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 3:1-4 Inductive Bible Study
Title: Be Heavenly Minded
Summary– Because Christ has raised me up, my thoughts should be directed towards Him and my hope of heaven. I need to consciously train my mind towards heaven, and away from temporary earthly things, because I have died to earthly things and am now His. One day, He’s going to come again, and I will share in His glory.
Central Teaching– Because I have died with Christ, I should think about Him and my hope of heaven, not temporary earthly things.
Key Words– Christ, raised up, seeking, above, mind, earth, died, life, revealed, glory
Key Verse– 3:2
Ten Things this Passage Says-
1. I have been raised up with Christ.
2. I should be seeking the things above, where Christ is.
3. He is seated in the place of supreme honor, at the right hand of God.
4. I should set my mind on things above.
5. I should not set my mind on things on this earth.
6. I have died.
7. My life is hidden with Christ in God.
8. Christ is my life.
9. Christ will be revealed.
10. I will be revealed with Him in glory.
Ten Things this Passage does NOT Say-
1. I (Christians) will be raised up with Christ, but it hasn’t happened yet.
2. Once I’ve sought the things above in my past, I don’t need to do that anymore. It’s a one time effort.
3. Where my thoughts are centered has nothing to do with Christ, it’s about my own comfort.
4. It’s possible to attain a status of honor greater than that given to Christ.
5. Thinking about Christ and heavenly things comes naturally.
6. It’s fine to be consumed with earthly matters.
7. I am my own person, and control my own destiny.
8. One day, I might have to die with Christ, but I can live for myself now.
9. I can have a wonderful, fulfilling life outside of Christ.
10. Right now is as good as it gets. It’s all we have, so we need to live for today.
What does this passage teach me about God?
He raises me up in Christ.
He honors His Son with the highest honor.
He is above me in every way, but I should strive to seek Him out.
He is not carnally minded, and does not want me to be so.
He has hidden my life with Christ.
One day, He will reveal His Son (at the Second Coming).
What is good for His Son (being revealed in glory) is also good for us (we will be revealed with Him in glory). He has only our best at heart, and it never conflicts with what is best for His Son.
He gives hope.
He is not satisfied with outward service, but desires that our hearts and minds be His.
How does this passage apply to my life?
Each week (or month) choose one “thing above” to seek, whether it’s a fruit of the spirit (love, joy, peace…), a deeper understanding of Christ’s character through meditation on a Scripture passage or the cross, and then seek to grow in that area. Maybe look up Bible verses on that and memorize/meditate on them, pray towards that goal, write down things that I learn along the way. (V1)
Pray about it and name the top 3 things that I think of that are “earthly.” Be aware of what I’m thinking, and each time those thoughts come to mind, immediately confess them and replace with Christ-centered ones. (V2)
I have died with Christ, it’s true, but I’m also called to die daily (1 Cor. 15:31). What is a “right” that I struggle with letting go of? Find a verse that speaks to that issue and memorize it. (V3)
If He is my life and my hope, then I’m going to surely want to share about Him with others. Find someone this week with whom to share my hope of heaven. (V4)
To whom is this verse written? (V1)
What does it mean that we have been “raised up with Christ?” (V1) This verb actually means “to be co-resurrected.” Because of their union with Christ, believers spiritually entered His death and resurrection at the moment of their conversion (Rom. 6:3-4, Gal. 2:20) and have been and are now alive in Him so as to understand spiritual truths, realities, blessings, and the will of God. These are privileges of a heavenly kingdom which Paul called “things above” are all already ours, even while we’re here on this earth.
Why do you think it says to “keep” seeking the things above? (V1)
Why do we seek the things above? (V1)
What does it mean that Christ is “seated at the right hand of God? (V1) This is the position of greatest honor and majesty that Christ enjoys as the exalted Son of God (Phil. 2:9). Because He is thus exalted, He is a fountain of blessing for His people (Jn 14:13, 14; 2Cor 1:20).
What are we to set our minds on? (V2)
Why does it say to “set” our minds on things above? (V2) This can also be translated “think” or “have the inner disposition.” We should be so focused on Christ that our minds, our attitudes, our desires are all fixed on Him.
What is necessary for us to do in order to set our minds on Christ? (V2) Know Him, study Him, love Him, desire Him…it’s hard to think deeply about one who is a stranger to us. It’s even harder to think accurately about a stranger. When we fix our minds on Him, it needs to be with true and accurate thoughts about His character, promises or works, not about our imagination of who He is. If we don’t have true thoughts about Christ, we are making Him into our own image, which is idolatry.
What are we NOT to set our minds on? (V2)
What are some of the natural places our mind goes to, if we are not careful? (V2)
Is it possible to really be obedient to this verse? If so, what kinds of thought patterns should we banish? How can we do this? (V2) Of course it’s possible! However, in order to do that, we must banish words like “I can’t help it” or “that’s just the way I am” from our vocabulary. Stop making excuses for wrong thinking. Don’t give way to it just because no one can see. God sees, and He knows. Eventually what is in the thoughts will come out of the mouth (Matt. 12:34b “The mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.”). We must first pray that God would make us aware of the thoughts that we are harboring, and then hold them up to Philippians 4:8, repent of the ones that are not pleasing to Him, and replace them with ones that are.
How have I died? (V3) The verb’s tense indicated that a death occurred in the past, in this case at the death of Jesus Christ, where believers unite with Him, their penalty of sin was paid, and they arose with Him in new life. (John 12:24-25 24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 “He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.
10 But the LORD was pleased
To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring,
He will prolong His days,
And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.
11 As a result of the anguish of His soul,
He will see it and be satisfied;
By His knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities.
9 But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. 10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.)
What does it mean that my life is “hidden with Christ in God”? (V3) Hidden in the Greek is krupto (kroop’-to); a primary verb; to conceal (properly, by covering): KJV – hide (self), keep secret, secret [-ly]. This phrase means three things- 1) believers have a common spiritual life with the Father and son (1 Cor. 6:17, 2Pe.1:4); 2) the world cannot understand the full importance of the believer’s new life (1 Co. 2:14, 1 Jn. 3:2); and 3) believers are eternally secure, protected from all spiritual enemies, and with access to all God’s blessings (Jn. 10:28; Rm. 8:31-39; Heb. 7:25; 1 Pe 1:4).
How is Christ our life? (V4)
When will He be revealed? (V4) At His Second Coming (Rev. 19:11-13,15,16)
What does it mean that He will be revealed? (V4) Matthew Henry says “It will be his glory to have his redeemed with him; he will come to be glorified in his saints (2 Thess. 1:10); and it will be their glory to come with him, and be with him for ever. At the second coming of Christ there will be a general meeting of all the saints; and those whose life is now hid with Christ shall then appear with Christ in that glory which he himself enjoys, John 17:24. Do we look for such a happiness, and should we not set our affections upon that world, and live above this? What is there here to make us fond of it? What is there not there to draw our hearts to it? Our head is there, our home is there, our treasure is there, and we hope to be there for ever.”