From the "Exploring..." Bible Study Series.
"What think ye of Christ?" Our answer to that question determines the validity of our Christian faith. The Epistle to the Colossians fills an important place in delineating the doctrine of Christ. The theme of the epistle can be thus summarized: Jesus Christ is the preeminent Son of God, who provides redemption from sin as well as the power to live above sin.
The key verses of the epistle forms the outline of its message: "For in [Christ] dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power" (2:9, 10). The first statement summarizes the first main division of the book (1:15-2:3), in which the apostle Paul presented a comprehensive treatise on the doctrine of Christ's preeminence. The second statement summarizes the second main division of the book (2:4-4:6), in which the apostle Paul described how the preeminent Christ brings spiritual completeness to the believer.
Follow the precise, logical development of this mind-stretching epistle. As you ponder the lofty language of the first main section, bow humbly before the preeminent Son of God. As you probe the deep discussions of the second main section, allow the life of Christ to permeate your being, make you "complete in Him."
The Epistle to Philemon stands unique among Paul's epistles. Nowhere does the writer refer to his apostleship. In contrast to the picture that emerges from the Book of Acts and from Paul's other epistles, this endearing personal letter reveals a man of tender heart and warm compassion.
Philemon, likely converted under Paul's ministry, was a wealthy man, owning at least one slave. That slave, Onesimus, had run away but, having met Paul in Rome, was also converted. In this beautiful letter, Paul appealed to Philemon to receive his runaway slave as a Christian brother.
This moving letter shows the Gospel at work in everyday life. What a beautiful illustration of how even twenty-first-century believers should nurture wholesome brotherhood relationships!
"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen."
Table of Contents
- Part 1. Introducing the Epistle to the Colossians
- Part 2. "It Pleased the Father That in [Christ] Should All Fulness Dwell" (1:15-2:3)
- Part 3. "And Ye Are Complete in Him" (2:4-4:6)
- Part 4. Concluding Remarks of the Epistle to the Colossians (4:7-18)
- Part 5. Introducing the Book of Philemon (1-3)
- Part 6. Paul's Commendation of Philemon (4-7)
- Part 7. Paul's Intercession for Onesimus (8-20)
- Part 8. Concluding Remarks of the Epistle to Philemon (21-25)
- Suggested Answers to Study Questions