Col 1:1-2 Compare this greeting with that in the first two verses of Ephesians (Eph 1:1-2), noticing the similarity and difference; considering the two letters are so similar and appear to have been written at the same time, why do you suppose Paul included Timothy in the greeting to the letter to the Colossians but not in the letter to the Ephesians? What does it mean to be a saint? What does it mean to be faithful in Christ? How might one be unfaithful? Are we faithful saints?
Col 1:3-8 Did Paul establish the church in Colossae? Who did? See Col 1:7. Where do you suppose Epaphras had learned of the gospel? See Acts 19:10,26. Had Paul ever visited the church in Colossae? See Col 2:1. How often did Paul pray for the Christians in Colossae whom he had never met? What in particular about the Colossians prompted Paul’s prayers for them? See Col 1:4 & 8. Are we as faithful to pray for saints whom we’ve heard about but never met, such as those persecuted for their faith around the world? What is the relationship between faith, love, hope, and the truth of the gospel that Paul mentions in Col 1:4 and 5? Note: it is the preaching of the gospel that gives one hope, which leads to faith, which results in love. What is the evidence that a person or group of people has understood the grace of God in truth? See Col 1:6.
Col 1:9 For what did Paul pray for the Colossians in Col 1:9? What is the opposite of the spiritual wisdom and understanding with which Paul would have the Colossians discern the knowledge of the truth? See 1 Cor 2:4-6. In what ways is it important for us today to have spiritual wisdom and understanding as opposed to the wisdom of the world and its understanding?
Col 1:10-12 For what purpose or to what end would Paul have the Colossians be filled with the knowledge of God’s will? Is it possible for a person to walk worthily of the Lord “unto all pleasing” (literal) without first knowing His will? How does one acquire the spiritual wisdom that allows one to correctly discern God’s will and not be taken in by the “persuasive argument” (Col 2:4) and the “philosophy and empty deception” (Col 2:8) of the world? See Prov 2, James 1:5, Josh 1:8, 2 Tim 2:15. What four things does Paul list to describe what it means to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord and please Him? What is the central importance of “bearing fruit” and “increasing” (literally “growing”, with which see Col 2:19, Luke 1:80, 2:40, 12:27, 13:19, Acts 19:20, 1 Cor 3:6-7)? See Col 1:6, Gen 1:28, 9:1. To what end did Paul pray in Col 1:11 that the Colossians would find great strength? Note: steadfastness (NASB) = endurance (NIV) and is translated most often as perseverance; it means to remain under troubles without succumbing. Patience (NASB) = longsuffering (KJV) and refers to long endurance without retaliating. Why do Christians in general, and did the Colossians in particular, have need to persevere and be longsuffering? Note also that “joyously” may be taken either with what follows, as in the NASB, or with what precedes, as in the KJV: “unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness”; see also James 1:2-4.
Col 1:12-14 For what reason ought we always to rejoice and give thanks to God, even though our faith often results in our having to patiently endure various trials? See Col 1:12. What is it that qualifies us to share in the inheritance of the saints? See Col 1:13-14. What profound differences can citizenship in one country (such as South Korea or West Germany) mean over citizenship in another (such as North Korea or what was once East Germany)? Note: “delivered” in Col 1:13 = rescued (NIV). What profound differences does citizenship in God’s kingdom of light mean over citizenship in Satan’s dominion of darkness? What is the significance to the errors confronting the Colossians that Paul emphasizes that God has brought us into the kingdom of His beloved Son, and it is in Him that we have redemption and the forgiveness of sins? See also Col 2:8-13.