Lesson 2 of 5
In Progress

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 Jesus as the one through whom God delivers, as God’s firstborn before creation and as God’s firstborn from the dead.

4. Proclaiming God’s Mystery: 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 wisdom, 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.

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