Colossians 4:5 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Colossians 4:5, NIV: Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.

Colossians 4:5, ESV: Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.

Colossians 4:5, KJV: Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.

Colossians 4:5, NASB: Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.

Colossians 4:5, NLT: Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity.

Colossians 4:5, CSB: Act wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time.

What does Colossians 4:5 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Part of proclaiming the gospel and making it clear (Colossians 4:3–4) is found in the believer's actions toward unbelievers. Two important principles are presented here. First, wisdom or discernment should be used regarding our actions—our "walk"—toward unbelievers. What we do and what we say must be consistent, over time, and with each other, in order to clearly present the message of Jesus.

Second, we are to make effective use of our time. Some translations interpret this phrase as "making the most of every opportunity." Every moment of life is important and should be maximized in service to Christ. More than most, Paul was acutely aware of this, having been beaten, imprisoned, and shipwrecked over the course of his ministry. This perspective inspired Paul to boldly share faith in Jesus with unbelievers.

This is a fundamental part of the gospel message: time is short. Whether by accident, nature, or the return of Christ, each person can be face-to-face with God at any moment. Believers should be motivated by the knowledge that the people around us will die apart from Christ unless they hear and receive the gospel.