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Colossians

A Daily Bible Study in 7-Day Sections with a Summary-Commentary, Discussion Questions, and Daily Application

Sunday (Colossians 1:1-14)

Salutation

1:1 From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 1:2 to the saints, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ, at Colossae. Grace and peace to you from God our Father!

Paul’s Thanksgiving and Prayer for the Church

1:3 We always give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,

1:4 since we heard about your faith in Christ Jesus and the love that you have for all the saints.

1:5 Your faith and love have arisen from the hope laid up for you in heaven, which you have heard about in the message of truth, the gospel 1:6 that has come to you. Just as in the entire world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, so it has also been bearing fruit and growing among you from the first day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth.

1:7 You learned the gospel from Epaphras, our dear fellow slave—a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf—1:8 who also told us of your love in the Spirit.

Paul’s Prayer for the Growth of the Church

1:9 For this reason we also, from the day we heard about you, have not ceased praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,

1:10 so that you may live worthily of the Lord and please him in all respects—bearing fruit in every good deed, growing in the knowledge of God,

1:11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might for the display of all patience and steadfastness, joyfully

1:12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light.

1:13 He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of the Son he loves,

1:14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Prayer

Lord, You qualified us to share in the great inheritance of heaven, You present us as a testimony to the world, and You give us hope and strength. May I be more-available, more-faithful, and more-persistent in arranging my life to serve You.

Summary & Commentary

Paul reminded the Colossians of their common “heritage” in Christ. He then celebrated their faith and their ‘ultrafidian’ (beyond faith) love “... for all of the saints” (believers).

Paul elaborated on their “faith and love”, noting that they “... have arisen from the hope laid up for you in heaven, which you have heard about in the message of truth, the gospel that has come to you.”

He expanded the view “Just as in the entire world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, so it has also been bearing fruit and growing among you from the first day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth.”

Paul observed that they learned the gospel of from a faithful servant of Christ, Epaphras, someone sent from Paul’s network of disciple-evangelists, whom he notes “also told us of your love in the Spirit.”

[Note: The phrase “in the Spirit” is consistent with Paul’s prior usage, not referring to anything more than the promised work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer, and in-common among believers.]

Paul reported the prayers of his group “... asking God to fill you [the Colossian believers] with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may live worthily of the Lord and please Him in all respects—bearing fruit in every good deed, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might for the display of all patience and steadfastness, joyfully giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the saints inheritance in the light.”

The Colossians would have been among those who received a copy of what became known as the letter to the Ephesians, so they would be familiar with Paul’s discussion of wisdom and understanding flowing from the Holy Spirit.

Living worthily of the Lord God was a repeated message of Paul, one he repeated here, along with his expectation that they bear fruit as they cared for one another (“every good deed”).

Being strengthened, demonstrating the “Fruits of the Spirit” via patience and steadfastness, and joyfully giving thanks were also echoes of prior exhortations from Paul.

The final phrase of this passage “... qualified you to share in the saints inheritance in the light.” was a reminder that all are not saved, that there is an evaluation of those who are accepted into salvation, and that “the saints” inherit as a common family of peers. “... in the light.” was a valuable word picture of the difference between saved and unsaved as the corollary is, of course, that all others were in the darkness —the absence of God—then and for eternity.

“... the power of darkness” is the intractable impact of sin, since the Fall in the Garden, and exacerbated by our rebellious decisions every day—but we have been “transferred”, which requires us to be removed from the old standing and relocated to the new—we are not the same.

Jesus is the One who made this possible, He is the only One who has the capacity to bring us redemption, and He is the One who provides for freedom from both the eternal consequences and temporal guilt of sin.

Interaction

Consider

How many of your fellow believers show fruits of the “faith and love” Jesus commanded us to live and to share “... have arisen from the hope laid up for you in heaven, which you have heard about in the message of truth, the gospel that has come to you.”?

Discuss

What are some ways that you and members of your fellowship may increase the degree to which you and they are “... living worthily of God”, bearing fruit as you care for one another (“every good deed”)?

Reflect

“He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins ... the power of darkness” is the intractable impact of sin, since the Fall in the Garden, and which has been exacerbated by our rebellious decisions every day—but we have been “transferred”, which requires us to be removed from the old standing and relocated to the new—we are not the same.

Share

When have you, or someone else in your fellowship, experienced “... growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might for the display of all patience and steadfastness, joyfully giving thanks to the Father”—with emphasis on the linkage between “... growing in the knowledge of God” and the rest?

Faith in Action

Prayer:

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you if the following is true or not true in your walk “Just as in the entire world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, so it has also been bearing fruit and growing among you from the first day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth.”

Action:

Today I will celebrate specific examples with a fellow believer if true, and if not true I will ask a fellow believer to pray in agreement with me as I partner with the Holy Spirit to gain additional knowledge of the Lord God and allow Him to transform me from the inside out, and to show me where this is already happening in the lives of others.

Be Specific ______________________________________________________

Monday (Colossians 1:15-29)

1:15 The Supremacy of Christ
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation,

1:16 for all things in heaven and on earth were created by him—all things, whether visible or invisible, whether thrones or dominions, whether principalities or powers—all things were created through him and for him.

1:17 He himself is before all things and all things are held together in him.

1:18 He is the head of the body, the church, as well as the beginning, the firstborn from among the dead, so that he himself may become first in all things.

1:19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in the Son

1:20 and through him to reconcile all things to himself by making peace through the blood of his cross—through him, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

Paul’s Goal in Ministry

1:21 And you were at one time strangers and enemies in your minds as expressed through your evil deeds, 1:22 but now he has reconciled you by his physical body through death to present you holy, without blemish, and blameless before him—1:23 if indeed you remain in the faith, established and firm, without shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard. This gospel has also been preached in all creation under heaven, and I, Paul, have become its servant.

1:24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I fill up in my physical body—for the sake of his body, the church—what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ.

1:25 I became a servant of the church according to the stewardship from God—given to me for you—in order to complete the word of God, 1:26 that is, the mystery that has been kept hidden from ages and generations, but has now been revealed to his saints.

1:27 God wanted to make known to them the glorious riches of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

1:28 We proclaim him by instructing and teaching all people with all wisdom so that we may present every person mature in Christ.

1:29 Toward this goal I also labor, struggling according to his power that powerfully works in me.

Prayer

Lord, You are the eternal One, expressed as Father, Spirit, and Son; without beginning or end. May the incredible gift of Your undeserved love motivate me to live more-fully for You.

Summary & Commentary

Paul addressed a right understanding of Christ as a member of the Trinity:

He is the image of the invisible God

He is the firstborn of all Creation

All things in Heaven and on Earth were created by Him

All things, whether visible or invisible, whether thrones or dominions, whether principalities or powers—all things were created through Him and for Him

He Himself is before all things

He Himself holds all things together

He is the head of the body

He is the head of the “Church”

He is the beginning

He is the firstborn from among the dead

He is first in all things

God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in the Son (2:9 defines this as “deity”)

God was pleased that through Him (Christ) all things, on earth and in heaven, are reconciled

God was pleased that He (Christ) made peace with the blood of the Cross

Verses 1:21-23 appear to create some conflict with Paul's prior teaching on the assurance (permanence) of salvation, once received.

[Note: The appearance is the result of translation ambiguity as the correctly-translated Word of God is never self-contradictory—any “error” is always on the part of the reader and/or the translator, God never errs. What Paul has said here is that “... by His physical body” (Jesus-the-man) He became the substitutionary sacrifice for man, despite our “evil deeds” which “expressed” our “minds” as “one time strangers and enemies”. This provision creates the potential to “... present you holy, without blemish, and blameless before Him”, which is necessary given that no imperfect being/no being capable of rebellion will ever be permitted in heaven again. In order to properly understand the first half of 1:23 one must understand the context of the second half “... from the hope of the gospel that you heard. This gospel has also been preached in all creation under heaven, and I, Paul, have become its servant.” Paul is speaking of evangelism and not concluded-salvation and/or discipleship of believers. He makes no presumption that everyone in his audience is saved, nor should that presumption ever be made—even in a gathering designed for believers. Only the Lord God knows for sure; therefore, “... if indeed you remain in the faith, established (this term means saved) and firm [doubt precludes salvation], without shifting from the hope of the gospel—it is no longer “hope” once one has been saved, it is a promise.]

Paul then explained that his ministry was to “... complete the Word of God”, which may be taken to refer to his writings and to his effort to evangelize all of the known world—as he had already been “to Judah and Samaria”. His message “... the glorious riches of this mystery (Christ’s salvation of the “saints”) among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Then Paul explained how this evangelistic mission will be accomplished “We proclaim Him by instructing (evangelizing) and teaching (discipling) all people with all the wisdom so that we may present every person mature in Christ.

He concluded “Toward this goal I also labor, struggling according to his power that powerfully works in me.”

Interaction

Consider

Christ Jesus contains the deity of God, created all things (“And God said ...”), all things are held together by Him, and all things exist for Him—does this not require that He be God?

Discuss

What is, to you, the practical meaning that Christ Jesus is the head of the body and of the “Church”?

Reflect

“... that through Him (Christ) all things, on earth and in heaven, are reconciled”. [Note that this “reconciliation has conditions” and that perhaps the translation should include the parenthetical note that this applies to believers only.]

Share

When have you observed that a right understanding of Christ Jesus, especially His “headship” over the body and the “Church” led to a healthier fellowship, or the alternative result when a wrong understanding led to conflict?

Faith in Action

Prayer:

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you where in your life you have had a wrong understanding of Christ Jesus as the head of you, (you are both a member of the body and of the “Church”) and this has led to rebellion in one form or another.

Action:

Today I agree to partner with the Holy Spirit, and with a fellow believer (as a prayer partner, accountability partner, coach, and as-is-appropriate as a mentor), to bring my heart, mind, and walk in-line with a right Biblical understanding of the authority of Christ in my entire life.

Be Specific ______________________________________________________

Tuesday (Colossians 2:1-5)

2:1 For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you, and for those in Laodicea, and for those who have not met me face to face.

2:2 My goal is that their hearts, having been knit together in love, may be encouraged, and that they may have all the riches that assurance brings in their understanding of the knowledge of the mystery of God, namely, Christ,

2:3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

2:4 I say this so that no one will deceive you through arguments that sound reasonable.

2:5 For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your morale and the firmness of your faith in Christ.

Prayer

Lord, You connect every Christian through Your indwelling Holy Spirit, and when we live and love in-agreement with Your Word we are safe from deception. May I pray for my fellow believers, and myself, that together we will be faithful to You.

Summary & Commentary

Paul celebrated the way that the Colossians and Laodiceans had been “knit together in love”.

He offered a hope-prayer that they be encouraged and that “... they may have all of the riches that assurance brings in their understanding of the mystery of God, namely, in Christ.”

The “encouragement” of the “assurance” that is the eternal love of the Lord God flows from a right understanding of Christ, the “mystery” that is the willingness of God to come in human flesh and sacrifice Himself in the flesh on a cross as a propitiation (law-satisfying substitution) for fallen man.

A right understanding of Christ brings assurance of salvation, His “riches” bring the “ultrafidian” (beyond faith) power to live in the flesh in this fallen world—through steadily-maturing obedient righteousness, and in boldness—sharing His gospel of salvation “in Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth”.

We serve our fellow saints (believers) sacrificially (from love).

Paul warned them against those who “will deceive you through arguments that sound reasonable”.

[Note: The NET translator’s notes suggest “specious arguments” as an acceptable alternative. They also observe that this is not anti-intellectual but intends to warn against arguments that promote the uncritical acceptance of clearly anti-Biblical philosophies. This includes philosophies that presume to establish any parity between Christianity and another faith which claims to speak for God, that asserts that multiple faiths may lead to God’s truth (and salvation), or which subsume Christianity within and authoritatively below their primary faith (e.g. Islam).]

Paul concludes section 2:1-5 with another celebration of their “morale” (steadfastness) and “firmness of faith”.

He emphasized the deity of Christ, saying “... the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”

Interaction

Consider

How often have you experienced, in a modern fellowship, “... the way that the Colossians and Laodiceans have been “knit together in love”?

Discuss

What are some practical ways to increase the “encouragement” of the “assurance” that is the eternal love of God flows from a right understanding of Christ within your fellowship?

Reflect

The “riches” of a right-understanding of Christ can bring an “ultrafidian” (beyond faith) power to live righteously in the flesh in this fallen world, to speak boldly by sharing His gospel of salvation “in Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth”, and serving our fellow saints (believers) sacrificially (from love).

Share

When have you observed a right-understanding in Christ equip a fellowship to resist the persuasive speech of one who attempted to promote an non-Biblical doctrine. What happened?

Faith in Action

Prayer:

Ask the Holy Spirit to identify for you a way that a right-understanding of Christ may empower you to serve the Lord in a more “ultrafidian” (beyond faith) manner, perhaps in outreach to an un-saved or without-a-fellowship sub-population, perhaps in (or in support of) foreign missions, or reveal to you someone who needs encouragement in this area.

Action:

Today I will identify a mentor who will assist me with discipleship designed to build my knowledge and trust—or I will be that mentor to another.

Be Specific ______________________________________________________

Wednesday (Colossians 2:6-23)

Warnings Against the Adoption of False Philosophies

2:6 Therefore, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him,

2:7 rooted and built up in him and firm in your faith just as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

2:8 Be careful not to allow anyone to captivate you through an empty, deceitful philosophy that is according to human traditions and the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

2:9 For in him all the fullness of deity lives in bodily form,

2:10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head over every ruler and authority.

2:11 In him you also were circumcised—not, however, with a circumcision performed by human hands, but by the removal of the fleshly body, that is, through the circumcision done by Christ.

2:12 Having been buried with him in baptism, you also have been raised with him through your faith in the power of God who raised him from the dead.

2:13 And even though you were dead in your transgressions and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, he nevertheless made you alive with him, having forgiven all your transgressions.

2:14 He has destroyed what was against us, a certificate of indebtedness expressed in decrees opposed to us. He has taken it away by nailing it to the cross.

2:15 Disarming the rulers and authorities, he has made a public disgrace of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

2:16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you with respect to food or drink, or in the matter of a feast, new moon, or Sabbath days—2:17 these are only the shadow of the things to come, but the reality is Christ!

2:18 Let no one who delights in humility and the worship of angels pass judgment on you. That person goes on at great lengths about what he has supposedly seen, but he is puffed up with empty notions by his fleshly mind. 2:19 He has not held fast to the head from whom the whole body, supported and knit together through its ligaments and sinews, grows with a growth that is from God.

2:20 If you have died with Christ to the elemental spirits of the world, why do you submit to them as though you lived in the world? 2:21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!” 2:22 These are all destined to perish with use, founded as they are on human commands and teachings. 2:23 Even though they have the appearance of wisdom with their self-imposed worship and false humility achieved by an unsparing treatment of the body—a wisdom with no true value—they in reality result in fleshly indulgence.

Prayer

Lord, You have set us free from old legalisms and new ones as well, rather we are to be centered on Jesus. May I avoid the social trap of going-along-to-get-along which is a form of slavery and focus on what You are teaching me and where You are sending me.

Summary & Commentary

Paul encouraged the Colossians to continue in their study of Christ so as to be “… rooted and built up in Him and firm in your faith ... overflowing with thankfulness.”

He twice warned them again against false teachings that promote the “elemental spirits”, things that will be gone after the Final Judgment and are temporary (temporal) in nature, but to instead focus on the things of God which are eternal.

Paul clarified a point of confusion; the “Son”—an eternal member of the Trinity—Christ was and is forever God but the Lord God chose to add an additional physical dimension at the “incarnation” (via the immaculate conception of Jesus in Mary).

He reminded them that Christ is above “every ruler and authority” and that the “circumcision” of the Christian is a separation from slavery to our “fleshy body”, not an artificial “mutilation” of our temporary body as part of a ritual no longer required by God.

Paul reminded them of the intended word-picture that is Biblical baptism, “... buried with Him” then “... raised with Him in faith in the power of God Who raised Him from the dead.”

He reminded them of their need for salvation; “.. even though you were dead in your transgressions ... He nevertheless made you alive with Him, having forgiven all your transgressions.”

Paul reminded them of the absolute freedom they have from their pre-salvation selves: “He has destroyed what was against us ... by nailing it to the Cross.”

He expanded on the freedom of the believer “... do not let anyone judge you with respect to food or drink, or in the matter of a feast, new moon, or Sabbath days—these are only the shadow of things to come, but the reality is in Christ!”

In verses 2:18-20 Paul warned against those who brag about their supposed spiritual experiences and presume to condemn or lecture others—he said they are “puffed up with empty notions by his fleshy mind”.

Interaction

Consider

The amazing choice of the Lord God that Christ, forever God-in-the-Trinity, chose to add an additional physical dimension at the “incarnation” (via the immaculate conception of Jesus in Mary). Remembering from the Gospels that even after His resurrection, and the partial restoration of His heavenly glory (the rest had to wait for His ascension as fallen man cannot survive in the presence of God’s full glory), He retained His scarred physical body.

[Note: There is no record of anyone physically-touching Jesus post-resurrection. Thomas was invited to do so but was not recorded as having actually accepted the challenge. That is discussed in the Gospels study.]

Discuss

How have false teachings that promote the “elemental spirits”, things that will be gone after the Final Judgment and are temporary (temporal) in nature, find their way into your current fellowship (or one from your past or in another fellowship)?

Reflect

The nature of our salvation is a separation from slavery to our “fleshy body”. A Biblical-baptism symbolizes that we are “... buried with Him” then “... raised with Him in faith in the power of God Who raised Him from the dead.”

Share

When have you observed a practical example of a Biblical understanding of baptism through the way that it is presented in your fellowship?

Faith in Action

Prayer:

Ask the Holy Spirit to identify a place where you are not yet living in the absolute freedom you have from your pre-salvation self: “He has destroyed what was against us ... by nailing it to the Cross.”

Action:

Today I agree to partner with the Holy Spirit, supported by prayers in agreement from a fellow believer, as I grow in spiritual maturity and reject any claim the enemy asserts to my past (pre-Christ) over my present (made new in Christ).

Be Specific ______________________________________________________

Thursday (Colossians 3:1-17)

Exhortations to Seek the Things Above

3:1 Therefore, if you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

3:2 Keep thinking about things above, not things on the earth, 3:3 for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

3:4 When Christ (who is your life) appears, then you too will be revealed in glory with him.

3:5 So put to death whatever in your nature belongs to the earth: sexual immorality, impurity, shameful passion, evil desire, and greed which is idolatry.

3:6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience.

3:7 You also lived your lives in this way at one time, when you used to live among them.

3:8 But now, put off all such things as anger, rage, malice, slander, abusive language from your mouth.

3:9 Do not lie to one another since you have put off the old man with its practices

3:10 and have been clothed with the new man that is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of the one who created it.

3:11 Here there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all and in all.

Exhortation to Unity and Love

3:12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,

3:13 bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if someone happens to have a complaint against anyone else. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also forgive others.

3:14 And to all these virtues add love, which is the perfect bond.

3:15 Let the peace of Christ be in control in your heart (for you were in fact called as one body to this peace), and be thankful.

3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and exhorting one another with all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, all with grace in your hearts to God.

3:17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Prayer

Lord, You have set us free from the slavery to sin, which is the darkness of this world. May I have nothing in my life that I value more than You.

Summary & Commentary

Paul reminded the Colossians to seek heavenly things because they were of-Christ and not of-the-world, “Therefore, if you have been raised with Christ...” because when Christ returns to bring us home the glory is His will be shared with us and we will stand with Him.

Based on our eternally-intimate standing with Christ Paul then concluded that our response must be to “... put to death whatever in your nature belongs to the earth”:

  • sexual immorality
  • impurity
  • shameful passion
  • evil desire
  • greed (which is idolatry)

Paul warned that those who indulged in those things were among the “sons of disobedience” (unsaved) who would experience the post-tribulation, post-rapture, “wrath of God”.

He instructed them, and us, to put off such things as:

  • anger (unrighteous anger)
  • rage (mindless anger)
  • malice
  • slander
  • abusive language from our mouths
  • lying to one-another

Paul reiterated the abolition of every worldly distinction among men and women, leaving only the eternal distinction between those who were saved and those who were unsaved.

He again used the term “elect” as one label for Christians as “... holy and dearly loved”, to “clothe yourselves with a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another if someone happens to have a complaint against someone else.”

[Note: As described in a prior Study “elect” does not refer to a fatalistic pagan notion of predestination but is a label for one who meets God’s requirements for salvation and who has his/her name written in the “Lamb’s Book of Life”. Also, the matter of a “complaint against someone else” is addressed only to believers.]

He reminds us to add love to the list of virtues (things we are to avoid and their corollary to be sought) as love is “the perfect bond”—we were called through love into a perfect bond of peace.

He exhorts us to “Let the word of Christ dwell ... richly” [Note: This likely refers to the fruits of the indwelling Holy Spirit as well as a the loving nature of Christ.] “teaching and exhorting one another with all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, all with grace in your hearts to God. And whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Interaction

Consider

Our right-response to what Christ has done for us must be to “... put to death whatever in your nature belongs to the earth”.

Discuss

In what ways are members of your fellowship intentionally “teaching and exhorting one another with all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, all with grace in your hearts to God.” without spawning human rituals and traditions which overwhelm the intent of this teaching?

Reflect

Do you find Paul’s two checklists of sin challenging to elements of your walk?

Share

When have you observed a fellowship (the larger local believer-community “Church” or a sub-group) where you experienced “clothe yourselves with a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another if someone happens to have a complaint against someone else.”?

Faith in Action

Prayer:

Ask the Holy Spirit reveal to you, from Paul’s two checklists, the items where you are still struggling.

Action:

Today I agree to partner with the Holy Spirit, and with the encouragement of someone praying in-agreement, I will intentionally move toward removing the sin from my life.

Be Specific ______________________________________________________

Friday (Colossians 3:18-4:1)

Exhortation to Households

3:18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

3:19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them.

3:20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is pleasing in the Lord.

3:21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, so they will not become disheartened. 3:22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in every respect, not only when they are watching—like those who are strictly people-pleasers—but with a sincere heart, fearing the Lord.

3:23 Whatever you are doing, work at it with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not for people,

3:24 because you know that you will receive your inheritance from the Lord as the reward. Serve the Lord Christ.

3:25 For the one who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there are no exceptions.

4:1 Masters, treat your slaves with justice and fairness, because you know that you also have a master in heaven.

Prayer

Lord, You have instructed us over and over again to keep our eyes on You, the perfect One so that we might have right perspectives and priorities. May I do so and the result be a life that “... is pleasing to the Lord.”

Summary & Commentary

Paul provided the Colossian believers a summary instruction of matters he had previously addressed via letters shared among the local fellowships. These instructions addressed marriage, children, parenting, slaves, and masters.

He reminded women that “as is fitting in the Lord” they were to submit to their husbands in-the-Lord.

[Note: Paul was addressing believers and never asked wives to submit to sinful dictates.]

He reminded husbands “love your wives and do not be embittered against them”. Husbands were to not turn away from their wives because they were imperfect, growing older, or less-appealing than some other women.

He reminded children that if they were to be pleasing to the Lord they were to obey their parents.

He reminded parents to not “provoke” [set them up to fail] their children [through abuse or neglect].

He reminded slaves to serve ethically “as to the Lord”.

[Note: Nowhere did Paul endorse slavery, but as did the Lord Jesus, he encouraged those who fould themselves as slaves to continue to conduct themselves as they would as free believers. They were to do all things as if they were doing them for the Lord.]

He reminded masters that they were fellow saints with their believing-slaves so to treat them as peers.

He reminded everyone that there were consequences for disobedience to God.

Interaction

Consider

The various “Churches” (local fellowships of believers) in Paul’s time would have a high level of awareness of the content of Paul’s letters (including ones specifically addressed to other fellowships), either like the letter to the Ephesians (which was literally copied to the other groups), or via those that Paul sent out to communicate the Lord God’s teaching to them in their own local context.

Discuss

What are some practical ways to effectively disciple parents, couples, prospective couples, and children in Paul’s teachings?

Reflect

How well, or poorly, have you experienced, expressed, and/or observed Paul’s specific instructions for the expectations for different roles in-practice within your current or past fellowship?

Share

When have you observed examples of employee-boss or student-teacher relationships where Paul’s instructions have been obeyed or disobeyed and the differing consequences?

Faith in Action

Prayer:

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you where Paul’s instructions apply to your specific circumstances and at least one area where you may improve.

Action:

Today I agree to study the Word, perhaps with a peer-disciple or a mentor, in order to better understand Paul’s instructions [see earlier NT Study materials] and to partner with the Holy Spirit to bring my walk in line with His Word.

Be Specific ______________________________________________________

Saturday (Colossians 4:2-18)

Exhortation to Pray for the Success of Paul’s Mission

4:2 Be devoted to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving.

4:3 At the same time pray for us too, that God may open a door for the message so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.

4:4 Pray that I may make it known as I should.

4:5 Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunities.

4:6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer everyone.

Personal Greetings and Instructions

4:7 Tychicus, a dear brother, faithful minister, and fellow slave in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me. 4:8 I sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are doing and that he may encourage your hearts. 4:9 I sent him with Onesimus, the faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you about everything here.

4:10 Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions; if he comes to you, welcome him). 4:11 And Jesus who is called Justus also sends greetings. In terms of Jewish converts, these are the only fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me.

4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you and a slave of Christ, greets you. He is always struggling in prayer on your behalf, so that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. 4:13 For I can testify that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and Hierapolis.

4:14 Our dear friend Luke the physician and Demas greet you.

4:15 Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters who are in Laodicea and to Nympha and the church that meets in her house.

4:16 And after you have read this letter, have it read to the church of Laodicea. In turn, read the letter from Laodicea as well.

4:17 And tell Archippus, “See to it that you complete the ministry you received in the Lord.”

4:18 I, Paul, write this greeting by my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.

Prayer

Lord, You expect us to submit to the discipleship of Your Holy Spirit so that our ‘walk’ matches our ‘talk’ and in that way those to whom You send us to evangelize will trust us. May I partner with the Holy Spirit to drive the careless-worldliness and hypocrisy out of my life.

Summary & Commentary

Paul reminded the Colossians to “Be devoted to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving.”

[Note: Paul had, in other letters to other churches, implored all to “pray without ceasing” because prayer keeps a believer alert to God; and with a mindset of thanksgiving rather than one of demandingness.]

He requested prayer, a model for all who are in leadership, so that “God may open a door for the message so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ ...”—there is no greater purpose.

Paul provided a model for responsible leaders, especially preachers and teachers, asking that they pray specifically “... that I may make it known as I should.”

[Note: He refers to clarity, courage, and faithfulness to God’s message.]

He exhorted them “Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of opportunities. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer everyone.”

[Note: Paul was coaching them (and us) to embed in our conduct and our languages the deeds and words of faith—so that opportunities to “evangelize” flow from our conduct—or at least are not blocked by our conduct—and that when we have an opportunity to share it sounds natural rather than artificial.]

Paul concluded with greetings from those with him and reminded them to share the letter with the Laodiceans and to read the letter he sent to the Laodiceans.

Interaction

Consider

Paul’s admonition “Be devoted to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving.”

Discuss

What are some ways that believers may train themselves to “Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of opportunities. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer everyone.” ?

Reflect

How much conflict and error could be avoided if all leaders were as humble as Paul’s model for responsible leaders, especially preachers and teachers, asking that the local body of believers pray specifically “... that I may make it known as I should.” ?

Share

When have you observed an example of a fellow believer who in intentional in their obedience to the call to “Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of opportunities. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt”?

Faith in Action

Prayer:

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you a Christian preacher or teacher for whom He wants you to pray.

Action:

Today am committing to pray that the leader He has chosen will make the message of Christ know as they should, without alteration, distortion, or distraction.

Be Specific ______________________________________________________

All Bible text is from the NET unless otherwise indicated—http://bible.org

Note 1: These Studies often rely upon the guidance of the NET Translators from their associated notes. Careful attention has been given to cite that source where it has been quoted directly or closely paraphrased. Feedback is encouraged where credit has not been sufficiently assigned.

Note 2: When NET text is quoted in commentary and discussion all pronouns referring to God are capitalized, though they are lower-case in the original NET text.

Commentary text is from David M. Colburn, D.Min. unless otherwise noted.

Copyright © 2011 by David M. Colburn. This is a BibleSeven Study—“Colossians”—prepared by David M. Colburn and edited for bible.org in October of 2011. This text may be used for non-profit educational purposes only, with credit; all other usage requires prior written consent of the author.