You can now purchase a copy of my new book Finding Satisfaction in Christ: A Devotional Study of Colossians in paperback or kindle formats. I wrote this over the course of a few years. What began as a small group study on Colossians in the home of our friends Dan and Emily later turned into a Group Discussion Guide for College Park Church that blossomed into a full-length book slowly written off-and-on over the course of a few years. As any writer or teacher struggles with, I hope my personal joy and benefit of studying Colossians leads to your joy and encouragement as you read through Colossians with me. Here’s a bit about the book.
(This devotion is day twenty-four of a 30-Day Thanksgiving Challenge. Each day includes a daily reading that will be accompanied by a post on this blog.)
Read Colossians 1:3, 12; 2:7; 3:15–17; 4:2
When you open an email or an old-fashioned letter, you know right away if it’s good or bad news. The first few words set the tone for what follows.
Since Paul had never visited the city of Colossae, his opening sentence of thankfulness (Colossians 1:3) acted as a first impression for his readers. He sets the tone not with a rebuke for their failures—like Galatians—but by affirming God’s good work in them. This casts a shadow of encouragement and pastoral love over the entire letter. If New Testament letters had emojis, Paul would have included a big smile or high five.
Like any good narrative, the Bible uses literary devices such as metaphors, double-meanings, paradoxes, and irony. The New Testament authors often used irony to draw out the difference between how mankind sees things and how God sees things. Irony shows the sharp contrast between expectations and realities as well as between intent and effect. A third way authors employ irony is to highlight something the readers know that the characters in the story would have been unaware of. In Colossians 2:13-15 Paul provides at least four ironies tied to the cross of Jesus Christ.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (Col. 3:16)
(In yesterday’s post I shared stories of how the gathered church singing together encouraged me when I needed it most. Today’s part 2 provides more of the biblical basis for how important singing with and to one another is every week.)
In your mind, go back to a recent Sunday morning where you gathered with God’s people in your local church. One thing you did (I hope) was sing. When you sing, who do you sing to? In that scenario, do you sing to God, to other people, or to your own heart? How do you process congregational singing? You could ask, who do you sing for? Are you singing to glorify God, to rehearse truth to yourself or give voice to your beliefs, or do you sing to build up others?
Below is an excerpt from an Appendix from my book Finding Satisfaction in Christ: A Devotional Study of Colossians. The book walks through Colossians a few verses at a time, explaining and applying the passage in a Christ-centered way. You can purchase the book on Amazon in paperback or Kindle. Here’s day one to give you a feel for the book.
As I’ve been studied Colossians, I’ve been amazed by the glorious, sweeping statements about the supremacy and sufficiency of Jesus Christ. Colossians is all about clarifying who Jesus is and why nothing and no one is needed beyond him. No additives in necessary here.