Practice Christian Living in our Personal Life 4:2-6
Having given instructions to various groups, Paul now turns to the reasonability of all believers. These ending verses give the final word on the individual actions that are to be taken and exercised on a daily basis. Each has to do with our personal relationship to God, other believers, and ourselves. We are to persistently continue in three areas:
The key exhortation is to “devote yourselves to prayer” (4:2). Gromacki calls it the “very breath of spirituality.” It speaks of our relationship to God. The keyword speaks of our devotion, translated continue in the KJV. The Greek word proskartereo, meaning to persist in adherence; to engage in the continuous practice of. It is an imperative, thereby a command to continue steadfastly. Both English words capture the meaning well. They point to the consistent and faithful practice of prayer. Prayer involves our communication with God. We are to be in continuous communication with Him. It is used in Romans 12:12 of the believer’s attitude in prayer. It notes participation with God, not just presenting to Him our desires. “It is a way for believers to participate in the unfolding of God’s redemptive plan in history” declares Pao. It is participation in the mission of God (Rom. 15:30-33; Col. 1:9-14), The same Greek word is used in Eph. 6:18, where it is translated perseverance.
The second key to prayer is alertness— “keeping alert in it” (4:2). It is a form of our consistent and faithful practice of prayer. The word is gregoreo in the Greek text, and means alertness, watchfulness, and attention. Dunn says it is a military term that means to keep awake on guard duty. Its remindful of what Jesus commanded his disciples (Mark 13: 32-37; 14:38 Johnson tells us it “suggests the aroused conscience and the keen attention to the task that ought to characterize the one who prays.” Alertness in prayer indicates we are to pray always (1 Thess. 5:17). involves
- Giving thanks (1: Thess. 5:18), which is the will of God. We are to pray “with the attitude of thanksgiving” (4:2; cf. Phil 4:6). Thanksgiving is a key concept in this epistle (1:3, 12; 2:7; 3:17; 4:2). It is a vital element in prayer. The Greek word has the meaning of good grace and carries the idea of gratitude, appreciation or gratefulness.
- Pray for enlightenment (4:3). This speaks of directing our prayers toward others to enlighten, guide, and speak boldly the mystery of Christ. In this case, it is Paul who is in prison for preaching the mystery of Christ (cf. There are a number of features Paul is requesting in prayer (cf. 2 Tim. 2:9)
- Paul is not asking for physical wants.
- Paul is asking that the object is boldness to preach the Word.
- He prays for open doors. Paul normally uses the term in regard to the gentile ministry (cf. Acts 14:27; 1 Cor. 16:9; Eph. 16:9), It is used also to remove barriers, and give opportunity for the word.
- Notice he does not pray for the gospel in general, but specially the mystery of Christ. This mystery entails the body of Christ which was held secret until the ministry of Paul (cf. Eph. 3:1-10; Rom. 11:25-26, 33). Christ is now the head of the church (Eph. 1:22-23; 5:23-32). The mystery of Christ pertains to the purpose of God in His program for the church.
Prayer is a participation ministry and not a spectator one. When we pray for someone we are actively joining them in helping their ministry. Prayer is the most sublime energy of which man is capable.
- To rejoice always (1 Thess. 5;16—the shortest verse in the Greek New Testament). Rejoicing is the constant attitude of contentment in raising our voices to God. It has the element of praise to God by our prayers.
· Deepen our realization of the goodness of God. Realize He has in His goodness comes concern for us.
· Deepen our trust in God.
· Pray. The more we pray the more devoted we become to it.
· Pray for clarity of thought and speech (4:4). Here is the prayer of understanding. Paul’s ultimate purpose was to preach “the mystery of Christ.” (cf.1:26-27; 2:2; Gal. 1:12; Eph. 3:2-4). The word clear means to bring to light, to make plain. We need to pray for the understanding that we as members of the church, the body of Christ, may be given the opportunity to make know the mystery of Christ.
Walk in wisdom (2:5).
“Conduct yourselves with wisdom” (2:5). The KJV has the word “walk” instead of the translation of conduct. The Greek word is peripateo, which means to walk, walk about in the ordinary, a certain walk of life, behavior, or conduct. Although conduct is in line with the meaning of the word, walk is more accurate. The word is a present active imperative. This last command is a summary and goal of the epistle. Gromacki gives us four features about our walk:
- It must be consistent on a daily basis.
- It must be done in wisdom. In fact, the command emphasizes this; which in Greek literally reads, “in wisdom walk.” Campbell points to the truth of the mystery as a part of this wisdom. The two are often associated by Paul—1 Cor. 2:7; Col. 1:26-28; 2:2-3; Eph. 1:8-9; 3:9-10). In this case, wisdom has to do with God’s will and our walking worthily of the Lord (1:9-10).
- It is to be especially directed “toward outsiders.” These are ones who are outside the community of believers and the church. It speaks not only of our testimony to the world, but also our treatment of them (cf. 1 Cor. 5:12-13; 1 Thess. 4:12). Our life should not be an obstacle to the salvation of others (cf. 1 Cor. 10:31-32; Phil. 2:14-15; 1 Thess. 4:11-12).
- This type of life is urgent. This is brought out by the participle phrase: “making the most of the opportunity” or the more consistent translation of the KJV, “redeeming the time.” The Greek word means to buy up, purchase or acquire the time. It is also used in the instruction of Ephesians 5:16. We are to utilize the time with others in buying up the opportunity to be an example and messenger of grace.
This verse has been taken in two ways: first, as a continuation of verse 5; second, as a separate idea and verse. The emphasis here is on the method of speech and it is a continuation of our walk before outsiders. Our walk is to be reinforced by our talk. This is the third exhortation to believers in regard to their testimony and actions to those not a part of the church. Their speech is to be gracious. The word for speech is a general term which refers to casual speech to a proclamation of the gospel of grace. It is best to take grace not in the divine sense, but a human action of graciousness. Our witness is to be gracious. It is the sharing or demonstration power of the simple free, and clear grace to others.
This is illustrated by the modifier of salt— “[as though] seasoned with salt” (4:6). It is the only time Paul uses the term, but Jesus used it a number of times. But what does Paul mean by using this metaphor? It seems that most use it in parallels in Greek and Roman literature, indicating winsome speech. This certainly means the context. However, others connect the word with wisdom in 5a which fits well with purpose of verse 6, It is one of two requirements of our speech: grace and wisdom. Salt is found in rabbinic parallels as wisdom.
The purpose is “so that you will know how you should respond to each person” (1:6). It seems to be know how to respond favors the wisdom essence of the world salt. Taken in context it is not winsome language that gives one the ability of how to answer; rather it is the application of wisdom that gives this knowledge. Thus, our speech (witness) must be characterized by the following:
- Consistent. Indicated by the word “always.”
- Gracious. We speak with and manifest grace in speaking with others.
- Wisely (or with salt). We must speak with edifying wisdom (Eph. 4:29). That is not to say we cannot use winsome words, but that comes from wisdom.
- Individually. Our speaking is to the individual (to each person). Wisdom gives us a sensitivity to the needs of others and how to respond to them.
 Gromacki, STAND PERFECT, 155.
 Pao, PNTC: COLOSSIANS AND PHILEMON, 290.
 Dunn, NIGTC: COLOSSIANS AND PHILEMON, 262.
 Johnson Jr., “Studies in Colossians—Part 8: Paul’s Final Words to the Colossians,” BIB-SAC, Oct 1964, 313.
 Campbell, COLOSSIANS & PHILEMON, 175
 Dunn, NIGTC: COLOSSIANS AND PHILEMON, 264.
 Gromacki, STAND PERFECT IN WISDOM, 158-159.
 Campbell, COLOSSIANS AND PHILEMON, 179-180.
 Not in the KJV— “seasoned with salt.” The word as though is not in the text.
 Pao, ZECNT: COLOSSIANS & PHILEMON, 298, Lightfoot, COLOSSIANS, 232.
 FF Bruce, NICNT: COLOSSIANS, PHILEMON, AND EPEHESIANS, 174; O’Brien, WBC: COLOSSIANS, PHILEMON, 242-243.