“This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy” (Colossians 1:1 NLT).
The opening verse of the Epistle to the Colossians calls our attention to the fact that Paul was selected to be an apostle of Christ by the will of God. Unlike some other positions of authority, Paul did not inherit his office nor did he work to secure the right to become an apostle by his own efforts, The other first-century apostles did not invite Paul to join their ranks and he certainly did not seek the position of an apostle as a career option.
Instead, Paul was appointed to his position by the sovereign will of God, a reality that will undergird the rest of his message to the church at Colossae. As Paul admitted in another of his Biblical letters, “I don’t have any reason to brag about preaching the good news. Preaching is something God told me to do, and if I don’t do it, I am doomed” (1 Corinthians 9:16 CEV).
So right at the beginning of this letter, Paul made certain to establish his authority to provide direction to the members of the Colossian church. This will become especially important in regard to the important truths concerning the person and work of Christ that he will go on to address later in this chapter.
The “Timothy” mentioned in Colossians 1:1 is the same person referenced in the two New Testament letters that bear his name. Timothy was someone who was well suited to serve with Paul for he was a person who was knowledgeable in the Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:15). Paul also identified Timothy as a person of proven character (Philippians 2:22) and even referred to him as “a true son in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2).
Given the fact that Timothy was a person who was genuinely interested in the welfare of others (Philippians 2:19-20), its not surprising to learn that he accompanied Paul on several of his missionary journeys. But even though Timothy is listed as a co-sender on many of Paul’s New Testament epistles, this does not necessary mean that Timothy co-authored these letters. Instead, its more likely that Timothy assisted Paul by helping to convert his spoken messages into written form.
So even though Paul could have addressed the Colossians on the basis of his apostolic authority alone, he chose to include Timothy in his opening remarks. The fact that Paul’s letter was endorsed by a second God-honoring leader like Timothy would thus provide the Colossians with added confidence in his message.