Editorial: The Glory Of Christ In Colossians -- By: Stephen J. Wellum

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 17:3 (Fall 2013)
Article: Editorial: The Glory Of Christ In Colossians
Author: Stephen J. Wellum


Editorial: The Glory Of Christ In Colossians

Stephen J. Wellum

Stephen J. Wellum is Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

In addition to his role on the faculty, Dr. Wellum serves as editor of The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology. He received the Ph.D. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and he is the author of numerous essays and articles, as well as the co-author of Kingdom through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants (Crossway, 2012).

It is our privilege to devote this issue of SBJT to Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae. Paul wrote this letter while he was in prison for the sake of the gospel (see Col 4:3, 10, 18), hence its categorization as one of Paul’s captivity letters alongside Philippians, Ephesians, and Philemon. For many reasons, throughout the ages, this letter has served the church well. Probably the most significant reason is due to its great and glorious subject matter: the Lord Jesus Christ. From the incredible Christological text or hymn of Colossians 1:15-20, and in every subsequent chapter, the person and work of God’s own dear Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, is unpacked and unveiled before our eyes. Colossians, like no other Pauline letter, from beginning to end, presents the glory, supremacy, preeminence, and sufficiency of Jesus, the incarnate Son, as Lord of creation, redemption, the church, and every principality and power, not only in this age but also in the age to come (see Col 1:15-20; 2:8-15).

Why should we pay careful attention to this letter today? First and broadly considered, we do so because Colossians is Scripture. Given that all Scripture is God-breathed and thus God’s Word (2 Tim 3:16-17), it is imperative that we study, meditate upon, and obey this letter. Yet more specifically, there is a second reason why a study of Colossians will pay important dividends for the church today. Even though nearly 2,000 years separate us from the Colossian church, the challenges she faced and Paul’s message to her is precisely what we need today given that we face similar difficulties. Let me develop this last observation a bit more.

To any astute observer of the contemporary scene, at least in the West but not limited to the western world, most acknowledge that the church is facing challenging times. Living in an increasingly plur...

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