I will begin preaching through Colossians on Sunday, and I've been consulting a few commentaries in preparation. I'm taking the opportunity to work through one commentary by my teacher, Andrew T. Lincoln, who contributed "Colossians" to The New Interpreter's Bible (vol. XI, Abingdon, 2000). One of the strengths of the book are the theological and pastoral reflections at the end of each section of commentary. Reflecting on the opening paragraphs of Colossians, Lincoln has this to say:
"There is a host of different ways in which contemporary believers can be tempted to feel that the basic gospel message is inadequate and that it needs to be supplemented by additional religious rites or disciplines, more sophisticated knowledge, or some compelling experience, if they are to be accepted by God or to reach their full potential as human beings. They need to hear that, although the gospel has riches that are yet to be fathomed and implications for all areas of life that are yet to be explored, there is no inadequacy about its basic message. They need to know that the hope that is at the heart of it and inseparable from the person of Christ is secure and that such hope is the potent incentive to a life of faith and love" (594).
Colossians deals throughout with the believer's tendency to add knowledge, experience, or discipline to the work of Christ, and that tendency has yet to be done away with. We all need to hear afresh the sufficiency of Christ and the good news that tells of his death and resurrection that works powerfully within us.