SOURCE FOR QUESTIONS
Colossians 1:1 through 4:18
KEY VERSE FOR MEMORIZATION
"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving." (Colossians 2:6-7)
Colosse was a city of Phrygia Pacatiana, now a part of Turkey in Asia Minor. Not much is known about this ancient city, which was situated between Laodicea and Hierapolis and about one hundred miles east of Ephesus. Colosse has been extinct for well over eighteen hundred years and it is believed that an earthquake destroyed Colosse, as well as Laodicea and Hierapolis. The city that was raised in the place of Colosse was called Konos, a name it bears today.
The Book of Colossians is one of the epistles Paul wrote during his imprisonment in Rome, around A.D. 60, about the same time as the epistle to the Ephesians was written.
The church at Colosse was probably started during Paul’s third missionary journey. It is not known whether or not Paul ever personally visited the church.
Whether the Colossians, whom the apostle addressed in this epistle, were Jews or Gentiles, cannot be absolutely determined. It is most probable that they were a mixture of both.
The problem Paul was combating in the Colossian church was the early stages of Gnosticism, a heresy that attacked Christianity in several basic ways. Gnostics taught that: (1) Christ was a created being, greater than man but less than God, thus stripping Him of His deity, which negated His propitiatory work at Calvary; (2) salvation was obtained through knowledge; and (3) the body was evil.
- Who was the pastor of the Colossian church, and how did Paul describe him? What qualities are suggested by Paul’s words regarding him? Colossians 1:7
- Though Paul had never met the Colossian believers, he faithfully prayed for them. What are some specific areas of prayer support we should weave into our prayers for others, based upon Paul’s prayer in Colossians 1:9-12?
- The Colossian church seemingly had several misconceptions about Christ, and Paul addressed their concerns in this epistle. Summarize how Paul refuted each of the following false beliefs.
Christ could not be both human and divine.
Christ did not create the world.
Christ was not the unique Son of God.
Christ is not the source of salvation.
- In verse 24 of the first chapter, Paul indicated his willingness to endure suffering in order to further the Gospel. List ways in which you might be called on to “suffer” for Christ’s cause. What are the benefits of enduring?
- Having established the significance and preeminence of Christ, Paul moves on in chapter 2 to give a warning. What did Paul caution the Colossians about? (See verses 4, 8 and 18.) How might his warning apply in our day?
- Chapter 2 addresses the dangers of the legalistic teachings of the Gnostic teachers in Colosse. Paul referred to the distinction of meats and drinks — foods that had been classified as clean or unclean under the law — and the requirement of observing certain holy days or festivals, such as those relating to the new moons and particular sabbaths. He let the Colossians know that Christ had released them from delusive and oppressive rules, and that there was no need for them to submit themselves to Jewish traditions which served to supplant God’s Word. All these had been taken out of the way when Jesus was nailed to the Cross, and they were no longer of moral obligation. How might such regulations have deceived these believers?
- Having laid a doctrinal and theological foundation in the first two chapters, Paul proceeds in chapter 3, to lay out principles for the Colossians to put into practice the message they had just heard. What are some specific ways we can put into practice Paul’s admonition found in Colossians 3:2?
- In Colossians 4:5-6, Paul addressed how Christians are to act toward unbelievers. What do you think Paul meant by the following phrases?
Walk in wisdom
Redeeming the time
Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt
Know how ye ought to answer
Paul’s epistle appears to have provided not only the most complete description of Christ in any of the letters to the members of the Early Church, but it also contains excellent and timeless instructions to Christians of every era. As you read Colossians, you can acquire a new appreciation for Christ as “the fullness of the Godhead bodily,” and the only source for living the Christian life.