Colossians 3:12-4:1

Today’s Scripture Focus:  Colossians 3:12-4:1

                 This has been a tough week for Texas baseball fans, as we fell in the divisional playoffs to the Toronto Blue Jays.  One of the Jays’ pitchers is a man named RA Dickey.  In 1996, RA Dickey was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the first round.  He was offered a signing bonus of 816,000.  A team physician then noticed his arm “hanging funny”.  Upon examining him it was determined he had no ligament in his right elbow!  His bonus was reduced to 75,000.  He pitched some for the Rangers and their minor league teams, but was eventually traded.  Despite this rough start, Dickey perfected a “knuckleball” pitch that has served him well against his former team!

Colossians 3:14 talks of love “binding” all virtues together.  The word used for “binding” is a term associated with ligaments.  Ancient people didn’t have the advanced knowledge of human anatomy at our disposal, but they understood it was the ligament that held flesh to the bone, and allowed for smooth and coordinated movement.  Paul wanted the church to function like a healthy body, fluid in motion and well coordinated.  When verse 15 says “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” it is actually using a term related to athletics.  A literal translation could be “Let peace be the umpire of your hearts.”

When we covered the first part of chapter three last week, we discovered a list of vices associated with speech, and saw how they destroy churches.  We now find a corresponding list of virtues (12-14) that build up the church, rather than tear it down.  After getting rid of sin like a filthy garment, we are to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, etc.  Instead of focusing on how others have mistreated us, we are to forgive.  Instead of allowing bitterness to take root, we are to let God’s word dwell in us “richly” (with increasing thoroughness and deepness).  Instead of criticizing one another, we are to encourage each other with singing.

Likewise last week’s scripture contained a list of sins of the body that destroy families.  In verses 3:18-4:1 we have a list of instructions for how Christian families should conduct themselves.  The household of the biblical world was much more than a parent or two and a couple of kids.  It included servants, several generations of relatives, etc.  Everyone in the household is here instructed to treat each other with tenderness and respect.  The main theme of Colossians 3 is that everything Christ has done for us in salvation (redemption, reconciliation, regeneration, renewal), we should in turn offer to others.  Salvation is not just a one time act—for the disciple, it is a lifestyle.

  • Go around the table and share prayer requests. Have someone lead in prayer.
  • Let everyone who would like to share anything exciting from their week.
  • Ask these three questions. Let as many answer each one as they would like.


List all the virtues mentioned in verses 12-17.  Which of them would you say are most needed in our culture today? 


Verse 16 instructs us to teach one another through singing.  Do you learn through songs?  If so, how? 


Think about your role in your family and your church.  Where do you need help in living out the virtues mentioned in today’s scripture.  As a class, pray that we all may live out our salvation in our relationships with one another, at church and at home.