Friday, 19 September 2014
Colossians Overview: Preview of our Study
Welcome to our fall study of Paul’s letter to the Colossians!
I hope this blog is a helpful resource for those of you who are attending the Bible study on Wednesday mornings as well as for those of you who can’t come, but want to buy the book and study anyway. Our study book is Colossians and Philemon: Continue to Live in Him, by Kathleen Nielson. You can order it here.
It’s Time to Write that Email
If you’re like me, you draft emails (or texts) in your head all the time. Someone comes to mind. Oh, yeah, I keep meaning to find out how their trip turned out. Or I forgot to let them know about Saturday. Or I’ve got some thoughts to share about the problem they told me about the other day. Then I get busy doing the next thing and forget to sit down and write them.
Two things make me finally sit down and write. Clarity and urgency. My thoughts finally come together so that I have words to express the ideas that have been banging around in my head. And I feel that it needs to be done now.
Paul, the Writer
The apostle Paul heard news about the Colossian church from Epaphras (Colossians 1:3, 7). What he heard stirred his heart–good things that he wanted to confirm, problems that he wanted to address. Christ was in the center of all of those thoughts. We don’t know how long it took him before he sat down to take pen to paper, but we know he did, because we have the letter.
As we study the letter Paul wrote that day, let’s listen for what was on his heart.
- Where do you sense his urgency?
- Where do you see clarity?
- What does he commend in them?
- Where does he caution them?
- Where do you see Christ?
Paul’s heart reflects God’s heart for his church, then and now. British pastor Dick Lucas comments:
[Paul’s letters] must be allowed to speak for themselves, as they did in the beginning, urgent letters with coherent themes to Christian believers very like ourselves.
What if You Just Got a Letter from John?
John Piper, that is. Or Matt Chandler? Imagine one of our pastors standing up this week and reading aloud a personal email to us from Jerry Bridges. I know I would sit forward on my seat and pay attention. This man has written books that have blessed the church for over 30 years. What could he have to say to us? It would feel so personal. I would be all ears!
That’s the feeling I want to encourage in us as we take up our Bibles and this study guide. This isn’t an academic task. It’s a very personal message from two authors, Paul and God himself. Paul knew the Colossians through Epaphras’s report, but he didn’t know us at all! However, God knows both the Colossian believers and us–personally, intimately. He has much to say to us that is completely relevant to our situation. He used Paul to write it down. He will use his Spirit to make Paul’s words come alive for us today.
Let’s sit up and listen!
Colossians Study Schedule:
9/25 Lesson 1: Overview
10/2 Lesson 2: Colossians 1:1-14
10/9 Lesson 3: Colossians 1:15-23
10/16 Lesson 4: Colossians 1:24-2:5
10/23 Lesson 5: Colossians 2:6-23
10/30 Lesson 6: Colossians 3:1-4
11/6 Lesson 7: Colossians 3:5-14
11/13 Lesson 8: Colossians 3:15-4:1
11/20 Lesson 9: Colossians 4:2-18