Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Colossians 4:2 - 4:6

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Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Colossians 4:2 - 4:6

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

Concluding Admonitions.

v. 2. Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving,

v. 3. withal praying also for us that God would open unto us a door of utterance to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds;

v. 4. that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.

v. 5. Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.

v. 6. Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

The apostle is here addressing the last exhortations to the Phrygian Christians, and they are impressive by reason of their forcible brevity. His first thought is for proper prayer: in prayer persevere, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. See Eph_6:16-20. Christians should be steadfast in prayer, they should make use of the strongest persistence in bringing their petitions to the attention of the Lord, 1Th_5:17. Being conscious of the fact that every good and every perfect gift comes down from above, and that without their Father's help they can do nothing, they should turn to their heavenly Father at all times in full trust and confidence. Incidentally, however, they are watchful in their prayer, Mat_26:41; Mar_14:38. They guard both against a mere mechanical babbling and against confused thought in presenting their petitions. Above all, we should steadfastly direct our thoughts to the saving truth of God against every attack on the part of Satan, the world, and our own flesh, lest doubts become manifest within us and take the trusting watchfulness out of our hearts. It is self-evident, finally, that we combine thanksgiving with our prayer, even in advance, for we know that God hears every cry of His children, in His own way and at His own time, but always for our benefit. We may learn much from the confidence of Jesus in His prayer to His Father, Joh_11:41-42.

Right prayer will be accompanied also by fervent intercession: Praying at the same time also for us that God would open to us a door of the Word to speak the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am also in bonds, that I may make it manifest as I should speak. In their prayer the Christians of Colossae were to remember also the apostle and his co-workers, first of all that God would open to them the door of the Word, that He would remove all hindrances that obstructed the progress of the Gospel. With all the privileges which Paul enjoyed in his Roman imprisonment, it remained true nevertheless that he was hindered in his free activity in behalf of the Gospel. The opening of the door of his imprisonment, therefore, would be the opening of a door of discourse, that the Gospel might again have free course in the world, so far as he was concerned. With the termination of his imprisonment Paul would again be at liberty so as to speak and preach the mystery whose content is Jesus Christ, which was hidden from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest, chap. 1:26. On account of this Gospel he was bound as a prisoner, he was the ambassador of Christ in bonds, Eph_6:20. At the same time all his thoughts were directed with anxiety toward the end that he might again make manifest the Gospel-message, that his preaching might again make it clear, that he might again be enabled to make men see its glory. For that he considered his duty by reason of his apostolic call. He was almost impatient for the opportunity of doing the work of his calling once more with the fullness of zealous frankness. Note: This word is addressed also to the Christians of our day, who will do well to include their pastors in their daily prayers, asking for them just those blessings which the apostle here craves for himself.

The apostle now adds a word concerning the behavior of Christians toward those that are without, toward the unbelievers and the children of the world: in wisdom comport yourselves toward those outside, making the best use of the occasion. It takes a great deal of tact and wisdom on the part of the Christians to live so that their entire behavior toward the non-members of the Church will redound to the benefit of the Gospel and to the praise of God. Their conduct at all times must be of a nature to advertise the Church and its blessings. One thing is sure, namely, that the children of the world are watching the Christians at all times for any evidence of a behavior at variance with Scriptural injunctions. Therefore the Christians should make the best use of every opportunity, when they are thrown together with unbelievers, to forestall and quiet unjust criticism, and thus to promote the spread of the Gospel by removing some of the commonest obstructions. See 1Ti_6:1; 2Sa_12:14.

To this end also the apostle warns: Your speech be always in pleasantness, seasoned with salt, that you may know how to answer every man. At all times and under all circumstances the intercourse of Christians with unbelievers should be characterized by pleasant courtesy, kindly, simple, straightforward, without affectation. That does not exclude its being seasoned with the salt of energetic, but beneficial confession; it should be apt, striking, interesting, with a wholesome point and pertinency. Particularly if some enemy of the Church intends to strike at some doctrine or custom, all Christians should be ready with the proper defense, not, as a rule, with biting irony and harshness, but with engaging frankness and a convincing willingness to give an answer to every man that asks them a reason of the hope that is in them, 1Pe_3:15. That belongs to the wisdom of serpents and to the harmlessness of doves which should characterize all Christians.