5 lessons from Paul’s Letter to the Colossians you can apply to your life

The Letter of St. Paul to the Colossians

 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.”

Colossians 1:15

Facing life’s challenges often leaves us searching for guidance and wisdom.

Paul’s Letter to the Colossians emerges as a beacon, offering profound lessons that resonate deeply with the struggles and aspirations we all face.

At its core, this epistle reveals the supremacy of Christ and guides believers in the pursuit of a life rooted in Him.

Within its chapters lie 5 essential teachings that can transform how we live, love, and perceive our place in the world.

Let’s explore these timeless lessons and discover how they can be applied to our lives today, fostering growth, resilience, and a deeper connection to our faith.

Overview of Colossians

Paul’s letter to the Colossians articulates the supremacy of Christ in both the church and the cosmos.

It tackles errors in the church, affirming that true understanding comes from Christ alone.

Written by Paul while he was under house arrest, this letter packs a punch with its deep dive into Christian beliefs and how to live them out.

Paul hadn’t visited Colossae himself. He was writing to a community he’d only heard about through his friend Epaphras.

Despite this, his words feel personal, like a heartfelt conversation across the miles.

Colossae, along with its neighbors Laodicea and Hierapolis, sat in what’s now Turkey, and they were pretty important until an earthquake hit.

The exact date of the quake, and when Paul wrote this letter, is a bit of a mystery, adding to the letter’s intrigue.

What makes Colossians stand out?

Well, it’s a focus on Christ’s supremacy and the idea that everything—absolutely everything—finds its purpose in Him.

This letter is a powerful reminder that faith isn’t just about believing in something unseen but about letting that belief shape every aspect of our lives.

From how we treat others to how we view the cosmos, Colossians lays down a blueprint for a life anchored in Christ.

Paul’s purpose and composition

In this letter, Paul’s primary aim is to counter false teachings that threatened the Colossian church.

He emphasizes the deity of Christ and the importance of maintaining true doctrine.

Paul’s guidance is clear:

Believers are to seek spiritual wisdom and understanding through Christ alone, steering clear of deceptive philosophies.

The epistle is structured into two main parts:

  • Theological teachings
  • Practical exhortations.

Initially, Paul introduces Christ’s divine nature and sufficiency for salvation.

Subsequently, he addresses how believers should live—rooted in Him, eschewing false teachings, and embracing a new ethical code.

Here’s a clearer breakdown of the composition of Paul’s letter to the Colossians:

1. Introduction and Thanksgiving

  • Paul starts with a greeting, and then thanks God for the faith, love, and hope of the Colossians. He prays for their spiritual wisdom and understanding, leading into a majestic hymn about Christ’s preeminence in creation and the church.

2. Warning Against False Philosophy

  • Here, Paul warns against deceptive teachings and argues for the completeness of the believers in Christ. He speaks against legalistic practices and emphasizes the spiritual reality over physical rituals.

3. Rules for Holy Living

  • This chapter shifts to practical advice on how to live out the Christian life, focusing on virtues, family relations, and social interactions, all anchored in the new life Christ offers.

4.  Final Exhortations and Greetings

  • Paul concludes with requests for prayer, advice on how to interact with outsiders, and personal messages to and from.

5 key themes from Paul’s letter to Colossians

1) Christ’s supremacy

Paul’s depiction of Christ in the Letter to the Colossians is profound and central to understanding the Christian faith.

He presents Jesus as preeminent in all things, the one through whom and for whom all creation exists.

Paul establishes that Christ is not only the head of the church but also the very embodiment of God, the agent of creation, and the sustainer of the universe.

Wondering what this assertion of Christ’s supremacy means for Christians?

Well, it points out that through His authority and reconciliation, believers have access to God.

It is a call to recognize that in Christ all fullness dwells and through His sacrifice, redemption and forgiveness are granted to humanity.

2) Fullness in Christ

“Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.”

Collosians 3:11

The second theme in Paul’s letter is a bit more mind-bending: finding fullness in Christ.

You might ask, “Fullness? Like feeling complete?”

Exactly.

Paul’s hitting us with the truth that everything we need, our entire spiritual fulfillment, is found in Christ.

It’s an interesting fact that this message was super relevant for the Colossians facing all sorts of teachings about secret knowledge and spiritual elitism.

Paul cuts through the noise, saying:

“Forget all that. You’re made complete just by being in Christ.”

No extra rituals, no secret handshakes—just Christ.

And let’s admit it: it’s a liberating thought, especially in a world that constantly tells us we need more to be complete.

3) New life conduct

Think about it: when you’ve got a fresh start, how do you make the most of it?

Paul dives into this with the theme of new life conduct.

He’s basically saying, “You’ve got this new life in Christ, now here’s how to live it out.”

It’s about shedding the old ways—anger, lies, greed—and embracing virtues like kindness, patience, and forgiveness.

Maybe you’re wondering, “Can I really change?”

Paul believes you can, with Christ’s help. It’s personal for him — he’s been there, done that.

Transitioning from doctrine to duty, Colossians underscores a Christian’s conduct.

This includes putting to death earthly natures, embracing virtues like compassion and kindness, and fostering harmony in relationships.

Paul’s counsel for a new life mirrors the transformative power of the gospel.

Key aspects of Christian conduct highlighted by Paul include:

  • Compassion and kindness
  • Humility and gentleness
  • Patience and forgiveness
  • Love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony

4) Combatting false teachings

Now, let’s take a look at one of the quotes from this letter:

“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy” (Colossians 2:8).

Here, Paul’s laying down the gauntlet against false teachings. He’s aware of the smooth talkers and the slick ideas that sound good but lead us away from the truth.

Combatting false teachings isn’t just about intellectual arguments — it’s about grounding ourselves in what’s real and true—our relationship with Christ.

This theme feels super relevant, right?

In an age of information overload, where every idea battles for our attention, Paul’s advice rings true.

It’s a reminder to filter what we hear and learn through the lens of our faith, keeping our beliefs anchored in the truth of the gospel.

Maybe it’s time to ask ourselves, “What influences are shaping my views?”

5) Power of prayer and gratitude

Ever thought about the power behind a simple “thank you” or a quiet moment spent in prayer?

Paul sure did.

In Colossians, he wraps up his profound theological insights with something incredibly relatable: the importance of prayer and gratitude.

Just think of this quote: “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2).

This isn’t just a throwaway line — it’s a cornerstone of Paul’s message to the Colossians.

Why?

Because amidst discussing cosmic battles and deep theology, he reminds us of the fundamental acts of praying and giving thanks.

Maybe it seems a bit surprising or counterintuitive to end on this note, but it’s genius.

It brings everything back down to earth.

Paul is saying, “No matter how complex life gets, don’t forget to talk to God and appreciate the good.”

Who is Christ for us according to Paul?

“In Him all the fullness of deity dwells bodily.”

Colossians 2:9

The Letter to the Colossians presents a profound answer to the question of Christ’s identity and His role in our lives.

Paul’s declaration that all the fullness of deity resides in Christ bodily asserts His divinity and humanity.

This truth is foundational for understanding our own relationship with God and the universe.

In particular, in Paul’s letter, Christ is depicted as:

  • The image of the invisible God
  • The firstborn overall creation
  • The reconciler through His bloodshed on the cross.

These facets of Christ’s identity are not mere theological assertions — they are meant to impact how we live, pray, and interact with others.

Recognizing Christ’s fullness leads us to a deeper reverence for Him and a more committed discipleship.

And that’s the thing that can shape our identity as Christians in profound ways.

Final thoughts: Living Paul’s message

As you can see, Paul’s letter does not merely expound on lofty theological concepts. It brings them into the everyday lives of believers.

What’s more, he outlines a practical framework for Christian living that reflects one’s new identity in Christ.

Having explored the richness of Paul’s Letter to the Colossians, you may be seeking guidance on how to further apply these teachings to your life.

For those looking to deepen their understanding and strengthen their spiritual journey, consider these next steps:

  • Bear with one another in love.
  • Forgive as the Lord forgave us.
  • Let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts.
  • Be thankful.

Believe it or not, these actions are tangible expressions of a life transformed by Christ’s love and lordship. Through Paul’s words, we find a call to manifest the gospel in every aspect of our being.

Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Nomadrs to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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