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Let's Study Colossians and Philemon (Johnston)

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All too often Christians and churches are shaped by the latest ideas about Christianity instead of the timeless truths of the Bible which form its true foundation. Although what has become known as the ‘Colossian problem’ was tied to a particular place and time, the issues bound up with it have surfaced again and again throughout the ages – thus what was happening in Colossae in 60 A.D. has a lot to say to us in the twenty-first century.

Paul’s little letter to Philemon is intimately connected to Colossians, and is one of those often-overlooked gems of the Bible. The respective messages of these two letters are closely related, and some of what Paul had broadly set out to the Colossians is developed in detail in his letter to Philemon, who was a member of that church.

Let’s Study Colossians and Philemon will help readers to see the horizons of both letters as extending to the church of all ages. Paul shows us that the acid test of the spiritual health of a church is whether or not Christ is at its heart – not just in some vague and general sense, but Christ in all his glory as he is set before us in God’s Word.


Table of Contents:


1. More than Just a Greeting (1:1-2)

2. Credit to Whom Alone It Is Due (1:3-8)

3. The Prayer that Brings the Letter into Focus (1:9-14)

4. Lord of the Cosmos, Head of the Church (1:15-20)

5. No Greater Salvation (1:21-23)

6. Recognizing Faithful Ministry (1:24-29)

7. The Goal of Faithful Ministry (2:1-5)

8. The Heart and Soul of Genuine Faith (2:6-10)

9. The Legal and Living Components of Salvation (2:11-15)

10. The Key to Spiritual Growth and Progress (2:16-19)

11. Joined to Jesus in His Death (2:20-23)

12. Joined to Jesus in His Resurrection (3:1-4)

13. The Drastic Side of Holiness (3:5-11)

14. Cultivating a Life of Holiness – Together (3:12-17)

15. Relating to Others as We Relate to the Lord (3:18-4:1)

16. Praying and Living for What Matters Most (4:2-6)

17. You Are Not Alone! (4:7-18)


1. A Greeting, a Prayer, and the Key to the Letter (1-7)

2. An Appeal, an Argument, and their Underlying Motive (8-16)

3. The Big Request and Its Even Bigger Horizons (17-25)



Mark G. Johnston is the Senior Pastor of Proclamation Presbyterian Church, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. The Minister of Grove Chapel, Camberwell, London for sixteen years until moving to the U.S.A. in 2010, he is the author of several books, including Let's Study John and Let's Study 2 Peter and Jude in this series. He is a Trustee of the Banner of Truth Trust.



"Mark Johnston’s Let’s Study Colossians and Philemon is packed tight with informed insight, clear and concise summaries of otherwise complex issues, and relevant and wide-ranging application. Designed to aid Bible Study, this book should prove a first choice resource. All who follow the author’s fast-flowing argument and analysis will find their heads cleared, their affections engaged and their hearts strengthened. I cannot commend it too highly. Essential reading." — DEREK W. H. THOMAS