Nov 19, 2017

Mature in Christ: Life Group Study 12

HISTORICAL CONTEXT:

During the time of this letter, the Roman society the Colossians lived in had its own rules regarding husbands and wives.  In many ways, wives were considered the husband's "property."  Their husbands had control over their legal rights.  The primary philosophy that informed this view of marriage was Stoicism.  They observed that males in nature were the dominate gender.  They used their larger strength and power to dominate family groups.  This, they concluded, is a natural law and should also be followed in human life.

The Gospel blew this culture apart.  It's "radical" teaching that men and women were both made in the image of God, and are thus equal in value, was in direct opposition to the Roman understanding of gender.  Now the Church was left to figure out how this new found equality was lived out in marriage.

LITERARY CONTEXT:

Paul continues to apply his teaching on the Gospel to every day life.  Still focusing on the home, he shows how a mature Christian child should serve their parents, and how a mature Christian parent should serve their children.

A quick note:  "Children" here refer to those still living in the home.  Adult children who have become independent and left the home do not qualify as "children" as discussed in this verse.  That being said, mature Christian adult children are still to follow the Fifth Commandment and honor their parents.


Scripture | Colossians 4:2-18

  1. Read the entire passage. How is this passage different from the rest of the letter?
  2. Now read Col. 1:1-8. How is the beginning of the letter similar to the end? Why do you think this is so?
  3. What insights does today's passage give us into the relationships between believers in other cities? Does this change how you understand Paul's relationship to the Colossians?
  4. Read VS. 18. Paul wrote that last sentence with his own hand. The rest of the letter was written by a professional scribe as Paul dictated. Why do you think Paul ended the letter this way? Why do you think he wrote what he wrote?
  5. How might this part of Colossians help a skeptic or nonbeliever?
  6. Big Picture: If you have time, skim over the entire letter to the Colossians. What was the "one big thing" that you learned over the course of this study?