Bible Month Magazine Bible Month Magazine- Colossians - Page 16

16 17 Small Group Resource Week 4 (Colossians 3:18-4:18) The Gospel at Home In Colossians 3:18-4:18, Paul instructs Christians about how their faith impacts life within the home (3:18-4:1), offers some concluding exhortations (4:2-6), and ends with a series of greetings (4:7-18). Perhaps the most striking feature of this section is Paul’s instructions about living out the faith at home, the so-called ‘household code’ of Colossians. As Dunn notes, many writers in the ancient world gave such instructions about living within the home, but Paul is distinctive in the way that he calls each person within the home to live ‘for the Lord.’ In discussing this section of the letter, it might be helpful to lead into a discussion of the kind of homes and communities that members of the small group live in today – whether in family homes, alone in a flat, in a student community, or anywhere else. In this way, a link between the biblical text and today can be forged; how might Paul’s words about first-century domestic life apply to our own very different context? Bible Month Resources for Children and Young People Approaching the text Read together through Colossians 3:18-4:18. Discuss key questions about the household code: a) Which members of the household does Paul address? b) How does Paul encourage them to behave? c) How do Paul’s instructions here relate to the surrounding passag- es, 3:1-16 and 4:2-6? Explore the current ‘household arrangements’ of members of the small group. What are the challenges that each person faces? How do they live out their faith in that context? Further Reading The household can helpfully be seen as part of our ‘frontline’, the everyday life that we live outside the church alongside others. For a helpful discussion of ‘faith on the frontline’, see Mark Greene, Fruitfulness on the Frontline. Making a difference where you are (Nottingham: InterVarsity Press, 2014). If you’re working with children and young people you may find it useful to share some background to this book of the Bible before you embark on exploring it further. It helps to put scripture in context and helps them to imagine the time, place and people who received this letter. The book of Colossians was written by Paul to new Christians living in a place called Colossae just a few decades after Jesus died. Faith was new to this group of people but because Paul was in prison, he wasn’t able to go and visit them in person. He wanted to challenge their ideas and some of the teaching they had heard. They’d got the wrong idea! These people in Colossae were a little bit confused about what faith really was and how to be church (moving from ‘doing church’ to ‘being church’) in their community. So Paul wants to set them straight, clear up some confu- sion and try to be clear on what it is to be a Christian and follow Jesus. He emphasises that Jesus is the very image of God and rules over all things. Ways in… Some ideas to explore the background to the letter: • Find Colossae on a map – Where is it today? There are lots of Bible apps that include Maps: try Bible Map on Apple Apps Plus • Read some letters together – Invite children and young people to bring one in from home if possible – who is it from? What does it say? How does it start and end? • Consider writing letters to others who the church knows – Perhaps those on mission in other countries or family members living in another place. The letter could be images, words or both – you could be creative in making it! • Each child or young person to write a letter to the church about what being church means to them that can be read out in a service or let them choose a topic that they want to talk to the church about. • Hand out Bibles – Can we find the letter? Chapter 1 So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honour and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins. (Extract from v 9-14, New Living Translation (NLT))