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Paul Summarizes the Message of His Letter: Colossians 2:6-7

A Short Discussion Guide

Paul Summarizes the Message of His Letter: Colossians 2:6-7

ESV  Colossians 2:6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

Paul’s message is “Christ Jesus the Lord.”

Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

 

  1. Verse 6: Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him,

 

For Discussion:

  • What was the gospel that the Colossians received? (What does Christ’s Lordship include?) Look back in Chapter 1.
  • Think about Paul’s command to “walk in him.” How does the image of someone walking describe our life of faith?
  • Do we walk alone? Who is with us?
  • Can you paraphrase (say in your own words) verse 6? 
  1. Verse 7: rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

 

For Discussion:

  • What are the four images Paul uses in verse 7?
  1. ___________________________
  2. ___________________________
  3. ___________________________
  4. ___________________________

Think about these images one at a time. How does each image illustrate our relationship with Christ and our walk of faith?

 

A Fuller Leader’s Guide

ESV  Colossians 2:6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

Paul’s message is “Christ Jesus the Lord.”

Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

 

I. Verse 6: Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him,

A. as you received

  • Thayer: to receive something transmitted, such as a narrative or instruction by teachers (Thayer)
  • Paraphrase: The teaching you received from Epaphras (Colossians 1:5-7) is good, true, and complete. Stick with that.

B. “Christ Jesus the Lord

  • Why do you think Paul added “the Lord” to “Christ Jesus”? What does Lord signify? What is the impact of this word?
    • Christ IS Lord. He is the Lion of Judah (Psalm 29:9; Revelation 5:5)
    • Order, rank, supremacy, deity above all else (Philippians 2:5-11)
    • There is one Lord (1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:4-5)
    • Naming Christ Lord establishes our relationship to him as servant (slave) to master.
      • This is not a bad thing–it is 1) reality, and 2) worshipful
      • Paul, arguably one of the “greatest” Christians of all time, said this about his own relationship to Christ: (Romans 1:1; Titus 1:1)
      • Being a servant to Christ does not exclude our being his 1) friend (John 15:14-15 How does v. 15 cast light on the apparent contradiction in v. 14?) and 2) sibling (Mark 3:34; John 20:17; Hebrews 2:11).
    • When we receive Christ the Lord, we have an obligation as servant to obey him.
    • Paul establishes Christ as superior to all other spiritual beings whom the false teachers might claim the Colossians need.

C. In this verse, what does Paul mean by saying “so walk in him”?

  • Translation comparison: 1) MESSAGE You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. 2) MOUNCE So then, just as you received · Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 3) NET Therefore, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 4) NIV So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him,
  • What connotations (associated meanings) does the word walk bring to our minds?
    • movement
    • movement forward
      • progressive
      • sustained
      • orderly
    • not running; not hurky-jerky, not sprinting
    • implies a destination, a goal, a purpose, a definite period of time
      • not meandering, nor wandering, nor strolling
    • implies a steady speed over time
    • good for a long distance
  • Therefore, walk in him is a commandment
    • implying that we have control over our movement, that we are making a choice, that living out our faith is neither passive nor forced;
    • We are under our own volition.
    • Yet, we are being commanded–so walking is something we need to do and should do.
    • The commandment implies a leader–the one who gives the command–Paul, and behind Paul, Christ.
  • The above is how we are to move in Christ, how we are to live out our lives in him.

Definition of walk: to move by foot by our own energy at a comfortable, sustainable pace in a directed or guided motion towards a destination or goal or for an established length of time.

  • BTW: We are NOT alone!
    • Hebrews 13:5c …for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
    • ESV  John 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,
    • Helper in Greek is “paraclete” παρακλητος:  “one called alongside to help; (1) as a legal technical term, as one who appears in another’s behalf advocate, defender, intercessor (1J 2.1); (2) as one who gives protection, help, and security helper, comforter, counselor ( JN 14.16) (Friberg).

So we have God with us–the Helper, the One who walks alongside us and in us, the Holy Spirit–to sustain, guide, and direct us in our walk in Christ.

D. Paraphrase (in other words): Keep on keeping on in Christ alone, just as you were taught from the beginning by Epaphras, your faithful pastor and teacher.

II. Verse 7: rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

A. Paul mixes his metaphors! (Since we know that Paul was a highly educated man, we can conclude that literary style differed then from now.)

1. Rooted in Christ

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  • If we are like roots, then Christ is the soil.
  • Roots are organic, alive, growing.
  • Roots are the part of a plant that is beneath the ground; therefore, outwardly invisible. Christ nourishes and sustains us from within.
  • Roots are the means by which a plant is nourished from the soil.
  • Roots cling to the soil and are all but inseparable from it.
  • Roots and soil, therefore, provide the nourishment, stability, support, and growth of a plant.

2. Built up in Christ

  • “Built up” implies that we are like a structure whose foundation and framework is faith.
  • The structure is increasing in size.
  • A structure passively increases under the hands of a builder–God is ultimately in control of who we become in Christ–and we participate as living stones (1 Peter 2:5).
  • A structure is that which is above the foundation–it is visible from the outside.
  • A structure built in Christ is solid, strong.

3. Established in the Faith

  • confirmed
  • made sure
  • strengthened
  • established
  • tested, tried, and proven, as a secure legal document (the building inspection is passed! and the building is now ready to be used for its intended purpose)

4. Abounding (overflowing) in Thanksgiving

  • overflowing with thanksgiving like a full cup of wine (Wright, 104)

B. Why do you suppose thanksgiving is central to and characteristic of life in Christ?

  • Continuing Paul’s metaphors, thanksgiving might be thought of as…
    • the fertilizer and nutrients in the soil
    • the rebar that runs through and strengthens a structure
    • the official “seal of approval” on a legal document
  • Functions of thanksgiving
    • acknowledges that a blessing has been received
    • opens a door for further blessings
    • focuses our eyes on the giver of the blessings–Father God and the Lord Jesus Christ
    • increases our awareness of blessings
    • places us as debtors to the One who gives
    • feeds joy
    • places trials and hardships in perspective
    • lightens our load
    • completes the circle of grace
    • unites us with the body of Christ–other believing Christians
  • When and how did you learn about thanksgiving in your Christian walk?

III. Verse 6 is Paul’s commandment; Verse 7 provides a “floor plan” of verse 6.

 

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