Small Group Resource
Week 4 (Colossians 3:18-4:18)
The Gospel at Home
In Colossians 3:18-4:18, Paul instructs
Christians about how their faith impacts
life within the home (3:18-4:1), offers some
concluding exhortations (4:2-6), and ends
with a series of greetings (4:7-18).
Perhaps the most striking feature of
this section is Paul’s instructions about
living out the faith at home, the so-called
‘household code’ of Colossians. As Dunn
notes, many writers in the ancient world
gave such instructions about living within
the home, but Paul is distinctive in the way
that he calls each person within the home
to live ‘for the Lord.’
In discussing this section of the letter, it
might be helpful to lead into a discussion
of the kind of homes and communities that
members of the small group live in today
– whether in family homes, alone in a flat,
in a student community, or anywhere else.
In this way, a link between the biblical text
and today can be forged; how might Paul’s
words about first-century domestic life
apply to our own very different context?
Bible Month Resources
for Children and
Approaching the text
Read together through Colossians 3:18-4:18.
Discuss key questions about the household code:
a) Which members of the household does Paul address?
b) How does Paul encourage them to behave?
c) How do Paul’s instructions here relate to the surrounding passag-
es, 3:1-16 and 4:2-6?
Explore the current ‘household arrangements’ of members of the
small group. What are the challenges that each person faces? How
do they live out their faith in that context?
The household can helpfully be seen as part of our ‘frontline’, the everyday life
that we live outside the church alongside others. For a helpful discussion of ‘faith
on the frontline’, see Mark Greene, Fruitfulness on the Frontline. Making a difference
where you are (Nottingham: InterVarsity Press, 2014).
If you’re working with children and young
people you may find it useful to share some
background to this book of the Bible before
you embark on exploring it further. It helps
to put scripture in context and helps them
to imagine the time, place and people who
received this letter. The book of Colossians
was written by Paul to new Christians
living in a place called Colossae just a few
decades after Jesus died. Faith was new
to this group of people but because Paul
was in prison, he wasn’t able to go and visit
them in person. He wanted to challenge
their ideas and some of the teaching they
had heard. They’d got the wrong idea! These
people in Colossae were a little bit confused
about what faith really was and how to be
church (moving from ‘doing church’ to ‘being
church’) in their community. So Paul wants
to set them straight, clear up some confu-
sion and try to be clear on what it is to be a
Christian and follow Jesus. He emphasises
that Jesus is the very image of God and
rules over all things.
Some ideas to explore the background to the letter:
• Find Colossae on a map – Where is it today? There are lots of Bible apps that
include Maps: try Bible Map on Apple Apps Plus
• Read some letters together – Invite children and young people to bring one
in from home if possible – who is it from? What does it say? How does it start
• Consider writing letters to others who the church knows –
Perhaps those on mission in other countries or family members living in
another place. The letter could be images, words or both – you could be
creative in making it!
• Each child or young person to write a letter to the church about what being
church means to them that can be read out in a service or let them choose a
topic that they want to talk to the church about.
• Hand out Bibles – Can we find the letter?
So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and
to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honour and please the Lord, and your lives will
produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.
We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need.
May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people,
who live in the light. For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his dear Son, who
purchased our freedom and forgave our sins. (Extract from v 9-14, New Living Translation (NLT))