5-Minute Bible Studies

COMPASSION – A Five-Minute Study

Faith Committee, Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky

Contributed by Ron Wallie
Husband and Father of Nine, Southington, OH


Investing whatever is necessary to heal the hurts of others


In the New Testament book of Acts, there are many examples of Jesus’ disciples helping each other and showing compassion to those in need. One of them is Dorcas, a lady who lived in a city called Joppa. Read Acts 9:36-42 about the compassion she showed others and the compassion she received.

The account begins by describing this lady as a disciple who showed many kindnesses and charity to others. She was a seamstress who made clothing for people, especially widows. She did this without charging anything to those she helped clothe. But a day came when Dorcas became ill. She became so sick, she died. According to the custom of the day, her corpse was washed. Before entombing her, the widows and other believers who had been helped by Dorcas sent for one of Jesus’ disciples, Peter. He had helped many people recover from illnesses through healings done in Jesus’ name.

Peter came and had them leave the room where Dorcas’ body lay. He knelt down to pray. Then he addressed her dead body in her Aramaic Hebrew name, saying, “Tabitha, arise.” The amazing words of Scripture say that “. . . she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up.”

This kind lady who had shown compassion to so many received compassion in the restoration of her life. The final result was that many people in Dorcas’ community heard about this and believed in the Lord Jesus.


It is impossible to be compassionate if we are too busy with our own concerns. Dorcas was not too busy to help the widows and those in need of clothing. She must have spent much of her time in fellowship with the people in her community so that she knew about the needs of many of them. The following “I will” statements should enable us show compassion to our neighbors:

  1. I will stop to help.
  2. I will listen when others want to talk.
  3. I will give of my resources to help those in need.
  4. I will look for lasting solutions.
  5. I will comfort others without regard to race, gender, faith, age, or nationality.

We do not know how many she helped, but the account in Acts 9 gives us the impression that Dorcas helped a lot of people. Start small and pray about showing compassion to just one individual this week. You may not know of anyone who needs your encouragement. If not, spend time with a neighbor. Go to a church prayer meeting and listen to the prayer requests. In other words, follow the “I will” statement to listen when others talk; and you will find someone who needs your compassion.

Although the last “I will” statement says to comfort others without regard to gender, be careful about improprieties with the opposite sex. For example, it would be unwise for a man to show compassion to a woman having marital problems by going to see her alone. This would undermine the authority of her husband and raise concerns about their being alone. Better ways to show compassion in this and similar situations are for the man to send his wife or another lady to visit her. The best approach in these situations is for the man to meet with both the woman and her husband, if the husband is willing. In this way, you show compassion to both the woman and her husband.


This material is published by the Faith Committee of the Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Reproduction and Adaptation is encouraged.

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