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8. Evidence of a Thankful Heart (Colossians 3:12-17)

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Day One Study

Read Colossians 3:1-17.

  1. Reread Colossians 3:12-14.
  • Write out verse 12.
  • How are you described at the beginning of verse 12?
  • How does reading that you are “dearly loved” / “beloved” make you feel?
  1. We learned in the last lesson the Bible often likens behavior to a garment, both bad and good. You were instructed to put off bad behaviors. As God’s dearly loved children, with what good behaviors are you to now “clothe yourself” (verses 12-14)? [Note: these are also fruit of the Spirit along with Galatians 5:22-23.]

Since we are being renewed into the image of Christ (verse 10) who displayed these virtues in His life, let’s understand them and look for examples of each in Jesus’ life.


  1. Define compassion. Give an example of compassion from Jesus’ life.
  2. Define kindness. Give an example of kindness from Jesus’ life.
  3. How are compassion and kindness…
  • similar?
  • different?


  1. Define humility. Give an example of humility from Jesus’ life.
  2. Define gentleness. Give an example of gentleness from Jesus’ life.
  3. Define patience. Give an example of patience from Jesus’ life.
  4. How are humility and gentleness related?
  5. Why would having humility and gentleness help you to have patience?

BEAR WITH one another and FORGIVE one another.

  1. Define what it means to “bear with” one another. Look this verse up in several translations to glean what it means. Then, give an example of bearing with one another from Jesus’ life.
  2. Define forgiveness. Give an example of forgiving one another from Jesus’ life.
  3. According to Colossians 3:13, what are you to forgive? How are you to forgive?
  4. How would having compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience help you to forgive like that?


  1. The Greek word translated “love” is agape, meaning “unconditional love.”
  • What is unconditional love?
  • What is the opposite of unconditional love?
  • Why would unconditional love bind the other 7 virtues (we just covered) in perfect unity?
  • Give an example of unconditional love from Jesus’ life.

Think About It: Grudges have no place in a Christian’s life! Your capacity to love is directly tied to your capacity to get how deeply you have been forgiven. Agree or disagree?

  1. List the terms in all of Colossians 3:8-14 that are used to indicate that your WILL must be actively involved effecting change.
  2. Are you left to your own efforts to clothe yourself with these Christ-like behaviors? Who develops these fine qualities in you as you are willing to cooperate? Review what you have learned in Colossians so far (give verses). See also Galatians 5:22-23.
  3. Staying Healthy: Of the good qualities listed in vv. 12-14, choose one that you especially need and tell God you are willing for Him to develop this characteristic of Christ in you. Then, trust Him to do it.

Day Two Study

Read Colossians 3:12-17.

  1. Focusing on vv. 15-17,
  • What specific instruction is given in Colossians 3:15?
  • Why? See also Romans 14:19.

Focus on the Meaning: NIV Study Bible note says the Greek word translated “rule” means literally to “function like an umpire.” When Christians need to make choices, the peace that Christ produces in our hearts should be a determining factor. We should choose what would result in peace between us and God, and between us and one another, if such a course of action lies within God’s moral will. (NIV Study Bible, p. 1817; Constables Notes on Colossians, p. 59)

  1. Staying Healthy: Letting the peace of God rule in your heart is a choice that you must make.
  • Do you have a relationship with another believer that is NOT at peace? Is it your position that is breaking the peace? How could a firm grasp of Colossians 3:12-14 encourage you to take steps toward establishing peace with this person?
  • Describe a scenario when you did let the peace of Christ act as an “umpire” in a relationship.
  1. What does Paul say in Colossians 3:16?
  2. What would qualify as the word of Christ? See also Colossians 1:5-7, 23; Luke 4:22, 32; John 14:24 and Galatians 1:11-12.

Think About It: Christ’s words were recorded by Spirit-guided apostles (John 14:26; 16:13; 20:31). The words of the Bible, God’s written Words, are to dwell in believers. That is, by study, meditation, and application of the Word, it becomes a permanent abiding part of one’s life.” (The Bible Knowledge Commentary New Testament, p. 682)

  1. Focusing on verse 16, to “dwell” means to inhabit so as to make oneself at home. So, what does it mean to let the word of Christ dwell in you richly?

Focus on the Meaning: His Word should be so deeply implanted within us as to permeate our whole being so that we make all decisions and plans in its light. “He who dwells in a house is the master of the house, not just a passing guest.” (Constables Notes on Colossians, p. 59)

  1. The word of Christ is to dwell in you richly so that you can teach and admonish others with wisdom as the opportunity arises.
  • Define teach.
  • Define admonish.
  • What is needed in order to teach or admonish one another in wisdom? Draw your answer from what you’ve learned so far in this lesson.
  1. Staying Healthy:

Teaching — In what ways do you prepare yourself to be able to teach the word of Christ to others? How can you improve in your preparation to teach?

Admonishing — To admonish someone involves risk in a relationship. Do you shy away from admonishing others because of fear of rejection or loss of relationship? How could a firm grasp of Colossians 3:12-14 encourage you to admonish others from the word of Christ?

  1. Write Colossians 3:17.
  • What would that look like in your life?

Focus on the Meaning: The basic principle is this. We should say all words and practice all deeds in harmony with the revelation of Jesus Christ, namely, under His authority and as His followers. The “name” comprehends everything revealed and known about the person bearing the name. Moreover, we are to do all with thanksgiving to God. (Constables Notes on Colossians, p. 61)

  1. Reread vv. 15-17. Notice Paul’s inclusion of gratitude and being thankful in each verse. Being thankful is so important that Paul has mentioned it 6 times in this short letter (see also 1:12; 2:7; and 4:2). Why do you think Paul continually reminds them (and us) to be thankful?

Think About It: An attitude of gratitude contributes to an enjoyment of spiritual tranquility, whereas grumbling makes for inner agitation. Do you agree or disagree?

  1. Discuss the connection between singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs and having gratitude (literally “grace”) in your hearts (i.e., understanding God’s grace towards you).

Scriptural Insight: It has often been noticed that the Colossian passage is parallel with Ephesians 5:18-20. In the latter passage the hymns and songs are the outgrowth of the filling of the Spirit, while in Colossians they are the result of the deep assimilation of the Word of God. In other words, the Word-filled Christian is a Spirit-filled Christian. (Constables Notes on Colossians, p. 60)

  1. Staying Healthy:
  • Are you giving thanks frequently to God for the life that He has given you? If not, why not?
  • Maybe it’s time to make a list of all the good things God has given to you or done for you. Thank Jesus for each one of those things. Feel free to let the gratitude in your hearts overflow in worship to Christ with singing or through any other creative expression (there’s an extra page at the end of this lesson that you can use for art, prose, poetry, etc.).

Day Three Study: TRUTH—the Prescription for Healthy Living

Dwell in Truth You Can Know

  1. Review the Colossians passage we studied in this lesson. List the truths about God and His relationship to us that we can KNOW.

Humbly Accept the “I Don’t Know or Understand”

  1. From the Colossians passage we studied in this lesson, make note of anything that you do not understand at this time.

Discern Teaching through the Complete Revelation of God’s Word

  1. Evaluate something you have read or heard in light of the TRUTH you are learning—books, social media, billboards—things that sound nice and comfy but may actually lead to or be based upon error in biblical thinking. Does anything come to mind that fits with today’s lesson? Discern truth from error using the following process.
  • Step #1: Define the terms and issues involved.
  • Step #2: Ask questions and support your answers with Scripture, looking for truth you can know and what you can’t know.
  • Step #3: Think of a graceful response to someone holding to that type of thinking.

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