…meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, Colossians 4:3
Paul has just exhorted those at Colossae to remain vigilant in prayer with thanksgiving. He then asks them, “…meanwhile praying for us.” If prayer served no purpose except acting as some type of pressure relief valve, he would never ask for such a thing. But Paul firmly believed that prayers were something which were effective in determining outcomes. As he desired a certain outcome for himself and those with him, he specifically requests it now, desiring “that God would open a door to us for the word.”
Paul uses this same “door” terminology in 1 Corinthians 16:9 and 2 Corinthians 2:12. This was Paul’s great desire, but it was something that was currently denied, at least partially. Being in chains, he had a very limited opportunity to share the word. But he was in chains for doing exactly that. He was hoping that it would again be possible to communicate the word, not just in letters, but in person. Therefore, “a door for the word” is probably initially a reference to being released from prison. With such release, along with the Lord leading the way in new evangelism, he would then be able “to speak the mystery of Christ.”
The mystery of Christ is everything involved in the gospel that brings salvation to mankind. A mystery in the Bible is something that cannot be deduced without specific explanation. For each person who has never heard about the work of Christ, there is no way for them to be reconciled to God. Therefore, it is a mystery to them. Paul desired that he would be able to share this mystery so that salvation could come to whoever heard it and received it. But in his sharing it in the past, there were unfortunate consequences. He notes that it was because of speaking the mystery of Christ that he was “also in chains.”
His imprisonment was brought about because of his desire to speak about Christ, and yet he wanted to get right back out there and start speaking once again. If it meant future imprisonment, that was of no matter. He would speak until he could speak no more. It was for this ability to get out and share the word that he requested prayers.
Life application: How many people have you shared the message of Jesus with lately? People are dying and being eternally separated from God because of a failure to communicate. Are you a part of this failed system? Or are you opening your mouth and speaking? The Bible says, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.” Simple gospel instructions: Meet person; open mouth; speak.
Lord God, for those who have received the gift of eternal life and a return to Your garden of delight, have we been willing to bring others along on the trip as well? Have we simply taken the time to open our mouths and tell others about what Jesus did for us? How mournful it is that we are unwilling to simply speak about the greatest event in human existence! Change our hearts and help us to speak about the mystery of Christ our Lord. Amen.