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New Testament Survey:
Epistles — Paul's Letters to the Churches


In this Section:
Galatians | Ephesians | Philippians | Colossians | 1 Thessalonians | 2 Thessalonians


Survey of the Book of Galatians
The Apostle Paul writes this passionate letter to counter the 'works gospel' that has infected the Church of Galatia.

Paul begins the letter by setting forth his credentials as an Apostle who has been given a message from God, that message being that blessings come from God on the basis of faith, not Law. Paul reminds them that the Law declares all men guilty and imprisons them to a set of requirements which they can never satisfy, while faith in Christ sets men free. However, our liberty is not a license to sin. Rather, it means we are free to produce the fruits of righteousness through a Spirit-led lifestyle.

Paul writes this forceful letter to completely disarm and do away with the repressive and oppressive false gospel of works being preached by certain Jewish legalizers. This carefully-written argument demonstrates the superiority of justification by faith by:

  • defending the Gospel of grace;

  • explaining the Gospel of grace; and

  • applying the Gospel of grace.

TO WHOM: Believers at Galatia.
PURPOSE: To correct false teaching of Jewish legalism in the Church.
KEY VERSES: 2:20-21— "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose."
5:1— "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery."
LIFE AND MINISTRY PRINCIPLE: Jesus delivered us from law to liberty.
MAIN CHARACTERS: Paul, Peter, James, Cephas, John, Barnabas, Titus, Abraham, the believers in Galatia.


  1. Introduction: 1:1-5
  2. The Rebuke: 1:6-10
    1. Paul is astonished at the Galatians' departure from the Gospel: _______________
    2. Paul acknowledges that the "other gospel" is _______________: 1:6-7
    3. Paul says that anyone who preaches another gospel is _______________: 1:8-9
    4. Paul is a ______________________________ of Christ, not of men: 1:10
  3. Paul Defends the Gospel of Grace: 1:11-2:21
    1. The origin is through divine revelation: _______________
    2. The Gospel of grace was approved by ____________________ leadership: 2:1-10
    3. The condemnation of the Law led to the new life: _______________
    4. Keeping the Law voids the grace of God: _______________
  4. Paul Explains the Gospel of Grace: 3:1-4:31
    1. The Holy Spirit is given by _______________, not by _______________: 3:1-5
    2. Abraham was justified by _______________, not by _______________: 3:6-9
    3. Justification is by _______________, not by Law: 3:10-4:11
      1. Christ redeemed us from the _______________ of the Law: 3:10-14
      2. The covenant of faith by Abraham: 3:15-18
      3. The Law was an instrument to bring us to Christ: _______________
    4. Believers are _______________from the Law: 3:23-4:11
      1. The Law was our _______________ before Christ came: 3:23-25
      2. We are all Abraham's offspring through _______________in Christ: 3:26-29
      3. The contrasts of Law and _______________: 4:1-7
      4. Paul asks why the Galatians want to be ___________________ again: 4:8-11
    5. Galatians receive blessings by faith, not by _______________: 4:12-20
    6. Law and grace cannot coexist: _______________
      1. Paul questions those desiring to be under the Law: _______________
      2. The two covenants represented by Abraham's two sons: 4:22-28
  5. Applying the Gospel of Grace: 5:1-6:18
    1. Paul urges them to _________________________ in their liberty in Christ: 5:1-6
      1. The Law makes Christ useless to them: _______________
      2. Legalism makes them subject to the whole _______________: 5:3
      3. The Law separates them from _______________: 5:4
      4. It is a _______________ from grace: 5:4
      5. The proper Christian attitude: _______________
    2. Paul condemns the _______________ teacher: 5:7-12
    3. Paul urges them to live the life of Christian _______________: 5:13-5:25
      1. This life is directed by love: _______________
      2. It is a walk in the _______________, not in the _______________: 5:16-26
    4. Paul urges them to bear one another's _______________: 5:26-6:2
      1. Paul warns them about wrong attitudes toward others: _______________
      2. The attitude of humility in _______________ the fallen: 6:1
      3. The duty of mutual burden-bearing: _______________
    5. The proper attitude towards _______________: 6:3-5
    6. The life of grace is a life governed by basic principles: 6:6-10
      1. The principle of _______________: 6:6
      2. The principle of spiritual _______________: 6:7-8
      3. The principle of well-doing: _______________
  6. Conclusion: 6:11-18
    1. Paul mentions his large letters: _______________
    2. Rebuke for his _______________: 6:12-13
    3. His confidence in the _______________: 6:14-16
    4. He bears the _______________ of the Lord in his own body: 6:17
    5. The benediction: _______________

Further Study
In Galatians 3:11, Paul quotes from Habakkuk 2:4. Write the quoted portion of the verse here:

What are the differences between the fruit of the Holy Spirit and the works of the flesh? (See Galatians 5:19-23)

The key word of Galatians, "liberty", is used 11 times. Locate the verses and summarize what is taught about liberty.

According to Galatians 1:13-17, how was Paul different before and after his conversion?

Thinking about your own conversion, describe yourself now compared to before you knew Jesus.

The doctrinal error in the church in Galatia is referred to by Paul as "another gospel". These believers were seeking to be _______________ by the Law (5:4). They were requiring observance of ____________, ____________, ____________, _________ (4:10) and ____________________ as necessary for salvation (5:2; 6:12-13). They were seeking to supplement the work of the Holy Spirit by Law and by their own ____________ (3:3). They were insisting on conformity to the ___________ of Moses (4:21). They were not denying the Gospel, but they were adding to the Gospel certain legalistic and ritualistic ideas.

Study the contrasts of the book of Galatians. These include...

  • faith versus works;

  • the Spirit versus the flesh;

  • grace versus law;

  • circumcision versus new creation;

  • the cross versus the world;

  • freedom versus bondage; and the natural [Ishmael] versus the spiritual [Isaac].

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Survey of the Book of Ephesians
Paul visited Ephesus at the end of his second missionary journey. Not only was Ephesus the commercial center of Asia Minor, but it was also a religious center. It was most well-known for its magnificent temple to Dianna [Roman deity] or Artemis [Greek deity]. The practice of magic and the local economy were closely related to this temple.

While Paul remained in Ephesus for nearly three years, the Word of God rapidly spread throughout the province of Asia. This began to seriously hurt the local economy, especially the business dealings in magic and idols.

Paul wrote the book of Ephesians during his first Roman imprisonment, possibly from Caesarea (cf. Ephesians 3:1, 4:1, 6:20; Philippians 1:7, 13, 14; Colossians 4:3, 10, 18; Philemon 9, 10, 13, 23). The book of Acts also refers to this period in chapter 28 verses 16-31.

Some scholars challenge the traditional view that this message was directed specifically to the Ephesians. They theorize that it was a letter sent by Paul to all the churches in Asia. They believe it's designed for general use since it involves no controversy and deals with no specific problems in any particular church.

Ephesians focuses on the believer's responsibility to walk in accordance with his heavenly calling in Christ Jesus. Rather than correcting specific errors, this letter was written to prevent problems in the local church. It encourages us to be aware of our position in Christ and to mature in Him.

TO WHOM: The church at Ephesus.
PURPOSE: To remind believers of their wealth in Christ and instruct them concerning their walk in Christ.
1:3— "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places."
2:8-10— "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."
4:1-3— "I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
LIFE AND MINISTRY PRINCIPLE: Believers are heirs to both the blessings [the wealth] and the responsibilities [the walk] of their calling in Christ.
MAIN CHARACTERS: Paul, Tychicus.


Part One: Our Wealth in Christ 1:1-3:21

  1. Praise for Our Redemption: 1:1-14
    1. Salutation from Paul: _______________
    2. He has chosen and _______________ us: 1:3-6
    3. We are _______________ by the Son: 1:7-12
      1. He shows _______________towards us: 1:8
      2. He reveals the mystery of His _______________: 1:9-10
      3. In Him we have obtained an _______________: 1:11-12
    4. We have been _______________ by the Spirit: 1:13-14
  2. Prayer for Spiritual Revelation through Christ: 1:15-23
    1. The basis of the prayer: _______________
    2. The nature of the prayer: _______________
    3. The God addressed by the prayer: _______________1:17
    4. The gifts requested in the prayer: _______________
    5. The purpose of the prayer: _______________
      1. That they may realize the hope of His _______________: 1:18
      2. That they may receive the _______________of His inheritance: 1:18
      3. That they may know His _______________: 1:19-23
  3. Our Position in Christ: 2:1-3:13
    1. The Christian's position individually: 2:1-10
      1. Spiritual death: _______________
      2. We previously walked according to the ways of the _______________: 2:1-3
    2. New condition: Alive to God: 2:4-10
      1. Saved by _______________: 2:5, 8
      2. Raised to heavenly places and seated with _______________: 2:6
      3. In favor with _______________: 2:7
      4. The reason for the new condition: _______________
    3. The Christian's position corporately: 2:11-3:13
      1. Reconciliation of _______________ and _______________: 2:11-22
      2. Revelation of the "_______________" of the Church: 3:1-13
    4. Paul as a messenger of the mystery: 3:1-13
      1. Statement of the mystery: _______________
      2. Paul's _______________ in connection with this mystery: 3:7-12
  4. Paul's Prayer for Realization: 3:14-21
    1. Introduction to the prayer for possession: _______________
    2. The request: 3:16-19
      1. To be _________________________ with might by the Spirit: 3:16
      2. To experience the _______________ of Christ: 3:17
      3. To be grounded in _______________: 3:17
      4. To comprehend the _______________ of Christ: 3:18-19
      5. To be filled with the _______________ of God: 3:19
    3. Conclusion of the prayer: _______________

Part Two: Our Walk in Christ 4:1-6:24

  1. Unity in the Church: 4:1-16
    1. Be _______________ of the calling: 4:1-6
      1. In humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another: ______________
      2. Maintain _______________ in the bond of peace: 4:3
    2. Through unity: 4:3-6
      1. In one _______________, one _______________, one _______________: 4:5
      2. In one _______________: 4:6
    3. Follow the _______________ of Christ: 4:7-10
    4. Through proper structure: 4:11-16
      1. Spiritual _______________: 4:11
      2. Their purposes: _______________
      3. By becoming part of the _______________: 4:16
  2. Holiness in Life: 4:17-5:20
    1. How not to walk: 4:17-25
      1. In vanity of _______________: 4:17
      2. With understanding _______________: 4:18
      3. Alienated from the life of God through ignorance and blindness: ___________
      4. Given over to lewdness, uncleanness, and greediness: _______________
    2. How to walk: 4:20-5:2
      1. In _______________: 4:20-21
      2. Putting _______________ the old man: 4:22
      3. Renewing the spirit of your _______________: 4:23
      4. Put on the _______________ man: 4:24
      5. Put away _______________ conduct: 4:25-30
      6. Assume _______________ conduct: 4:32-5:1
    3. Our walk in relation to the _______________: 5:2-7
      1. Walk in _______________ following Christ's example: 5:2
      2. Walk in _______________: 5:3-5
      3. With an attitude of _________________________: 5:4
      4. Walk with eternity in mind: _______________
      5. Do not be _______________ with vain words: 5:6
      6. Do not form evil alliances: _______________
    4. Prove what is _______________ unto the Lord: 5:8-10
      1. Walk in the _______________: 5:8
      2. Develop the _______________ of the Spirit: 5:9
    5. Do not walk in _______________: 5:11-14
      1. Have no _______________ with darkness: 5:11
      2. Reprove _______________ works: 5:11
      3. Do not speak of things done in _______________: 5:12
      4. Spread _______________ in darkness: 5:13
      5. Awake those who are sleeping in spiritual darkness: _______________
    6. Walk as the _______________, not as _______________: 5:15
    7. _______________ the time: 5:16
    8. Understand God's _______________: 5:17
    9. Be _______________ with the Spirit: 5:18
    10. Speak in _______________, _______________, and ____________________ _______________: 5:19
    11. Give _______________ in all things: 5:20
  3. Our Walk Concerning Personal Relationships: 5:21-6:9
    1. _______________ to one another in the fear of God: 5-21
    2. Wives, submit to your _______________: 5:22-24
    3. Husbands, _______________ your wives: 5:25-33
    4. Children, _______________ and honor your parents: 6:1-3
    5. Responsibilities of servants/employees: _______________
    6. Responsibilities of masters/employers: _______________
  4. Our Conduct in the Conflict: 6:10-24
    1. Be strong in the Lord and the power of His _______________: 6:10
    2. Put on the whole _______________ of God: 6:10-17
      1. To stand against _______________ and his wiles [tricks]: 6:11,13
      2. The enemy: _______________
      3. The _______________: 6:14-17
    3. Pray for _______________: 6:18-20
  5. Conclusion: 6:21-24

Further Study
What the Apostle Paul stresses throughout the book of Ephesians is our heavenly "bank account": adoption, acceptance, redemption, forgiveness, wisdom, inheritance, the seal of the Holy Spirit, life, grace, citizenship. In short, we have been given every spiritual blessing needed to live "to the praise of the glory of His grace" (1:6).

The book of Ephesians compares different attributes to believers. Write the thing or attribute that goes with the Scripture references.

  • 1:22-23; 4:4,12,16

  • 2:19

  • 2:20-22

  • 5:22-23 1:22-23; 4:4,12,16

  • 6:6-9

  • 6:10-17

Our relationship with God is like that of a family (3:15). Write our relationship according to the verses below. We are:

  • 1:5-6

  • 2:19

  • 5:1

Study Paul's prayers for the Ephesians. He prayed that they might know certain things (1:16-19) and that they might have certain things (3:14-19). Both are necessary to claim our spiritual inheritance. We must know about it and we must also claim it. Study the guidelines given in Ephesians 5:18-20 and 6:18 as to how we are to pray.

Study the key words in Ephesians: "mystery", "walk", "love", "grace", "glory", "power", "peace", "riches", "together", "one in the heavenlies."

Study Ephesians 4:22-24 and 6:11-18. List the things we are to put off and put on. Compare this list to a similar list given in Colossians chapter 3.

Make a list of the contrasts in the book of Ephesians. Here are some examples to start you on your study:

A man by the name of Tychicus is mentioned in Ephesians 6:21-22. Find other references to him in Acts 20:4; 2 Timothy 4:12; Titus 3:12, and Colossians 4:7.

Find the 12 references to the Holy Spirit in the book of Ephesians. The references in chapters 1-3 tell what the Holy Spirit is and does toward the believer. The references in chapters 4-6 tell us what we are to be and do toward Him.

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Survey of the Book of Philippians


The letter to the Philippians is mostly a letter of joy and encouragement in the midst of adverse circumstances. Paul openly expresses and confesses his fond affection for the Philippians, especially in their consistent testimony and support.

He writes to thank them for their help in his hour of need. He also uses the occasion to correct some problems of disunity and rivalry. And he seeks to prevent the problems of legalism and the extreme opposite teaching that, by faith and God's grace, a Christian is freed from all laws [including the moral standards of the culture].

As a father urges his child, Paul lovingly urges them to center their actions and thoughts on the pursuit of the Person and power of Jesus Christ. Only in Christ are real unity and joy possible. With Christ as our model of humility and service, we can enjoy a oneness of purpose, attitude, goal, and labor.

Paul further exhorts the Philippian believers to "stand fast" (4:1), to "be of the same mind" (4:2), to "rejoice in the Lord always" (4:4), and "in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known" (4:6). And building on these processes, he assures them that the "peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard their hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (4:7)

TO WHOM: The Church at Philippi
PURPOSE: To present an appeal for Christian unity.
1:21— "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
2:1-2— "So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind."
4:12-13— "I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me."
LIFE AND MINISTRY PRINCIPLE: Unity in Jesus brings joy.
MAIN CHARACTERS: Paul, Timothy, Epaphroditus, Caesar


  1. Greeting and Paul's Account of His Present Circumstances: 1:1-30
    1. Paul's _______________of thanksgiving: 1:1-11
      1. His _______________for them: 1:3-5
      2. His _______________in them: 1:6-7
      3. His longing: _______________
      4. His _______________for the Philippians: 1:9-11
    2. Personal matters: 1:12-26
      1. His afflictions help to _______________the Gospel: 1:12-18
      2. _______________ 1:19
      3. Paul's afflictions _______________the Lord: 1:19-26
  2. Exhortations for Unity 1:27-2:18
    1. Appeal for unity in s_______________: 1:27-30
    2. Have the mind of _______________ 2:1-30
      1. Through proper _______________ 2:1-4
      2. Christ forsook all and humbled Himself to the point of ______________: 2:6-8
      3. Christ's exaltation _______________:
    3. Spiritual growth brings _______________ 2:12-18
  3. Examples of _______________: 2:19-30
    1. Timothy's example _______________:
    2. Epaphroditus' example _______________:
  4. Paul Appeals for Them to Have the ____________________ of Christ 3:1-21
    1. Against Judaizing _______________ 3:1-16
      1. The _______________of the Lord as a defense against them: 3:1
      2. Admonition to watch them _______________:
      3. Identification of true _______________ 3:3
      4. Paul's _______________in relation to this matter: 3:4-11
      5. Perfection as a defense against _______________ 3:12-16
    2. Against _______________teachers: 3:17-21
      1. Their character _______________:
      2. Their fate _______________:
      3. The _______________of the believer: 3:20-21
  5. Paul's Appeal for Them to Have the _______________ of Christ: 4:1-9
    1. Unity between _______________and _______________ 4:1-3
    2. Unity in _______________ 4:4
    3. Unity in _______________ 4:5
    4. Unity in _______________ 4:6
    5. Unity in _______________ 4:7
    6. Unity in _______________ Proper thought process: 4:8
    7. Unity between _______________and _______________ 4:9
  6. Thanks for Their _______________: 4:10-20
    1. The secret of _______________ 4:10-13
      1. His thanks for their gift _______________:
      2. His independence of _______________need: 4:11
      3. Explanation of his _______________ 4:11-12
      4. His _______________of strength: 4:13
    2. The secret of _______________ 4:14-20
      1. His appreciation of the _______________ 4:14
      2. His reminder of their past record: 4:15-16
      3. His attitude towards their _______________ 4:17
      4. His _______________of the gift: 4:18
      5. The secret of provision _______________:
  7. Benediction 4:21-23

Further Study
Study the key words "rejoice" and "joy", which appear 18 times in this book.

Here is another way to study Philippians:

The church at Philippi was founded as a result of a vision experienced by Paul. Read about this in Acts 16:8-10.

Philippians describes one of two kinds of peace mentioned in the Bible: Peace with God experienced by all believers is mentioned in Romans 5:1. Peace of God available to all believers is mentioned in Philippians 4:7.

God worked marvelously in the lives of three individuals in the Church at Philippi. Write the individuals referenced in the Scripture verses:

  • Acts 16:16-18—

  • 16:13-15—

  • Acts 16:19-20—

Note Paul's objectives in chapter 3:

  • 3:8—

  • 3:10—

  • 3:11—

  • 3:12—

List Paul's worldly qualifications: 3:8-12—

Read Philippians 1:12-21. List the different ways in which the Gospel was advanced.

List the virtues mentioned in Philippians 4:8-9.

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Survey of the Book of Colossians

The book of Ephesians focuses on the Body of Christ, while Colossians focuses on the Head. The book of Colossians very neatly divides in half with the first portion being doctrinal (1 and 2) and the second being practical (3 and 4).

Paul's purpose is to show that Christ is preeminent — first and foremost — in everything. We must remember that we are rooted in Him (2:7), alive in Him (2:13), hidden in Him (3:3), and complete in Him (2:10). Thus, it is totally inconsistent for us to live any other way. As we learn the truth of God and our position in Christ, He should begin to take priority even above family or culture or tradition. Clothed in His love with His peace ruling in our hearts, we are equipped to make Christ first in every area of life.

This Christ-centered book points us to the Christ who is...

  • the Head of all principality and power (2:10);

  • the Lord of creation (1:16,17);

  • the Author of reconciliation (1:20-22; 2:13-15);

  • the basis for our hope (1:5, 23, 27);

  • the source of our power for a new life (1:11, 29);

  • our Redeemer and Reconciler (1:14, 20-22; 2:11-15);

  • the incarnation of full deity (1:15,19; 2:9);

  • the Creator and Sustainer of all things (1:16,17);

  • the Head of the Church (1:18);

  • the resurrected God-Man (1:18; 3:1); and

  • the all-sufficient Savior (1:28; 2:3, 10; 3:1-4).

TO WHOM: Believers at Colosse who were to share the letter with the believers at Laodecea.
PURPOSE: To deal with the error of "Gnosticism", a false teaching which denied Jesus was truly Son of God and Son of Man. The book also emphasizes Jesus as head of the Church.
2:9,10— "For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority."
3:1-3— "If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God."
LIFE AND MINISTRY PRINCIPLES: Christ is all and is in all.
MAIN CHARACTERS: Paul, Tychicus, Anesemus, Aristarchus, Markus, Justus, Epaphras, Luke, Demas, Nymphas, Archippus


  1. Introduction: 1:1-14
    1. _______________: 1:1-2
    2. _______________: 1:3-8
    3. Paul's _______________ for Christians at Colosse: 1:9-14
  2. The Person and Work of_______________: 1:15-23
    1. Lord of _______________: 1:15-17
    2. Lord of the _______________: 1:18-19
      1. _______________ of the body: 1:18
      2. The beginning: _______________
      3. The _______________ from the dead: 1:18
      4. He is to have preeminence in __________ things: 1:18
      5. In Him, all _______________ dwells: 1:19
    3. Reconciler: 1:20-23
      1. He has made _______________ through the blood of His cross: 1:20
      2. He has reconciled ______ things to Himself, both in earth and Heaven: 1:20
      3. Those alienated by wicked works He has reconciled: _______________
      4. Through His _______________, we can be presented to God: 1:22
      5. We are to _______________in the faith: 1:23
  3. Christ Is Preeminent in the _______________: 1:24-2:3
  4. The _______________ We Have in Christ: 2:4-23
    1. _______________ from enticing words: 2:4-7
    2. _______________ from vain philosophies: 2:8-10
    3. _______________ from the judgments of men: 2:11-17
    4. _______________ from improper worship: 2:18, 19
    5. _______________ from the doctrines and traditions of men: 2:20-23
  5. Christ's _______________ over False Teaching: 3:1-4

    1. Seek those things _______________: 3:1, 2
    2. Focus on union with _______________: 3:3
  6. Christ's Lordship and the _______________ Life: 3:5-4:6
    1. We are responsible to put to _______________ our fleshly desires: 3:5
    2. The wrath of God comes on those who _______________ in these desires: 3:6
    3. Put __________ the old life: 3:7-9
    4. Put __________ the new life: 3:10-17
    5. Personal commands for _______________: 3-18-4:6
      1. Holiness in _______________ life: 3:18-21
      2. Holiness in _______________ life: 3:22-4:1
      3. Holiness in _______________ life: 3:2-6
  7. Conclusion: 4:7-18
    1. Paul commends _______________: 4:7-9
    2. Greetings from Paul's friends: 4:10-14
    3. Introductions regarding this letter: 4:15-18

Further Study
The resounding theme in Colossians is the preeminence and sufficiency of Christ in all things. The believer is complete in Him alone and lacks nothing because "in Him dwells all the fullness of the godhead bodily" (2:9). He has "all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (2:3).

There is no need for speculation, mystical visions, or ritualistic regulations as though faith in Christ were insufficient. A proper view of Christ and His true attributes and accomplishments are the antidote for heresy.

Study Colossians 3:2-17. Make a list of the things believers should "put off" and the things they should "put on" in their spiritual lives.

Study Colossians 3:18-25. This passages speaks to different members of the church. List the commands given to wives, husbands, children, fathers, and servants.

  • Wives

  • Husbands

  • Children

  • Fathers

  • Servants

The book of Colossians teaches many things about Jesus. Read through the book and list each verse that refers to Jesus and then summarize what you learn about Him from each verse.

Colossians is one of two New Testament epistles with a command for the church to exchange and read the letters before various local assemblies. Compare Colossians 4:16 with 1 Thessalonians 5:27.

Colossians and Ephesians are very similar. In Ephesians Paul discusses the Body of Christ, the Church. In Colossians he writes about the Head of that Body, Jesus Christ. A total of 78 out of the 95 verses in Colossians are nearly identical to verses in Ephesians. Study and compare these two books.

Read Colossians 1:12-22. There are seven important aspects of salvation mentioned here. Write the verse for each aspect:

  • v. 12 - Inheritance:

  • v. 13 - Deliverance:

  • v. 13 - Transference:

  • v. 14 - Redemption:

  • v. 14 - Forgiveness:

  • v. 21 - Reconciliation:

  • v. 22 Transfiguration [present holy & blameless]:

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Survey of the Book of 1 Thessalonians
Paul's affection for the Church at Thessalonica is evident in every word of these letters. He obviously has many pleasant memories of the time he spent with them.

In this first letter, Paul encourages them to excel in their newfound faith, to increase in their love for one another, and to rejoice, pray, and give thanks always. Since the Thessalonian believers were well-grounded in Christian doctrine, the only problematic issue at the time of this writing concerned the matter of Christ's return.

Christ is the believer's hope of salvation, both now and at His second coming. When He returns, He will deliver (1:10; 5:4-11), reward (1:19), perfect (3:13), resurrect (4:13-18), and sanctify (5:23) all those who trust in Him.

Throughout this letter, there is an emphasis on remaining steadfast in the Lord and continuing to grow in faith and love in view of the return of Christ (1:3-10; 2:12-20; 3:10-13; and 4:1-5:28).


TO WHOM: Believers at Thessalonica

PURPOSE: Deals with Christian living, false doctrine, and the return of Jesus Christ. Paul also answers false charges against his ministry.

3:12-13— "...may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints."

4:16-18— "For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words."
LIFE AND MINISTRY PRINCIPLE: Comfort should focus on the glorious hope of the return of Jesus Christ.
MAIN CHARACTERS: Paul, Silvanus, Timothy


  1. Paul's Personal Reflections on the Thessalonians: 1:1-3:13
    1. Paul's commendation for their _______________ 1:1-10
    2. Paul's founding of the _______________ 2:1-16
    3. Timothy's _______________of the church:
      1. _______________hinders Paul: 2:17-20
      2. Paul _______________Timothy: 3:1-5
      3. Timothy's encouraging _______________ 3:6-10
      4. Paul's _______________to visit them: 3:11-13
  2. Paul's Instructions to the Thessalonians: 4:1-5:28
    1. Directions for _______________ 4:1-12
    2. Revelation concerning the _______________in Christ: 4:13-18
    3. Description of the "Day of the Lord" _______________:
    4. Instructions for _______________living: 5:12-22
    5. Conclusion: 5:23-28

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Survey of the Book of 2 Thessalonians
Since the time of Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians, some false teachers have infiltrated the church and have caused confusion regarding the "Day of the Lord". In order to put down reports that the day has already come, Paul explains the events that must first take place.

The return of the Lord is mentioned more than 300 times in the New Testament, more than any other doctrine; and it is the major concept in the first two chapters of this epistle. The return of the Lord is a reassuring and joyful hope for believers, but awesome and terrifying implications for those who have not believed.

The main theme of this epistle is an understanding of the "day of the Lord" and the lifestyle changes that should take place once we understand it. Apparently, some believers had stopped working and had begun to live off of others in anticipation that the end was near. Paul commands them to follow his example by working to support themselves. He further instructs the rest of the church to discipline those who fail to do so.

TO WHOM: Church at Thessalonica
PURPOSE: To instruct believers waiting for the return of the Lord.
2:1-3— "Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction"

3:5-6— "May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ. Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us."
LIFE AND MINISTRY PRINCIPLE: Since there will be a great falling away before the "day of the Lord", it is important to teach and live by sound doctrine.
MAIN CHARACTERS: Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy


  1. Paul's Encouragement in Persecution: 1:1-12
    1. Thanksgiving for their _______________ 1:1-4
    2. Encouragement in their _______________ 1:5-10
    3. _______________for God's blessing: 1:11-12
  2. Paul's Explanation of the "Day of the Lord": 2:1-17
    1. Events that must _______________the "Day of the Lord": 2:1-7
      1. First a _______________/rebellion: 2:1-3
      2. The _______________[Antichrist] is revealed: 2:4,5
      3. The _______________[Holy Spirit] is taken out of the way: 2:6,7
    2. The _______________of Christ: 2:8-12
    3. The _______________of the believer in the "Day of the Lord": 2:13-17
  3. Paul's Exhortation to the Church: 3:1-18
    1. _______________patiently for Christ: 3:1-5
    2. _______________from the disorderly: 3:6-15
    3. Conclusion: 3:16-18

Further Study
The books of Thessalonians contain one of the New Testament's two most extended passages on the coming of the Antichrist. (See 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 and Revelation 13:1-8.)

The church at Thessalonica was founded by Paul during his second missionary journey. (See Acts 17:1-10.)

No other book in the Bible gives as much attention to the Rapture [the future event when Christian believers are suddenly removed from the Earth before the second coming of Christ] of the Church as does 1 Thessalonians. The event is referred to in each of its five chapters. (See 1:10; 2:19; 3:13; 4:13-18; 5:1-11,23.) Make a summarizing list about what you learn from these verses concerning the coming of the Lord.

Using the verses below, write your own list of the things that must happen before Christ's final return:

  • 2 Thessalonians 2:3—

  • 2 Thessalonians 2:3—

  • 2 Thessalonians 2:7—

  • 2 Thessalonians 2:11—

In I Thessalonians chapters 4 and 5 there are several truths about those "who have fallen asleep" and those "who are alive and remain". List what you observe about each of these.

In 2 Thessalonians Paul addresses several problems which need correction. Make a list of these and note the instructions or commands related to each problem addressed.

In 2 Thessalonians Paul also praises the Thessalonians and encourages them about things they are doing well. List these exhortations.

According to 2 Thessalonians, what will happen to those who do not obey the Gospel?

Key words in 1 Thessalonians are "gospel", "faith", "love", "hope", "Lord Jesus Christ", "God", "Holy Spirit", "affliction" ("tribulation", "suffering"), "day of the Lord".

Key words in 2 Thessalonians are "affliction", "suffering", "coming of Jesus", "God", "Spirit", "glory", "man of lawlessness", "undisciplined" ("unruly"), "day of the Lord", "truth".

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