Home   e-Library       中文 
e-Library Home |  Browse By Category |  Study the Bible    
 (Galatians to Colossians)
The Christian Life
TOC | Previous | Next

29: The Christian Life (Col 3:1-17)

The Basics


Whereas Paul exposed the futility of self-imposed religion in the previous lesson, he now speaks of the effectiveness of a new life in Christ. The natural consequence of setting one’s mind on things above and of having one’s life hidden with Christ is that one becomes or seeks to become dead to the things of the world (3:1-5). It seems almost superfluous to have to warn against the evils stated in 3:5 and yet it is clearly not so because there is so much of this evil in the world. In this section, Paul writes of how to live a Christian life devoid of these evils.

Key Verses

“…since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” (3:9,10).

Did You Know…?

1.     Barbarian, Scythian (3:11): A barbarian was “someone who did not speak Greek and was thought to be uncivilized… Scythians were known especially for their brutality and were considered by others as little better than wild beasts. They came originally from what is today south Russia.” 4/1816






Key Words/Phrases

Segment Analysis


1a.   The goal sets the direction. Where are the goals of a Christian life?

1b.   What exactly does it mean to set our minds on things above? (cf. Rom 8:5; 12:1-2; 13:14; Phil 4:8-9). 

2a.   3:3,4 give an interesting picture of spiritual reality. Read Rom 6:3-11, 2Tim 1:12 and 1Thess 4:16,17. Discuss the implications when Paul says that you have died and your life is hidden with Christ. 

2b.   What is the promise for those whose lives are hidden in Christ?


3.     3:6-7 suggests that evil is partly due to the worldly company one is in. A Christian life entails separation from the world. Read Jn 17:14-16, 1Cor 15:33, 2Cor 6:14-18 and 1Pet 2:9-12 to have an idea of what this means. Now discuss the essence of each of these passages.

4.     Why is covetousness deemed as idolatry (3:5; Eph 5:5)?

Verse 8 lists the things we should “put off.” “Malice,” a word that means evil or wickedness, may refer to a vicious attitude. “Blasphemy,” also translated “slander,” means speaking evil of another with the intention of wounding his/her reputation or speaking with irreverence concerning God (see notes at the end of this lesson).

5.     “Do not lie to one another since you have put off the old man with his deeds” (3:9) Upon scrutiny, the conjunction ‘since’ looks odd because if one has already put off the old man with all his deeds, why should the apostle continue to instruct that one should not lie?


6a.   Which affiliation do you consider most important in your life? Is it your nationality, your race, your old school/college, the company you work in, your neighborhood, your family, your church or your relationship with God? Discuss this in the light of 3:10,11.

6b.   What about the church? Is it a human affiliation?

7a.   Read verses 12-13 and list the aspects of character that the elect of God should have.

7b.   Is it possible for Christians to survive in this competitive world while having these virtues?

8.     How would you reconcile Paul’s exhortation in 14-15 for love to bind together all in the one body (the one church) and that the peace of God rule in individual hearts with his often stern epistolary rebukes (see for example, 1Cor 5;1-6; Gal 1:6-9)?

9a.   What does it mean to do all things in the name of the Lord Jesus (17)?

9b.   How does verse 17 sum up the entire passage?

10.   In retrospect, what is the new man? Summarize the main points in 3:10-17 with regard to the individual and with regard to the one body.

The Individual

The Church


Expressions such as “Oh my God!” “Jesus Christ!” “Gee!*” or “God!” uttered in amazement or frustration are improper for Christians because not only do they not glorify God, such speech may constitute blasphemy.

Some people may say that they do not mean anything when uttering such expressions. But even without any intention of blaspheming God, using the name of God in an empty or frivolous manner would be a violation of the third Commandment—”You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain” (Ex 20:7).

* “Gee” or “Jee” are alterations of “Jesus.”


PDF Download