Most probably, Paul wrote his letter to the Colossians between AD 60-62 during his first Roman imprisonment. Colossae was located on the Lycus River in Phrygia (located in present day western Turkey). Earlier in its history, Colossae was an important commercial center, known for the production of a type of wool, purple in color. However, during Paul’s time, Collassae had lost some of its importance as a commercial center.
Colossae was located in close proximity to Laodicea and Hieropolis and about 120 miles east of Ephesus, the chief city in Asia Minor. The city was located at the base of Mount Calmus (Elevation 8435 feet). It should be noted that the area suffered a severe earthquake (probably just after AD 62), which caused extensive damage.
Colossae had a significant Jewish population who worshipped Yahweh. On the other hand, the pagan population of Colossae were polytheistic, worshipping many gods and goddesses, to include: the Ephesian god Artemis, Zeus, the moon god Men, the lunar goddess Selene, the Egyptian deities Isis and Serapis, as well as the Greek deities Athena, Demeter, Hygieia, Helios, and Tyche, and others. It was common in this era for individuals to worship multiple gods and goddesses, while borrowing ideas and religious practices from each other. First Century men and women had a strong belief in the supernatural. The unseen, spiritual world was occupied by many evil and some benevolent spirits. People would often call upon angels and spirit beings for help.
At the time he wrote his epistle to the Colossians, Paul had probably not yet visited Colossae (Col. 1:4; 2:1). However, we learned from the Book of Acts that while Paul lived in Ephesus “all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks” (Acts 19:10). Between AD 52-55, Associates of Paul (probably Epaphras (Col. 1:7)) evangelized Colossae while Paul was headquartered in Ephesus. Therefore, some of the Colossians had been pursuing their Christian faith for as many as seven to ten years by the time Paul wrote his letter to the Colossians. Paul referred to many of them as faithful believers (Col. 1:2). He had heard of their faith and love (Col. 1:4). Specifically, Paul heard about the Colossians’ love in the Spirit (Col. 1:8). Authentic Christian living is Spirit-directed. Epaphras visited Paul during Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome to report on the status of the churches in the Lycus River Valley (Col. 1:7-8). We can infer that Epaphras reported both good news and disturbing news.
Apparently, a unique and particular kind of heresy was developing in Colossae. The features of the Colossian Heresy must be inferred from the content of Paul’s letter. As stated above, there was a significant Jewish population in the area, and the heresy sought to incorporate a number of Jewish ordinances into the practice of Christianity, to include circumcision, food regulations, and sabbath observance. In addition to the worship of other gods and goddesses, the heresy also sought to include various non-Jewish, Hellenistic philosophical elements. There was a blending of religious and philosophical ideas, called syncretism. The Domain of Darkness (Col. 1:13) is an eclectic, hodgepodge of ideas, which is unified only in its hostility and opposition to the Kingdom of God. Paul wrote,
See to it that there is no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception in accordance with human tradition, in accordance with the elementary principles of the world, rather than in accordance with Christ.
The common folks were terrified of the false gods they worshipped and other supernatural beings. The Colossian Heresy gave inordinate significance and importance to certain angelic beings as mediators and influential authorities for protection and deliverance. In order to appease these intermediate powers, the heretic believers were encouraged to engage in and perform various acts of asceticism. Christians are required to exercise self-control and self-discipline, but rarely, if at all, asceticism. We occasionally and periodically experience suffering, but Christianity is not a religion of suffering. By giving undue status and importance to other angelic or supernatural beings, the role and authority of Jesus Christ was being improperly diminished. Apparently, the sufferings of Christ were cited by some heretics as proof of Christ’s inferiority as compared to the other angelic or divine beings.
Paul’s letter to the Colossians was intended to expose and defeat the Colossian Heresy, while reiterating and more fully establishing the true doctrine of the superiority of Jesus Christ. In fact, Jesus Christ is the very image of God and the firstborn of all creation (Col. 1:15). He embodies the fullness of God (Col. 1:19). Jesus Christ is both God and man in one being (Col. 2:9). In Him, we have redemption and the forgiveness of sins (Col. 1:14). The other angelic or divine beings are inferior and incomparable to Christ. Jesus Christ is the head over every authority and ruler (Col. 2:10). All wisdom and knowledge is found in Jesus Christ (Col. 2:3). To us, Jesus Christ must have first place in everything (Col. 1:18). The false gods and dark supernatural forces are not the sources of advanced wisdom. Jesus Christ is the one Mediator between God and mankind. He is the head of the Church (Col. 1:18). All things were created by Him and for Him (Col. 1:16), and He holds all things together (Col. 1:17). We should not pay homage to or worship any other angelic or supernatural creatures. In fact, by His death and resurrection, Jesus Christ has defeated all of the dark powers and principalities (Col. 1:13). Jesus Christ has liberated humanity from the evil and rebellious angelic and supernatural powers and authorities (Col. 1:14). Through Paul’s response to the Colossian Heresy, Paul further developed his teaching on the surpassing greatness and superiority of Jesus Christ as compared to all other supernatural beings. Through Jesus, God has reconciled all things to Himself (Col. 1:20). Our focus of worship should be centered on God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, not any other supernatural being.
 “Epistle to the Colossians.” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Volume One: A-D, Gen. Editor Geoffrey W. Bromiley, et al., William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1988, p. 233. See also “Colossians.” Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary, Vol. 3, Romans to Philemon, Gen. Editor Clinton E. Arnold, Zondervan Academic, 2002, p. 372.
 “Colossae” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Volume One: A-D, Gen. Editor Geoffrey W. Bromiley, et al., William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1988, p. 732.
 “Colossians,” p. 371.
 “Colossians,” p. 372.
 “Colossians,” p. 373.
 “Colossians,” p. 374.
 “Epistle to the Colossians,’ p. 733.
 “Epistle to the Colossians,” pp. 733-735.
 “Epistle to the Colossians,” p. 733.
 “Epistle to the Colossians,” pp. 734-735.
 “Colossians,” p. 373.
 “Colossians,” p. 374.
 “Epistle to the Colossians,” p. 734-735.