You will find an outline and introduction to Colossians here.
A prayer from the Book of Common Worship, for your use before reading;
Blessed Lord, who caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
I. Introduction 1:1-12
A. 1:1-2 Salutation: Similar to Paul’s other letters.
B. 1:3-12 Prayer for the Colossians: Verses 3-8 are thanksgiving for the church at Colassae. Verses 9-12 are intercessions for the church. Paul often uses this opening of his letters to introduce the important topics and themes that are to follow. What hints about topics and themes do you have from these verses?
II. Central Statement 1:13-2:23
A. 1:13-24 The Trustworthiness of Christ: verses 15-20 are an early hymn. The hymn is in two parts, 15-18a and 18b -20. The first section uses wisdom language to describe Christ and his role in creation (see Prov 8:22-31). The second section makes similar claims about Christ and his role in redemption. Notice how phrases and words and concepts are repeated in the two parts. 15b “the firstborn of all creation”, 18c “the firstborn from the dead”, and so on.
Who is Christ and what has he done?
B. 1:24-2:7 The Trustworthiness of the Apostle: Paul explains why he is intervening in a church he did not found, and why this matters. Given what we know about the situation in Colossea, how does Paul begin to address the issue of proper teaching?
Read More About It
Johnson, E. Elizabeth “Colossians” in HarperCollins Bible Commentary, rev. ed.James L Mays, ed. (New York: Society of Bible Literature) 2000.
Johnson, Luke Timothy, The Writings of the New Testament: An Interpretation, rev. ed. (Minneapolis:Fortress Press) 1999. Chapter 17, “The Letter to the Colossians”
Metzger, Bruce, William A. Beardslee “The Letter of Paul to the Colossians” in The New Oxford Annotated Bible, Bruce M. Metzger, Roland E. Murphy eds. (New York: Oxford University Press) 1994.