Colossians 1–4

New Testament Teacher Resource Manual, (2002), 206–7


Introduction

Today there is a growing skepticism in the world about the divinity of Jesus Christ. The Savior is represented by many as just a great teacher or healer or a prophet. Many people consider Him irrelevant as they grow worldly or rely on their own wisdom. Without a correct understanding of the Son of God or commitment to His teachings, their faith slowly slips away in the face of life’s challenges. Despite all this, living prophets continue to declare the good news of the gospel.

Like Paul they valiantly teach the truth about Jesus Christ, “the hope of glory” (see Colossians 1:27).

Prayerfully study Colossians 1–4and consider the following principles before preparing your lessons.

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Additional Resources

  • The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, 343–47.

Suggestions for Teaching

Choose from the following ideas, or use some of your own, as you prepare lessons for Colossians 1–4.

Colossians 1:12–23. We are redeemed through the blood of Christ. Through obedience to the gospel we can deepen our faith in Jesus Christ and avoid being led astray.

(20–25 minutes)

Display a potted plant or a picture of a tree and discuss what gives it strength and stability. Write on the board this incomplete sentence: The deeper the roots, the __________. Have students complete the sentence. (Possible answers include the “stronger the plant” or the “more stable the tree.”) Ask: What spiritual comparisons can we draw from this illustration?

Write on the board: I know that Jesus was the son of a carpenter, a great teacher, a good leader, a prophet. Ask students if they believe this is true. Tell students you will be looking at another testimony from the scriptures. Read Colossians 1:12–23and discuss some of the following questions:

  • Which words and phrases from Paul’s testimony of the Savior impressed you the most?

  • What are some differences between this testimony and the one written on the board?

  • Which one has deeper roots?

  • What power can come into your life when you have a deep testimony? Why?

Tell students that in Paul’s day there were some who thought of Jesus Christ as simply one of the angels. Some denied His physical birth, His humanity, and His Atonement. Paul corrected such ideas. Explain that in our own day there are people who think of Jesus Christ as a mere man. Ask:

  • What can we do to counter this lack of understanding about the Savior?

  • What must we do to be in a position to give a testimony like Paul’s?

Read Colossians 2:6–10looking for clues given by Paul as to how to gain this testimony. List these clues on the board (these might include “walk ye in him” [v. 6]; be “rooted and built up in him” [v. 7]; be “stablished in the faith” [v. 7]; be “complete in him” [v. 10]). Discuss the meaning of each item you list on the board. Ask:

  • What does verse 8 suggest could happen to us if we are not “rooted” in Christ?

  • What can we do to be more “rooted” in the Savior?

Share the following statement by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve:

“Jesus Christ is infinitely more than a great teacher and philosopher. … As part of the plan, Jesus offered to atone for the sins of all mankind and bear the suffering for those sins, satisfying the law of justice if the sinners repent. …

“He also offered his mortal life, was crucified, and became the first to be resurrected, making possible the literal resurrection of all of our Father’s children. … He is our Mediator with the Father and our Exemplar in all things. His loving kindness toward us is beyond our comprehension” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 99; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 75).

Explain to students that as we come to realize all that Jesus Christ does for us, it should inspire our worship and adoration of Him. President Howard W. Hunter asked:

“How often do we think of the Savior? How deeply and how gratefully and how adoringly do we reflect on his life? How central to our lives do we know him to be?” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1993, 79; or Ensign, May 1993, 64).

Elder Neal A. Maxwell counseled:

“Let our gratitude … be expressed by striving to become, attribute by attribute, more and more as Jesus is (see 3 Nephi 27:27). By so living, ours will not then be a mere appreciation of Jesus, nor a modest admiration of Him. Rather, ours will be an adoration of Jesus expressed by our emulation of Him!” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1993, 26; or Ensign, Nov. 1993, 20).

Encourage students to follow this counsel so they can remain firm in their testimonies of Jesus Christ.

Colossians 3:5–25. To become new creatures in Christ, we must overcome evil and develop righteous attributes.

(15–20 minutes)

Bring to class two shirts (or other items of clothing that can be easily put on and taken off). Write some of the negative qualities listed in Colossians 3:5–9on a piece of paper, and pin it to the back of one of the shirts. Write on another piece of paper some of the positive qualities in Colossians 3:10–17, and pin it to the back of the other shirt. Hang the shirts in the front of the class in such a way that the lists are hidden. Read Colossians 3:1–4and ask:

  • According to these verses, what event should we be preparing for?

  • How can we prepare?

Explain that when Christ comes again our countenances will reflect how we lived our lives, and He will see us as we really are (see Alma 5:14; Moroni 7:48).

Have students read Colossians 3:5–9 looking for things we need to put off. Define difficult words by using the footnotes or a dictionary. Turn the first shirt around. Ask:

  • What counsel would you give to a person with these habits?

  • How difficult is it to acquire these habits?

  • How difficult is it to put them off? Why?

  • How do you put them off?

  • Why would you want to put them off?

Read Colossians 3:10–17looking for things we need to put on. List them on the board and discuss each item. Turn the second shirt around. Ask:

  • What would you say to a person with these qualities?

  • How difficult is it to acquire these qualities?

  • What blessings come from putting them on?

Give the students paper and have them write their own private lists of what they want to put off and put on.