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 3:15-17 Inductive Bible Study

Title: Christ-like Character Results in Thanksgiving

Summary– Peace should come from the heart and be an identifying mark of the body, as well as thankfulness. God’s Word should be such a part of us that it naturally comes out in our interactions with other Christians, also with thankful hearts. Everything we do should be in the name of Jesus, and giving thanks through Him.

Central Teaching– We are to have Christ-like character and be overflowing with thanksgiving.

Key Words– peace, called, thankful, Christ, word, teaching, admonishing, singing, giving, hearts

Key Verse– 3:17

Ten Things this Passage Says-

1. I am to let the peace of Christ rule in my heart.

2. As one body, we were called to this peace.

3. I am to be thankful.

4. I am to let the word of Christ dwell in me richly.

5. I am to teach and admonish (and accept the same) others in the body with all wisdom.

6. I am to sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.

7. All of these activities are to be done with thankfulness in my heart to God.

8. I should do everything, whether word or deed, in the name of the Lord Jesus.

9. I am to give thanks to God the Father.

10. I am able to give thanks to God through Jesus Christ.

Ten Things this Passage does NOT Say-

1. I find my peace through circumstances, people, or some kind of zen, meditative state.

2. Worry is fine and understandable. Sometimes God allows it.

3. Certain Christians in the body are better able to have peace, because they have easier lives, or are more gifted in that area.

4. I can be at peace about a situation, but I don’t have to be thankful for it.

5. Peace and thanksgiving have nothing to do with each other.

6. It’s fine to keep my interaction with God’s word to quiet times, church and Bible study, but not really let it penetrate my life or affect me deeply.

7. Don’t use God’s word on other people, because they will think that you’re judging or preaching to them.

8. As I sing songs, hymns or spiritual songs, God doesn’t care about my heart behind them as long as the words sound pretty.

9. My main goal is to make myself look good and follow my own agenda.

10. As long as I have a thankful heart, it doesn’t matter to whom my thanksgiving is directed.

What does this passage teach me about God?

Christ gives peace, and that peace can overcome any circumstance I am in the midst of.

He calls us and unites us.

He is worthy of constant thanksgiving.

His word indwelling in me should result in encouragement of the brethren and thanksgiving.

Christ Jesus is my access to the Father.

He grants all wisdom.

What does this passage say about man?

As Christians, we are not called as individuals, but as one body.

We are commanded to be (and thus have the capacity in Christ) thankful in every situation.

I am not just to be briefly immersed in Christ’s Word, but I am to let it richly dwell in me.

I have the responsibility to wisely teach and admonish my fellow believers.

When I teach and admonish, it should not be with my own wisdom, but with God’s.

I should not be a joyless Christian, bitter and ungrateful, but a thankful one.

Everything I do should be as a representative of Jesus.

How does this passage apply to my life?

Take responsibility for any lack of peace in my life. Do not blame circumstances or people, but look in my own heart to see what worry, ungrateful attitude, lack of trust, etc. is causing me to lose my peace. Confess and repent of that attitude, and reclaim my peace. (V15)

I have many, many opportunities to teach and admonish. Do it with a joyful, thankful heart to the Lord, eager for the opportunity to serve Him in this way and serve the brethren, even when it might seem inconvenient or difficult. (V16)

Be careful that what I do is a good reflection of Christ Jesus, in His strength, and for His glory.  (V17)

Discussion Questions-

Why do you think it says to “let” the peace of Christ rule in your heart? (V15)

What are typically obstacles to our peace? (V15)

What is “the peace of Christ”? (V15) The Greek word “peace” here refers to both the call of God to salvation and consequence peace with Him, and the attitude of security believers have because of that eternal peace.

To what extent should we have peace in our lives? Why do you think he says to let it “rule” in our lives? (V15)

What does it mean that we were “called” to peace”? (V15)

Why do you think this verse says that we are called to this peace “in one body”? (V15)

How might this verse tie in with verse 14? (V15)

Why do you think God ends this verse with the command to “be thankful”? (V15)

Again, why does it say to “let” the word of Christ dwell within us? (V16)

What is the Word of Christ? (V16) This is Scripture, the Holy Spirit inspired Scripture, the word of revelation He brought into the world.

How are we to let it dwell? What does it mean to let it “richly” dwell? (V16) “Richly” may be more fully rendered “abundantly or extravagantly rich,” and “dwell” means “to live in” or “to be at home.” Scripture should permeate every aspect of the believer’s life and control every thought, word, and deed. This concept is parallel to being filled with the spirit in Ephesians 5:18, since the results of each are the same. In Ephesians 5:18, the power and motivation for all the effects is the filling of the Holy Spirit; here it is the word richly dwelling. Those two realities are really one. The Holy Spirit fills the life controlled by His Word. This emphasizes that the filling of the Spirit is not some ecstatic or emotional experience, but a steady controlling of the life by obedience to the truth of God’s Word.

How am I to teach and admonish? Why does it say (all) wisdom? How is the “word of Christ richly dwelling in me” related to this wisdom? (V16)

Who am I to teach and admonish? (V16)

What does it mean to teach? What venues can we use to teach others? (V16)

What does it mean to admonish? When and how is it appropriate to admonish? (V16) The Greek word for “admonish” is noutheteo (noo-thet-eh’-o); from the same as NT:3559; to put in mind, i.e. (by implication) to caution or reprove gently: KJV – admonish, warn. Also nouthesia (noo-thes-ee’-ah); – calling attention to, i.e. (by implication) mild rebuke or warning: KJV – admonition. These are the same roots from which we get “nouthetic counseling,” which is to counsel someone by bringing the truth of God’s Word to bear on their lives.

According to this verse, what methods am I to use to teach and admonish others? What does this mean? (V16)

With what attitude am I to do all these things, according to this verse? (V16)

Towards whom should my thankfulness be directed? Why? (V16)

Where should my thankfulness towards God be located? Why? (V16)

What should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus? (V17)

Why should I do these things in the name of the Lord Jesus? (V17)

What does it mean to do something in the name of the Lord Jesus? (V17) This means to act consistently with who He is and what He wants. If we’re letting His Word dwell in us richly, then we know what those things are.

With what attitude should I do these things? (V17)

To whom should I give thanks, and through whom should I give thanks? (V17)

Study Colossians 3:17-21