Christ our Head

Small Group Study “Fourfold” Week 1


Study Text: Colossians 1:15-29


 “In the human body the head is the source and seat of life, and so the Lord Jesus is the source of His people's life. There is no life apart from the head, and we have none apart from Him. Our regeneration comes through the quickening power of His life; our sanctification is His indwelling in us. Our physical life may be made manifest in the flesh. We are dependent upon Him for our fruit, for our joy, for our love, for all our spiritual grace and experiences, and He loves to impart His life to us and fill us more abundantly if we will but receive it.” 

– A.B. Simpson, The Names of Jesus


  • Looking at Paul’s description of union with Christ in this chapter (and don’t forget to pay attention to the last few verses), what role does Jesus play in the animation of the spiritual life? 

  • What role does Jesus play in the animation of the physical universe?

  • If Simpson’s description of our utter and complete dependence on Christ is correct, then how would a life lived in that state of dependence look different from what we are used to seeing in the church? In ourselves? 


“All sensation must come from the brain, and so all spiritual feeling must come from Christ. Let us not, therefore, try to work up our feelings, but keep close to Him, and the tides of His love will flow into our consciousness and spiritual sensibilities. The secrets of joy and love simply lie in nearness to Jesus, and His joy and love will spring within us from the Head.”

– A.B. Simpson, The Names of Jesus


  • Often, we can be guilty of equating spirituality with emotionalism, an approach where people are expected to manufacture some sort of emotional response to spiritual ideas. What is Simpson saying here in response to that approach? 

  • How does his statement line up with what Paul is saying in the text? 

  • What should our response be in worship?


“Christ has been hindered by the paralyzed, disjointed, diseased condition of many members of His body, and the work accomplished by the church has been limited by the fact that the body has been diseased and enfeebled in many of its parts.”

– A.B. Simpson, The Names of Jesus


  • An important aspect of Simpson’s Christology is the self-limiting of Christ in his everlasting incarnate state by the conduct of the church. In what ways has Christ (with all of his power and authority) been limited in the incarnation? Why is that important for our theology of Christ’s headship?

  • If the head controls everything, how does the conduct and health of the body affect the head? Can you think of any places in scripture that might justify Simpson’s assertion here?

  • In what ways have we (think about the congregation, your small group, your family, and yourself) been resisting and hindering the will of God through our lack of submission to the will of our head?

  • Can you cast a vision for what submission to Christ might look like in very practical ways in 2019?


Spend some time brainstorming with your small group about some practical applications of this, and then spend some further time committing the ideas to prayer. Next week, you’ll begin the study by reviewing what those ideas were and what you heard God say to you about them over the course of the week as you prayed.