God’s Guiding Word: Discipleship
Colossians 1:1–14: Today we begin reading the Letter to the Colossians, which opens with the apostle Paul’s greeting and prayer of thanksgiving. Colossae was a small inland city in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey), about 110 miles east of the major port city of Ephesus in the Lycus River valley. Among Paul’s purposes in writing the letter was to warn the Colossians about false teachers in their midst and to oppose their teachings with the true Christian message.
1 From Paul, who by God’s will is an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy—
2 To God’s people in Colossae, who are our faithful friends in union with Christ:
May God our Father give you grace and peace.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
3 We always give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you. 4 For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all God’s people. 5 When the true message, the Good News, first came to you, you heard about the hope it offers. So your faith and love are based on what you hope for, which is kept safe for you in heaven. 6 The gospel keeps bringing blessings and is spreading throughout the world, just as it has among you ever since the day you first heard about the grace of God and came to know it as it really is. 7 You learned of God’s grace from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is Christ’s faithful worker on our[a] behalf. 8 He has told us of the love that the Spirit has given you.
9 For this reason we have always prayed for you, ever since we heard about you. We ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will, with all the wisdom and understanding that his Spirit gives. 10 Then you will be able to live as the Lord wants and will always do what pleases him. Your lives will produce all kinds of good deeds, and you will grow in your knowledge of God. 11-12 May you be made strong with all the strength which comes from his glorious power, so that you may be able to endure everything with patience. And with joy give thanks to[b] the Father, who has made you fit to have your share of what God has reserved for his people in the kingdom of light. 13 He rescued us from the power of darkness and brought us safe into the kingdom of his dear Son, 14 by whom we are set free, that is, our sins are forgiven.
Today’s Key Verse: Colossians 1:9b
We ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will, with all the wisdom and understanding that his Spirit gives.
What does Paul’s prayer reveal about the things he has heard concerning the Colossians (verses 3–8)? What is Paul’s prayer for the people (verses 9–14)? For whom will you pray today?
Almighty God, help me to be strong with all the strength that comes from your glorious power, so that I may endure everything with patience. With joy I give you thanks for rescuing me from the power of darkness and bringing me safely into the kingdom of your dear Son, Jesus Christ my Lord, by whom you have set me free and offered me forgiveness of my sins. Amen.
And now, join us, at the beginning of this new year, in praising God for the Million Bible Project in Africa. Gracious God, we thank and praise you that one million people in 33 countries in Africa have been reached with the Gospel in their heart languages, and that the power of your Word is bearing fruit among children, youth, adults, refugees, people in hospitals and prisons, military groups, Muslim communities and so many more. Children across Africa are receiving school credit for reading the Gospel, and the hunger for your Word is so intense that the Million Bible Project has even experienced exceptional openness among military and government leadership. We give thanks, Lord God, that the support of Bible-A-Month partners is helping to bring light into darkness all across Africa and lives are being transformed by the Bibles they are helping to provide. Amen.
Colossians 1:15–23: The apostle Paul describes the person and work of Christ.