Colossians 4:5
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.

New Living Translation
Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity.

English Standard Version
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.

New American Standard Bible
Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.

King James Bible
Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Act wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time.

International Standard Version
Behave wisely toward outsiders, making the best use of your time.

NET Bible
Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunities.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders and buy your opportunities.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Be wise in the way you act toward those who are outside [the Christian faith]. Make the most of your opportunities.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Walk in wisdom towards outsiders, winning the occasion.

King James 2000 Bible
Walk in wisdom toward them that are outsiders, redeeming the time.

American King James Version
Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.

American Standard Version
Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Walk with wisdom towards them that are without, redeeming the time.

Darby Bible Translation
Walk in wisdom towards those without, redeeming opportunities.

English Revised Version
Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.

Webster's Bible Translation
Walk in wisdom towards them that are without, redeeming the time.

Weymouth New Testament
Behave wisely in relation to the outside world, buying up your opportunities.

World English Bible
Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.

Young's Literal Translation
in wisdom walk ye toward those without, the time forestalling;
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

4:2-6 No duties can be done aright, unless we persevere in fervent prayer, and watch therein with thanksgiving. The people are to pray particularly for their ministers. Believers are exhorted to right conduct towards unbelievers. Be careful in all converse with them, to do them good, and recommend religion by all fit means. Diligence in redeeming time, commends religion to the good opinion of others. Even what is only carelessness may cause a lasting prejudice against the truth. Let all discourse be discreet and seasonable, as becomes Christians. Though it be not always of grace, it must always be with grace. Though our discourse be of that which is common, yet it must be in a Christian manner. Grace is the salt which seasons our discourse, and keeps it from corrupting. It is not enough to answer what is asked, unless we answer aright also.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 5. - Walk in wisdom towards those without (Ephesians 5:15-17; 1 Thessalonians 4:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:15; 1 Corinthians 10:32; 2 Corinthians 4:2; Titus 2:8; 1 Peter 2:12, 15; 1 Peter 3:16; Matthew 10:16). (On "wisdom," see Colossians 1:9, note; Colossians 1:28; 2:3; 3:16; this was a chief need of the Colossian Church.) "Those without," as opposed to Christians - "those within the pale;" a Jewish mode of expression (Lightfoot): comp. 1 Thessalonians 4:12; 1 Corinthians 5:12, 13; 1 Timothy 3:7. From a different point of view, they are designated" the rest" in Ephesians 2:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:6. This injunction appears in a different form and position in Ephesians. Standing at the close of the writer's exhortations, and followed up by the direction of the next verse, it is more pointed and emphatic here. Buying up each (literally, the) opportunity (Ephesians 5:16; 1 Corinthians 7:29; Galatians 6:10; John 11:9, 10; Luke 13:32; Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). In Ephesians 5:16 the reason is added, "because the days are evil." In Daniel 2:8 (LXX) the verb ἐξαγοράζω ("to buy out" or "up," a word of the market) has precisely this sense and connection, and the idiom occurs in classical writers. The verb is middle in voice: "buying up for yourselves," "for your own advantage." In Galatians 3:13 the compound verb is somewhat differently used. The opportunity is the fit time for each step of a well-conducted walk, the precise juncture of circumstances which must be seized at once or it is gone. This wary promptitude is always needful in dealing with men of the world, both to avoid harm from them and in seeking to do them good. The latter thought, it may be, connects this verse and the next.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Walk in wisdom,.... Or wisely, circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise men; See Gill on Ephesians 5:15.

Towards them that are without; so the Jews used to call the Gentiles, all that were out of their own land, that were not of their nation or religion, who were aliens from them, and strangers to their privileges; and sometimes the unbelieving. Jews bear the same character, see Mark 4:11. Here it may design such who were not members of this church; so the distinction of those that are without, and such as are within, is used by the apostle in 1 Corinthians 5:12. A church is an house or family, and such as belong to it are called the household of faith, and those that do not are they that are, without; it is as a city, and, those that are of it are fellow citizens with the saints, but others are strangers and foreigners; it is a garden enclosed, they that are planted in it are those that are within, and such as lie in the wide open field of the world are those that are without: but inasmuch as there are some who are not members of churches, and yet have the grace of God, this phrase may chiefly regard all unregenerate men, profane sinners, such as have not faith in Christ, nor hope in God, who are entirely destitute of the grace of God. Now it becomes saints to walk wisely towards them; all communication with them is not cut off, or correspondence and conversation with them forbidden; the saints indeed are not to have their conversation among them as in times past; they are to have no fellowship with them in immoral actions, and superstitious practices; but they may be concerned with them in things civil, with respect to trade and commerce, and the common business of life; on these accounts they may keep company with them; otherwise, as the apostle elsewhere says, they must needs go out of the world. But then it is incumbent upon them to behave wisely towards them, with the simplicity of the dove to join the wisdom of the serpent; they should walk inoffensively towards them, and do nothing to provoke them, to injure and persecute them, but take all prudent methods to gain their affections, escape their resentment and wrath, and obtain their liberty of worshipping God without disturbance; they should give to all their due, tribute, custom, fear, and honour, to whom they are due, and owe no man anything but love; they should submit to every ordinance of men and be subject to the higher powers, not only to escape wrath, but for conscience sake, and should give to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; they should pray for kings, and all in authority; for the prosperity of the nation, city, and place where they are, for their carnal relations and neighbours, and even their very entities, and do them all the good, both for soul and body, that lies in their power, and as they have opportunity; and by so doing, they will heap up coals of fire on their heads. Such a prudent walk, and wise conduct, is necessary on account of the Gospel, that the public ministration of it may be continued, that it may spread and get ground, and that it may not be reproached and blasphemed; and on the account of them that are without, that they may not have any stumblingblocks laid in their way, and they be hardened in their impiety and irreligion, and be more set against the truths of the Gospel; and also on account of believers themselves, who ought so to converse with the men of the world, that they are not partakers with them in their sins, and have their manners corrupted by them, or the vital heat of religion damped, and they become dead, lifeless, lukewarm, and indifferent to divine things, which is often the case through an indiscreet and imprudent walk with such men: the apostle adds,

redeeming the time; as an instance of prudent walking towards them that are without; See Gill on Ephesians 5:16.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

5. (See on [2431]Eph 5:15, 16.)

in wisdom—practical Christian prudence.

them … without—Those not in the Christian brotherhood (1Co 5:12; 1Th 4:12). The brethren, through love, will make allowances for an indiscreet act or word of a brother; the world will make none. Therefore be the more on your guard in your intercourse with the latter, lest you be a stumbling-block to their conversion.

redeeming the time—The Greek expresses, buying up for yourselves, and buying off from worldly vanities the opportunity, whenever it is afforded you, of good to yourselves and others. "Forestall the opportunity, that is, to buy up an article out of the market, so as to make the largest profit from it" [Conybeare and Howson].

Colossians 4:5 Additional Commentaries
Fellow Workers
4that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak. 5Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. 6Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.
Cross References
Mark 4:11
He told them, "The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables

Ephesians 5:15
Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise,

Ephesians 5:16
making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

1 Thessalonians 4:12
so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.
Treasury of Scripture

Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.


Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching …

Psalm 90:12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.

Matthew 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the middle of wolves: be you …

Romans 16:19 For your obedience is come abroad to all men. I am glad therefore …

1 Corinthians 14:19-25 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, …

Ephesians 5:15-17 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise…

James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all …

James 3:13,17 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show …


1 Corinthians 5:12,13 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not …

1 Thessalonians 4:12 That you may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that …

1 Timothy 3:7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest …

1 Peter 3:1 Likewise, you wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, …

redeeming. See on

Ephesians 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

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