Verse of the Day Devotion Colossians 4:6

“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person.” –  Colossians 4:6

Paul here is giving instructions to the Church in Colossae about being a witness of what this Christian life is all about.  In verse 5 he speaks of how we should be around non-believers.  “Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.” Colossians 4:5.  He starts by saying we are to be wise around those who are unbelievers.  We must understand that the Christian life isn’t only lived in Church or the prayer closet, but it also must be practical, lived-out Christianity, which lives wisely toward those who do not believe.  Back in the apostles time, distorted accounts of Christian conduct and belief were in circulation because of what so many who were against Christianity or had never come into contact with true believers thought.  And we are experiencing the same thing today. So many people have been fed lies and distortions regarding what true Christianity is.  Therefore, it is absolutely essential that we be wise as to how we speak and act around everyone.

Now, lets look at our focus verse.  “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person.” Colossians 4:6.  Paul here is stating that everything we say to, and even that which unbelievers may overhear, should be spoken graciously.  This communication continues to have the dual purpose of defending one’s behavior as a believer and inviting others to accept Christ as their Savior. Continuing the instructions about how to relate to unbelievers, this admonition encourages believers to engage them with courtesy and kindness. Engagement with even hostile outsiders must reflect the new life that believers possess in Christ. Such exchanges must manifest the “new self” that we are.

Also, Paul states that our speech should always be “seasoned with salt”. The phrase seasoned with salt confirms the translation “gracious”, because this well-known idiom means “pleasing”.  “Seasoned with” among the Greeks, was the emblem of wit. Here the meaning seems to be, that our conversation should be seasoned with piety or grace in a way similar to that in which we employ salt in our food, which makes it wholesome and palatable. So with our conversation.  We see this idea in 1 Peter where it says, “Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” 1 Peter 3:13-16.

We must be careful how we present ourselves to those in the world who are not believers.  The final phrase of verse 6 could be read as a directive that concerns only friendly inquiry into the substance of the faith. But given the immediately preceding reference to Paul’s imprisonment for the gospel and the whole letter’s recognition that the powers that control the cosmos also oppose Christ; this reading is unlikely. The readers’ gracious speech must be able to explain to outsiders, even the suspicious and hostile, why people in the church believe and act as they do. The form of the phrase imposes an obligation: we must know how necessary it is to give an answer. This exhortation applies to all members of the community; all must prepare to tell about their faith. And they must prepare to answer everyone. In light of the preceding household code, everyone includes unbelieving husbands, parents, and employers, as well as unbelieving wives, children, and employees. It may even extend to the visionaries, particularly those in places of authority over others who may be expected to pose sharp questions about what the church teaches and why.  We must follow with all we are the words of Paul to Timothy where he said, “Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:14-15.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

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