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Bible Commentaries
Colossians 4

Mahan's Commentary on Selected Books of the New TestamentMahan's Commentary

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Verses 1-18

Speaking to God and to men

Colossians 4:1-18

Colossians 4:1. This verse belongs to the preceding chapter (it has no connection with what follows). The apostle, having exhorted servants to a proper discharge of their duties (as unto the Lord), proceeds to instruct those who hire and work servants to treat them in a just and equal manner. ‘Treat them with respect, encouraging them in their work, and giving them fair wages. Remember that you have a Master in heaven’ (Matthew 6:15; Matthew 18:23-35).

Colossians 4:2. There are three important things mentioned here in regard to our prayers.

1. ‘Continue in prayer.’ This does not mean that we should pray all the time. That would be impossible. We can and ought to live in an attitude of prayer and fellowship with God. This does mean to pray frequently about all things. A day should not pass without prayer.

2. ‘Watch in prayer.’ Be alert and intent in prayer. This is said in opposition to cold, formal and careless praying (which God despises). When we pray, let it be an undivided, sincere communion with the living God.

3. ‘With thanksgiving’ (Philippians 4:6). A believer always has mercies for which to be thankful. How shall we succeed in our present request if we are not thankful for what has gone before?

Colossians 4:3-4. Paul requests prayer for himself and others who minister the word.

1. ‘Pray that a door of opportunity may be opened’ (1 Corinthians 16:9; 2 Corinthians 2:12).

2. ‘Pray that the door of men's hearts may be opened.’ Men may hear the gospel with natural ears and still not hear with the heart (1 Corinthians 2:9-10). The gospel of God's grace and glory is a mystery which must be revealed by the power of God's spirit, else men remain in darkness even after hearing (Matthew 13:10-13; Galatians 1:15; 1 Corinthians 2:14).

3. ‘Pray that the door of my lips may be opened. Pray that God will give me the words to say, the ability to say them, and the wisdom to do it for his glory! Pray that I may preach the gospel faithfully, boldly, with clearness of speech as I ought (Matthew 9:37-38).

Colossians 4:5. ‘Them that are without’ are unbelievers, people who are not members of the church family. The church is the household of faith; those who are unbelievers are not of this household. It becomes us in our communication with these people to behave wisely and in such a manner that the gospel is not blasphemed and reproached. Do all that you can in your contact with unbelievers to gain their respect, affection and approval of your conduct, conversation and attitude. We should be known in our families, our community and our business circles as peaceful, honest, holy and kind people.

Colossians 4:6. ‘Let your speech be always with grace.’ This is not just to talk about the grace of God, but our speech should reveal the grace of God.

1. Speak the truth faithfully and sincerely, without lying, flattery, or exaggeration.

2. Speak in love, avoiding gossip, whisperings, or anything that is injurious to the character of another. Avoid sowing discord or division.

3. Speak kindly and pleasantly. Hard words reveal a hard heart. Unkind, cutting remarks reveal a bitter spirit.

Grace is to the speech what salt is to meat. It makes it acceptable, good to the ear and a blessing to the heart. Grace in the heart will teach you how you ought to answer any person. Knowledge is not acquired by speaking, but it ought to go before it!

Colossians 4:7-8. Paul was in prison in Rome. He sent Tychicus and Onesimus to declare his state to the Colossian believers, to inform them of what was done in Rome, and that these ministers might comfort and encourage them. The rest of the epistle is to encourage specifically certain persons in the church.

Bibliographical Information
Mahan, Henry. "Commentary on Colossians 4". Mahan's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hms/colossians-4.html. 2013.
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