Aug 4, 2019
Scripture Reading: Colossians 4:2-6
The Bible has a lot to say about our speech. “Be quick to hear and slow to speak” (James 1:19) . . . “The tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity . . . [it] sets on fire the course of our life and is set on fire by hell” (James 3:6) . . . “Every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment” (Mt 12:36).
It is no surprise that Paul would include a command about the way we speak in this section of Colossians which highlights the day-to-day implications of Christianity. The immediate context is the interaction between Christians and unbelievers (verse 5 refers to 'outsiders'). The exhortation here is that our speech should always be gracious "so that you may know how you ought to answer each person."
With regard to unbelievers, we should be able to give reasons, verbally, as to why we believe the things we believe (cf. 1 Pet 3:15). This requires thoughtful study and meditation on the most important issues of the Christian faith. With regard to speech in general, we should speak "only such as is good, for building up, as fits the occasion (Eph 4:29).
Our every word ought to be a gift to our hearers … a word of cheer … a word of encouragement … a word of instruction … a word of correction … a word of joy. Let us ask God to help us to speak only what is gracious and wise. To do this our hearts must be changed by His Holy Spirit, because "the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart" (Mt 12:34).