Colossians 1:15-20 Study Guide

Thanks for joining us this weekend for week two of our study through the Book of Colossians titled, “Unrivaled.” In this message, Pastor Doug shared from Colossians 1:15–20 as we discovered the preeminence and power of Jesus over all and how everything begins and ends with Him

Dive deeper into this teaching on your own, with your family, or in your group! Check out expanded notes and summaries from the teaching, small group questions, and get informed on some of the great resources available to you.

To watch the message in its entirety, click here.


Below you’ll find a recap of the key discussion points from Pastor Doug’s message and a few questions to reflect on and consider with your family, your circle of friends, or in your group.

Ice-Breaker: What’s something you’ve always wanted to see and experience? Why?

This weekend, we continued making our way through the Book of Colossians as Pastor Doug shared a powerful word from Colossians 1:15–20. In this message, we explored who Jesus is. 

For all of human history, people have wanted to see God. Some like Abraham, Joshua, Gideon, and Daniel saw God as Man—this is called a Christophany, an appearance by the pre-incarnate Jesus. But when Jesus came, all the mystery of what is God like was answered forever. In Colossians 1, Paul reminds us that Jesus is not a mere man or an angel . . . He is God! And if He is God, He is all we need; He is sufficient!

Key Verses: Colossians 1:15 (NIV)

Main Thought: When We See Jesus, We See the God Who Cannot Be Seen

Discussion Point: The dictionary defines prototype as “a first, preliminary model of something from which other forms are developed or copied.” It’s an original model on which something is patterned, one that exhibits the essential features subsequent models should also exhibit. In verse 15, Paul tells us that Jesus “is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” The word for firstborn (prototokos) here doesn’t actually mean what we think. It’s not talking about the eldest child in a family. Jesus wasn’t born; otherwise He’d be created by God and thus wouldn’t be God. 

The use of “firstborn” is telling us that Jesus is the preeminent, self-existent prototype for all humanity. He is the model, the image and likeness of God we were created in. He is God in the flesh, God incarnate. So, what does God look like? Look at Jesus! We see and understand who God is through Jesus. We see the qualities of God and the heart, mind, character, nature, and will of God in Him.

Discussion Question 1: What does the character of Jesus teach us about God? What does it teach us about ourselves?

Key Verses: Colossians 1:16–17 (NIV)

Main Thought: Jesus Is the Author and King of Creation

Discussion Point: Because Jesus is God preeminent over all, Paul declares, “For in him all things were created . . . all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” It’s almost a mirroring of what John wrote in John 1:1–3 (NIV), which tells us, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” And as we see a few verses later in John 1:14 (NIV), “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” The image (eikōn) of the invisible God made manifest for us to behold, be reconciled to, have peace with, be subject to, and be sustained by (Colossians 1:20).

Discussion Question 2: How does knowing Jesus is in control make you feel about your life and present circumstances?

Key Verses: Colossians 1:19–20 (NIV)

Main Thought: Jesus Is Author and King of the New Creation

Discussion Point: Not only is Jesus our Creator, but as the “firstborn” prototype, He is also our example. He made us, He sustains us, and He leads us as Lord of our individual lives and Head of our common lives as His body, the Church. How does He accomplish this? Well, in the same way that “God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him [Jesus], and through him to reconcile to himself all things,” through Jesus He is pleased to have His Spirit dwell us in! So, as His Spirit dwells in us, we are sustained by Him and guided by Him to live in submission and imitation of our Lord and Savior. What a beautiful reality of who our all-sufficient and all-supreme Savior is and what it really means for us to be indwelled by the Spirit.

Discussion Question 3: What practical ways can we be more reliant on Him as author and King? What steps can we take to let go and trust?

Key Verses: Colossians 1:28–29 (NIV)

Main Thought: All Things Begin and End with Jesus

Discussion Point: God gave us everything heaven had in ONE person. Jesus is the fullness of God for us to behold and be united to! The creative order serves Him. Every government serves Him. One of the most terrifying ideas in the Bible is that even those who hate God and raise their fist at Him . . . in the end will serve His purposes.

So, when it’s all said and done, no one has a choice about whether or not their life is going to glorify God. Each one of us will glorify Him, either as a trophy of His grace or as an object of His justice.

Question for Reflection: Is Jesus preeminent in your life? In your thoughts and decisions? 


Ponder: How are you living in submission to His headship and following His example?

PracticeToday’s passage wraps up by telling us that “God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things . . . by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (Colossians 19:20 NIV). By His Spirit we have been made ambassadors of Christ and ministers of reconciliation. He wants to use us to reconcile lost people to Himself and help them experience peace with Him through the blood of Jesus. Spend some time this week praying about who God is calling you to preach reconciliation to. And as He puts that person on your heart, be bold and share the gospel with them!

Pray: Spend time in your prayers this week glorifying, exalting, and praising Jesus for who He is, for His power and His majesty, and for His grace, love, justice, and mercy!


Parents, here are a few questions to go over with your kids around the dinner table or during dedicated family times.

1. Can you think of good things Jesus did in the Bible? How can you be more like Jesus?

2. Tell some ways you feel safe or happy because Jesus is your protector? Does that make your day better?

3. Tell some things you would trust Jesus with. Does it make it easier knowing He is there to help you with them?


Go deeper as you follow along with our six-week Colossians series by subscribing to our verse-by-verse commentary and devotional plan on the YouVersion Bible app. To subscribe, click here.


Join us online this Wednesday for the final week of our fall classes! In our sanctuary class series, we’ll conclude our conversation around racism and reconciliation with the sixth installment of Dr. Tony Evans’ Oneness Embraced series.

Then on the weekend, we’ll continue our “Unrivaled” series as Pastor Doug shares from Colossians 2. In this message, we’ll discover what it means to go deeper and grow stronger in our faith as we cling to the true gospel message.

We look forward to spending another awesome week with you!

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About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.