How to Study Colossians (NASB)
As you read Colossians, learn all you can from the text about the author and the recipients to discover why the author writes what he does to this particular church. This will give you the key to understanding Colossians. Following this simple procedure will help:
a. As you read, color every reference to the author in one color and every reference to the recipients in another. Make sure you mark the synonyms and pronouns that refer either to the author or the recipients.
b. Once you've marked the author and the recipients, study what you learn from marking the text in this way. Read through Colossians chapter by chapter, looking at each reference you marked to see if it answer any of the "5 W's and an H": Who? What? Where? Why? When? and How? Ask questions such as: Who wrote this? To whom? Where were they? What were these people like? What were their situations? What were their problems? When was this written? What seemed to be going on? Why did the author say what he did?
c. Look for pronouns such as you and note the relationship between the author and the recipients. Ask questions like these: How did the gospel get to the Colossians? Who preached the gospel to them? What was the author's main concern for the Colossians? The answer will help you understand why this letter was written.
Asking questions like these - answered only from what the text says - will give you insight into a book ok the Bible, help you to understand the context and purpose of the book, and enable you to keep its teaching and truths in their proper context. Record your insights about the author, the recipients, and the author's instructions.
Now read through Colossians again, a chapter at a time. As you read:
a. Mark the key words and phrases (NASB) prayer, gospel, wisdom, knowledge, all (when it refers to completeness or totality), faith, mystery, in Him (or before Him, through Him etc.) Be sure to mark the synonyms for each key word, and to mark every reference to Jesus: Him, by Him, through Him, and so on.
b. In your notebook, list what you learn from marking in Him and other key words.
In chapter 2, note the warnings by looking for the phrases see to it and let no one.
a. Record these warnings along with any instructions on the Structure of Colossians.
Proceed through chapter 3 and 4 in the same manner as chapters 1 and 2, adding pertinent information to you Observation chart.
Record the theme of the book and of the each chapter on the Structure of Colossians. Also fill out the date the book was written, the name of the author, and his propose to writing.
Key Words in the NIV and KJV
Key doctrines in Colossians
The deity of Christ - Jesus did not only come from God; He is the one, true God and Messiah (1:15-20; 2:2-10; Ps 24:7, 10; 45:6, 7; Is 7:14; 8:13, 14; 9:6; 40:3, 11; Jer 23:5, 6; Zech 13:7; Matt 1:23; 3:3; 12:8; 26:63-67; Mark 2:7, 10; John 1:1, 14, 18: 3:16; Acts 10:36; Rom 9:5; Titus 2:13; Heb 13:20; 1 Pet 2:8)
Reconciliation - the sacrifice of Jesus Christ renews the relationship between God and man (1:20-22; 2:14; Lew 8:15; 16:20; Dan 9:24; Is 53:5; Matt 5:24-26; Rom 5:1, 10, 11; 2 Cor 5:18-20; Eph 2:14-16; Heb 2:17)
Redemption - Jesus Christ bought our salvation for a price, His own death on the cross (1:13, 14; 2:13, 14; 3:9-11; Is 43:1; 44:21-23; Matt 20:28; Luke 1:68; Acts 20:28; 1 Cor 1:30; 6:20; 7:23; Gal 3:13; 4:4, 5; Heb 9:12; 1 Pet 1:19; Rev 5:9)
Election - the life and future of each believer was intimately known by God before time began (3:12; Matt 20:16; John 6:44; 13:18; 15:16; Acts 22:14; Roma 8:29; 9:11, 15, 16; 1 Cor 1:27; Eph 1:4, 5, 11; 1 Thess 1:4; 2 Thess 2:13; Titus 1:1; 1 Pet 1:2)
Forgiveness - we are to forgive others in the same merciful manner God forgives us (3:13; Ps 7:4; Prov 19:11; Matt 18:22; Mark 11:25; Luke 6:36; 17:4; 23:34; Rom 12:19; Eph 4:32; 1 Pet 4:8)
The nature of the church as the body of Christ - all believers in Jesus Christ are equal before the Lord as His children and citizens of His eternal kingdom (1:18, 24, 25; 2:19; 3:11, 15; Eph 1:22, 23; 3:6; 5:32; Rev 21:9)