Bible Studies for Life Sunday School Lesson for April 28

Here’s the Bible Studies for Life Sunday School Lesson for April 28, written by James R. Strange, professor of Biblical and Religious studies, Samford University in Birmingham.

Bible Studies for Life Sunday School Lesson for April 28

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By James R. Strange, Ph.D.
Professor of Biblical and Religious studies, Samford University


Colossians 1:9–14; 2

Today we study our third lesson in a series on being an authentic church. For our purposes, an authentic church does what God wants the church to do, both among its members and in its relationship to society.

Paul often addressed this topic when he dealt with issues in congregations, even those he had not visited. This was the case with the church at Colossae, which was about 124 miles west of Ephesus in what is now Turkey.

We can help one another grow in godly character and be fruitful. (9–14)

Paul and Timothy introduce the metaphor of the fruit-bearing and growing gospel in Verse 6. In Verse 10, Paul and Timothy apply the metaphor to the Colossians themselves. The authors hope that they “walk worthy of the Lord” as they too bear “fruit in every good work” and grow “in the knowledge of God.”

Although they have not been to Colossae, Paul and Timothy heard from Epaphras about the Colossians’ love, and Paul and Timothy began praying that they would know God’s will.

Naturally, doing what God wants begins with knowing what God wants, but the human will must then be conformed to God’s will. This is why Paul and Timothy also pray for the Colossians to have “all wisdom and spiritual understanding” and that they would be “strengthened with all power,” that they “may have great endurance and patience.”

The authors prayed for these gifts because the impediments to doing God’s will were substantial. After all, Paul was in prison because of his ministry and surely, knowing that the Colossians would sometimes fail, Paul and Timothy comforted them by reminding them that they had “redemption, the forgiveness of sins” from God’s Son.

We can help one another stand firmly grounded in Christ. (21–23)

Paul and Timothy return to this idea after an interlude on the nature of the Creator and the Son and the implications for creation.

Last week, we read in 2 Corinthians that God gave Paul and Timothy the ministry of reconciliation through Christ’s death. In Colossians, Paul and Timothy say reconciliation encompasses all creation (v. 20).

The faith and hope introduced at the start of the letter now appear as anchors to hold the Colossians “grounded and steadfast” based on the beloved Son’s act of reconciliation — His death on the cross — even while they were “alienated and hostile in [their] minds as expressed in [their] evil actions.”

We can help one another reach maturity in Christ. (24–29)

Although Paul hasn’t met the Colossian believers, he was commissioned “to make the Word of God fully known” to the Gentiles. Paul calls this ministry “the mystery hidden for ages and generations now revealed to His saints.” Jews have known God’s plan because of passages like Genesis 22:18, but the Gentiles have not.

Acts 17:27 tells us they had some innate knowledge of their need for God, but “the glorious wealth of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory,” eluded them.

This is the hope that has now been revealed to them.

This is the Christ whom Paul and Timothy proclaim. This is the same hope, the same Christ, that the Church proclaims today.