Life in Christ: A College-Wide Bible Study through Colossians

To kick off the spring semester, Highlands College supplied the student body and team with a Bible study through the book of Colossians. The study aimed to help students learn more about Jesus Christ and foster a deeper relationship with Him. The Highlands College Academic and Chapel teams selected the book of Colossians to explore the person of Jesus Christ, and through intentional study, students were reminded that when Christ is present within them, they can confidently share His light with those around them.

The study was designed in a devotional format, including the S.O.A.P method of studying the Bible and reflection questions based on each Colossians chapter. The creative aspect of this study was intentional and detailed, with much thought given to the content, font, and even the colors chosen. It provided a guide on maximizing the journal experience with a list of valuable items to bring, such as a notebook and a section with facts about Colossians and essential terms to know.

Because Highlands College is passionate about providing tools to thoroughly grasp God’s perfect word, the study slowly worked through one chapter at a time.

Professor John Ball, Dean of Biblical Studies, and Dr. Chris Hanna, Dean and Professor of Theological Studies at Highlands College, emphasized the importance of reading individual books of the Bible.

Dr. Hanna, stated that, “It is not about how much of the Bible you get through but how much of the Bible gets through to you. We can go deeper into God’s Word when we increase on focus and slow down to read it prayerfully and carefully.”

Professor Ball continued, that dedicating focused study time allows for a deeper understanding of the book’s message within its historical, literary, and theological context. He noted that the Highlands College faculty and team used the Colossians study alongside the student body. Faculty even integrated study questions and verses into their classes to help students process their learning and answer questions. Recognizing books like Colossians as letters from Paul to churches helps readers reframe their reading and study habits.

The Bible is more than a book; it guides, corrects, and changes lives when we read it. When His Words are not just in our minds but in our hearts, it equips us to share the gospel to all the ends of the earth.

The Authority of Scripture is one of the key Student Learning Objectives Highlands College is passionate about developing in students! Highlands College equips its graduates with the tools they need to respond to Luke 10:2 and to be known for their commitment to God’s Word.

Highlands College encourages its student body and team to not only develop daily disciplines, which are essential, but also to cultivate the presence of God in their daily lives. This is why the study was intentionally integrated into the life of the college through chapels, academic classes, and at Saturate— our annual prayer and fasting retreat.

One of the most exciting parts of this study is our students’ testimonies! We asked three Highlands College students what they got out of their Colossians study experience:

“My favorite part of the study was that we all got to do it together as a student body. It brought accountability and union in the student body. It impacted me through Saturate by the way we had time to focus on the study in a quiet time. I loved writing down what stuck out to me, exploring what it meant to the original audience, and what it means to us today.”

– Tori Appleton, Pastoral Ministry Major

“My favorite prompt was on Colossians 1:21-23. It was about being reconciled to Christ for a purpose and there was a question as to how I could be a servant of the Gospel. I found it very useful that they provided a bubble chart, which I then added arrows to in order to fit my life. I’ve always been one to read a chapter in my quiet and study time and it was really beneficial to slow down and take each day by only two or three verses.”

– Kaiana Fenwick, Global Ministry Major

“Personally, it led to the revelation that God desires direct communication with me. Taking time for SOAP and responding to journal prompts opened a pathway for clearer connection with God in the scripture readings and in prayer. Diving into His word and asking deeper questions created an atmosphere for a more intimate experience of His voice and presence.”

– Parker Stanfill, Global Ministry Major

Practices like these are not exclusive to Highlands College but are available to anyone seeking a closer relationship with the Lord. By journaling, talking to others about the Bible, or memorizing scripture, all believers are empowered to apply what they learn in their daily lives for a deeper understanding of God.

This blog was written by Elly Mattar, a current student at Highlands College.