Useful Bible Studies > Colossians Commentary > chapter 3

Unselfish attitudes that help other people

Colossians 3:12

Paul has given five examples of selfish behaviour (verse 5), and five examples of behaviour that hurts other people (verse 8). Here in verse 12, he gives five examples of unselfish attitudes that help other people.

So, a Christian should care deeply about other people. He should be kind to them and eager to help. He should be humble, and not consider himself to be superior to other people. He should be gentle in the way that he deals with weak people. He should be patient, especially when people do wrong things against him (compare Ephesians 4:2).

In the previous paragraph, we tried to distinguish these five attitudes, as if they are separate from each other. However, they are not, in reality, separate from each other. Paul will express that idea in Colossians 3:14. In verse 12 he describes the five attitudes as clothes, that a Christian must ‘put on’. In verse 14, he describes love as a belt, that holds the clothes together. In other words, it is love that unites these five attitudes. When a person truly loves other people (1 Corinthians chapter 13), it is because of these five attitudes. So in other words, the list in Colossians 3:12 is an explanation of what love truly is.

Paul also gives here three reasons why Christians should love other people. Firstly, God has chosen them to be his own people. Secondly, Christians are holy people – in other words, they belong to God in a special way. Lastly, God has shown great love to them (Romans 5:8) – so, they too should show love to other people (1 John 4:7-11).

Next part: To forbear and to forgive (Colossians 3:13)


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© 2019, Keith Simons.