"THE EPISTLE TO THE COLOSSIANS" Chapter One OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To see the relationship between understanding the grace of God and bearing fruit 2) To examine Paul's prayer for the Colossians for the keys to successful Christian living 3) To appreciate the preeminence of Christ in creation and our redemption SUMMARY Paul begins with his customary salutation followed by an expression of thanksgiving and prayer. Hearing of their condition from Epaphras, he is thankful for their faith, love, and hope (1-8). His prayer is that they be filled with the knowledge of God's will, walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, strengthened by God's glorious power, and ever thankful that the Father has qualified them to be partakers of the saints' inheritance, especially since they were delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son, where there is redemption and forgiveness of sins (9-14). He then broaches the theme of this epistle, which is the preeminence and all-sufficiency of Jesus Christ our Savior. Paul first proclaims the preeminence of Christ in creation, and then His preeminence in redemption (15-20). The Colossians' own conversion is offered as a case in point in reference to the latter, and with a warning for them to remain steadfast (21-23). The chapter ends with Paul's description of his ministry, in which he gladly suffered on behalf of Christ and His church. He views himself as a steward entrusted with a wonderful "mystery," which is being made known after having been hidden for ages. This "mystery" pertains to the Gentiles, and how Christ would be in them (24-27). Paul therefore worked diligently to preach Christ, with the goal of presenting every man perfect in Him (28-29). OUTLINE I. INTRODUCTION (1-14) A. SALUTATION (1-2) 1. From Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God (1a) 2. And Timothy, "our brother" (1b) 3. To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ, who are in Colosse (2a) 4. Grace and peace from God and Jesus Christ (2b) B. PAUL'S THANKSGIVING AND PRAYER (3-14) 1. His thanksgiving for them (3-8) a. Given to God, with unceasing prayers in their behalf (3) b. Given since he heard of: 1) Their faith in Christ Jesus (4a) 2) Their love for all the saints (4b) c. Given because the hope laid up for them in heaven (5) 1) Which they had heard by way of the gospel a) Which had come to them as to all the world, bringing forth fruit (6a) b) Even in them, since the day they heard and knew the grace of God (6b) 2) Which they had heard by way of Epaphras a) A dear fellow servant and faithful minister of Christ on their behalf (7) b) Who declared to Paul their love in the Spirit (8) 2. His prayer for them (9-14) a. Offered unceasingly since he heard of their progress (9a) b. Asking that they might... 1) Be filled with the knowledge of God's will in wisdom and spiritual understanding (9b) 2) Walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him (10a) a) Being fruitful in every good work (10b) b) Increasing in the knowledge of God (10c) 3) Be strengthened with all might (11a) a) According to His glorious power (11b) b) For all patience and longsuffering with joy (11c) 4) Give thanks to the Father (12a) a) Who qualified us to be partakers of the saints' inheritance (12b) b) Who has delivered us from the power of darkness (13a) c) Who has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son (13b) 1/ In whom we have redemption through His blood (14a) 2/ In whom we have forgiveness of sins (14b) II. THE PREEMINENCE OF CHRIST (15-23) A. IN CREATION (15-17) 1. He is the image of the invisible God (15a) 2. He is the firstborn over all creation (15b) 3. All things were created by Him (16) 4. He is before all things (17a) 5. In Him all things consist (17b) B. IN REDEMPTION (18-23) 1. He is the head of the body, the church (18a) 2. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead (18b) 3. That He might have the preeminence in all things (18c) 4. It pleased the Father... a. That in Him all the fullness should dwell (19) b. That by Him all things were to be reconciled to Himself, making peace through the blood of the cross (20) 5. The Colossians as a case in point (21-23) a. They were once alienated and enemies in mind, through wicked works (21a) b. Yet now reconciled... 1) In the body of His flesh through death (21b-22a) 2) To be presented holy, blameless, and irreproachable in His sight (22b) 3) If they continue in the faith... a) Grounded and steadfast (23a) b) Not moved away from the gospel 1/ Which they heard (23b) 2/ Which was preached to every creature under heaven (23c) 3/ Of which Paul became a minister (23d) III. THE APOSTLE OF CHRIST (24-29) A. HIS JOY (24) 1. In suffering for their sake (24a) 2. For in his flesh he fills up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ (24b) 3. All is done for the sake of His body, the church (24c) B. HIS MINISTRY (25-29) 1. Made a minister according to the stewardship from God (25a) a. Given to him for them (25b) b. To fulfill the word of God (25c) 1) The mystery which has been hidden for ages and generations (26a) 2) But now has been revealed to His saints (26b) a) To whom God willed to make known the riches of the glorious mystery among the Gentiles (27a) b) Which is Christ in them, the hope of glory (27b) 2. Proclaiming Christ (28-29) a. By warning and teaching every man in all wisdom (28a) b. That he might present every man perfect in Christ (28b) 1) Laboring toward this end (29a) 2) Striving according to His working which works in him mightily (29b)
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER Move your mouse pointer underneath each question to see the answer.
1) What are the main points of this chapter? 2) Who joins Paul in the salutation of this epistle? (1) 3) What three things had Paul heard about the Colossians, for which he gave thanks? (3-5) 4) How long had the gospel been bringing forth fruit in their lives? (6) 5) Who had informed Paul of their condition? (7-8) 6) List four things for which Paul prayed concerning the Colossians (9-11) 7) Into what have we been translated? (13) 8) What does one enjoy in Christ? (14) 9) List five things which illustrate Christ's preeminence in creation (15-17) 10) List four things which illustrate Christ's preeminence in redemption (18-20) 11) What was the former condition of the Colossians? How were they changed? (21-22) 12) Upon what condition would they be presented as holy, blameless and irreproachable? (22-23) 13) What is said about the "mystery" which has been hidden? (26) 14) What is the glorious nature of this "mystery"? (27) 15) What was Paul's goal in preaching Christ? (28)