The Epistle to the Colossians can be viewed as apologetic, for it defends Christian doctrine against heretical teachings. It was written by Paul from Rome around 61 A.D. during his first Roman imprisonment. During Paul’s incarceration there, the Colossian church sends Epaphras to him with a report (1:7-8). Although most of it is favorable, Paul learns about certain false teachers who are corrupting the church with a blend of Judaism and pagan philosophies. As in Galatia, heretics creep into area churches attempting to pervert the Gospel of Christ (Gal. 1:7).

Paul cannot allow the Colossians to entertain any teachings subversive to the pure gospel they received a few years earlier. Throughout this epistle, Paul combats facets of legalism (2:14-17), mysticism (2:18-19), and asceticism (2:20-23). His purpose for writing is to encourage their spiritual growth in Christ, warn them against relapsing into former pagan vices, and refute those doctrines that can only lead them to spiritual ruin. The letter stresses Christ’s supremacy, the completeness of His vicarious atonement, and the superiority of His teachings over all others.