The Meaning of Colossians 4:2 Explained

Colossians 4:2

KJV: Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;

YLT: In the prayer continue ye, watching in it in thanksgiving;

Darby: Persevere in prayer, watching in it with thanksgiving;

ASV: Continue stedfastly in prayer, watching therein with thanksgiving;

What does Colossians 4:2 Mean?

Verse Meaning

The most important practice to perpetuate in relation to God is prayer. That is so because in prayer we call on God to work, and we express our faith in Him. Throughout this epistle Paul"s emphasis has been on the believer"s union with Christ and the complete adequacy that that union produces. The Christian who does not pray is demonstrating independence from God (cf. John 15:5). It is only as we ask God to work that He will accomplish many things ( James 4:2). Consequently Paul urged his readers to devote themselves to prayer, to give it constant attention and priority. Perhaps the main problem we face when we do pray is concentration. Therefore Paul reminded his readers to keep alert in prayer and to express gratitude always in view of God"s goodness and grace to them. [1]
"This is like breathing: inhale by prayer, exhale by thanksgiving." [2]
The repeated emphasis on thanksgiving makes this epistle one of the most "thankful" books in the New Testament (cf. Colossians 1:3; Colossians 1:12; Colossians 2:7; Colossians 3:17; Colossians 4:2).
"The accompanying exhortation to "keep awake, be on the alert" (gregoreo) is drawn from the imagery of guard duty ( Nehemiah 7:3; 1 Maccabees 2:27; Mark 14:34; Mark 14:37) ..." [3]

Context Summary

Colossians 4:2-9 - Prayer And Daily Living
We must pray more. Our lives cannot maintain the Godward attitude without prolonged seasons of communication with Him through the Word. This is so important that we must be ever on the watch against whatever might mar the life of devotion. Intercession will often unlock frost-bitten lips and make our souls glow. Withal praying also for us. If we are shut in and cannot perform active service, we can surely pray for those who are entrusted with the mystery of Christ; and let those who are called to active service be ready to step in when God opens the door, Colossians 4:3. The limitations of life are no excuse for idleness, Colossians 4:4.
It is not easy to walk in wisdom towards those that are without. But God will teach us how to buy up opportunities and crowd each of them with good service. Our talk may sparkle like salt and purify as it does. Paul bound his fellow-workers to himself by the high estimate he placed on them. Love idealizes. Probably we should have thought some of these men to be very ordinary, but the Apostle saw them in hues borrowed from his own heart. Onesimus, a runaway slave, recently converted, is described as a faithful and beloved brother! [source]

Chapter Summary: Colossians 4

1  He exhorts them to be fervent in prayer;
5  to walk wisely toward those who are not yet come to the true knowledge of Christ
10  He salutes them, and wishes them all prosperity

Greek Commentary for Colossians 4:2

Continue steadfastly [προσκαρτερειτε]
See note on Mark 3:9, note on Acts 2:42, and Acts 2:46 for this interesting word from προς — pros and καρτερος — karteros (strong), common in the Koiné. [source]
Watching [γρηγορουντες]
Present active participle of γρηγορεω — grēgoreō late present made on perfect active stem εγρηγορα — egrēgora with loss of ε — ė found first in Aristotle. [source]
Continue [προσκαρτερεῖτε]
See on Acts 1:14. Compare Acts 2:42, Acts 2:46; Acts 6:4; Romans 12:12; Romans 13:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Rev., correctly, continue steadfastly. [source]
Watching [γρηγοροῦντες]
See on Mark 13:35; see on 1 Peter 5:8. In Ephesians 6:18, ἀγρυπνοῦντες watchingis used, on which see Mark 13:33. [source]
Therein [ἐν αὐτῇ]
In prayer. Compare thereunto, Ephesians 6:18. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Colossians 4:2

Ephesians 6:18 Watching thereunto [εἰς αὐτὸ ἀγρυπνοῦντες]
Compare Colossians 4:2. For watching, see on Mark 13:33, Mark 13:35. Thereunto, unto prayer, for occasions of prayer, and to maintain the spirit of prayer. One must watch before prayer, in prayer, after prayer. [source]
Colossians 3:17 Giving thanks []
Notice the emphasis on the duty of thanksgiving placed at the close of the exhortations. See Colossians 1:12; Colossians 2:7; Colossians 3:15; Colossians 4:2. [source]
1 Thessalonians 5:17 Without ceasing [ἀδιαλείπτως]
Comp. Romans href="/desk/?q=ro+12:12&sr=1">Romans 12:12; Ephesians 6:18; Colossians 4:2. [source]
1 Thessalonians 5:25 Pray for us [προσευχεστε και περι ημων]
He has made his prayer for them. He adds this “human touch” (Frame) and pleads for the prayers of his converts (2 Thessalonians 3:1; Colossians 4:2.). Probably και — kai also is genuine (B D). [source]

What do the individual words in Colossians 4:2 mean?

- In prayer continue steadfastly watching in it with thanksgiving
Τῇ προσευχῇ προσκαρτερεῖτε γρηγοροῦντες ἐν αὐτῇ ἐν εὐχαριστίᾳ

Τῇ  - 
Parse: Article, Dative Feminine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
προσευχῇ  In  prayer 
Parse: Noun, Dative Feminine Singular
Root: προσευχή  
Sense: prayer addressed to God.
προσκαρτερεῖτε  continue  steadfastly 
Parse: Verb, Present Imperative Active, 2nd Person Plural
Root: προσκαρτερέω  
Sense: to adhere to one, be his adherent, to be devoted or constant to one.
γρηγοροῦντες  watching 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Active, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: γρηγορέω  
Sense: to watch.
εὐχαριστίᾳ  thanksgiving 
Parse: Noun, Dative Feminine Singular
Root: εὐχαριστία  
Sense: thankfulness.