Colossians 3 Bible Study, Summary and Discussion Questions

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Here is a Bible study with a summary and discussion questions over Colossians chapter three.

Colossians 3: “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

I noticed that the Apostle Paul doesn’t say “since” but “if” you have been raised with Christ, perhaps recognizing that there are always going to be tares growing along the wheat, he says “if” and not since.  For those who are Christ’s, they must set their minds on the things above and not on earthly things since these are passing away but the things of heaven remain forever.


What does Paul mean by “set your minds on things that are above?”

Is there anything wrong with thinking about things here on earth?

Why does Paul say “if” rather than “since” in speaking about those who have been raised with Christ?

Colossians 3 Bible Study

Colossians 3:5-7 “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them.”

Paul speaks as if we can kill the lusty or fleshly desires in our bodies and warns that things such as sexual immorality (which he puts first in rank or order) is going to bring the wrath of God upon all who continue to walk in these things but he does contrast the fact that we used to walk in these things, assuming that we do so no more.


How can we “put to death” what is earthly in us?

Does Paul put sexual immorality first for a reason?

Colossians 3:11 “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.”

This Bible verse shows us that we all have hope in Christ and that God is no respecter of persons, race, or social standing in life.  Elsewhere, Paul writes that “God shows no partiality” (Rom 2:11) just as The Apostle Peter said in Acts 10:23.  Job expands on this truth in saying that God “shows no partiality to princes, nor regards the rich more than the poor, for they are all the work of his hands” (Job 34:19).


What does Paul mean by writing “Christ is all, and in all?”

Does God make distinctions between people of substance and people who are poor?

Colossians 3:12-13 “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 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.”

Paul speaks about putting on the things of God like we would put on clothing and maybe that’s because they don’t put themselves on us by themselves.  We must participate on putting these things on just like we must take the initiative of putting on the armor of God (Eph 6:11). Paul also says if we have a complaint against someone, rather than addressing it with the person, just forgive them as God has forgiven us.


Why does Paul say “put on the things of God?”

Are these fruits of the Spirit or just evidence of our being saved?

Colossians 3:15-16 “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 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.”

The Greek word for “rule” as in “let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” is like that of an umpire.   The umpire makes the call but we must also participate in this as Paul says “let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” which tells us that we must allow this peace to rule in our hearts.  The Apostle Paul suggestion includes, “whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col 3:17).


How does peace rule in our hearts?

What does Paul mean by writing, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly?”

What is “the word of Christ?”

Colossians 3:18-19 “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.  Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.”

Just because Paul tells wives to submit to their husbands doesn’t mean that they are inferior or less spiritual.  In fact, women are co-heirs and co-equals with men but just as Christ submitted to the Father, still being equally God, He yielded to the Father’s will.  The husband doesn’t have it any easier and in fact, it is more difficult because husbands are told to love their wives in the same way that Jesus loves the church and died for us, so “don’t be harsh with them” since Christ’s not harsh with us.  Paul also addresses children and even advises fathers, but first says, “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.  Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged” (Col 3:20-21).


Why is submitting to husbands “fitting in the Lord?”

Why would Paul say “do not be harsh with” our wives?

Colossians 3:23-24 “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”

In summary, Paul says that whatever we do, do it as if we’re doing it for Jesus Christ, because we are.  We don’t really work for an employer but ultimately for God Who is the One Who will reward us on the day of His return.  Our inheritance is our reward, not a paycheck or the praise of men.


Why does Paul see us as working for the Lord and not for men?

What is our inheritance that will be our reward?


The Book of Colossians, Chapter 3, verses 1-12 is what I would call a self-check or faith diagnostic for the believer to assess their walk with Christ.  It gives us things that should be present in our life and the things that should not be associated with.  It’s like a car’s dashboard which signals when there’s something wrong and what “normal” is for the believer so when you read and study Colossians 3, examine yourself, as I do, to see if all is well or we need to repent of some things and confess them to God so that we might be cleansed from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Have you read this about Colossians: Colossians Commentary

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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