Bible Study Notes on Colossians from Colin Wall (1)
Below are some Bible Study notes from Colin Wall on Colossians 1. I'll be posting his notes on the rest of the book over the next 3 weeks. You may like to use them for personal study or as a base for Home-group studies.
A Bible Study of the Epistle to the Colossians
Paul wrote this letter to the church at Colosse about AD 60. He wrote the letter during his first imprisonment in Rome where he spent two years under house arrest. Colosse was located on the Lycus River and on the great trading route leading from Ephesus on the Aegean Sea to the Euphrates River. By the first century AD, Colosse had declined as a major market town and had been replaced in importance by neighbouring towns such as Laodicea. The gospel was carried to Colosse by Epaphras, a recent convert through Paul’s ministry when he spent three years establishing the church at Ephesus between AD 53-57. The young church at Colosse came under heretical attack, which led Epaphras to visit Paul who then wrote the letter to the church.
Chapter 1 verses 1 to 13 - THANKSGIVING AND PRAYER
Paul started his letter with words of thankfulness for the good news he had heard about them. He thanked God for their faith and love that sprung from hope. When Paul combined these three elements of Christian spirituality, it was a basic description of the genuineness of being a Christian. Paul reminds us that we always should be thankful people, no matter what we experience. Why do you think that thankfulness should be at the heart of our relationship with Christ?
Paul also reminded the new Christians that he had been praying for them …..’For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you’. In his life and ministry, Paul believed in the importance and the power of prayer. He was not afraid of asking in prayer, bringing his requests to God and asking God to act. His prayers were not personal but for others. Look at verses 9 to 14 and see what Paul asked God to give to the believers in Colosse – ‘to know God’s will’; ‘wisdom and understanding’; ‘please God by bearing fruit’; ‘strength, power, endurance and patience’. Which other prayer requests have I not mentioned?
Paul’s prayers for the church in Colosse remind us of the importance of praying for others and the needs of the world. There is so much which we need to pray about including the present health crisis, the suffering of refugees in the world, the plight of persecuted peoples. These and other urgent situations can be overwhelming but we must not lose heart but be persistent in listening to God and bringing our prayers to Him.
Chapter 1 verses 15 to 23 - THE SUPREMACY OF CHRIST
This passage is one of my favourite passages in the entire Bible, where Paul tells the church about Christ. One of the heresies in Colosse was that people seemed to be denying the sufficiency of Christ for all their spiritual needs. Paul challenged this by laying out the supremacy of Christ and therefore his sufficiency for all things.
Paul stated that Christ is:
1. The image of the invisible God. Hebrews Chapter 1 v 3 mirrors this by describing Christ as …. ‘The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word’. How does John in his gospel describe the relationship between God and Christ in Chapter 1 v 1-2?
2. At the heart of creation … ‘all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together’ (v 16-17). Is this the same as the way John describes it in his gospel in Chapter 1 v 3-5? The whole created order, in time and space owes its existence to Christ.
3. He is the head of the body, the church. We must never forget that the church is the fellowship of believers and more importantly that Christ is our head and as such we are totally dependent on Christ for the continuance of its life.
4. Fully divine. God is with us in Christ. We can see the nature of God, his love for us and the world in Christ.
5. Our reconciler. By dying on the cross, Jesus made peace possible between God and us and through faith we are a redeemed and forgiven people …. ‘holy in his sight’ (verse 21).
Read verses 15 to 23 again. What else can you discover about the supremacy and sufficiency of Christ in this passage? How do you think this passage overall should have an impact on our faith and our lives as followers of Jesus?
Please feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss any points I have raised in this first Bible study.
I pray that God will richly bless you and those you love at this time.