Archive for September 18th, 2013

Colossians 2

After Paul’s introduction and praise of the faith of the church of Colossae in chapter 1, he quickly begins advising the recipients on things that they should be wary of and could do better. I think even this face should be used as a reminder for our own lives; we may have all of the faith in the world, but we are not perfect, we are not invincible to the outside world, and we still have a lot to learn. One of the first things Paul warns the Colossians of is false teaching. (Colossians 2: 8) Even this early in the life of the church, according to the notes, there were leaders who claimed to know much more about God and Jesus than they actually did, and therefore, although unknowingly, could easily lead early Christians astray. Instead, Paul writes that we should be “rooted and built up in him [Jesus] and established in faith, just as you were taught” (Colossians 2: 7) because no one’s teaching but Jesus’s is fully true.

Later on in the same passage, there is a quote that I like from verses 13 through 15: “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision [not referring to actual circumcision here, but freedom from sin] of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities [Satan and his demons] and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.”

The last section of this chapter was directed especially at followers of Jewish law, but in some ways I think it is still pertinent today. In it, Paul explains that we no longer need to abide by many of the rules and restrictions from the time of Israel, especially regarding food, drink, uncleanliness (in the view of Jewish law, which is not the same as not having showered) and other traditions like the Sabbath. Because we have died to our human bodies through the death and resurrection of Jesus, we no longer have to worry ourselves with such physical restrictions, which have no effect on our spiritual lives. (Colossians 2: 16-23) I had never heard it put that way, so I thought that was a really interesting but good way of putting it.

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Colossians 1

The first chapter in Colossians acts primarily as an introduction to Paul’s letter, but it does have a couple of memorable parts and bits of information I found interesting. For one thing, I thought it was interesting how certain passages were directed specifically towards the listeners and readers of the times because of certain values and ideas in the society. In verse 11, for example, Paul writes “May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy…” Apparently spiritual power was a major focus of people who lived in that region, so they often tried to gain such power through the worship of pagan idols, and with that power, protection, wealth or power over others. By mentioning the power of God in such a way, this would both make a lot of sense to its recipients and be a potential draw to the new Christian belief system. I know such uses of vernacular language happen many times throughout the Bible, especially in the early time of the church, and will probably be making mention of them in these posts.

Most of the rest of what I want to share is just quotations that I thought had really beautiful language and made really good points. Starting again with verse 11, and continuing through verse 14: “May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

One more quote, this time with a little more background. According to the notes, the next section, titled “The Preeminence of Christ,” may have been taken from an early piece of Christian poetry that Paul chose to quote in his letter. As if that wasn’t cool enough, it also provides an excellent explanation of who Jesus is and what he has done for us, regardless of its origin: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” (Colossions 1: 15-20)

Canadian Brass

Today I am posting two, rather than the normal one, songs, both by one of the most impressive and entertaining brass ensembles in the world: Canadian Brass.

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