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Using This Study Guide

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The Basic Study

This study guide consists of 12 lessons covering Paul’s letter to the Colossians. Most of the lessons are short. However, if you cannot do the entire lesson one week, please read the Bible passage(s) covered by the lesson.

Process of Bible Study: Each lesson includes core questions covering the passage narrative. These core questions will take you through the process of inductive Bible study—observation, interpretation, and application. The process is more easily understood in the context of answering these questions:

  • What does the passage say? (Observation: what’s actually there)
  • What does it mean? (Interpretation: the author’s intended meaning)
  • How does this apply to me today? (Application: making it personal) Questions identified as Staying Healthy lead you to introspection and application of a specific truth to your life.

Study Enhancements

Deeper Discoveries (optional): Embedded within the sections are optional questions for further research of subjects we don’t have time to cover adequately in the lessons or contain information that may enhance the basic study. If you are meeting with a small group, your leader may give you the opportunity to share your “discoveries.”

To aid in proper interpretation and application of the study, five additional study aids are located where appropriate in the lesson:

  • Historical Insights
  • Scriptural Insights
  • From the Greek (definitions of Greek words)
  • Focus on the Meaning
  • Think About It (thoughtful reflection)

New Testament Summary

The New Testament opens with the births of Jesus and John (known as “the baptist”). About 30 years later, John challenged the Jews to indicate their repentance (turning from sin and toward God) by submitting to water baptism—a familiar Old Testament practice used for repentance as well as when a Gentile converted to Judaism (to be washed clean of idolatry).

Jesus Christ, God’s incarnate Son, publicly showed the world what God is like and taught His perfect ways for 3 – 3½ years. After preparing 12 disciples to continue Christ’s earthly work, He died voluntarily on a cross for mankind’s sin, rose from the dead, and returned to heaven. The account of His earthly life is recorded in 4 books known as the Gospels (the biblical books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John named after the compiler of each account).

After Jesus’ return to heaven, the followers of Christ were then empowered by the Holy Spirit and spread God’s salvation message among the Jews, a number of whom believed in Christ. The apostle Paul and others traveling with him carried the good news to the Gentiles during 3 missionary journeys (much of this recorded in the book of Acts). Paul wrote 13 New Testament letters to churches & individuals (Romans through Philemon). The section in our Bible from Hebrews to Jude contains 8 additional letters penned by five men, including two apostles (Peter and John) and two of Jesus’ half-brothers (James and Jude). The author of Hebrews is unknown. The apostle John also recorded Revelation, which summarizes God’s final program for the world. The Bible ends as it began—with a new, sinless creation.

Healthy Living

Heresy is an infection in the Body of Christ. It is an opinion or belief that contradicts established religious TRUTH. And like an infection in the human body, heresy always affects one’s spiritual health (as well as emotional, mental, and sometimes physical health). So, heresy must be addressed. It cannot be ignored. The medical treatment for all heresy is found in the New Testament!

The infection in Colosse afflicted the believers there regarding their view of the identity and deity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul wrote the letter of Colossians to contradict this infection. In Colossians, we find through Paul the greatest declaration of Christ’s deity found in Scripture. What Paul wrote then seems written expressly for our own day when so many are trying to rob Jesus Christ of his deity and sufficiency.

Genuine Christians can be deceived by false teaching, even teaching concerning Christ. Is there some concept that you have about Jesus Christ, salvation, or the Christian life that is not based on Scripture but on man-made tradition or philosophy? Will you give it up and accept the truth about Christ presented in God’s Word? Will you choose “healthy living?”

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