Colossians Inductive Bible Study Introduction

 

DEDUCTIVE VS. INDUCTIVE BIBLE STUDY

As we start our inductive Bible study on the book of Colossians it is important to put into perspective the difference between Deductive and Inductive Bible study.

Deductive Bible study is considering a topic and then finding individual Bible verses to help support that topic. This, in my opinion is a potentially dangerous way of study. It is taking Bible verses like Philippians 4:13 and twisting the original meaning to make it fit with the topic. “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” I have seen this verse specifically in Rick Warren’s “Daniel Plan” on weight-loss. This verse had nothing to do with selfish goals like weight-loss. The specific line in the letter to the Philippians was written by Paul to Timothy to let him know that even in chains Paul can be content in all things. By the intended context, you should be content if you are overweight. Please go ahead and read all of Philippians 4 and you will see it clearly.

It is interesting to see how many Christians try to make the Bible say what they want it to say. They pick and choose individual Bible verses out of context to help prove their point, rather than desire to see God’s point. Another great example of this is seen in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” If you read this verse based on modern usage of words, you might be inclined to think Jesus came to give you an abundant life now, in this lifetime. If you read it in the original context, with an understanding of the original meaning of the word perissos you will find that Jesus is referring to eternal life. It has the implications of “beyond” or in this case, the afterlife. Jesus wants you to have eternal life, not more riches and happiness here in this life.

Inductive study is a way of taking specific verses and making sense of them based on the context and broader message as seen throughout the entire Bible. It is observing the context of the who, what, where, when, and how, then interpreting that to what it means in a universal sense, and then applying it to your personal life now. There are several ways of remembering this.

TRADITIONAL
Observation
Interpretation
Application

PEP METHOD
Past
Everyone
Present

An easy way to start Inductive Bible Study on your own is to look first at the context of the book you want to read. In our case, we are reading through Colossians. Do some research as to who the Colossians were and why Paul was writing to them. Below are some basics points to help you get started. You may also consider getting a good commentary such as “The Letters to the Colossians and to Philemon by  Douglas J. Moo. It is also a good idea to check out various translations. I personally use the ESV which is a word for word translation. Some like to use the NIV or NLT as those are more thought for thought. The KJV or NKJV are a bit more difficult to read but may be used as well.

It is very important that when you notice differences in translations of word choices that you look up that verse using the Strong’s Concordance. A free version of may be used at www.blueletterbible.org and you may easily look up the verse, then select the TOOLS button to the left of the verse. It will open up a chart that gives you each word or phrase broken down and just to the right of each phrase you will see a Strong’s number that looks like G2532 (that is the number for the Greek word “and”) or H853 (the number for the Hebrew word “and”). Click on that number and you will find a wealth of information to help you better understand the word and how/why it was used.

COLOSSIANS INTRODUCTION

The book of Colossians was written by Paul to the church of Colossae. It was around 60AD and Paul was in prison when he wrote to them. Paul did not plant the church in Colossae, nor did he visit. He heard of their faith through his friend and brother in Christ, Epaphrus. Epaphrus is the one who planted the church as Colossae.

Colossae was a major city for about 5 centuries prior to Jesus’ arrival. It was located on the western side of modern day Turkey. There was a main road that went through Colossae at that time, lending to its melting pot culture. It is said that it was mostly made of of gentiles, but there were many peoples living in Colossae including Jews. The road was moved about 10-12 miles west through Laodicea causing Colossae to diminished substantially in size and prestige.

Around the same year of the writing of Paul’s letter, there was an earthquake that flattened the entire city of Colossae and Laodicea. It is estimated that Paul’s letter came first, and the earthquake happened after. Both cities were rebuilt, but no doubt many believer’s lives were taken at that earthquake. Paul’s warning may have come just in time.

The reason Paul wrote the letter was to warn the Christians of some “false teachings”. These false teachings were never described and some scholars feel it is due to the nature of the city being one that contained many religious beliefs. The letter is full of encouragement to help them stay strong in their faith.

HOMEWORK – WEEK ONE

Read all of Colossians, the entire short book, everyday before you dissect the daily verse or passage.

Day 1: Colossians 1:1-2

  1. PAST: answer what this verse meant to the original recipients in the PAST.
  2. EVERYONE: re-write the verse in your own words to reflect the universal truth that applies to EVERYONE.
  3. PRESENT: what does this verse mean to you and how should you apply it today in the PRESENT.

Day 2: Colossians 1:3

  1. PAST: answer what this verse meant to the original recipients in the PAST.
  2. EVERYONE: re-write the verse in your own words to reflect the universal truth that applies to EVERYONE.
  3. PRESENT: what does this verse mean to you and how should you apply it today in the PRESENT.

Day 3: Colossians 1:4

  1. PAST: answer what this verse meant to the original recipients in the PAST.
  2. EVERYONE: re-write the verse in your own words to reflect the universal truth that applies to EVERYONE.
  3. PRESENT: what does this verse mean to you and how should you apply it today in the PRESENT.

Day 4: Colossians 1:5

  1. PAST: answer what this verse meant to the original recipients in the PAST.
  2. EVERYONE: re-write the verse in your own words to reflect the universal truth that applies to EVERYONE.
  3. PRESENT: what does this verse mean to you and how should you apply it today in the PRESENT.

Day 5: Colossians 1:6

  1. PAST: answer what this verse meant to the original recipients in the PAST.
  2. EVERYONE: re-write the verse in your own words to reflect the universal truth that applies to EVERYONE.
  3. PRESENT: what does this verse mean to you and how should you apply it today in the PRESENT.

Day 6: Colossians 1:7

  1. PAST: answer what this verse meant to the original recipients in the PAST.
  2. EVERYONE: re-write the verse in your own words to reflect the universal truth that applies to EVERYONE.
  3. PRESENT: what does this verse mean to you and how should you apply it today in the PRESENT.

Day 7: Colossians 1:8

  1. PAST: answer what this verse meant to the original recipients in the PAST.
  2. EVERYONE: re-write the verse in your own words to reflect the universal truth that applies to EVERYONE.
  3. PRESENT: what does this verse mean to you and how should you apply it today in the PRESENT.

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