Bible Study Notes on Colossians from Colin Wall (2)
Colossians Chapter 2
In the first five verses Paul stressed the need for the church at Colosse to be united in love and for them to encourage one another … ‘united in love and encouraged in heart’ (verse 2). They were to have one mind and one heart. In other words they were to stick together through good and difficult times. This is a message for all churches when they face challenging times. In what ways as a church can we encourage one another in love?
In verse 3, Paul tells the church that all wisdom and knowledge is found in Christ. This truth is stated to counter the heretical threat of Gnosticism which the church faced at the time. In essence, Gnosticism (Greek word gnosis = knowledge) argued that salvation was achieved by a combination of faith in Christ with secret knowledge). However, Paul was clear throughout his writings that we are made right with God (justified) solely through faith in Jesus Christ. Read Romans Chapter 3 v 21-26 to see how Paul explains it to the Christians in Rome. How should this truth about being justified by faith in Jesus impact our Christian lives?
In verses 6-7, Paul gave the Colossian Christians and us three guiding principles, each referring to a different aspect of Christian growth.
1. As we receive, so we must live
As Christians we are to live in Christ and so make Christ Lord in all aspects of our lives and to acknowledge his authority in all things. How challenging do you find this in your Christian life?
2. As we are rooted, so we must be built up
Paul urged the Colossians, as he does us, to grow in Christ. This growth should be grounded in Christ. Paul joyfully thanked God for the conversion of the new Christians but he was not satisfied with this. He wanted them to build on this foundation of faith and continue to grow individually and together as Christians, with Christ being at the centre of everything. In what ways do you think that you can grow in Christ?
3. As we are taught so we must be established in truth
Following on from growing in Christ, Paul highlighted the importance of teaching in order for Christians to go deeper and deeper in Christian understanding. To Paul, a hallmark of the Spirit’s work in us is an unquenchable thirst to learn. This is a challenge to all of us to continue to strive to grow and learn as Christians.
From verses 8 to 23, Paul urged the Christians as Collose not to give in to the heresies that were challenging them. In verse 8, he urged them not to be taken captive to false teaching, which urged them to dilute their total reliance on Christ … ‘For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ’ (verse 9).
In verse 16, Paul urged the Christians not to be condemned. There seems to have been an element in the church at Collose, which condemned other Christians for lacking solid reality in its spiritual life and important elements to be expected in church life were missing. The new church was being called to go back to following Old Testament prohibitions, festivals and celebrations. Paul accused these false teachers of living in shadow, as if Christ had not yet come. Paul urged the church as he does us today to live solely for and in Christ and not to let anything get in the way of doing this.
Are there any parts of our lives today still living in the shadow and not in the light of Christ? Do you think there are still elements of false teaching in the worldwide church and its practices today?
My prayer for us all is that we will continue to be grounded solely in Christ and seek each day to grow in faith and understanding.