Colossians 3:14 Meaning of and over All These Virtues Put on Love

Colossians 3:14
“And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

Explanation and Commentary of Colossians 3:14

Love is the very highest virtue because it binds all the other virtues together. The Bible says that if one loves the Lord with all their heart, soul, strength, and mind, and loves their neighbor as themselves, then the whole law can be kept (Mt 22:35-40). The implication is that the entirety of the law is details about how to love God and others.

1 John 3:16 says, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” Indeed, John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” God gave his Son because he loved us. Christ laid down his own life volitionally because he loved us.

Not only did this great love save us from the coming wrath of God for sin and injustice, but it showed us what true love is. This love is not the kind that romances a person who one is physically attracted to. It is not the love one has for the lusts of the flesh. It is a powerful force that conquers fear (1 Jn 4:18), and hatred (1 Jn 3:11-12), just as it conquered Satan, sin, and death.

Breaking Down the Key Parts of Colossians 3:14

#1 “And over all these virtues…”
Throughout this chapter, Paul has written about putting off certain negative traits and putting on Christ and the things of Christ. Those things are truthfulness (9), compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience (12). These are virtues that we are to “clothe ourselves in” (Col 3:12), or put on.

#2 “…put on love,”
To “put on love” is to make a conscious choice to love God and others, to walk in this love. When one has been attacked by an enemy or even a friend, the goal is to put on love and bless rather than curse. When one is misunderstood, one should “put on love” and bear with the other. When one is tempted to sin against God, one should put on love and love God too much to rebel against him.

#3 “which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
What do all these virtues have in common? They are all manifestations of love. To love is to be compassionate. To love is to be truthful. To love is to be kind, humble, gentle, and patient. One doesn’t have to think too much about each of the Spiritual fruits, because if one understands love and puts it into practice, the other traits will be there. It also goes that a failure in these areas is a sign of a failure to love. If you notice you are impatient, for instance, pray and ask God that he would help you and that you may love well.

Bible Study on Colossians 3:14

Expert Overview of Colossians

Biblical Translations of Colossians 3:14

NIV
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

NLT
Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.

ESV
And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

KJV
And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

NKJV
But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.

Colossians 3:14 Meaning and Commentary

Author Bio
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Masters Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.