How to Read the Bible
- Consider the genre
- Think about the original audience (as well as authorial intent)
- Apply the rules of the genre
- Seek the Christ connection
Themes of Colossians
- Believers are accepted by God only because of what Christ alone has accomplished on their behalf (1:21-22).
- Warning against being taken captive and deceived by "plausible arguments" (2:4) and "philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition" (2:8).
Starting at the Wrong End
- What we must & must not do (which determines)
- Who we become as opposed to who we once were (which then determines)
- What God does in response to what we have done (which reveals the nature of)
- Who God is
Starting at the Correct End
- Who God is (which determines)
- What God does (for His own glory, resulting in)
- Who we become as opposed to who we once were (which produces a new ethic for)
- What we must & must not do
Who God Is
Colossians 1:15-20 (ESV)
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
What God Does
Colossians 1:22 (ESV)
22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,
Colossians 2:13-15 (ESV)
13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alivetogether with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
Who We Once Were:
- alienated and enemies of God (1:21-23)
- foolish and blind (2:1-5)
- powerless and enslaved (2:9-15)
- dead (2:13)
reconciled, holy, blameless, and above reproach (1:22)
buried with Christ in baptism (2:12)
raised with Christ (2:12 & 3:1)
What We Must Not Do
Colossians 3:5-10 (ESV)
5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
What We Must Do
Colossians 3:12-17 (ESV)
12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.