Outline of Colossians
1. Opening Greetings (Colossians 1:1-2)
This section and the closing verses (4:7-18) form a ring around the letter. Here, Paul and Timothy greet those “in Christ” in the city of Colossae.
2. Opening Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession (Colossians 1:3-12)
The authors offer petitions that resemble the prayers that appear at the letter’s end. These opening prayers express thanksgiving to God (1:3-8) and intercede on behalf of the Colossians (1:9-12).
3. The Sovereignty of God’s Beloved Son (Colossians 1:13-20)
Drawing upon an ancient hymn or confession about Christ, the letter describes JesusJesus is the Messiah whose life, death, and resurrection are God’s saving act for humanity More as the one through whom God delivers, as God’s firstborn before creationCreation, in biblical terms, is the universe as we know or perceive it. Genesis says that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. In the book of Revelation (which speaks of end times) the author declares that God created all things and… More and as God’s firstborn from the dead.
4. Proclaiming God’s MysteryA mystery is something secret, hidden and not perceived by ordinary means. In the book of Daniel a significant mystery is revealed through divine revelation (Daniel 2); Paul speaks of a mystery of God in Romans 11 and again in Ephesians 3. In speaking of… More: Christ (Colossians 1:21-2:5)
Jesus Christ proclaims the mystery of God, a mystery that has been hidden for ages and generations, a mystery that God has chosen to make known among the nations. Christ himself is the knowledge of God’s mystery.
5. Christ’s Sovereignty over Rulers and Powers (Colossians 2:6-19)
In its thematic and structural center (2:10b-15), the letter declares, “God made you alive together with him [Christ].” Just before this declaration is an exhortation to walk in Christ; an exhortation to grow in Christ follows the declaration.
6. Identity with Christ’s Death and Resurrection (Colossians 2:20-3:17)
Believers have died with Christ and been raised with him. Readers are instructed therefore to put to death their earthly members, having themselves been clothed as the elect of God.
7. Living in Community under Christ’s Sovereignty (Colossians 3:18-4:1)
Instructions for community life are addressed to wives and husbands, then to children and parents, and finally to slaves and masters.
8. Closing Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession (Colossians 4:2-6)
The Colossians are told to persevere in thanksgiving and intercession, to walk in wisdomWisdom encompasses the qualities of experience, knowledge, and good judgment. The Old Testament book of Proverbs, which sometimes invokes a Woman as the personification of Wisdom, is a collection of aphorisms and moral teachings. Along with other biblical passages, it teaches, “The fear of the… More, and to speak graciously.
9. Closing Greetings and Signature (Colossians 4:7-18)
The letter concludes with personal greetings followed by a final word claiming to be written in Paul’s own hand.