The Apostle Paul's epistle to the Colossians provides an intimate glimpse into the life of a first century Christian community as it struggled to define Christian theology and practice. Paul was prompted to address this fledgling Christian assembly when he heard that "false teachers" had joined its midst and were promulgating heretical and threateningtheories. His impassioned letter to the Colossians urges them to embrace a life in Christ and proclaims Christ as master of all of creation. In their astute commentary, New Testament sch Markus Barth and Helmut Blanke recreate the of first century Christians, and examine the multitude of outside influences--from cold, rational Hellenistic philosophy to exclusive, ethereal Gnostic thought--that often threatened Christian theology. "Colossians" not only provides a new and carefully balanced analysis of this pivotal New Testament text, but also traces the development of early Christian thought as it gradually spread throughout the Roman Empire. Detailed enough for any scholar, "Colossians" is designed for general readers. Anyone who wants to enter the dynamic world of early Christianity and witness the shaping of the faith from its very roots will benefit from this remarkable work.