“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Colossians 4:6).
Paul’s instruction here is coupled with the previous exhortation, “Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside” (vs. 5). So, the graceful speech under consideration here has special application to interaction with those who are not Christians. Consider the instructions…
“Let your speech always be with grace.” The word “grace” here is defined by Thayer, “that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm.” The Christian is to be inoffensive in his manner of speech. That does not mean that the gospel of Christ will not offend. What it does mean is that such offense, if it comes, is the fault of the hearer, not the speaker. Our purpose is not to win arguments or to tell people off – it is to plant and water that God may give “the increase” (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:6).
“Seasoned with salt.” Albert Barnes makes a good point about this. He notes that although we don’t always talk about religion and our faith, piety should always be “sprinkled” in our conversations. In other words, our faith should always be the spice of our communication with others. They hear what we say, and see Christ in us.
“That you may know how to answer each one.” Three things to note here. 1) We can’t “know” unless we have studied. 2) We can pray for wisdom (cf. James 1:5) with the confidence that God will supply us with what we lack. 3) Practice leads to proficiency. In order to get good at our spiritual communication with the lost, we have to share the saving gospel with them.
So, let’s get to it!