Colossians and Philemon: A 12-Week Study

By Christopher A. Beetham, General Editor J. I. Packer, Series edited by Dane Ortlund, Lane T. Dennis

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The books of Colossians and Philemon complement each other as two New Testament texts that gloriously display the gospel and its implications for how God’s people should live today.

This short guide will help readers see how both letters resonate with the apostle Paul’s overriding passion: magnifying Jesus Christ as the supreme manifestation of God’s redemptive purposes.

Over the course of 12 weeks, these studies explore books of the Bible and:

  • Ask thoughtful questions to spur discussion
  • Show how each passage unveils the gospel
  • Tie the text in with the whole story of Scripture
  • Illuminate the doctrines taught in each passage
  • Invite you to discover practical implications
  • Help you better understand and apply God’s Word

Part of the Knowing the Bible series.

Read Chapter 1


Christopher A. Beetham

Christopher A. Beetham (PhD, Wheaton College) is senior editor of biblical languages, textbooks, and reference tools at Zondervan Academic. Previously he taught for a decade at the Evangelical Theological College and the Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology, both in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He is the author of Echoes of Scripture in the Letter of Paul to the Colossians and Colossians and Philemon, and editor of The Concise New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis.


Product Details

Category: Bible Studies & Devotionals
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 96
Size: 6.0 in x 9.0 in
Weight: 5.79 ounces
ISBN-10: 1-4335-4371-0
ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-4371-5
ISBN-UPC: 9781433543715
Case Quantity: 50
Published: June 30, 2015

Table of Contents

Week 1: Overview

Week 2: Paul’s Greeting of and Thanksgiving for the Colossians (1:1–8)
Week 3: Paul’s Prayer for the Colossians (1:9–14)
Week 4: The Christ-Hymn and Its Application to the Colossians (1:15–23)
Week 5: Paul’s Apostolic Ministry and Its Application to the Colossians (1:24–2:5)
Week 6: Paul Confronts the False Teaching (2:6–23)
Week 7: Exhortation: Seek Instead the Things of Christ Above (3:1–17)
Week 8: Instructions for Relationships both inside and outside the Faith (3:18–4:6)
Week 9: The Letter’s Conclusion: Greetings and Final Instructions (4:7–18)

Week 10: Paul’s Greeting of and Thanksgiving for Philemon (vv. 1–7)
Week 11: Paul’s Appeal concerning Onesimus (vv. 8–25)
Week 12: Summary and Conclusion


“This Knowing the Bible series is a tremendous resource for those wanting to study and teach the Bible with an understanding of how the gospel is woven throughout Scripture. Here are Gospel-minded pastors and scholars doing Gospel business from all the scriptures—this is a biblical and theological feast preparing God’s people to apply the entire Bible to all of life with heart and mind wholly committed to Christ’s priorities.”
Bryan Chapell, Stated Clerk, Presbyterian Church in America

“Mark Twain may have smiled when he wrote to a friend, “I didn’t have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote you a long letter.” But the truth of Twain’s remark remains serious and universal, because well-reasoned, compact writing requires extra time and extra hard work. And this is what we have in the Crossway Bible study series Knowing the Bible—as the skilled authors and notable editors provide the contours of each book of the Bible as well as the grand theological themes that bind them together as one Book. Here, in a 12-week format, are carefully wrought studies that will ignite the mind and the heart.”
R. Kent HughesSenior Pastor Emeritus, College Church, Wheaton, Illinois

Knowing the Bible brings together a gifted team of Bible teachers to produce a high quality series of study guides. The coordinated focus of these materials is unique: biblical content, provocative questions, systematic theology, practical application, and the gospel story of God’s grace presented all the way through Scripture.”
Philip Graham Ryken, President, Wheaton College

“These Knowing the Bible volumes introduce a significant and very welcome variation on the general run of inductive Bible studies. Such series often provide questions with little guidance, leaving students to their own devices. They thus tend to overlook the role of teaching in the church. By contrast, Knowing the Bible avoids the problem by providing substantial instruction with the questions. Knowing the Bible then goes even further by showing how any given passage connects with the gospel, the whole Bible, and Christian theology. I heartily endorse this orientation of individual books to the whole Bible and the gospel, and I applaud the demonstration that sound theology was not something invented later by Christians, but is right there in the pages of Scripture.”
Graeme Goldsworthy, Former Lecturer in Old Testament, Biblical Theology, and Hermeneutics, Moore Theological College

“What a gift to earnest, Bible-loving, Bible-searching believers! The organization and structure of the Bible study format presented through the Knowing the Bible series is so well conceived. Students of the Word are led to understand the content of passages through perceptive, guided questions, and they are given rich insights and application all along the way in the brief but illuminating sections that conclude each study. What potential growth in depth and breadth of understanding these studies offer. One can only pray that vast numbers of believers will discover more of God and the beauty of his Word through these rich studies.”
Bruce A. Ware, T. Rupert and Lucille Coleman Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary