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 3:5-10 Inductive Bible Study

Title: Put Off and Put On

Summary– Put to death all of the evil and impure desires within me, because they bring the wrath of God. These evil deeds used to be my normal way of life, but I need to put them away from me now. Be honest, put off the old self and put on the new self, which I now know is better, because it is like Christ.

Central Teaching– Put off the old self with its practices, and put on the new self, which is becoming more Christ-like.

Key Words– Put-to death, off, on; earthly; wrath; walked; old self/new self; renewed

Key Verse– 3:9-10

Ten Things this Passage Says-

1. I am to put to death that which is earthly in me.

2. These fleshly impulses include sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire and idolatrous covetousness.

3.  These fleshly impulses earn the wrath of God.

4.  I once walked and lived in these fleshly sins.

5.  I should put away ALL of these fleshly sins.

6.  I should put away anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk.

7.  We should not lie to one another.

8.  I have put off my old self with its practices.

9.  I have put on my new self.

10. My new self is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

Ten Things this Passage does NOT Say-

1. There are “acceptable sins.”

2. In my natural, earthly state I’m basically a good person.

3. God “winks” at some sins, not really caring if we do them or not.

4. Some sins don’t have consequences.

5. Before Christ, I maybe have sinned occasionally, but it wasn’t a lifestyle.

6. It’s okay to have “pet sins” that I don’t have to give up…that’s just who I am.

7. It’s fine to pretend to fellow believers that I don’t struggle with sin issues.

8. I can never be rid of the old self while I’m here on earth.

9. It’s impossible to put on the new self until I reach heaven.

10. I create this new self that I am putting on, trying to come up with the best version of self that I can.

What does this passage teach me about God?

He is holy, and desires our total holiness.

Sin earns His wrath.

He gives us a righteous, new self.

He renews that new self in the image of our creator.

He IS our creator.

He is remarkably patient. Though our sin earns His wrath, He forebears with us; bringing us to repentance and renewal in Him.

What does this passage say about man?

We are earthly, having walked in sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, idolatrous covetousness, anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk.

I didn’t just occasionally dabble in these sins, but walked in them.

When I became a Christian, I put away my old self and put on my new self.

I am accountable to be honest before my fellow Christians.

How does this passage apply to my life?

When I am tempted to covet (someone’s trip back to the States, or the fact that they have a husband and children and I don’t, or their easier and more comfortable life), remind myself that is idolatry, repent of it, and think of five things that I can give thanks for. (V5)

When I am tempted to be impatient with unbelievers for living a sinful lifestyle and being unwilling or unable to change, remember that they’re still living in their old self, and they CANNOT change. Instead of focusing on improving their morality, focus on evangelizing them and praying for their souls. Humbly realize that, but for the grace of God, I would be just like that. (V6-7)

Next time a taxi driver or shopkeeper cheats me, do not respond in anger. Remember that they cannot help but lie and cheat, because they’re not saved. Respond patiently, and in such a way so that if I gave them a tract, they would see its contents reflected in my response. (V8)

In an effort to know Jesus more and be more like Him, renew my practice of looking at the names of Jesus each morning when I have my quiet time. As I look at His “name for the day,” contemplate what that says about His character, His actions, His promises to me. (V9-10)

Discussion Questions-

What do you think it means to “consider the members of your earthly body as dead to…” all of these things? (V5) We should make a conscious effort to kill the remaining sin in our flesh. If we are dead to something, then we cannot respond to it, engage in it, or have any other kind of interaction with it at all.

What is the difference between immorality and impurity? Often times people will differentiate in their minds between the seriousness of one and the other; what, if anything, is the difference to God? (V5) Immorality refers to any form of sexual sin. Impurity goes beyond sexual acts of sin to encompass evil or lustful thoughts and desires. In the same way, the “passion” it speaks of later in the verse is the physical side of lust, and “evil desire” is the mental side. Matt 5:28 “but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Why are greed and covetousness equated with idolatry here? (V5) Greedy people are hungry for their own desires, rather than God’s. Anytime we place our desires over God’s, we are essentially putting our desires over Gods, and are basically worshipping ourselves or that thing.

Combine 6 and 7.

What “things” in this verse draw the wrath of God? (V6)

What is it speaking of here when it talks about the “wrath of God?” Is it speaking of earthly consequences, eternal consequences, both? (V6)

Who are the “sons of disobedience”? (V6) Unbelievers bear the very nature and character of the disobedient, rebellious, sinfulness they love.

So, will believers experience the wrath of God? (V6) John 3:36, Revelation 11:18.

What does it mean that we “once walked” in these things? (V7)

When were we living in them? (V7)

What are the verb tenses in this verse? What should that practically mean for our behavior now that we’re saved? (V7)

What timeframe is “now” speaking of? Is it something that just occurs at salvation? Is it a one-time thing? (V8)

When it says “put them all aside,” what does that mean? (V8) It’s a Greek word used for taking off clothes. Like one who removes his dirty clothes at day’s end, believers must discard the filthy garments of their old, sinful lives.

What is the spiritual requirement for being able to “put them aside” in this way? Can unbelievers do this? So what attitude should this encourage in us when we see unbelievers struggling with sin problems, unwilling or unable to give them up? (V8)

What is anger? Is there any anger that is not sinful? (V8) This is a deep, lasting, growing bitterness, the settled heart attitude of an angry person.

What is wrath? (V8) Unlike God’s settled and righteous wrath, this is a sudden outburst of sinful anger, usually the eruption that flows out of “anger.”

What is malice? (V8) It comes from the Greek term that means general moral evil. Here it probably refers the damage caused by evil speech.

What is slander? (V8) The normal translation when this word refers to God is “blasphemy.” Since it refers to people here, it means to speak badly about them, especially in an untruthful way (although since gossip is prohibited, it’s in any way). The connection is that to slander people is to blaspheme God (James 3:9-10, Matthew 5:22)

In order to put aside these things from your mouth, what has to happen? (V8) Luke 6:45

What do you think it’s referring to when it says “do not lie to one another? (V9)

According to this verse, why should we not lie to one another? (V9)

How do we “put off” our old self? (V9) As a believer, I should put off, or stop practicing, remaining sinful deeds and be continually renewed into the Christlikeness to which I have been called. Practical application is a good way to put off and put on. I can know all kinds of Scriptural truths, but if I’m not applying them, they do not profit me. James 1:23-25 “23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. 25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.”

What is the characteristic of the old self mentioned in this verse? (V9)

When do we put on the new self? (V10)

What is characteristic of the new self mentioned in this verse? (V10)

What is this “true knowledge, and where does it come from? (V10) A deep, thorough knowledge, without which there can be no spiritual growth or renewal.

How does this renewal occur? (V10) Renewal describes a new quality of life that never before existed. Just like a baby is born complete but immature, the new self is complete, but has the capacity to grow. It happens as we read the Word and apply it, recognize sin in our lives and repent, listen to the Holy Spirit and respond.

What does “according to the image of the One who created him” mean? (V10) It is God’s plan that believers become progressively more like Jesus Christ, the one who made them. The more we have a true knowledge of Him, the more like Him we will be. One day, when we see Him face to face, we will be like Him, because we will finally see Him exactly as He is, without any false preconceptions of our own.

1 Cor 13:12

12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.

2 Cor 3:18

18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

1 John 3:2

2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.

Study Colossians 3:11-14