Colossians 1-4: A Warning against False Teachings

New Testament: Student Study guide, (2003), 139–140


The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that in order to be saved we must believe in God and have “a correct idea of his character, perfections, and attributes” (Lectures on Faith [1985], 38). It is important, therefore, to know the truth and guard against incorrect teachings and doctrines. As you read Colossians, notice Paul’s warnings and consider how they apply to your life.

Understanding the Scriptures

Colossians 1

Meet (v. 12)Able 
Translated (v. 13)Brought 
Preeminence (v. 18)Have first place 
Reconcile (v. 20)Win over, make right 
In the body of his flesh through death (v. 22)Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ 
Dispensation (v. 25)Commission 

Colossians 1:25–29—What Is the “Mystery Which Hath Been Hid from Ages”?

The “mystery which hath been hid from ages” (Colossians 1:26) is that God sent His Son, the “firstborn of every creature” (Colossians 1:15), into the world and that through His Son’s Atonement all mankind can become pure, blameless, and saved in His presence (see Colossians 1:20–23). Paul was making this mystery known to all who would listen.

Colossians 2

Beguile (vv. 4, 18)Deceive 
Rudiments (vv. 8, 20)Basic principles 
Ordinances (vv. 14, 20)The law of Moses and its regulations 
Nailing it to his cross (v. 14)Through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the law of Moses was fulfilled 
Will (v. 23)Self-imposed 

Colossians 2:16–19—Beware of False Teachings

Paul warned the Colossians to “be not moved away” from the gospel they had been taught. False doctrines were being spread by Jewish Christians who wanted gentile members to live according to the law of Moses (see Colossians 2:16–17). These Jewish converts were setting strict rules about the kinds of food Christians were allowed to eat and the holidays they were allowed to celebrate. Some Saints were also worshiping angels and teaching that angels had the power to answer prayers (see Colossians 2:18–19). This false doctrine diminished the place of Jesus Christ in the plan of salvation. Paul reminded the Colossians that they could only gain salvation through Christ, for He is preeminent in the plan.

Colossians 3

Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth (v. 5)Rise above your worldly tendencies 
Inordinate affection (v. 5)Uncontrolled affection 
Evil concupiscence (v. 5)Sinful desires, lust 
Forbearing (v. 13)Sustaining 
Provoke (v. 21)Stir up, cause 

Colossians 4

Without (v. 5)Nonmembers 
Redeeming (v. 5)Using every opportunity to do good 
Salt (v. 6)Wisdom 

Studying the Scriptures

Do two of the following activities (A–D) as you study Colossians 1–4.

Activity A iconWrite Your Testimony of Jesus Christ

How much do you really know about Jesus Christ? Read Colossians 1:13–22 and list the names, titles, and phrases Paul used to describe the Savior. Write a paragraph that summarizes your testimony of these qualities of Jesus Christ.

Activity B iconWhat Do You Think?

Listed below are several statements that represent false ideas. Write what you think is wrong about each idea.

  1. 1.

    It doesn’t matter what movies I go see; after all, they’re just movies.

  2. 2.

    The decision about when to start dating should be an individual one.

  3. 3.

    Church is boring and someone needs to make it more exciting.

Read Colossians 2:1–12 and write what could help you avoid being deceived by false teachings.

Activity C iconPut On

Paul taught how to be born again by putting off certain negative characteristics and putting on better ones. Make two columns and label one Put Off and the other Put On. As you read Colossians 3:1–14, list what needs to be put off and put on in the appropriate column.

Activity D iconFamily Matters Do Matter

President Spencer W. Kimball reminded us: “The family is the basic unit of the kingdom of God on earth. The Church can be no healthier than its families” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 331–32). Read Colossians 3:15–21 and write five ideas that would help families be a healthier part of the kingdom of God.

family home evening