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The ancient city of Colossae is remembered today primarily because one of the letters in the New Testament is addressed to “the saints and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ in Colossae” (Col 1:2). Aside from this one reference, the city of Colossae does not appear in the New Testament. The Letter to the Colossians claims to be a letter from the Apostle Paul, although its authorship is sometimes attributed to an anonymous disciple of Paul’s who wrote in the name of Paul. If the letter was actually by Paul, he apparently had not visited the Christians in Laodicea prior to writing the letter. (Colossians 2:1 refers to the Christians at Laodicea as among those who had never seen Paul.) The founder of the church at Colossae was likely Epaphras (Col 1:7; 4:12), who had ministered not only at Colossae but at Laodicea and Hierapolis as well (Col 4:13). According to Colossians 4:9, the slave Onesimus was also from Colossae. On behalf of this runaway slave, Paul wrote to Philemon, the slave’s master, who would have lived in Colossae, informing him of Onesimus’ return and urging Philemon to treat Onesimus as a Christian brother. The Letter to Philemon is addressed not just to Philemon but also to the entire church that met in his house in Colossae.
(Source: CLYDE E. FANT AND MITCHELL G. REDDISH, A GUIDE TO BIBLICAL SITES IN GREECE AND TURKEY, 172-174)
20 June 2013
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