Use one or both of these questions to introduce the lesson:
1. Consider the words, “Who do you think you are.” Do they make up a question or an exclamation? Under what circumstances could they be one or the other?
2. Nineteenth-century poet William Ernest Henley ended his classic poem “Invictus” with these often-quoted words: “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” Do you agree or disagree with such a statement? Defend your opinion.
Read Colossians 1:9-14.
1. List some typical prayer requests we make on behalf of others. Now list the requests Paul made on behalf of the church in Colossae. How do our typical requests compare to those made by Paul?
2. We like to think that it is possible to be a “self-made” person, someone who gains everything needed for a fulfilled life by their own efforts. From these verses, do you think Paul would believe that anyone could be “self-made?” How does Paul’s view of who we think we are compare to who we really are?
Read Colossians 1:15-20.
3. Many would argue that Jesus was simply a good person and great teacher. Read these verses and, using a series of bullet points, try to summarize Paul’s response to such an idea.
4. Compare these verses side-by-side with the description of Jesus in Hebrews 1:1-3. Try to pick out some key descriptions of Jesus found in each passage but stated in slightly different words. How does this comparison help your understanding of who Jesus is?
Read Colossians 1:21-23.
5. These verses succinctly summarize the Christian view of salvation. Use them to create a short “elevator speech” that explains who we are without Jesus, who we become with Jesus, and how we remain in Jesus.
6. The city of Colossae was geographically isolated. Also, the church in that city was founded without Paul ever having visited there. With those facts in mind, what do you think Paul was saying when he wrote the words in verse 23b?
7. Consider again the words of the poet mentioned earlier: “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” How would you rewrite that statement to accurately reflect the message of this lesson?