These small group studies of Colossians contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications.  Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.

Colossians 3:11-14 Inductive Bible Study

Title: Clothing of the Chosen

Summary– My identity is found in Christ alone. Because I have been chosen by God, I should put on heart attitudes that reflect His character. These characteristics should bring about forbearance, forgiveness, and unity.

Central Teaching- Put on the heart attitudes of Christ, especially love. These attitudes should bring about unity in the body.

Key Words– no distinction, Christ-is all and in all, chosen, put on, heart, forgiving, love, unity

Key Verse– 3:14

Ten Things this Passage Says-

1. I am renewed in Him.

2. This renewal has no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman.

3. Christ is all, and in all.

4. Only those who have been chosen of God can follow this command.

5. Those who are chosen of God are holy and beloved.

6. The chosen are to put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

7. We are to bear with and forgive whoever we have a complaint against.

8. Christ forgave me, so I should forgive those who have wronged me.

9. The most important characteristic I can put on is love.

10. Love is the perfect bond of unity.

Ten Things this Passage does NOT Say-

1. My renewal is based on my identity of race, profession, or some other tangible distinction.

2. God chooses his children according to race or some other external distinction.

3. Christ alone is not enough. I also need to fulfill some aspect of the law to be saved.

4. I should improve my character just because I want to be a better person.

5. Being chosen by God doesn’t necessarily have to make any difference in my life.

6.  It’s possible to exercise the external manifestations of these character traits without being changed internally at all.

7. I have the right to be angry with those who wrong me.

8. I only have to forgive those who are genuinely sorry or repentant.

9. There is no precedent for this kind of unconditional forgiveness.

10. There is no way to be perfectly unified with our fellow believers.

What does this passage teach me about God?

He renews us.

He chose us.

His choice of us is not based on race or any other external (or internal, for that matter) distinction.

Christ is all, and in all.

He has made us holy and beloved.

He is compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, patient, forbearing, and forgiving.

He has forgiven me.

He is loving.

His love is the perfect bond of unity.

What does this passage say about man?

We come in all different shapes and sizes, yet God does not discriminate against us.

We are nothing without Christ.

We have been chosen through no merit of our own.

We have been made holy and beloved in Christ.

We are responsible to put on Christ-like characteristics because we have been chosen.

We are to bear with one another and forgive each other, just as the Lord has forgiven us.

We are especially supposed to put on love.

We are supposed to be unified with other believers.

How does this passage apply to my life?

(V11) If Christ is my all, then let Him be that. This week, when I’m faced with a trial or difficulty, I will try to consistently make praying my first recourse every time, instead of sometimes calling a friend or talking to Mom first.

(V12) In the particular situation where I’m dealing with a particularly unreasonable person now, when I am tempted to be impatient or unkind, I will consciously put on patience and gentleness. By God’s grace, I will not allow myself to be pulled down to their level, or tempted to trade evil for evil or insult for insult. I will give a blessing.

(V13) Strive to forgive that person sincerely in my heart and relate to them in a loving, Christian manner, regardless of how they relate to me. Forgive completely, without holding back.

(V14) If I am going to be unified with this person, I have to love them. Seek to think of good characteristics or actions they have done in the past, and cover over the wrongs done now.

Discussion Questions-

Looking back at the previous verses, what is the renewal spoken of in the beginning of verse 11?

Why is it significant that there is no distinction observed when God renews us? What are some distinctions that we might imagine significant in society today? (V11)

What does it mean that “Christ is all, and in all”? (V11) Because Jesus Christ is the Savior of all believers, He is equally the all-sufficient Lord of them all. No matter what our race, social status or background, we don’t have any need that He cannot or does not fulfill.

Ps 73:25-26

25 Whom have I in heaven but You?

And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.

26 My flesh and my heart may fail,

But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Similar to “therefore” or “but,” when “so” comes at the beginning of a verse, we should look back to previous verses to see the context. What is the “So” at the beginning of this verse referring to? (V12) In view of what God has done through Jesus Christ for the believer, Paul described the behavior and attitude God expects in response.

Why does this verse say we should “put on” these things? (V12)

What does it mean that we are “chosen of God”? (V12) This designates true Christians as those who have been chosen by God. No one is converted solely by his own choice, but only in response to God’s free sovereign grace.

Who in this verse is holy and beloved? What does that mean to you? What are the conditions behind this “holy and beloved” state? (V12)

What does it mean to “put on a heart of” these characteristics? How is that different than merely “trying to do” these things? (V12)

What is compassion? (V12) A kind of merciful empathy that seeks to understand and help the hurting.

What is kindness? (V12) Goodness towards others that pervades the entire person, mellowing all harsh characteristics.

What is humility? (V12) Considering others as more important than self, and Christ as supremely important. This is a good cure for self-love that ruins so many relationships.

What is gentleness? (V12) Sometimes translated “meekness,” it is the willingness to suffer injury or insult rather than to inflict such hurts.

What is patience? (V12) Sometimes translated “long-suffering,” the opposite of quick anger, resentment, or revenge. It endures injustice and troublesome circumstances with hope for coming relief.

What does it mean to bear with one another? (V13)

Who should we forgive? Why and to what extent should we forgive them? (V13)

What does true forgiveness NOT look like? What does it look like? (V13)

Beyond all “what” things? (V14)

What is the most important characteristic to put on? (V14)

What is love? (V14)

What is the result of putting on love? (V14)

How does putting on love result in “the perfect bond of unity”? (V14)

Study Colossians 3:15-17