123, 102

127

1,582

Col 1:11b-20; 1:24-29; 1:3-8
Romans 139, 123, 113

125

7,111

Rom 9:19-26; 4:16-21; 2:2-8
Hebrews 135, 72, 65

91

4,953

Heb 8:8-12; 1:1-4, 2:2-5
Ephesians 124, 124, 104

117

2,422

Eph 2:1-7; 4:11-16; 3:1-7
2 Corinthians 118, 102, 94

105

4,477

2 Cor 6:2b-10; 9:10-14; 8:1-6
2 Timothy 105, 61, 52

73

1,238

2 Tim 1:8-12; 1:3-5; 2:23-26
1 Thessalonians 104, 81, 70

85

1,481

1 Th 3:9-13; 1:2-5; 4:15-17
1 Corinthians 95, 84, 82

87

6,830

1 Cor 1:20-25; 9:4-9a; 14:6-9
Philemon 94, 47, 41

62

335

Phm 8-14; 4-6; 1-3
Galatians 94, 77, 75

90

2,230

Gal 2:6-10; 2:14-16; 1:1-5
Philippians 88, 82, 79

127

1,629

Php 1:3-7; 1:27-30; 3:8-11
1 Timothy 71, 57, 56

61

1,591

1 Tim 6:13-16; 3:2-6; 1:8-11
Titus 65, 64, 57

62

659

Tt 1:1-4; 2:1-14; 3:4-7
Lk 1-7 165, 95, 77

109

5,960

Lk 3:23-28; 1:67-75; 3:15-17
Acts 1-6 108, 89, 87

95

3,582

Acts 4:5-10; 3:12-15; 1:1-5
Acts 7-11 72, 65, 64

67

3,971

Acts 7:38-40; 10:36-38; 7:44-46

Ehrman agrees that the books in italics are most likely by Paul. The "whopper" of 102 words in Colossians 1:3-8 is not only shorter than other verses in Colossians, but also shorter than many other verses in books Ehrman agrees Paul wrote. The longest sentence in each book and which books he agrees are by Paul look random.
So what can you say about authorship from the length of these sentences? If you look at only one or two books, you can basically say whatever you want. But if you look at all of the books, these numbers tell you nothing about authorship.
Ehrman's objection is not by some guy who does not know any better; two different Muslims have told me Ehrman is the greatest New Testament scholar today. I just don't understand how a person who is claimed to be a New Testament scholar could throw up this argument from the length of the longest sentence, unless he was not looking at the date like an objective scholar.
 

Q: In Col 1:9-20, where should the sentence break(s) be?
A: The early Greek manuscripts did not have punctuation, we cannot be sure. But according to the Greek New Testament by Aland et al. fourth revised edition, Colossian 1:9-11a is one sentence, and 11b-20 is a second. However, according to the third edition, Colossians 1:9-17 is one sentence, and 1:18-20 is a second sentence. One helpful reader says Colossians 1:9-20 probably should be taken as one sentence because of two pieces of evidence:
a) There is no independent finite verb in 11b-20, and
b) Leedy's NT diagrams in the Bibleworks software aslo show Colossianas 1:9-20 as one sentence.
 

Q: In Col 1:14 (KJV, NKJV) should it say "redemption through His blood", or "redemption" as the NIV, NET Bible, NASB, uNASB, RSV, NRSV, and Wuest?
A: The vast majority of manuscripts just have redemption. This includes Byzantine, Alexandrian, Syriac, Chrysostom, Italic, and some Vulgate. The manuscripts that have "redemption through his blood" are few and not very early: Harclean Syriac (616 A.D.) and Armenian (fifth century). The Text of the New Testament p.193 also says that "through his blood" was added in a few Greek manuscripts.
The Williams Translation has "ransom from captivity" in place of redemption, but does not have "through his blood".
 

Q: In Col 1:15-18 and Heb 1:6, if Jesus is uncreated and not a creature, then how is Jesus "the firstborn of every creature"? (Jehovah's witnesses bring this up)
A: The Greek word here, prototokos, means the pre-eminent one. We are brothers and sisters of Christ, but Christ is the pre-eminent firstborn.
In Bible times, firstborn did not only mean the first one born, but the inheritance and birthright of the firstborn. Jehovah's Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse p.97-98 points out that as an example of "firstborn" not meaning the first baby born, Psalm 89:27 says David will be appointed as his firstborn, even though David was the last-born of Jesse.
As When Critics Ask p.485 says, Christ is not the firstborn in creation, but the firstborn over creation. Christ is not the first one to be born on earth (Old Testament people preceded him) but Christ is the firstborn of the resurrection and as the heir of all.
This question was also answered by Athanasius back around 330 A.D. He said that since Christ is both the Only-Begotten as well as firstborn, these refer to different senses of Christ. After differentiating between "created" and "born", Athanasius shows that Only-Begotten refers to Jesus being from the Father, while firstborn refers to both his preeminence over humanity and his preeminence among all who are born again. For the full text of Athanasius' detailed argument, see Four Discourses Against the Arians Discourse II ch.21 section 57-60.
However, prior to Athanasius, Hippolytus of Rome (225-235/6 A.D.) answered this in his commentary on Luke 2:7. He says, "And if you please, we say that the Word was the first-born of God, who came down from heaven to the blessed Mary, and was made a first-born man in her womb, in order that the first-born of God might be manifested in union with a first-born man."
See The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.111-112, 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.25, and Hard Sayings of the Bible p.651-653 for more info.
 

Q: In Col 1:15,18 what sources show that the Greek word prototokos has a meaning besides biologically firstborn or first created?
A: I asked a Dallas Seminary professor, and modern Greek lexicons saying that prototokos (Strong's 4416) can mean first in rank or something else besides biologically firstborn or first created are Baur-Arndt-Gingrich-Danker and Lyddell-Scott-Jones.
In the Old Testament in Jeremiah 31:9 God calls "Ephraim my firstborn son." However, Gen 48:17-19 Manasseh was born before Ephraim, but Ephraim received the blessing of the firstborn from Jacob. Psalm 89:27 says David will be appointed as his firstborn, even though David was the last-born of Jesse.
In some places early Christians did not write prototokos as just meaning biologically first born. Epistle of Barnabas (100-150 A.D.) ch.13 p.145 referring to Manasseh and Ephraim, and 1 Clement (97/98 A.D.) ch.4 vol.1 p.6 referring to the firstborn of Abel's sheep.
This specific Greek word specifically does NOT mean biologically firstborn or first created in Polycarp's Letter to the Philippians (100-155 A.D.) ch.7 p.35. "'For whosoever does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, is antichrist;' and whosoever does not confess the testimony of the cross, is of the devil; and whosoever perverts the oracles of the Lord to his own lusts, and says that there is neither a resurrection nor a judgment, he is the first-born of Satan."
In addition, Irenaeus (182-188 A.D.) writes, "And Polycarp himself replied to Marcion, who met him on one occasion, and said, 'Dost thou know me?' 'I do know thee, the first-born of Satan.' Such was the horror which the apostles and their disciples had against holding even verbal communication with any corrupters of the truth." Irenaeus Against Heresies book 3 ch.3.4 p.416
Adamantius (c.300 A.D.) says, "It declares, 'No one has ascended into heaven, except He who descended from heaven'. The 'has ascended' is indicative of a past time. It did not say that no one will ascend, but 'no one has ascended.'. It therefore clearly showed that before Christ no one had ascended. This is as the Apostle says, 'the firstborn'; and again, 'the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep'. Yet further he says, 'the first-fruits, Christ; then those who belong to Christ'. Dialogue on the True Faith fifth part 855b p.157
Athanasius (326-373 A.D.) "as Paul in another place calls him 'first-born of all creation' (Col 1:15). But by calling him First-born, He shews that He is not a Creature, but Offspring of the Father. For it would be inconsistent with his deity for Him to be called a creature. For all things were created by the Father through the Son, but the Son alone was eternally begotten from the Father, whence God the Word is 'first-born of all creation,' unchangeable from unchangeable. However, the body which He wore for our sakes is a creature." Statement of Faith ch.3 p.85
John Chrysostom (died 407 A.D.) has an extensive discussion of how Christ is the first born. After differentiating being Christ being called "firstborn" but not "first created", says one meaning is "firstborn from the dead" (Col 1:18; Rom 8:29) refers to the first resurrection. "So also the word 'firstborn,' in the sense of a foundation. But this doth not show the creatures to be consubstantial with Him; but that all things are through Him, and in Him are upheld." Homilies on Colossians Homily 3 p.270-271
 

Q: In Col 1:15-20 does the theologically advanced and developed writing [somehow] show that Paul was not the author of Colossians? (Bart Ehrman claims this on p.127)
A: No. Ehrman claims that some letters were by Paul and some were not. While Colossians 1:15-20 is very profound, most of the 18 concepts and phrasings here are very similar to other things Paul wrote, or at least to other verses in the Bible.

"He [Jesus] is the image of" Col 1:15a -
"the Invisible God" Col 1:15a 1 Tim 1:17b; Heb 11:27
"The firstborn over all creation." Col 1:15b Rom 8:29; Heb 1:6
By Christ all things were created Col 1:16a 1Cor 8:6b
Visible, invisible, [not referring to God] Col 1:16b Heb 11:3
Thrones, powers, rulers, authorities Col 1:16c Eph 1:21
"He is before all things" Col 1:17a Php 2:9
"And in Him all things hold together" Col 1:17b -
"And he is the head of the body" Col 1:18a 1 Cor 12:12-13,27
[Head of] "the church" Col 1:18a Eph 5:23
"he is the beginning and firstborn from among the dead" Col 1:18b -
Christ has supremacy Col 1:18c 1 Cor 1:27a; 27f
"For God was pleased" Col 1:19a 1 Cor 1:21b
"to have all his fullness dwell in him [Christ]," Col 1:19b Eph 1:23; ~Jn 1:16
Through Christ reconcile all things Col 1:20a Rom 5:10; 2 Cor 5:19; Eph 2:16
"By making peace" Col 1:20b Rom 5:1; Eph 2:14
"through his blood" Col 1:20b Rom 3:25; 5:9; Eph 1:7; 2:13
"shed on the cross" Col 1:20c Heb 9:22

 
Elsewhere in Colossians are the following similar concepts.
Do all for the glory of God Col 3:17 1 Cor 10:31
Devote yourselves to prayer Col 3:2; 4:2  
Neither Jew, nor Greek, ... slave nor free Col 3:11 Gal 3:28
No circumcised or uncircumcised Col 3:11 Gal 5:6
Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs Col 3:16 Eph 5:19
Wives submit to husbands, as to the Lord Col 3:18 Eph 5:22
Husbands love your wives Col 3:19 Eph 5:25
Children obey your parents Col 3:20 Eph 6:1
Fathers do not embitter/exasperate children Col 3:21 Eph 6:4
Slaves obey masters, not just to win their favor but to obey the Lord Col 3:22 Eph 6:5-6
Masters treat slaves well Col 4:1 Eph 6:9
Proclaiming the mystery of Christ Col 4:2  
Be wise in the way to act towards outsiders. Col 4:5  
Onesimus Col 4:9 Philemon 10

There are others too.
 

Q: In Col 1:16, does anyone become an angel after he or she dies?
A: No. Those who go to Heaven will not be angels, but we will be judging angels according to 1 Corinthians 6:3. We will be co-seated with Christ on Christ's throne in Ephesians 2:6.
Some might wish they had been born an angel instead of a human being. As an angel, they would have the joys of serving God and being in Heaven and not have to experience sinfulness, suffering, and death. However, unlike the angels, we are physically involved in the fight on earth through our words, lives, and prayers in preaching the Gospel. We can have children, and 1 Corinthians 6:2-3 shows that in Heaven believers will be higher than angels.
See The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.233 for more info.
 

Q: In Col 1:16, did God need angels to create the world?
A: No. The fact that He used them does not mean God needed them. See The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.237 for more info.
 

Q: In Col 1:16, are there different ranks among angels?
A: Yes, though the Bible does not detail all the ranks and responsibilities. We know of seraphs/seraphim in Isaiah 6:2,3, cherubim in Ezekiel 1:5-21; 10:1-22; and four living creatures in Revelation 4:6-9. These likely are all the same. We also know of the archangel Michael in Jude 9, Revelation 12:7; and Daniel 12:1. Gabriel served as a messenger in Daniel 9:21 and Luke 1:26. See The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.236-237 and Billy Graham's book on Angels for more info.
 

Q: In Col 1:20, Eph 1:10, and 2 Cor 5:1, are the demons reconciled too?
A: No. In Philippians 2:10, God distinguishes between "in Heaven", "on earth", and "under the earth". Colossians does not mention reconciling those "under the earth." If demons are part of the realm designated "under the earth" they already made their choice, with full knowledge, when they fell. Hebrews 2:16 shows that Jesus atoned for humans and He did not help angels or fallen angels.
 

Q: In Col 1:20, Eph 1:10, and 2 Cor 5:19, since God reconciled all things in Heaven and on earth, will all people be saved, as the heresy of Universalism teaches?
A: No. God reconciled to all things to Himself, but all things have not reconciled themselves to God. All people are "savable" but not all combine what they hear with faith, as Hebrews 4:2 shows. Romans 4:2-5,16 and Ephesians 2:8-9 show that we are justified by faith.
Salvation is not merely forgiveness or even justification. Salvation is life, and John 5:39,40 shows the world will not come to Christ to have life.
Hell is eternal punishment in Matthew 25:41,46. The devil and others will be tormented forever in Revelation 20:10. Hell is everlasting destruction in 2 Thessalonians 1:9. See When Critics Ask p.485-486, When Cultists Ask p.243-244, p.251, and Hard Sayings of the Bible p.653-654 for more info and Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.406-409 for an extensive discussion of Colossians 1:20 and the heresy of universalism.
 

Q: In Col 1:20, what exactly gets reconciled here?
A: First what is not the answer and then the answer.
Not the answer: It does not say "under the earth", or "Hades", but only on heaven and earth. Even things under the earth will bow and be subjugated under Christ (Philippians 2:10-11), and while that could be considered an involuntary reconciliation, it is not a voluntary one on the part of those "under the earth." Hebrews 2:16 says that Jesus atoned for humans, but it is not angels that He helps. Punishment is eternal according to Matthew 25:41,46, and the devil and others will be tormented forever there in Revelation 20:10. Hell is everlasting destruction in 2 Thessalonians 1:9.
The answer has two parts: in general and specifically.
In general, ultimately everything in the universe will voluntarily be reconciled to God. Those in the Lake of Fire are not in that universe though. Even things/beings that never fell or broke will now be under Christ, is will be over all. But the phrase "all things" implies more than one type of thing. So let's see what specifically what needs fixing.
Specifically, scripture hints at a number of things.
Saved people were once lost and alienated from God, and they are now reconciled to Him.
Creation itself was put under bondage when man fell. Why should sinful fallen man live in a perfect world? But creation itself, though broken now, will be restored according to Romans 8:19-21. The ground was cursed by God after Adam and Eve sinned in Genesis 3:17.
Even the stars are not pure in God's sight, according to Bildad in Job 25:5.
In heaven things will need to be purified, according to Hebrews 9:23. Perhaps this is because Satan had access to heaven, as Job 1:6,7 and Revelation 12:10 shows.
We will judge angels according to 1 Corinthians 6:3. However it is not clear if we are just judging how good a job they did.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.11 p.186, the New International Bible Commentary p.l455, and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.674 for more info. The Believer's Bible Commentary p.1995-1996 was especially helpful here.
 

Q: In Col 1:21 (KJV), how are we "sometime" alienated?
A: In King James English, the word "sometime" implies "formerly" to stress the past tense.
 

Q: In Col 1:22, as part of the ransom, did Christ permanently give up having a physical body, as Jehovah's Witnesses, Rev. Moon, and other heretics have taught?
A: No. Reconciling us by the death of Christ's physical body does not mean Christ did not get the body back again in His resurrection. If you believe Jesus, then you would have to agree that Jesus' physical body was raised because of the following verses.
1. In John 2:19-22, "Jesus answered them, 'Destroy this temple and I will raise it again in three days.' ... But the temple he had spoken of was his body."
2. In John 20:25-29, when Jesus told Thomas to place his finger and hands on him, either
2a) Jesus was "pulling a trick on Thomas", in other words, deceiving Thomas, or
2b) This really was Jesus' physical body.
3. In Luke 24:37 Jesus said, "Look at my hands and feet. It is myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have."
The apostles taught us about what they experience firsthand, about what they saw and even touched themselves (1 John 1:1-4). If you are a part of a religion that denies what both Jesus and his apostles said on this, you need to decide whether to follow the god of your religion, or whether to follow the God of Jesus and the apostles. I hope you choose well.
 

Q: Does Col 1:23 teach that people who do not continue in the faith will lose their salvation?
A: Five points to consider in the answer.
God knows the elect: On earth, many can appear to Christians, but before Creation, God knew who would go to Heaven, and God will never be surprised. To say that God knew for certain that someone will be in Heaven, and then for them not to go to Heaven is a contradiction in terms.
Counterfeit Conversion: A person can fool others into thinking he or she is a Christian. Even worse, people can fool themselves, as Matthew 7:21-23 shows.
The need to examine ourselves: Assurance of salvation would be no good if counterfeit conversion were completely undetectable. But it is not undetectable. Paul admonishes us to examine ourselves, to see that we are in the faith in 2 Corinthians 13:5-6.
Apostasy: People sometimes do leave the Christian faith, - never to return. But 1 John 2:9 says that they went out from among us because they never were of us. Hebrews 3:10f also says that Old Testament apostates "have not known" God's ways.
Beyond this, genuine Christians disagree on once-saved-always-saved. Either
a) those who do not continue in the faith lost it, or
b) those who do not continue never really had it.
See the discussion on Ephesians 1:14 and Hebrews 6:4-10 for more info.
 

Q: In Col 1:24, how could Paul try to "make up what is lacking in afflictions of Christ"?
A: Two words to remember: consistency and approximate language.
Consistency: The only way to misinterpret his words would be to ignore what he said in other places. Almost no one, then or now, could consider that Paul was not trying to take the place of the cross he preached. However, in Colossians 2, some Colossians were trying to make up what they perceived was lacking in Christ by the law, angel worship, and rituals. In Colossians 1, Paul made up what was lacking in their understanding of the sufficiency of Christ's afflictions. Paul did this not only by his words in Colossians 1:15-23, but by his life and endurance in suffering, which both validated his words and demonstrated the sufficiency of Jesus.
Approximate language: Paul spoke precisely enough for all who wanted to understand him. Paul did not think taking Christ's place when he tried to "save some" in 1 Corinthians 9:22, and Paul said Timothy could save his hearers in 1 Timothy 4:16, and James said we could save others in James 5:20.
See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.654-657 and When Critics Ask p.486-487 for more info.
 

Q: In Col 1:28, how come Paul teaches every man, and not the women?
A: Like the English and Hebrew words for "man" the Greek word for man, anthropos, can represent men and women. Galatians 3:28 specifically says that in Christ there is no male or female.
 

Q: In Col 2:2 (NIV,NRSV), should this be "and united in love" or "being knit together in love" (KJV, NASB, uNASB, Williams)?
A: Aland et al. does not indicate any manuscript variations on this phrase, so this is a translation issue, not a manuscript issue.
The Greek for this verse does not have "and" or "or". The verb indicates "being" or "having been".
Wuest translates this as "having been knit together in the sphere of love"
NKJV says "being knit together in love", as the KJV.
Jay P. Green's Literal Translation says "being joined together in love"
NASB "by being united in love"
The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.676 says "and united in love", as the NIV and NRSV.
 

Q: In Col 2:4, what does "deceive" mean here?
A: It means to miscalculate or reason beside the point. At the end of Colossians 2:4, Paul specifically says he does not mean the absence of any reasoning or arguments, but rather bad reasoning. There can be sins of the intellect as well as sins of the heart. Wuest translates this as "leading you astray by false reasoning".
 

Q: In Col 2:5 and 1 Cor 5:3, how was Paul with others in spirit, since Paul was not present everywhere?
A: Paul could know, because God could teach him through his spirit. Christians are united with a special bond of the Spirit according to Ephesians 4:3.
 

Q: In Col 2:6, what is the significance of the word tenses?
A: The first three main verbs, "rooted", "built up", and "strengthened", are all passive. In other words, these are things God does to us. The phrase "overflowing with thanksgiving" is active, and indicates our response to what God has done. Many people are motivated primarily by greed, lust, fear, or a desire to be thought a better person in the eyes of themselves and others. However, Christians should have a primary motivation of thanksgiving to God
 

Q: In Col 2:8, what is philosophy that depends on human tradition and the principles of this world evil?
A: First of all, what exactly is philosophy? Philosophies are people's mental models of life, the cosmos, people, and/or ethics. However, a model is just a model, it is not life itself. In mathematical modeling, a good model for the static behavior of a chemical plant or other system is often not a good model for the dynamic behavior, and vice versa. Thus a model of life, if it was good enough to be useful for some purposes, does not guarantee all-encompassing usefulness for all purposes. When your philosophy takes the place of life, philosophy can become an idol, and a poor choice of one at that. Likewise, even a theology can become an idol, if it becomes more important than God's Word. We can and should help others be freed from mental bondage to cruel idols, but let's make sure we do not have idols in our own minds, too.
However, many philosophers, even secular philosophers, do not worship their philosophy. Nevertheless, any philosophy of "this-world" that claims to figure out life without needing God, is evil. There are lies to yourself as well as lies to others. There are sins of the mind as well as sins of the tongue.
Tongue-in-cheek, philosophical reasoning can be quite attractive. As an example, take the philosopher, David Hume. He wrote, "If we take into our hands any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasons concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames: for it contains nothing but sophistry and illusion." Few other atheistic philosophers have had the frankness and honesty to tell people that their own writings were worthless and should be burned. For, I reason, that since Hume's works are not mathematical reasoning or experimental science (at least according to my own personal definitions), I can conclude that Hume is saying to burn his own works.
For another example, Immanuel Kant attempted to define good apart from God. Kant came up with good is that which is done out of a sense of duty. By that analogy, Nazi German soldiers who tortured and murdered Jews out of their sense of duty, and Communists who killed even women and children out of their sense of duty, were all doing good. If I somehow felt that it was my duty to try to destroy all of Kant's works, then, I reason, Kant would agree that I would be doing a good thing.
Secular atheist philosophers and I actually can probably agree on one thing: perhaps I should keep my day job, for it is not very worthwhile for me to devote my life to philosophizing!
See When Critics Ask p.487-488 for a rather different answer.
 

Q: In Col 2:8-9, what is the contrast here?
A: Paul is contrasting the hollowness of human philosophy with the fullness of Christ.
 

Q: Does Col 2:10 show that God has a physical image like us?
A: No. Colossian 1:15,17 says image of the invisible God. However, God does have an actual physical image; because Jesus has a physical, glorified body today, as John 20:25-29; 2:19-22; and Luke 24:37 show. Hebrews 13:8 says, "Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever." (NIV)
 

Q: In Col 2:11-12, since baptism is a type of circumcision, should infants should be baptized?
A: Baptism is an outward sign of "circumcision by Christ", done when we were dead in our sins with a sinful nature. True Christians differ on infant baptism.
Pro infant baptism: As circumcision of Jewish male babies was a sign of their participation in the visible expression of God's people on earth, baptism is similar. "Babies" implies their consent was not required, and "males" implies it was not for personal gain but for the corporate expression of faith. From the times of Ambrose of Milan (c.378 A.D.) and Augustine of Hippo (388-430 A.D.) on, the church has continuously practiced infant baptism.
R.C. Sproul in Now That's a Good Question p.341-342, in the context of someone who had infant baptism being baptized as an adult says, "I would say the repetition of the act [baptism] would be a thinly veiled insult of God's integrity, though I fully recognize that not one person in a million who undergoes a second baptism intends it to be an insult."
Pro believer's baptism: Colossians 2:12 and Romans 6:3-7 show that baptism is a visible expression of our identification with Christ's burial and resurrection. While babies who die may still be saved by God's grace, Baptism is a sign of our pledge toward God (1 Peter 3:21) and receiving the Holy Spirit. As Jewish males were circumcised right after they joined the Jewish nation (by natural birth), Christians should be baptized right after they join God's people, the church, by second birth. Justin Martyr (wrote about c.138-165 A.D. First Apology chapter 61) records that in the early church baptism was given to "those who are persuaded and believe" and after immediately after discussing babies says not that the babies are baptized, but that baptism is over "him who chooses to be born again, and has repented of his sins". Justin calls believers, "children of choice and knowledge."
An Ebionite heretic in Clementine homily 17 ch.7 says, "He sent us to the ignorant Gentiles to baptize them for remission of sins, and commanded us to teach them first." (anonymous author 1-4th century)
For all: If the ultimate reason for baptism is to obey Jesus, genuine Christians should not divide from other Christians who are genuinely trying to obey Jesus.
For more on infant baptism, see the discussion on 1 Corinthians 1:16; 7:14 and Christian Theology by Millard Erickson (Baker 1985) p.1089-1105.
 

Q: In Col 2:13 and Eph 2:1,5, can people who are dead in sin have any more free agency than dead animals?
A: Apart from God's grace, none seek God, according to Psalms 14:1-3; 53:1-3 and Romans 3:10-12. Yet many through God's grace have sought God according to Psalms 9:10; 22:26; 24:6; 27:4,8; 40:16; 105:3,4; 119:2,30,45,94,173. God not only works on people after they are born again, it is required that God work in people's lives before they will come to Him to be born again, as John 6:44; 15:5 show.
The whole world is a "prisoner" of sin in Galatians 3:22. In addition to being spiritually dead, we are legally dead with a judgment of eternal death. Charles Spurgeon gave this analogy with convicted criminals in the pamphlet Free Will - a Slave (p.3), "Though perhaps a month may intervene before he is brought on the scaffold to endure the sentence of the law, yet the law looks upon him as a dead man."
 

Q: In Col 2:18, what does this mean about not worshipping angels?
A: Placed in the hearts of many people throughout the ages is the knowledge that they should worship someone or something. At Colossae, some there worshipped angels. Since angels are acknowledged as God's creations, they were probably trying to worship the angels as well as God. While they undoubtedly had their reasons (it was not devotion or worship, only veneration, etc.), Paul simply said the whole thing was wrong. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.656-658 for more info.
 

Q: In Col 2:20; 3:3, how are Christians dead in Christ?
A: We are to be dead as far as living for ourselves is concerned. As Christ literally died in this world, baptism represents our death to living for ourselves, with our own way, wisdom, ambitions, and desires.
 

Q: Does Col 3:16 indicate that we are not to use musical instruments?
A: Actually it indicates the opposite. People in the Church of Christ point out that the words in this verse refer to singing, and singing does not require musical accompaniment.
Church of Christ people often feel that if an example of something is not found in the New Testament, then it should not be done. However, if there is no example of people washing their hands before eating, and Jesus did not wash his hands before eating in Luke 11:38-41. Then are Christians today prohibited from washing their hands before eating? - of course not.
But back to the main point, Colossians 3:16 mentions using Psalms. The instructions in many Psalms included using musical instruments. Some of these are Psalm 4, 5, 6, 54, 55, 61, 67, and 76. Others might be also, but we are unsure about the musical terms. Colossians 3:16 says to use Psalms when you sing. Try using this Psalm: "...I will sing and make music with all my soul. Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn." (Psalm 108:1-2 NIV) I suppose Church of Christ people should not listen to what they are singing though. ;-)
Psalms mentioning harps are Psalm 33:2; 43:4; 49:4; 57:8; 71:22; 81:2; 92:3; 98:5; 108:12; 147:7; 149:3; 150:3.
Here is some other evidence that musical instruments are OK.
Habakkuk 3 was a song to be sung and played on a stringed instrument, according to Habakkuk 3:19.
God's prophets in the Old Testament prophesied with lyres, tambourines, flutes, and harps in 1 Samuel 10:5.
Miriam the prophetess praised God with a tambourine in Exodus 15:20.
David played a lyre and worshipped God according to 1 Samuel 18:10, as well as Psalm 4 -6.
Under David, many sounded trumpets, cymbals, and other instruments in 1 Chronicles 16:5,6,42.
In Solomon's Temple, some used harps in thanking and praising the Lord in 1 Chronicles 24:3.
In Nehemiah's temple, they dedicated it with cymbals, harps, and lyres in Nehemiah 12:27.
In Revelation 14:2; 15:2, 5:8, God's worshipers used harps.
Summary: What David and other prophets did to please God in Old Testament times, what the four living creatures and God's people will do in heavenly worship, is not displeasing to God now. God Himself gives His people harps to praise Him in Revelation 15:2. If you are a genuine believer, get used to it.
However, see also the next question for two answers people who belong to Church of Christ might give.
 

Q: In Col 3:16, given the evidence for the use of instruments in the previous question, how would someone in the Church of Christ respond?
A: There are two possible comebacks.
Church service only: Many (probably almost all) in the Church of Christ are not against musical instruments in all circumstances, nor are they against musical instruments to worship God. They are only against musical instruments in the church building and/or church service. I heard of one church of Christ minister who once debated another Christian on the use of mechanical instruments for music, and later was seen enjoying listening to a Christian radio station in his car. He was not being hypocritical, as it apparently only in the church service that he was against musical instruments.
However, there is no scripture that differentiates between a church service and a worship service. In fact, there is no scripture that says in any kind of worship service singing is OK but musical instruments are not.
New Testament Times: Some might say that musical instruments were only OK in the Old Testament, as the New Testament gives no examples of worship with musical instruments on earth.
However, the New Testament does not say this was abolished, and indeed it is not abolished, if people will still be using harps in Heaven in the future.
All can agree on three points.
1. Praising God and singing without musical instruments is OK.
2. While seven angels had trumpets in Revelation, the seven trumpets were not for making music.
3. If a person's focus in a church service is something besides God, such as hearing either instrumental music or singing, then they need to change their focus to be on God.
 

Q: In Col 3:16, what do you think of the Church of Christ; how Biblical are they?
A: The Churches of Christ are very heterogeneous. I have served in inter-denominational Christian Student Fellowships on Campus with wonderful Church of Christ brothers and sisters. Unfortunately they deviate from Bible teaching on some things; musical instruments, water baptism, etc. However those Church of Christ and non Church of Christ people could agree that He Who united us was greater than what divided us. However, none of these differences are the primary issue here. The primary issue here is with a second group of people, who are also called Church of Christ.
The first group says (for the most part) you should not have mechanical musical instruments in church. The second group also says that mechanical musical instruments in church are a sign of the antichrist and send people to Hell. The first group believes that God does regenerative work during water baptism. The second group also believes that everyone who differs with them on their interpretation goes to Hell.
The first group is very "Arminian" in the outlook, and does not believe in assurance of salvation. The second group I have personally heard speak highly of Pelagius, and they deny that people were born sinful. Predestination appears to be a dirty word to them.
People in the first group are Christian brothers and sisters who have some errors. People in the second group appear very close to substituting their doctrinal interpretations for Christ's saving blood.
Besides these two broad categories of Church of Christ, there is a third group, called both Boston Church of Christ (= Church of Christ International). These people think all the rest of the Church of Christ (as well as all other denominations) are wrong and are false groups that do not glorify God. Unlike the first two groups, the Boston Church of Christ also has cultish practices, such as believers having to confess every sin to elders, who enter these into a database and could possibly hold these over a member's head if the member tries to leave.

Q: In Col 3:20; Mt 10:37, should kids obey parents?
A: Children are to honor their parents (Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16), and obey their parents (Colossians 3:20), in the Lord (Ephesians 6:1), but they are not to love their parents or anyone else more than they love God (Matthew 10:37). As an analogy, you should obey the laws of your state except they conflict with the laws of your country. Likewise you should obey your parents, except when they conflict with what God has said. See When Critics Ask p.488 for more info.
 

Q: In Col 3:22, why should slaves obey masters?
A: The New Testament did not recommend slavery, but it did not condemn it either. Even when the environment was not good, such as when a Christian had an unjust master with unjust suffering in 1 Peter 2:18-19, Christians were still to endure under these bad conditions. It would usually go better for the Christians in this life, and it would be a witness to others of Christ living in them.
 

Q: In Col 4:7, was Colossians written at the same time as Eph, 2 Tim, and Tt?
A: Both Ephesians 6:21 and Colossians 4:7 say that Tychicus will tell them in person. In 2 Timothy 4:12, Paul says he sent Tychicus to Ephesus. In Titus 3:12, Paul says he will send Artemas or Tychicus to Titus.
However, in Titus 3:12, Paul was free, and the other references were when Paul was in prison, so there were at least two trips. Since there were at least two trips, there could have been three or more. Whichever way it was though, does not affect Christian doctrine or the scriptural authority (called canonicity) of the letters.
 

Q: In Col 4:13-14, is the letter from Laodicea a lost book of the Bible?
A: No, for two reasons.
First, it would necessarily not be a part of the Bible, because even if there was really a lost book, God is not "forced" to preserve any books He did not want to preserve. As a side note, there was a forged letter to the Laodiceans, but it was written in the fourth century and recognized as a forgery at that time.
Second, there was no lost book. Colossians does not say Paul wrote the letter to the Laodiceans, but rather one of Paul's letters that was circulated and was arriving from Laodicea. Ephesus was about 100 miles (160 km) from the city of Colossae, and Laodicea was between the two, 12 miles (19 km) outside of Colossae. See the discussion on Ephesians 1:1 and When Critics Ask p.489 for more info.
 

Q: In Col, why should this book be in the Bible?
A: There are at least three reasons.
1. Paul wrote it, and He was an apostle. Peter attested that Paul's words were scripture in 2 Peter 3:15-16.
2. Paul himself said he was apostle in 1 Timothy 1:1; 2:7, Romans 1:1; 1 Corinthians 1:1; 9:1, 2 Corinthians 1:1, 11:5; Galatians 1:1, Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:1; 1 Timothy 1:1; 2 Timothy 1:1; Titus 1:1.
3. Evidence of the early church. See the next question for writers who referred to verses in Colossians.
 

Q: In Col, how do we know that what we have today is a reliable preservation of what was originally written?
A: There are at least three good reasons.
1. God promised to preserve His word in Isaiah 55:10-11; Isaiah 59:21; Isaiah 40:6-8; 1 Peter 1:24-25; Matthew 24:35.
2. Early Church evidence: Here are the 17 pre-Nicene writers whom who know referred to verses in Colossians.
Clement of Rome (97/98 A.D.) alludes to Colossians 1:18 1 Clement ch.24 vol.1 p.11; vol.9 p.236
Epistle of Barnabas ch.12 p.145 alludes to Colossians 1:16.
Irenaeus (182-188 A.D.) quotes Colossians 3:5 as by the apostle in the letter to the Colossians. Irenaeus Against Heresies book 5 ch.12.3 p.538
The Muratorian Canon (c.190-217 A.D.) mentions Paul's Letter to the Colossians, as well as Paul's other 12 letters.
Clement of Alexandria says, "and in another place he [the apostle] says: 'To the acknowledgment of all the mystery of God in Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.'" (Colossians 2:2b-3) Stromata (293-202 A.D.) book 5 ch.12 p.463
Tertullian (198-220 A.D.) paraphrases Colossians 1:21 as the "apostle ... his Epistle to the Colossians" in On the Resurrection of the Flesh ch.23 p.561
Hippolytus (225-235/6 A.D.) quotes Colossians 1:19 (a few words in different order) in The Refutation of All Heresies book 8 ch.6
Origen (225-253/254 A.D.) quotes Colossians 1:15 as by Paul. de Principiis book 1 ch.5 p.247
Novatian (250-257 A.D.) quotes Colossians 1:16 as by "the apostle" Treatise Concerning the Trinity ch.13 p.622
Novatian (250-257 A.D.) quotes Colossians 1:15 as by "the same apostle" Treatise Concerning the Trinity ch.21 p.632
Cyprian was a bishop of Carthage from 248 to his martyrdom in 258 A.D.. He quotes from "to the Colossians" in Treatises of Cyprian Treatise 12 the third book 11.
Archelaus (262-278 A.D.) quotes Colossians 1:23 and 2:6-9 and alludes to Colossians 1:24 in Disputation with Manes ch.35 p.209
Adamantius (c.300 A.D.) refers Colossians 1:21-22 as by Paul. Dialogue on the True Faith fifth part e p.151
Theonas of Alexandria (c.300 A.D.) quotes loosely half of Colossians 4:6. Letter to Lucianus the Chief Chamberlain ch.8 p.161
Methodius (270-311/312 A.D.) alludes to Colossians 1:15 as by Paul. The Banquet of the Ten Virgins Discourse 3 ch.3 p.317. Paul is mentioned at the very end of chapter 2 and the very start of chapter 4.
Methodius (270-311/312 A.D.) refers to Colossians 3:4 according to The Greek New Testament 4th revised edition by Aland et al. However, I have not been able to confirm this in the writings of Methodius I have.
Adamantius (c.300 A.D.) quotes Colossians 4:10-11 as "Paul's Letter to the Colossians"
Victorinus bishop of Petau in Austria (martyred 304 A.D.) Mentions the Old and New Testaments in his Commentary on the Apocalypse of the Blessed John p.345 He listed the letters of Paul as Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Thessalonians, Philippians, Colossians, Timothy and quotes 1 Timothy 3:15 in ch.16 p.345 He goes on to quote 1 Corinthians 15:53 on p.346
Methodius (270-311/312 A.D.) alludes to Colossians 1:15 "For how shall he be considered 'the first-born of every creature,'. The Banquet of the Ten Virgins book 3 ch.3 p.317
Athanasius (318 A.D.,) quotes Colossians 1:15-18 in Against the Heathen ch.41 p.26
Alexander of Alexandria (313-326 A.D.) quotes 1 Corinthians 2:9 as by the apostle Paul and Colossians 1:16,17 as by Paul in Epistles on the Arian Heresy Epistle 1 ch.5 p.293
After Nicea
Eusebius of Caesarea
(318-339/340 A.D.)
Athanasius (367 A.D.) lists the books of the New Testament in Festal Letter 39 p.552
Victorinus of Rome (after 363 A.D.) refers to Colossians 1:14
Hilary of Poitiers (355-367/368 A.D.) refers to Colossians 2:2-3 as by Paul. On the Trinity book 9 ch.62 p.177
Synopsis Scripturae Sacrae (350-370 A.D. or 5th century) mentions Paul's Letter to the Colossians as part of the New Testament. It quotes Colossians 1:1-2a.
Ephraim/Ephem the Syrian hymn-writer (350-378 A.D.)
Basil of Cappadocia (357-378/379 A.D.) quotes Colossians 2:19 as "Colossians". On the Spirit ch.5.9 p.6
Ambrosiaster (after 384 A.D.) refers to Colossians 1:2-3,7,12,14,20,22 2:7,8,13,18,23; 3:4,6,13,16,17,21; 3:3,8,12
Cyril of Jerusalem (c.349-386 A.D.) quotes Colossians on p.19
Ambrose of Milan (370-390 A.D.)
The Donatist schismatic Tyconius (after 390 A.D.) refers to Colossians 3:6
The Donatist Tyconius (after 390 A.D.)
Pacian of Barcelona (342-379/392 A.D.)
John Chrysostom 396 A.D. wrote down 12 sermons on Colossians, which we still have today. He said it was by Paul
Gregory of Nyssa (c.356-397 A.D.) quotes Colossians 1:16 as by Paul in Against Eunomius book 1 ch.22 p.63-64. He also refers to Colossians 1:14.
Didymus (398 A.D.) refers to Colossians 1:12
The schismatic Lucifer of Cagliari, Sardinia (361-c.399 A.D.)
Gaudentius (after 406 A.D.)
John Chrysostom (392-407 A.D.)
Chromatius (407 A.D.)
Severian (after 408 A.D.)
Jerome (373-420 A.D.)
Augustine of Hippo (388-430 A.D.) says Paul (On the Forgiveness of Sin, and Baptism) book 1 ch.43 p.31 (vol.5) wrote the books Romans, 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians (ch.44 p.32), Galatians (ch.45 p.32), Ephesians (ch.46 p.33), Colossians (ch.47 p.33), 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy (ch.48 p.33), Titus (ch.49 p.33), Epistle to the Hebrews (doubted by some) (ch.50 p.34)
The semi-Pelagian John Cassian (419-430 A.D.) quotes Colossians 1:16 as by Paul in Seven Books book 6.21 p.601
Nilus (c.430 ) refers to Colossians 3:13
Paulinus of Nola (431 A.D.) refers to Colossians 1:12
Speculum (5th century) refers to Colossians 1:12
Nilus (c.430 A.D.) refers to Col 3:13
Cyril of Alexandria (444 A.D.)
Quodvultdeus (c.453 A.D.)
Varimadum (445/480 A.D.) refers to Colossians 1:12
Theodoret of Cyrus (bishop and historian) (423-458 A.D.)
Among heretics and spurious books
The heretic Priscillian (-385 A.D.) refers to Colossians 2:13
The heretic Marcion according to Tertullian
The heretic Pelagius (416-418 A.D.) refers to Colossians 3:4
Pelagian heretic Theodore of Mopsuestia (428 A.D.)
3. Earliest manuscripts we have of Colossians show there are small manuscript variations, but zero theologically significant errors.
p46 Chester Beatty II 100-150 A.D. has 79 verses of Colossians. Specifically it has Colossians 1:1-2,5-13,16-24; 1:27-2:19; 2:23-3:11; 3:13-24; 4:3-12,16-18 and other parts of Paul's letters and Hebrews. The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts has a photograph of part of p46 on p.192. It also says on p.197-198 that the quality and the stichiometric marks show that a professional scribe wrote this.
First half of 3rd century - 1936 - Frederic G. Kenyon according to The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts.
2nd century, 200 A.D. - 1935 - Ulrich Wilken according to The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts.
200 A.D. - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament.
81-96 A.D. - 1988 - Young Kyu Kim according to The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts.
About 200 A.D. - 1975 - Aland et al. third edition.
About 200 A.D. - 1998 - Aland et al. fourth revised edition.
Early to middle 2nd century - 1999 - The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts. This is based in part on the handwriting being very similar to Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 8 (late first or early second century) and Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 2337 (late first century).
p61 Romans 16:23,25-27; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2, 2-6; 5:1-3, 5-6, 9-13; Philippians 3:5-9, 12-16, Colossians 1:3-7, 9-13, 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3; Titus 3:1-5, 8-11, 14-15 Philemon 4-7. c.700 A.D.
c.700 A.D. - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament.
About 700 A.D. - 1975 - Aland et al. third edition.
About 700 A.D. - 1998 - Aland et al. fourth revised edition.
Vaticanus [B] 325-350 A.D.
Sinaiticus [Si] 340-350 A.D.
Bohairic Coptic [Boh] 3rd/4th century
Sahidic Coptic [Sah] 3rd/4rth century
Gothic 493-555 A.D.
 
See www.BibleQuery.org/colMss.html for more on early manuscripts of Colossians.
 

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