Colossians Study 6 (3:17-4:1)



Welcome and Prayer
Leader: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.
Leader: Let us pray.


We come before you, heavenly Father, asking that you will show us your way in our living. We have come at the appointed time to the right place. We know you are more gracious to hear than we are capable of praying, your answer is greater than our request and your grace is greater than our sin. You can do exceedingly more than we can ask or think, because he who was rich became poor for our sakes. Through his poverty we have been made rich in so many ways. So in the name of Jesus your Son we ask that you will enrich our conversation today and strengthen our commitment to follow you. Amen.

Overview of the Session
In this section, Paul brings the presence of Christ into the home. We have already seen him in creation, the church and the individual Christian. The outworking of Christian faith is to be reflected in the home that may be in conflict with the surrounding culture. During a time when gender, ethnic and religious discrimination were extreme and slavery was common, Paul’s writing to the churches at Colosse and Ephesus had to be seen as radical. But the work, life and power of Christ make possible the transformation about which he writes.



Sharing our stories
Was there ever a time in your life when you felt you were being picked on unfairly for some reason? Did you feel that no one liked you or perhaps that some even hated you? How did you respond to this situation? Can you share your experience with the group?

Reflection from personal study
The central teaching of Jesus was “God loves you.” In John 13, Jesus pronounced the impact of God’s love on the Christian life: “As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you love another.” In his writing to the Colossians, Paul brings that teaching into the home. We can consider a couple of questions while we reflect on Paul’s writing: How would our city change if Paul’s teaching were followed? What might happen to our criminal justice system if kids grew up in the kind of home Paul pictures?

Slavery, we know, was widespread in the Roman world. Some have estimated that up to 50% of the population then was slave. Paul spends some time in dealing with that widespread practice. It may have implications in our culture with immigrant labor.

Colossians 3:17-4:1

(Ephesians 5:21 And further, you will submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.)

17 And whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus, all the while giving thanks through him to God the Father.
18 You wives must submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord. 19 And you husbands must love your wives and never treat them harshly.
20 You children must always obey your parents, for this is what pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, don’t aggravate your children. If you do, they will become discouraged and quit trying.
22 You slaves must obey your earthly masters in everything you do. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. Obey them willingly because of your reverent fear of the Lord. 23 Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 24 Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and the Master you are serving is Christ. 25 But if you do what is wrong, you will be paid back for the wrong you have done. For God has no favorites who can get away with evil.
4:1You slave owners must be just and fair to your slaves. Remember that you also have a Master—in heaven.
1. Under the umbrella of “submit yourselves one to another,” why the admonition to wives in v. 18?

2. Why does Paul write, “as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord?” What distinction is he making?

3. In the parallel passage in Ephesians 5:25 Paul writes, “Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her.” How did Christ love the church? Would wives complain about that kind of treatment?

4. Paul also writes to husbands, “and never treat them harshly.” What do you think Paul had seen in that culture that would cause this warning?

5. Paul used the phrase “this is what pleases the Lord” in the verse dealing with children. How could that be applied to the other relationships in this passage?

6. In addition to warning husbands about “harshness,” he cautions them about “aggravating your children.” Is he picking on husbands? What do you think is going on?

7. The section dealing with slaves and masters is much longer than that of the other relationships touched on here. He also wrote a separate letter to Philemon, a slave owner and member of the church at Colosse. Do you see any principles that can be applied to a Christian view of management/ employee relations?

8. How do you think Paul is treating the issue of exploitation? Do you see a thread of this in this entire passage? Can all sides take warning about taking advantage of others?

9. Returning to verse 17, do you see these questions as occasions for Christians to display their faith? Is this where others will see Christ in the world?

10. Paul has picked some telling areas for Christian behavior. Which individual do you think has the most difficult “assignment?” Please explain.





Submit to one another           What pleases the Lord          Reverent fear for the Lord

You also have a Master         A representative of the Lord Jesus

BACKGROUND In the parallel teaching on Christ in the home (Ephesians 5:21 – 6:9) Paul places the family instruction under the heading, “submit to one another.” Without that provision, you might guess the turmoil his writing would create. Paul has already described the supremacy of Jesus in various arenas and he now brings that into the home and the work environment. We are dealing here with principles that are germane to whatever the dominant culture might advocate. It is the home where Christ becomes the central figure and all are subject to him and his law of love. Notice he does not talk to the husband about his leadership role, but of his love relationship. He does not describe to the wife ways she can tell her husband how to show his love. The servant/boss association follows the same pattern. Not a list of do’s and don’ts, but principles of love based on Jesus’ teaching in the Gospels.

CLOSING In the opening verses of this book Paul highlighted that he was praying for them regularly. In the closing chapter he requests that those in the Lycus Valley pray for him. He wanted them to see we are in this together and that we should support each other through prayer. To help us do this, those who would like, share any request for prayer you have. Others in the group will write your request in the space to the right. It is our intention that we will pray for each other during the coming week.

Ephesians. 6:18 “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”

My Prayer Partners:    They’ve Asked Prayer for:

1.____________________  _______________________________________

2.____________________  _______________________________________

3.____________________  _______________________________________

4.____________________  _______________________________________

5.____________________  _______________________________________

6.____________________  _______________________________________

7.____________________  _______________________________________

8.____________________  _______________________________________