How to Study the Bible: Colossians

Are you one of those people who sits down for devotions and has no clue where to start? Yes, I confess that I’m guilty! There are some days when I say a quick prayer for guidance and open my Bible to a random spot, hoping for enlightenment. While all Scripture is “profitable for instruction,” this doesn’t work well. I usually understand so much more when my approach to Bible Study is systematic. So, for those of us who need some study guidelines, here are steps to get the most out of your study of the Bible. While we go through them, let’s take a look at the book of Colossians.

Preparing to Study Colossians

  • Ask for God’s direction in prayer.
  • While praying, ask for the Spirit to help you understand truths you need to see.
  • Look up the following background  information and write it down in your notebook:
    • Who wrote the book and who was their audience?
    • When was it written and what was going on in history at the time?
    • What is the main theme of the book?

All of this historical information is factual and for the most part, not open to interpretation. If you prefer working online, then Bible Study Tools offers a historical summary of the different books of the Bible. I suggest reading the material, jotting a few notes, and closing it out. After all, you want the Holy Spirit to guide your study – not the work of men.

Read the Scriptures

This may seem obvious, but there are different ways to read a passage. To begin your Bible study, just read it. You don’t have to understand it. The purpose is to see it as a whole, rather than individual verses. If you must, read it aloud – and slowly. I suggest taking one chapter at a time. After you finish reading Chapter 1 all the way through, jot down anything that stuck out. Maybe you questioned the meaning of a word or were struck by an application to your life.

Keep it simple and keep it personal.

Personal Study of Chapter 1

Paul gives thanks to God for the Colossians and opens the letter with some goals he has for them. (verses 9-10)

Three main truths that struck me as I studied Colossians Chapter 1:

  • Spiritual understanding helps us walk a noble, worthy path and leads to fruit.  (vs. 9-10).
  • Jesus made peace available THROUGH Himself, and TO Himself, just for me to be holy.  (vs 20-22).
  • Every man ought to have the chance to hear because every man needs reconciling – no one is exempt.  (vs. 28).

Personal Study of Chapter 2

Paul continues to tell them of his dilemma –  that he desires to see them but also to be with Jesus. He instructs them to beware of the world but to cling to the sufficiency of Christ. (verse 10)

Three main truths I saw in Chapter 2:

  • The answer is Christ because Christ has every answer. (vs. 6-8).
  • Christ is the fullness of the Godhead to. Whom we have access, making us complete and lacking nothing in Him. (vs. 9-10).
  • We have nothing to brag about in our salvation. God, in such forceful measures, dealt with our sin and we stood by watching guiltily (vs. 13-15).

Personal Study of Chapter 3

Paul shows them that because they have been rescued, they ought to live a life mindful of their salvation. (verse 1).

Three main truths I saw in Chapter 3:

  • When Christ is the essence of your life, it’s not hard to seek what’s above (vs. 1-5).
  • Putting off the old is not enough. You must replace it with a new man.  (vs 8-10).
  • Peace must rule our hearts if the “putting on” is to be permanent.

Personal Study of Chapter 4

Paul encourages them with final instructions for Christian living. (verses 2-6)

  • Continue in prayer.
  • Walk in wisdom.
  • Let your speech be alway seasoned with salt.

The main truth I saw in Chapter 4:

Every word and action is a vote cast in the mind of an unbeliever about whether or not faith in Christ matters.

Re-Read the Verses Using a Commentary and Other Resources

Now it’s time to go back and look at each verse. I like to have good Commentary and Bible Dictionary nearby. Look up keywords that may have more than one meaning. See what the Commentary says. Keep in mind that Commentaries are written by men and not the inspired Word of God. If you don’t agree with what it says – keep searching. Pray for guidance. Commentaries are meant to be study aids only.

Use Your Bible Study Notes to Set Goals for the Day

Take another look at each of the truths that you gleaned from your study. How can you apply them to your life? Consciously pick one and set a goal for the day. For instance, one of the truths that stuck out to me in Chapter 4 is “Let your speech be always seasoned with salt.” I plan to ask God to help me keep my tongue under control for the rest of the day.

As I ask God for help with my tongue, I will also pray for the Holy Spirit to bring these passages in Colossians to mind as I need them. Once the Scripture lives in our heart, we can rely on the Spirit to bring it to mind when necessary.

Editor’s Note: There are many Bible study helps on the market. Consider investing in a good commentary, or studying the Scripture with the aid of a Bible study outline. However, keep in mind that the Holy Spirit is the best teacher. God reveals what we need when we need it.

Warren Wiersbe’s commentary set is exactly what I needed to help me go deeper in my study of the Bible. He writes with clarity, depth and helps bring to life God’s Word. He is easy to understand, articulate and has a great sense of humor and wit. I wish I had discovered these books much earlier in my walk with God, but I’m thankful to have them in my hands today. You won’t be disappointed with Wiersbe’s work, and you will never view certain passages of the Bible the same when you read his commentary as you study God’s Word. – Amazon Review


You can find this Commentary and other Bible study resources by clicking on the image or viewing our Featured Products.

Kim Schmutzler

About the Author

Kim Schmutzler

Kim and her husband, Craig, live in Overland Park KS where she successfully manages a marketing company and homeschools her two children still at home. Twenty-two years of juggling business and homeschooling has taught her a thing or two about time management. In addition to work and family, Kim helps her husband with the College and Career class at the church and also directs the Children's Music Ministry and drama team. The Submissive Spirit was born from her desire to reach out to other Christian women across the globe and share encouragement and the love of Christ.

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