Carson, D.A., and Douglas Moo An Introduction to the New Testament - Second Edition. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005. "New Testament Letters" Carson & Moo pp. 331-353
“Colossians” Carson & Moo pp. 516-531
After a brief introduction to the contents of Colossians, Carson and Moo discuss authorship, concluding that Paul was considered the author until the nineteenth century. In the nineteenth and twentieth century a minority of scholars questioned this, with the tendency growing since 1945. Yet the objections to Pauline authorship have been based on use of unique vocabulary, the absence of some important theological concepts, the presence of some concepts which are not very common in Paul’s writing, and the similarity to Ephesians. Carson and Moo find the objections to be fairly weak.
The letter purports to come from Paul in prison. Though Paul was imprisoned on several occasions in several places, the most likely setting would be in Rome, probably about 61. Paul writes to correct false teaching which he has heard is present in Colosse, likely some form of syncretism which denied the supremacy of Christ.
The text of the letter is relatively clean, with no substantive difficulties caused by variants. The book was accepted as canonical by the middle of the second century. It is a text with a solid history of acceptance within Christianity.
Recent study has focused on the relationship between Christianity and paganism as well as on the possible evidence for the growth of gnosticism. Scholars have been unable to identify specific teachers who adopted all the problems which Paul addresses. This has given researchers a great deal to pursue.
Colossians emphasizes the unifying work of Jesus, who holds all the Church together as one. Though we have different roles, we are one body in Christ.