These small group studies of Colossians contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications.  Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.

Colossians 1:24-29 Inductive Bible Study

Title: Sacrificial Service for Christ

Summary– Paul rejoices that he can share in the suffering of Christ on behalf of the church. He was made a minister/steward of that church by Christ for their benefit, and strove to fully preach the word, including the mystery that had been hidden up until that point. Paul alone did not know that rich, glorious mystery, but it was shown to all the saints, including the Gentiles. That mystery is Christ in me, and the hope of glory. Because we proclaim Him and tech every man with all wisdom, each man may be presented complete in Christ. That’s the purpose Paul labors in the power of God.

Central Teaching– Serving God requires sacrifice for the benefit of others.

Key Words-suffering, share, body, afflictions, church, minister, preaching, mystery, manifested, glory, Christ, glory, proclaim, every man, wisdom, complete, power, labor/work

Key Verse– 1:28

Ten Things this Passage Says-

1. Paul (and therefore we also should) rejoiced in his sufferings for their sake.

2. His sufferings were on behalf of the church.

3. Paul was experiencing suffering intended for Christ.

4. He was made a minister of that church according to the stewardship from God.

5. Paul was preaching a ministry, which had been hidden from past ages and generations.

6. That mystery was now manifested to His saints.

7. God willed the riches of the glory of this mystery to be made known among the Gentiles.

8. The mystery is Christ in us, the hope of glory.

9. They proclaimed Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that every man may be presented complete in Christ.

10. Paul labored according to His (Christ’s) power, which mightily worked within him.

Ten Things this Passage does NOT Say-

1. Paul sorrowed and complained over having to suffer for others.

2. Ministry is supposed to be easy and free from complications.

3. One person can’t make a difference in the body of Christ.

4. Paul chose to be a minister of God.

5. Paul was a minister for his own benefit.

6. As a minister, Paul only half-heartedly carried out the preaching of the word of God.

7. God revealed everything to His people, from the very beginning.

8. God only chose to reveal the mystery to the Jews.

9. We have no hope.

10. We can never be complete in Christ.

What does this passage teach me about God?

Christ was afflicted on my behalf.

He chooses people for various ministries, for the benefit of the church.

He reveals different things to His children at different times.

He has revealed more to us than to any group of people in the past (especially Gentiles).

It’s only because He wills it that we know ANY of this.

He gives us the hope of the riches of glory.

He (Christ) is in us.

He completes each of us.

He empowers our ministry.

How does this passage apply to my life?

Keep a proper perspective about suffering. Face it; none of us have ever suffered as much as Paul, much less Jesus Christ. But our reason for suffering is the same, it’s for the benefit of the body, for the refining of our character, for the eternal rewards awaiting us in heaven, and ultimately for the glory of God. (V24)

View ministry and the abilities we have to do it as a gift entrusted to us by God, not a duty or a way to build ourselves up or work our own agenda. Our ministry is given by Him and for His glory, not our own. (V25)

Know the Word of God, so we can make it fully known. (V25)

Christ is IN me! That means that I can accomplish ANYTHING He wishes me to do, with His power and strength. Don’t settle for small goals. Pray, and in Him, reach out to accomplish great things. (V27)

Proclaim Him, warn and teach those I come into contact with, according to His wisdom. (V28)

Although I am to present others mature in Christ, I am also to be mature. Don’t be satisfied with my spiritual condition. Constantly seek ways to be more Christ-like. (V29)

The spiritual life is hard work. Don’t be lazy about it. Be willing to toil for His glory. (V29)

Discussion Questions-

Why is Paul able to rejoice in his sufferings? (V24) See cross references.

For whom is Paul suffering? (V24)

How had Paul suffered? (V24) 2 Cor 11:23-29 “23 Are they servants of Christ? — I speak as if insane — I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. 24 Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. 26 I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; 27 I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern?”

What does Paul mean when he says he is “filling up what is lacking in Christ’s affliction”? Does this mean that Christ’s afflictions were somehow incomplete or insufficient? (V24) Paul was experiencing the persecution intended for Christ. In spite of His death on the cross, Christ’s enemies had not gotten their fill of inflicting in jury on Him. So they turned their hatred on those who preached the gospel. It was in that sense that Paul filled up what was lacking in Christ’s afflictions.

Why was Paul made a minister? (V25)

Why is Paul’s ministry called a stewardship from God? (V25) A steward was a slave who managed his master’s household, supervising the other servants, dispensing resources, and handling business and financial affairs. Paul viewed his ministry as a stewardship from the Lord. The church is God’s household, and Paul was given the task of caring for, feeding, and leading the churches, for which he was accountable to God. All believers are responsible for managing the abilities and resources God gives them.

How can one fully carry out the preaching of Word of God? (V25) As Paul did, we can have a single-minded devotion to completely fulfill the ministry God has given us to preach and exemplify His Word to those God has sent us to. Don’t waste opportunities. Don’t only preach part of the Word, the “easy” part. Preach all of it.

What is “the mystery,” and why is it called “the mystery”? (V26) This refers to truth, hidden until now, but revealed for the first time to the saints in the NT. Such truth includes the mystery of the incarnate God, Israel’s unbelief, lawlessness, the unity of Jew and Gentile made in the church, and the rapture of the church. In this passage, the mystery is specifically identified in v. 27.

To whom has the mystery been revealed? Why only the saints? (V26)

Why was the mystery revealed to us? (V27)

What is the mystery? (V27) The OT predicted the coming of the Messiah and that the Gentiles would partake of salvation, but it did not reveal that the Messiah would actually live in each member of His redeemed church, made up mostly of Gentiles. That believers, both Jew and Gentile, now possess the surpassing riches of the indwelling Christ is the glorious revealed mystery.

What is “the hope of glory”? (V27) The indwelling Spirit of Christ is the guarantee to each believer of future glory.

Who do we proclaim? (V28)

Why do we admonish and teach? (V28)

Who do we admonish and teach? (V28)

How do we admonish and teach? How can we do this with “all wisdom”? (V28)

What does it mean for every man to be complete in Christ? (V28) To be perfect or mature—to be like Christ. This spiritual maturity is defined in 2:2— “that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself.”

For what purpose did Paul (and should we) labor? (v29)

How do we strive? (V29) Here is the balance of Christian living. Paul gave the effort to serve and honor God with all his might. “Labor” refers to working to the point of exhaustion. The Greek word for “striving” gives us the English word “agonize” and refers to the effort required to compete in an athletic event. At the same time, he knew the effective “striving” or work, with spiritual and eternal results was being done by God through him.

How does this mystery affect our labor, according to this verse? (V29)

Study Colossians 2:1-5