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  • Ethos Church

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

2 To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray

for you, 4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love

you have for all God’s people— 5 the faith and love that spring from the hope

stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the

true message of the gospel 6 that has come to you. In the same way, the

gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it

has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood

God’s grace. 7 You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is

a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, 8 and who also told us of your love

in the Spirit.

9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped

praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of

his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10

so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way:

bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being

strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may

have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father,

who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the

kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness

and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have

redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

The Supremacy of the Son of God

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.16

For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and

invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have

been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him

all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church;he is

the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything

he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness

dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether

things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood,

shed on the cross.

21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your mind because

of] your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical

body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free

from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and

do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you

heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of

which I, Paul, have become a servant.

Paul’s Labor for the Church

24 Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is

still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is

the church. 25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to

present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26 the mystery that has been

kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s

people. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the

glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

28 He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all

wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. 29 To this

end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in



Fun Fact:

Verses 15-20 were written as a poem! Paul goes on to reference this opening

poem throughout the letter. The poem is used as a tool meant to establish

and describe Jesus’ authority.

For these three questions, use a journal to write down your answers.

1. Having never met the church in Colossae, Paul knows their reputation. He

thanks God and encourages their exemplary model of faith, love, and hope.

If someone who had never met you heard only the best things about you,

what words do you think would be used to describe you?

2. Paul prays for the Colossians to receive knowledge and wisdom, to be

strengthened with endurance and patience. What do you need to grow in

your spiritual life? List them here and ask someone to pray God gives you

them. (hint: fill out a prayer card at the response moment stations, and/or

head to the prayer banners at the end of Sunday experiences!)

3. Paul says he rejoices in his suffering. What kinds of thoughts or emotions

come up for you when you read that? Can you remember a time when you

chose joy in a hard circumstance?


Paul wrote this letter to the Colossians after hearing about how well they

were doing as well as some of their unique cultural challenges and pressures.

Paul writes to the Colossian Christians expanding and explaining the simple

fact that no part of their human existence remains untouched by the loving

and liberating rule of Jesus. In light of this, Paul goes on to say that every

Christian’s suffering, temptation, moral character, and family dynamics must

all be re-examined and transformed in light of the work of Jesus. According

to Paul, becoming a follower of Jesus, means that you’re joined to Jesus for

eternity and are part of his new multi-ethnic family, united under His authority

and truth.

Modern day readers studying this book can divide Paul’s letter into two

significant sections: Paul explaining what Christ has done and in turn, what

Christians should do in response. Colossians contains 4 main themes: Christ

as God, Christ as head of the church, union with Christ, and heresy.*


Paul wrote this originally as a letter to the church in Colossae. It later became

known as a “book” when it was adopted into the official canon of scripture.

Some biblical scholars support the idea that it could have been one of

Paul’s scribes who did the writing with his expressed consent and approval.

Nevertheless, the letter from Paul to the Colossians is consistent with his

voice and themes from other books of the Bible, most closely linked to the

book of Ephesians.


Paul wrote this letter while imprisoned in Rome around 60 AD, more than a

decade into his ministry. Interestingly, Paul addressed this letter to a church he

did not start in a city he’d never visited: Colossae. Colossae was a culturally

insignificant city in the country of Phrygia, now modern day Turkey. So the

question begs to be asked, why did Paul write this letter to this unimportant

place he’d never been and to a people he did not know?


Paul’s focus in this letter is to both encourage the Colossians in the things

they do uniquely well as a church (modeling Christian faith, hope, and love,

combating false teaching and heresy) and address the cultural pressures they

lived with. Paul’s letter helped the church establish a theological foundation

for the supremacy of Christ.


The entire letter can be summed up with the idea that, it’s not what

you know, it’s who you know. Christians know Jesus, the Messiah, and

knowing Him changes everything you do, how you think, the way you

interact with culture, and the way you live life on earth.

*Adapted from The Bible Project

  • Ethos Church

April 7, 2023

NOTICE WHAT LARGE LETTERS I USE AS I WRITE THESE CLOSING WORDS IN MY OWN HANDWRITING. Those who are trying to force you to be circumcised want to look good to others. They don’t want to be persecuted for teaching that the cross of Christ alone can save. And even those who advocate circumcision don’t keep the whole law themselves. They only want you to be circumcised so they can boast about it and claim you as their disciples. As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God. From now on, don’t let anyone trouble me with these things. For I bear on my body the scars that show I belong to Jesus. Dear brothers and sisters, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.


It was Paul’s custom, after dictating a letter, to take the pen and write his own farewell. His standard signature was “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you” (2 Thessalonians 3:17-18). But so concerned was Paul that the Galatians understood the message of his letter that he took the pen and wrote the entire concluding paragraph with his own hand. Paul sums up his timeless message by writing in big letters that circumcision (legalism) does not matter, only being made a new creation by faith in Christ matters. ( “...What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation” – Galatians 6:15).

Paul boasted only in the crucified and risen Savior. Jesus Christ is mentioned at least forty-five times in the Galatian letter, which means that one third of the verses contain some reference to Him. The person of Jesus Christ captivated Paul, and it was Christ who made the cross glorious to him. In his early years as Jewish rabbi, Paul had much to glory in. But after he met Christ, all his self-glory became worthless. For Paul, the cross meant liberty: from self (Galatians 2:20), the law (Galatians 5:1), the flesh (Galatians 5:24), and the world (Galatians 6:14). And it means the same for us today!

Paul comes to the end of his letter, and he closes the way he began: GRACE. “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you…”


1. How can you live as if what counts is the new creation?

2. The messages in Galatians include grace vs. law, liberty vs. license, and Spirit vs. flesh. Thank God for the specific things He has taught you and changed you through your study of Galatians.

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