Colossae was a town in Phrygia in Asia Minor. The area was known for its interest in magical and mystical religions and cults. The cult of Cybele originated here, as did a later version of Christianity, Montanism.
The church at Colossae was not founded by Paul, but by Epaphras who was imprisoned with Paul. They learn of problems at Colossae and this letter is sent with Tychichus( who is traveling with Onesimus, see the letter to Philemon) to the church. The problem at Colossae appears to be improper teaching and syncretism.
There is some dispute among scholars about the authorship of this letter. Some believe Paul wrote it, others do not. For a summary of their reasons, please consult the resources in the “Read More About It” section. Whether or not Paul wrote this letter, it is part of the canon- meaning the early church believed this letter to be of such value it should be part of the Scriptures.
Outline of Colossians
I. Introduction 1:1-12
A. 1:1-2 Salutation
B. 1:3-12 Prayer for the Colossians
II. Central Statement 1:13-2:23
A. 1:13-24 The Trustworthiness of Christ
B. 1:24-2:7 The Trustworthiness of the Apostle
C. 2:8-23 Warning Against False Teachers
III. Practical Matters 3:1-4.6
A. 3:1-17 The True Christian Life
B. 3:18-4:6 Ethical Exhorations
1. 3:18-4:1 Relations with Family Members
2. 4:2-6 Relations with Outsiders
IV. Conclusion, Personal Greetings and Instructionss 4:7-23
Read More About It
Johnson, E. Elizabeth “Colossians” in HarperCollins Bible Commentary, rev. ed.James L Mays, ed. (New York: Society of Bible Literature) 2000.
Johnson, Luke Timothy, The Writings of the New Testament: An Interpretation, rev. ed. (Minneapolis:Fortress Press) 1999. Chapter 17, “The Letter to the Colossians”
Metzger, Bruce, William A. Beardslee “The Letter of Paul to the Colossians” in The New Oxford Annotated Bible, Bruce M. Metzger, Roland E. Murphy eds. (New York: Oxford University Press) 1994.