Week 1: Colossians 1:1-2 and 2:6-7
Faith in Jesus Christ transforms us. God brings us out of the domain of darkness and places us in the kingdom of his Son whom he loves. Our faith in Jesus brings about a renewing of our minds, filling us with the knowledge of his will and spiritual wisdom. By walking with Christ each day, we become rooted and built up in him, established in our faith. Believing the truth of the gospel protects us from false teaching and impacts every area of our lives. This week we begin a new series in the book of Colossians. It is a story of transformation in Christ. Paul wrote this letter to the church in Colossae towards the end of his ministry. The rich theology and practical wisdom contained in Colossians clearly flows from an apostle who had spent years walking and serving with Christ. And yet Paul’s message is also simple. Christ is supreme and Christ is enough. Believing that truth and acting on it will transform your life.
When was the last time you sent a hand-written letter to someone you cared about or received one from someone else?
Getting into the Text:
1. (Colossians 1:1) Paul begins his greeting by reminding his readers of his own personal transformation and status as an apostle – something that God willed and accomplished. Acts 9:1-18 tells the story of Paul’s conversion and how God appointed Paul to be his chosen instrument to carry his name to all types of people, and especially to the Gentiles. Paul reflects on his special role as an apostle in 1 Corinthians 15:3-11 and Galatians 1:11-12. What do these passages tell us about the role of apostles in the early days of the church? How was this role particularly important before the full written New Testament was available? Given that part of Paul’s purpose in this letter is to correct false teaching, why do you think he reminds his readers that he is an apostle?
2. (Colossians 1:1) Timothy is listed as a co-sender of this letter. One of the reasons Paul had such a successful ministry was that he was working with a team of gifted, spirit-filled brothers and sisters. Some of Timothy’s story can be found in Acts 16:1-3, Philippians 2:19-22, and 2 Timothy 1:5; 3:14-15. What aspects of Timothy’s history and character helped him to be such a useful friend and partner for Paul? How have you noticed your own spiritual transformation and/or service in Christ being more effective when you work with others?
3. (Colossians 1:2) The Colossian church was probably started by Epaphras who was from Colossae and who eventually became one of Paul’s partners in ministry. (See Colossians 1:7-8) Paul may have visited the church during his travels throughout the region but there is no record of this in the Bible. How do you think the church members would have felt when they received this letter from Paul identifying them as saints and brothers? How is this a good example of the unity among all believers around the world and throughout time? How often do you think of yourself as a part of that larger body? In what sense are Paul’s words in this letter also for you?
4. (Colossians 2:6-7) A core theme in Colossians is the sufficiency and importance of Christ for our initial salvation and for our subsequent life in him. In what ways are we transformed by Christ when we first believe the gospel? In what ways is the transformation he provides an ongoing part of life after salvation? How do the different metaphors Paul uses here (walking, rooted, built up, established) help to illustrate what this transformed life should look like? How is thanksgiving appropriate all along the way?
1. In what ways have you experienced transformation in your life because of Christ? It might help to ask someone who has known you for a while. Spend some time giving God thanks for these.
2. What currently is holding you back or interfering with God’s ongoing work of transformation in you? Ask God to help you discern this. Ask him to help you to be open and available to what he wants to do in you through this study of Colossians.