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COLOSSIANS (Epistle of St. Paul to the Colossians) – This letter was written in the early 60’s while Paul was in prison (4:3,10,18) at about the same time as the letter to the Ephesians (with which it has many similarities). The purpose was to correct erroneous speculations which had arisen because of the activities of certain false teachers (perhaps Gnostics), who claimed to possess superior knowledge of divine matters (2:18), advocated a mixture of ascetical and ritual practices (2:16,20-23) which had certain Jewish parallels, as well as connections with Greek philosophic speculation and oriental mysticism.

The letter is divided into two parts: 1) a doctrinal section in which the supremacy of Christ in the cosmos, in the Church and in the individual is stressed (1:1-3:4) and 2) practical exhortations (3:5-4:18) in which the ascetical and legalistic tendencies are counteracted by a spiritual morality and social ethic bound together by Christian love.