Week 3 Life Group: Colossians Bible Study

Colossians as a First Century Letter


Formal Elements

I.    From (1:1)

II.   To (1:2a)

III.  Greeting (1:2b)

IV.   Prayer (1:3-12a)

V.    Body (1:3-4:6)

VI.   Closing and Farewell (4:7-18)


Functional Elements

I.    Opening (From, To, and Greeting) (1:1-2b)

II.   Introductory Remarks: Laying a Good Foundation for What Follows (1:3-2:5)

III.  Issues, Exhortations, Concerns (2:6-4:6)

IV.   Final Greetings and Farewell (4:7-18)



II.      Introductory Remarks: Laying a Good Foundation for What Follows (1:3-2:5)

A.   Prayer for the Colossians (1:3-12a)

B.   The Father’s Role in the Colossians’ Salvation (1:12b-13)

C.   The Son’s Role in the Universe and in Salvation (1:14-23a)

D.   Paul’s Role (1:23b-2:5)

1. for the gospel (1:23b)

2. for the church (1:24-29)

3.  for the growth of the Colossians and Laodiceans (2:1-5)


Detailed Presentation

 I.    From

A.   Paul an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ (1:1a)

1. What do we know about Paul? What is his character like? What are some main events in his life? What can we conclude about his motives and purpose in serving the gospel, Christ, and the church?

a. Stoning Stephen Acts 7:54-8:3

b. His Conversion Acts 9

c. His Suffering Connected with Ministry 2 Corinthians 11:23-33

2. In what ways might Paul be compared and contrasted with Joshua?

B.   Timothy our brother (1:1b)

1. What is Timothy’s role in the Letter to the Colossians?

2. Would you describe Timothy as being first generation or second generation Christian?

3. Questions for thought

a. How do we learn about Timothy throughout the New Testament?

b. That is, does he speak and act directly as a main character?

c. Or, do we mostly learn about him by reading references to him written by others?

d. Is he a main player in the biblical books that bear his name?

4. Thinking about the New Testament in light of Timothy, what do we learn about its overall content? (Who are the main players?)

5. Colossians 1:1, Acts 16:1-3, 1 Timothy 1-6, 2 Timothy 1-4

C. Who is Epaphras? How does Paul describe him?

1. Colossians 1:7 How would the Colossians feel about Paul, whom they had never met, when he commends their pastor? How would they feel about the gospel message Epaphras had given them?

2. Colossians 4:12 This may refer to physical imprisonment, or more likely, metaphorical servitude to Christ.

3. Philemon 1:23

II.    To

A. To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ (1:2)

B. What do we know about the town of Colosse?

1. Where was it situated? Was it on or off the main trade thoroughfare?

2. How large or small was it?

3. What was its importance, if any?

C. Had Paul ever visited Colosse?

1. Did he know the people personally?

2. What effect might this have had on the tone of his letter to them?

3. Compare Paul’s tone in the Letter to the Galatians with his tone here and relate this to his personal history with each of these churches.

Next Week: Colossians 1:2 more on “To” and “Greeting” with a focus on the words “holy,” “grace,” and “peace.”


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