Bible blog 2265

This continues my translation with comment of the Letter to Colossians


Persevere in prayer, remain alert and be thankful; and pray for me too, that God may open a door for the message, for speaking the mystery of Messiah, -as a result of which I am under restraint – so that I may display it openly, by speaking as I ought. Deal wisely with people outside the Assembly, making good use of any opportunity. Your manner of speaking should always be kindly, seasoned with wit, so that you can give an appropriate response to each person.

Seasoned with wit

This passage uses the circumstance of Paul’s arrest by the Roman authorities, probably at Ephesos, but in legend, at Rome. There’s not enough detail here to work out what the author knew about Paul’s arrest and possibly, death. My guess is that this was written after public knowledge of his death, but in his (living) character, by a Disciple who had known him well. The request for prayer would remind the readers that Paul has spoken as he ought, and had been killed for it. Of course, the writer may also,have been asking, in this coded language, prayers for his/her life and work. The belief that honest public speech a about Jesus was important is evident throughout the New Testament, as the primary means of sharing the joyful news. In a media- filled culture it’s possible that churches may forget how effective it can be.

The author gives guidance on speech with outsiders: it should above all be “en chariti” that is, kindly. We should ask what difference it would have made if evangelical utterance had obeyed this advice. But beyond kindliness the conversation of believers with outsiders should be, literally, “salty” , made palatable by common-sense and humour. I’ve known people who could do this; what great gift it is!

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