Year of the Bible – Colossians 1:1 – 4:18

Year of the Bible - Advent Week Two - Colossians 1



. . . clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience . . . and over all these virtues put on love. – Colossians 3:12,14

Colossians 1:1–4:18 (1:15–20)

The Apostle Paul wrote the epistle to the Colossians in such a way that it could serve as a primer for Christian faith. The Word of God had been brought to them and the Holy Spirit had worked faith in their hearts, a faith that grew as the Word was studied more. Paul stated the Gospel in simple terms: . . . he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (1:13) Paul then went on to explain the mystery of Christ: He is the image of the invisible God . . . the firstborn of creation . . . creator of all things visible and invisible . . . before all things . . . the firstborn from the dead . . . the fullness of God. Prior to the coming of faith, the Colossians had been enemies of God. But through faith they had been reconciled to God— through Christ’s “body.” For this Gospel, the Apostle told them, he had been suffering. And they would too, if they separated themselves from the world and its way of thinking. At first, hardly a word is spoken by Paul about Christian living. Christian living is a meaningless subject without first coming to grasp the nature of Christian faith. What Christ has done FOR us is always first and above what he does THROUGH us. When we were baptized into Christ, we received all that we needed for life and salvation (2:9). We passed from death into life. The threats and condemnation of the law were cancelled. Now no one is permitted to judge God’s children in matters of law. Only after grasping these wonders of the faith are we ready to apply ourselves to the subject of Christian living, which Paul does in chapter three and beyond. The Christian is to put the sinful nature to death, casting it off like a dirty garment. We are to put on holy qualities, as though they were our clothing—but these clothes are the clothes of Christ himself: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (3:12) And we are to pray, with devotion, watchfulness and thankfulness (4:2-4), paying careful attention to how we act and behave with “outsiders.”

Questions – Colossians 1:1 – 4:18

  1. What do we mean when we say that faith “grows?”    
  2. Are there degrees of salvation?
  3. List some of the mysteries of the person of Christ?
  4. What is our status with God prior to or apart from faith?
  5. When (or in what way) are we reconciled to God through Christ’s body?
  6. Explain the ordering of faith and life.
  7. Why is no one permitted to judge our choice of food and drink—and for that matter, any matter of law?
  8. What metaphor does Paul use to describe our rejection of evil and our choosing of goodness?
  9. What kinds of things should we pray for?
  10. Why are Christians especially cautious about their conduct and behavior when dealing with non-Christians?
Year of the Bible – Advent Week Two | Saturday | Colossians 1:1 – 4:18 – © John W. Fiene