For those of you who are coming with us on Friday and want to get a head start in what we’ll be studying, here’s some thoughts. Paul’s letter to the Colossians will be our text. As I said Monday night, I plan to start it on Friday evening and finish it Sunday morning. So if you have time, the following might be helpful:
- Read and re-read the letter. Reading scripture is the most important way to study scripture. (Is that too obvious? Sometimes I think it’s not.) Simply getting a bunch of reads in before Friday night will acclimate you to its whole message and allow the Lord to start speaking to you through it. And when we’re sitting and discussing chapter 1, you’ll be able to see connections in the following chapters. And better yet, do all your read throughs in one sitting. Block out a half hour or so and get it done all at once, just like you would a letter from a friend.
- Read the letter in mulitple translations. If you don’t own multiple translations, may i suggest http://mobile.biblegateway.com? Check out ESV, NIV, NASB, NKJV, NLT, JB Phillips, Darby… This will give you sense of the text the translators were working with. And sometimes you notice things differently with a fresh take.
- Download audio of the letter and listen to it throughout your day. I’m a fan of audio scriptures. Especially free audio scripture. Like the recording of Colossians you can get here.
- Do some self study:
- Make an Outline. Making your own outline of a letter is one of the best ways to get it all in your head and see the contents for yourself.
- Try to write the whole letter in one paragraph. Then identify the main sections of the letter, and write the main point of each one as a sentence. Then, take the sentnces (or the paragraph) and write the whole letter in one sentence. This is an exercise in seeing flow of thought and main points. It will help you quickly answer the question:
- Print the letter out (see Bible Gateway link above) and mark it up. Circle key words, block section divisions, link progressive ideas, note commands, etc.
- Listen to Pastor Joe’s Teachings on Colossians. You know it’s all online and free, right? http://www.ccphilly.org/resources/audio-messages/
You may have other ideas. Pray through it during your morning devotions. Memorize key or helpful verses. Regardless, let’s come spiritually prepared and ready to hear the word of our Creator and Redeemer.