We could never cover marriage and family relationships in the time allowed for this one lesson. The focus of the lesson is how an understanding of the word of Christ in Colossians 3:12-17 should direct (acts as umpire in) our relationships in 2 specific relationship spheres—family and workplace—so as to foster peace (Colossians 3:15).
1. Read Colossians 3:12-4:1. Paul gives examples of putting into practice the word of Christ from vv. 12-17 specifically in typical household relationships of the time. What specific relationships is Paul addressing in vv. 1. Read Colossians 3:12-4:1. Paul gives examples of putting into practice the word of Christ from vv. 12-17 specifically in typical household relationships of the time. What specific relationships is Paul addressing in vv. 3:18-4:1?
2. What different commands and/or instructions does Paul give to the Colossians in directing their household relationships?
3. Which ideas or words, if any, seem unfair?
Though today’s culture includes households headed by women or men without mates and/or children, the principles of Colossians 3:12-17 that lead to maturity in private home relationships—submitting to one another and loving one another in a family—still apply.
5. Define the following words using a dictionary.
· Submit —
· Obey —
· Love —
From the Greek: The word translated “embitter” (NIV) means to “provoke or irritate,” something parents can do by continual agitation and unreasonable demands. Praise for well-doing rather than constant criticism will, along with loving discipline, help rear children in the “training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). (The Bible Knowledge Commentary New Testament, p. 683)
6. What is the difference, if any, between submitting and obeying? [Note: the admonition for children to obey parents in Colossians 3:20 refers to minors, not adult children.]
7. Looking specifically at marriage relationships, read Ephesians 5:22-6:9. As you read, recall and consider the definitions you gleaned above. Paul tells wives to submit to their husbands and husbands to love their wives.
· What analogy is given and why?
· Could this be what Paul meant in Colossians 3:18 by the phrase “as is fitting in the Lord” (NIV)? Discuss your answer.
Scriptural Insight: “This subjection rests on divinely prescribed authority, not on any inherent inferiority in spirituality, intelligence, worth, or anything else. This is “fitting” in that it is consistent with what God ordained at the creation of the human race (Gen. 2:18; cf. 1 Tim. 2:13).” (Constable’s Notes on Colossians, p. 46)
8. Staying Healthy: Considering your family life and relationships:
· If you are married: apply Colossians 3:5-17 to your marriage relationship. The word of Christ presented in these verses are the basis for your willingness to submit to your husband’s leadership. What can you learn from these verses to help you submit to and encourage your husband’s authority and responsibility in the family?
Think About It: “Paul’s point was that a wife should always relate to her husband as God’s appointed leader. I take Paul’s phrase ‘in everything’ in Ephesians 5:24 to mean ‘in every sphere of life’ (i.e., in domestic life, in church life, and in civil life). What would that look like in your marriage?
· If you are unmarried: apply Colossians 3:5-17 to your singleness. The word of Christ presented in these verses are the basis for your willingness to submit to the Lord’s authority in your singleness. What can you learn from these verses to help you choose a mate and prepare for marriage?
· If you are raising children: apply Colossians 3:5-17 to your parenting. The word of Christ presented in these verses are to direct you as you submit to the Lord’s authority as a parent and nurture obedience to and love for God in your children’s hearts?
Scriptural Insight: “Disobedience to parents is designated in the Old Testament as rebellion against God and was severely punished. Jesus set an example for children by obeying Joseph and His mother Mary (Luke 2:51). Obedience to parents pleases the Lord. This does not suggest that obeying one’s parents merits salvation for a child. Rather, obedience reflects God’s design for order in the home.” (The Bible Knowledge Commentary New Testament, p. 683)
9. Read Colossians 3:12-4:1. Let’s continue our discussion of submission to authority. Thankfully, households no longer consist of slaves doing the bidding of their masters. However, the principle of submission to authority can apply to a workplace. Why is it that submission to authority (family, church, government, workplace) is often seen as a threat?
10. What does Scripture say is involved in submission to authority? See 1 Peter 2:21-23; 3:1-6.
Think About It: “Lord, I want your own will more than I want my own way.” (Vickie Kraft) Is this your heart attitude?
11. In Colossians 3:20, 22, how do you qualify “in everything”? Are there any limits to submission? See Acts 5:29.
12. What if the other person in the relationship is not doing his/her part? How should you respond based on your understanding of Colossians 3:12-17?
13. Considering what you have learned from Colossians 3:12-17 and other verses in this study, why do you think submission is pleasing to God?
Focus on the Meaning: Submission is “an attitude that recognizes the rights of authority.” (Constable’s Notes on Colossians, p. 46)
14. What could be the benefit (present and future) of applying Colossians 3:22-4:1 in a workplace environment?
Focus on the Meaning: “The phrase “with all your heart” (NIV) literally means “out of the soul,” i.e., genuine and from within, not merely by outward pretense…If more Christian employees today served their employers with genuine concern and as though they were serving God, quality and productivity would increase dramatically…If employers…today manifested this kind of compassionate and impartial care for their employees, certainly their employees’ motivation to work would radically improve.” (The Bible Knowledge Commentary New Testament, p. 683)
15. Staying Healthy: Thinking specifically about Colossians 3:22-23, apply these verses to other areas of your life besides a workplace environment. How would following the word of Christ in these verses benefit your children, your volunteer service, and your general witness to an unbelieving world?
Think About It: “This view of work transforms a worker’s attitudes and performance. Even the most servile work thereby becomes a ministry and an act of worship.” (Constable’s Notes on Colossians, p. 48)
16. Deeper Discoveries (optional): In Colossians 3:22-4:1, Paul gives specific instructions in slave/master relationships. Do you believe God approves of slavery? If not, why is it not condemned? Why would obedience to God’s commands in Colossians 3:5-17 actually lead to its abolition?
Historical Insight: “Interestingly throughout history wherever Christians have constituted a significant segment of the population and have followed Paul’s directions here, the slave system has died.” (Constable’s Notes on Colossians, p. 48)
Jesus Christ is above all powers and authorities, in all believers, and is all we need for earth and heaven!!