Paul’s advice for reaching unbelievers

Recently during my devotional time my attention was drawn to Colossians 4:2-6. These verses contain three directives that will enable us to be more effective at reaching others if we will follow what they say.  Essentially Paul instructs us to pray, share, and be knowledgeable about the gospel if we are to reach others.

  • (Colossians 4: 2-4) 2Never give up praying. And when you pray, keep alert and be thankful.  3Be sure to pray that God will make a way for us to spread his message and explain the mystery about Christ, even though I am in jail for doing this. 4Please pray that I will make the message as clear as possible.

Paul wrote these words from prison, encouraging believers to pray for him to be clear in spreading the message of Christ. I believe that these words can be applied to our lives today. We need to seek God and ask that he help us make the message of the Gospel clear to those we are trying to reach. We should follow Paul’s example and ask others to pray that we will be effective messengers of the gospel.

  • (Colossians 4: 5) When you are with unbelievers, always make good use of the time.

Paul tells us to use our time with unbelievers wisely. I believe that Paul is telling us that must not delay telling others the news of the Gospel. We must be faithful in spreading the message of salvation to unbelievers and not waste time with delays.

  • (Colossians 4: 6) Be pleasant and hold their interest when you speak the message. Choose your words carefully and be ready to give answers to anyone who asks questions.

Often times we become so passionate about telling others about the Gospel that we put them down and turn them off to being receptive to the words that we are speaking. Many times we flounder because we can not answer the questions of unbelievers. Paul says we must be polite in our speech and be ready with answers. In order to be ready to answer the questions that come we must study God’s word and be knowledgeable in all areas of the gospel. This can be hard. I have a minor in the Bible and still sometimes struggle to support and back up my religious beliefs. This is something that I am working diligently toward correcting.

Paul teaches us so much in these five verses. I believe if we follow his advice we will be more effective in reaching others for the kingdom of God.

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6 Responses to “Paul’s advice for reaching unbelievers”

  1. Evan says:

    I dunno … the last few times I went to a church all I heard were messages telling me how unwelcome unbelievers were. I got to hear a few sermons about how bad tolerance was (seriously, I heard it scoffed at from the pulpit), and the last time I was at Revolution I got to hear an hour of talking about how if I wasn’t ready to commit myself 100% to the church then Revolution wasn’t the right place for me, which goes completely against what you’re saying here.

    So … I guess the point is that I’m not sure most Christians really are aware of how they come off. I hear words like Paul’s and great, but then when it comes time to put those words into action …

  2. Chris says:

    Excellent points. Especially about being prepared to answer questions. I’ve found myself in that position recently and realize that I need more preparation to be able to better address questions about the existence of God as well as questions about a good God who allows evil. Those who don’t believe often need a safe environment to ask those questions because of negative experiences in the past with Christians who just provided trite, canned or in their face responses.
    Thank you for pointing out Colossians!

  3. Donna says:

    Evan- we must remember that sometimes those speaking from the pulpit are self-serving and not practicing the true words of God. Paul tells us that we should speak with love and not to put others down who are not believers. You are correct that many christians do not communicate with love but rather hate when talking with unbelivers. I would hope that more christians would put into practice the teachings of Paul.

    Reveloution is not a church that will suit the needs of all people (believers or unbelievers). I hope that you have not placed all your feelings on church and christians based on just a hand full of churches and believers. David and I recently changed churches and have found the we “fit” better with our new church home than we did at Revloution.

  4. Donna says:

    Chris- I think that Paul’s 3rd point of speaking kindly and with knowledge is the most important. I can’t even count the number of people I know who are totally turned of to God due to the attitudes and manner in which Christains have spoken to them and the lack of knowledge they display when asked a simple question.

  5. Evan says:

    Which church are you going to these days?

    In all honesty, while Gary had some flaws, he really did a lot to alleviate my wariness of Christians – I guess mostly be showing me that not all Christians are hate-mongers, to be blunt. So after we left Revolution and tried a few other churches, it was a rather surprising reminder that yeah, a lot of Christians are indeed still hate mongers. 🙂

    I’ve often felt that if more Christians actually read the bible and REALLY followed what Jesus said, it’d truly be a wonderful religion! It makes me like the churches that actually do, and glad that they are there.

  6. Donna says:

    Evan- We are now attending Life Bible Church. Malcolm and Amy Young are the pastors at the church. You may remember them since they use to work at Revolution. They do not do happy feel good series that are planned months in advance. Each week a new passage of the Bible is presented and studied. It is a much smaller church (about 100).

    You can read my post called “Being like Jonah” to see why we made the decision we made to leave our previous church.

    You are right, more Christians need to actually read the Bible and follow what it says.