Colossians - Lesson 8

By Stafford North

How We Build Families

Colossians 3:18-21

Background Information for the Teacher


  1. The student can explain the place of marriage in God's plan and God's plan for marriage.
  2. The student can list five qualities God wants in every marriage.
  3. The student can explain the responsibilities of husbands and wives and of parents and children.


  1. Have the worksheets ready.
  2. Have cards ready to hand out at the end of the class on which each student can write the five key qualities for marriage.
  3. Have a chalkboard or marker board on which to write key words of the lesson.
  4. Have verses used in the lesson on a card to give people before class so they will be ready to read them when you call on them for the verse.


God established the family unit and offers the best plan for husbands and wives to share in the experience He has planned for them.

Lesson Plan for Teaching the Class

Introduction: (10 minutes)

  1. Check the roll, recognize the visitors, make the announcements.
  2. Ask the class to share the four key words about worship from the last lesson. Ask how this study has affected their worship. Then sing a song together after thinking through the words.

Learning Activities: (30 minutes)

  1. Call on someone to read Col. 3:18-21. Q: To whom does Paul give particular instructions in this passage? A: Wives, husbands, fathers, children. Q: Why would Paul give instructions about the family in this letter to a church? A: Because for the church to go well, the families in the church must go well. Since most people are married, the church is made up primarily of married couples. If their marriages are as God wants them to be, the church will usually prosper.
  2. Q: Does this mean that singles in the church are less important to God. A: Certainly not. Paul lived as a single man and encouraged others to be single in some circumstances (1 Cor. 7:7, 25). Singles can be a very effective and important part of the congregation and we would do well to give them more attention and to help them have a significant place. This lesson, however, centers on how God wants the family structure to work.
  3. Read Gen. 2:20b-24. Q: Why do you think God took part of man from which to make him a suitable helper? A: So Adam could feel that Eve was a part of him, a companion for him, and there would be a sense of oneness. Q: From this passage, how close does God want this relationship to be? A: Closer than parents to child. United. One flesh. The "one flesh" refers to the special, sexual intimacy God intends for husband and wife to share. Paul spoke of this in 1 Corinthians 6:16 when he said a man who goes to a prostitute has become "one flesh" with her. So in this first husband/wife relationship, Adam, who was here speaking words for God, says this husband/wife relationship is something so special that they are one. Read Matt. 19:2-6. Q: What does Jesus add to the original Genesis passage? A: What God has joined, let no man separate. Q: What lessons should we draw from this? A: God does the joining. The joining is to last as long as they both live. The relationship should be close and satisfying.
  4. Paul adds some additional teaching about marriage in Colossians 3:18-21. Read those verses. Q: What does Paul intend by coupling together a submitting wife and a loving husband? A: The home needs one who can be the leader (the husband), but he is to lead with love. This means that the husband puts his wife's well-being and interests ahead of his own. Q: Describe some event or experience in a marriage when the submission and the loving work well together. A: The husband has a job offer that is a promotion for his career but it means moving to a different city. The husband will weigh the needs and desires of the family along with the financial and personal benefits. He will lead in the decision but will listen and will consider fully the wishes of others in the family.
  5. Paul also couples together the obedience of the children with the proper leadership of father (parents). Before discussing this, read Paul's similar passage in Ephesians 6:1-4. Q: In light of these two parallel passages, must children always obey their parents? A: In the Lord. Q: What might a parent ask a child to do that is not "in the Lord?" A: Tell a lie. Get involved in drugs. Get involved in sports in an unchristian way or in a way that takes them away from the church. Q: What are some suggestions for Christian parents to bring up their children "in the training and instruction of the Lord?" A: Recognize that the primary responsibility lies with them and not with the church. They should use the church and the youth group in ways to supplement what they learn in  the home. Discipline in ways that are fair and firm and which the child understands. In the movie "Buck," the lead character demonstrates that to train a horse, the trainer must develop a trust with the horse-a fairness, a consistency, a bond. The same is true for parents. Parents are to discipline their children, but must, at the same time, do it fairly, consistently, and in a way that the child knows the parent loves them unconditionally through it all.
  6. Read 1 Peter 3:1-2, 7. Q: What lessons for both wife and husband come from this passage? The main aim of both husband and wife is to help the partner go to heaven. Each should treat the other with respect. Wives are to submit; husbands are to be considerate.
  7. Here are five words that summarize the marriage relationship on which God is counting to bring the couple to heaven and to bring children and others along with them:
    1. Marriage is permanent-until death do us part.
    2. Marriage is loving-to love and cherish.
    3. Marriage is close- clinging to him/her and to him/her as long as you both live.
    4. Marriage is respectful-in sickness and health, in prosperity and adversity.
    5. Marriage is spiritual-what God has joined. The marriage vows recognize these qualities, and we should plan and work to have them in our homes.


  1. Write these five qualities on the cards being handed out and keep the card somewhere it will be a reminder for you. Fridge, mirror, desk.
  2. Commit in your heart to be the husband/wife that God wants you to be.
  3. We can show these qualities in the little things: a kiss goodbye, a hug at the right moment, a thoughtful phone call, going out for a special evening, helping with the chores, letting the mate choose the TV to watch, helping with the kids, showing acceptance when there is a problem, going together to visit someone in the hospital or someone who is homebound, doing some other service together.
  4. We will have a prayer now in which we express to God this commitment and ask His blessings on our homes. Take your mate's hand as we have this prayer.


  1. Next class period we will have a short survey for each person privately to complete asking about the application of today's lesson during the previous week.


  1. Read Col. 3:23-4:1.
  2. The next lesson is about being Christian on your job. Come to class with some illustrations of how you can do this.

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