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 3:17-21 Inductive Bible Study

itle: God-Ordained Roles in the Christian Home

Summary– God has designed Christian homes to function in an orderly way. Wives should submit to husbands, husbands should love their wives and not be bitter against them, children should be obedient to their parents, and fathers should not frustrate their children. This kind of well-ordered household is pleasing to God.

Central Teaching– An orderly household in which everyone has their role is well pleasing to the Lord.

Key Words– giving thanks, Father, Wives, submit, husbands, love, children, obey, parents, Lord, do not- embitter, exasperate

Key Verse– 3:17

Ten Things this Passage Says

1. Every word or deed I do should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus.

2. I should do everything while giving thanks to God the Father through the Lord Jesus.

3. Wives should submit to their husbands.

4. They should submit to their husbands as to the Lord.

5. Husbands should love their wives.

6. Husbands should not be embittered against their wives.

7. Children should be obedient to their parents in all things.

8. Obedience is well-pleasing to the Lord.

9. Fathers should not exasperate their children.

10. A Father’s exasperating behavior can cause their children to lose heart.

Ten Things this Passage does NOT Say-

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

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

3. Wives only need to submit to their husbands when their husbands are behaving in a respectable manner, or when they want to.

4. Wives need to submit to all men.

5. Husbands only need to love their wives when their wives submit to and respect them.

6. If a wife doesn’t behave properly towards her husband, he has the right to be bitter and frustrated with her.

7. Children only have to obey their parents when they feel like it.

8. Children have to obey their parents when their parents ask them to sin (by lying, dating/marrying an unbeliever, aborting a child, etc.).

9. Fathers are absolutely in control in their home, and they can behave however they want towards their family members.

10. Father’s behavior has no real affect on their children’s attitudes.

What does this passage teach me about God?

He allows us access to Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ.

He desires and is deserving of thanks.

He is a God of authority and order, and expects us to follow in His footsteps with orderly families.

He requires our absolute submission.

He is pleased with our obedience.

What does this passage say about man?

We should do all things in the name of the Lord Jesus

We should give thanks through Jesus to God our Father.

Wives should be subject to their husbands as unto the Lord.

Husband should love their wives and not be embittered against them.

Children should be obedient to their parents in all things.

Fathers should not exasperate their children.

Children should not lose heart.

How does this passage apply to my life?

When a friend comes to me and complains against her husband or rebels against him, I will give her Christ-honoring counsel, and not automatically take her side, even if it is difficult. I will do her marriage more harm than good if I encourage her sinful choices out of a mistaken feeling of helping her. (V18)

I will help the husbands I know to love their wives by not being a temptation or distraction to them. I will dress modestly around them, and not have intimate or lengthy personal conversation with him. I will avoid being alone with him. (V19)

Do not laugh at children when they disobey or do naughty things…it only encourages disobedient behavior. Compliment godly character traits rather than looks or grades. (V20)

If someone comes to me who is exasperated with their father, encourage them to continue loving and honoring him, even when his behavior is not honorable. (V21)

Discussion Questions-

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)

Who is supposed to submit in this verse? (V18)

To whom is she supposed to submit? (V18)

What does it mean to “be subject (or submit) to”? (V18) hupotasso (hoop-ot-as’-so); to subordinate; reflexively, to obey: KJV – be under obedience (obedient), put under, subdue unto, (be, make) subject (to, unto), be (put) in subjection (to, under), submit oneself unto. Basically, it means to willingly put oneself under someone or something.

When is submission necessary? (V18)

What does it mean “as is fitting in the Lord”? (V18) Because God has commanded wives to do it, and it is right (fitting) that they should follow His commands. Also, a wife should not submit to her husband if he commands her to do something sinful (this would not be fitting in the Lord).

What does it mean for husbands to love their wives? Can you shed some light on this through some cross references? (V19) This calls for the highest form of love which is rendered selflessly.

Eph 5:25

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,

Eph 5:28-29

28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,

1 Peter 3:7

7 You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

What does it mean for husbands not to be embittered against their wives? (V19) The form of this greek verb is better translated “stop being bitter,” or “do not have the habit of being bitter.” Husbands must not be harsh or angrily resentful toward their wives.

Why do you think it gives these specific commands for wives and husbands? (V19)

What are children commanded to do in this verse? (V20)

When are children supposed to obey? When should children not obey? (V20)

When a man or woman is married, do they still have to obey their parents? What would their new role towards their parents be? (V20)

What is the motivation for obedience? (V20)

Who is our ultimate model of this kind of obedience? To what extent was He obedient? (V20)

Why do you think it specifically commands fathers not to exasperate their children? (V21)

What does it mean to exasperate? (V21) Also translated “provoke,” his word has the connotation of not stirring up or irritating.

What are some things that fathers do that can exasperate their children? (V21)

What is the frequent outcome of fathers exasperating their children? Why would they lose heart? (V21)

Study Colossians 3:22-25