The text we are studying for Sunday, August 26 is Colossians 3:5-17. Here are a few questions that we might be able to consider in class:
V5 uses the language “put to death” for “whatever in you is earthly.” What is our response to that? (E.g., does it seem harsh? Do we feel we’ve accomplished that? Or didn’t need to do it with some of these things? Etc.) Why? Any clue why the author uses this language? (Maybe see Colossians 2:20 – 3:4) More personal: Have we experienced this “death” to some things? What? How does it feel?
What impressions do we get from the catalog of things that need to be put to death (v5), eliminated (v8) and discontinued (v9)? Do we want to hang on to any of them? Or do some of them seem to want to hang on to us? Which? Why is that, do we think? What insight does this give us into ourselves?
V11 names several ethnic or cultural or socio-economic identities that separate people in the first century world. What does it mean that these are behind us in the condition of “renewal.” What feels desirable about this? Why? Does anything about it feel undesirable? Why? How does the list in v11 relate to cultural “no go zones” in our world? How does it relate to Christ being all, and being in all? What do we think that means? What makes us say that?
V12 calls the Colossians “God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved.” Do we read this as describing us as well? Why, or why not? If we think of ourselves this way, how does it feel? Desirable? Undesirable? Why?
How does clothing (v12, v14) relate to identity? (E.g., does it express identity? Help reinforce it? “Signal” it? Etc.) If we extend the clothing metaphor to these lists, what happens? (E.g., where can we shop for or obtain this clothing? Does it “look good on everyone”? Can we find it in our size? Etc.) What insight does thinking of these qualities as clothing give us? Why is that, do we think?
In vv15 & 16, the author tells the Colossians to “let” the “peace of Christ rule in your hearts” and “the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” What does the language of “letting” suggest to us? How do we “let” something happen? What are ways we don’t “let” something happen? What are reasons we have for “letting” or not “letting”? Does thinking about “the peace of Christ” and “the word of Christ” in this way change our understanding in any way? How? Why?
Does the instruction in v17 place any limits on our behavior, do we think? What limits? Why is that?