“Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.”
In this verse Paul gives us three instructions for our Christian living.

INSTRUCTION #1:  We are to Behave Ourselves with Wisdom and Tact toward the Unbelieving World.

“Walk in wisdom toward them that are without,”
Unsaved men watch and listen; therefore, a Christian must be consistent in his manner of living:  i.e., in what he does and what he says, lest he be found to be and labeled as a hypocrite.  There must always be an agreement between lips and life.

 Even after more than sixty years, I still remember the words that my father gave me when I was  a boy:  “David, you are the best Christian that someone knows, and you may never know, this side of eternity, who that person is.  He will judge all Christianity after the way he sees you live.  Just think, that person may go to either heaven or hell, depending on how he sees you live.”  These words still resound in my ears and mind.  Just imagine being in heaven, and someone coming up to you and saying something like this:  “You don’t know me, but I am here because of the way you lived.  I saw that your Christian testimony and personal life were real to you and you lived the way you talked.  So I wanted to have what you have.”

“Walk in wisdom”
Literally:  “walk in wisdom”–That is, conduct upright and honest. Deal with them on the strictest  principles of integrity, so that they may not have occasion to reproach the religion which you profess.   Conduct with discretion and propriety.

        WALK:  (Grk.–peripateite)—This views the Christian life in its total aspects and application.  Paul has earlier prayed that the Colossian believers might have a worthy walk (1:10; 2:6). There are four features seen in a God-pleasing walk.

1.      It must be a consistent, daily walk
2.      It must be a walk of wisdom.
3.      It must be a walk  of outreach to the unsaved world.
4.      It must be a walk of urgency considering the lateness of the time.

        IN WISDOM:  (Grk.–en sophiai)—Simply speaking:  in practical Christian prudence.  True spiritual wisdom begins with a genuine fear of God and ends with the exaltation of Christ.

        The Christian’s “walk” must be in total conformity to the will of God as revealed in the Word of God (1:9-10).  Genuine wisdom is seen in a godly life under the control of the Holy Spirit.
        Act wisely and prudently in reference to them who are without-who yet continue unbelieving Gentiles or persecuting Jews.  Let your conduct be prudent and sagacious. Do not provoke persecution.

5.      It must be a walk  of outreach to the unsaved world.

“toward them that are without”
Literally:  “toward the ones outside”—Pauline phrase for those outside the churches (I Thess. 5:12; I Cor. 5:12).  It takes
wise walking to win them to Christ.

The Church of Christ was considered an enclosure; a field, or vineyard, well hedged or walled.  Those who were not members of it, were considered without; i.e. not under that especial protection and defense which the true followers of Christ had. But keep in mind that:
1.      Men of the world judge the church from the life of its friends; not from the profession.
2.      They judge Christianity, not from preaching, or from books,
         but from what they see in the daily walk and conversation of the members of the church.

3.      They set a much higher value on honesty and integrity than they do on the doctrines and duties of Christianity
If the professed friends of religion are destitute of the principle of truth and honesty, they think they have nothing of any value. They may be very devout on Sunday, regular at prayer-meetings; strict, in the observance of rites and ceremonies–but all these are of little worth in the estimation of the world, unless attended with an upright life.
4.      No professing Christian can possibly do good to others who does not live an upright life.
         a.      If you have cheated a man out of even ever so small a sum; or,
         b.      If you have failed to pay him a debt when it was due, or,
         c.      If you fail to finish a piece of work when you promised it, or,
         d.      If you fail to tell him the exact truth in conversation.  
                 Iit is vain for you to endeavor to induce him to be a Christian; or it is vain that you talk to him about the salvation of his soul. 

Them that are without:–this is what the Jews called the Gentiles; that is, all…
1.      Who were out of their own land, that were not of their nation or religion,
2.      Who were aliens from them, and strangers to their privileges; and,
3.      Who were sometimes the unbelieving.
4.      It must be a walk of urgency considering the lateness of the time.
         The clock is no respecter of person.

INSTRUCTION #2:  We are to Be on the Lookout for Opportunity

“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”

        REDEEMING:  (Grk.–exagorazomenoi)—Literally:  “to purchase; to buy up from the possession or power of any one;” and then to redeem, “to set free–as from service or bondage.”

Here it means, to rescue or recover our time from waste; to improve it for great and important purposes.;
1.      Because the days are evil;

2.      Because the times in which you live are evil.
There are many allurements and temptations that would lead you away from the proper improvement of time, and that would draw you into sin.

Time is given to us for most valuable purposes. Man has just enough given him to accomplish all the purposes which God designs, and God has not given him more than enough. They redeem their time who make use of it
1.      In gaining useful knowledge;
2.      In doing good to others;
3.      In employing it for the purpose of an honest livelihood for themselves and families;
4.      In prayer and self-examination, to make the heart better;
5.      In seeking salvation, and in endeavoring to do the will of God.

They are to redeem time from all that would waste and destroy it.There is time enough wasted by each sinner to secure the salvation of the soul; time enough wasted to do all that is needful to be done to spread Christianity around the world, and to save the race. We should still endeavor to redeem our time for the same reasons which are suggested by Paul–because the days are evil. There are evil influences abroad; allurements and vices that would waste time, and from which we should endeavor to rescue it. There are evil influences tending to waste time:

INSTRUCTION #3:  We are to Behave with Charm and Wit in What We Say so We May Give the Right Answers
“Let your speech {be} always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man”

“Let your speech {be} always with grace”
Literally:  “Let your speech {be} always with grace”— Let it be such as has a tendency to oppose and preserve from the corruption of sin. 

Let all your conversation be such as may tend to exemplify and recommend Christianity; and let it not only be holy, but wise, gracious, and intelligent. The rabbis say: “He who, in prayer, omits any word, should begin again at the beginning; for he who does not is like boiled pottage, in which there is no salt.”   A harsh method of proposing or defending the doctrines of Christianity only serves to repel men from those doctrines, and from the way of salvation.

           WITH GRACE: (Grk.–en cariti)—Literally:  “in grace,” or concerning grace (3:16; Eph. 4:29).   Let grace be the subject matter of your speech and conversation. When saints meet together they should converse with each other about the work of grace upon their souls: how it was begun, and how it has been carried on, and in what case it is now. 

          YOUR SPEECH:  (Grk.–logos hymon)–Your conversation. In the previous verse the apostle had given a general direction that our conduct toward those who are not professing Christians should be wise and prudent; he here gives a particular direction in regard to our conversation.

“seasoned with salt”
Literally:  “having been seasoned with salt”–That is, the savor of fresh and lively spiritual wisdom and earnestness, excluding all “corrupt communication,” and also tasteless insipidity (Matt. 5:13; Mark 9:50; Eph. 4:29). Compare all the sacrifices seasoned with salt (Lev. 2:13).

          SALT:   (Grk.–halati)—Literally:  “with salt.” Used only here by Paul.  The metaphor is from the office of salt in rendering palatable.  Because of its use in preserving food from corruption, and rendering it both savory and wholesome, salt has always been made the emblem of wisdom.  The word has been also used to express in composition or conversation what is terse, comprehensive, useful, elegant, and impressive

         Among the Greeks salt was the emblem of wit.  Here the meaning seems to be, that our conversation should be seasoned with piety or grace in a way similar to that in which we employ salt in our food. Salt makes food wholesome and palatable; likewise, so it should be our conversation. This does not mean that our conversation is to be always, strictly speaking, religious any more than our food should be mere salt.  But what it does mean  is that whatever is our topic, the spirit of piety should be diffused through it, just as the salt in our food should properly season it all, whatever the article of food happens to be.
         Both in Greek and Latin writers, salt was said to express the pungency and wittiness of speech.  Horace speaks of having praised a poet for “rubbing the city with abundant salt,” i.e., for having wittily satirized certain parties so as to make them smart as if rubbed with salt, and so as to excite the laughter of those who are not hit.  The exhortation to well-seasoned and becoming speech is expanded in Eph. 4:29.   out of the mouths of believers; see Eph. 5:29.

“that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man”
Literally:  “to know how you ought to answer each other”— That your discourse may be so judiciously managed, that ye may discern how to treat the prejudices and meet the objections both of Jews and Gentiles. 

“…sanctify the Lord God in your hearts:  and {be} ready always to {give} an answer to every man that asketh you a reason for the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" (I Pet. 3:15).

         Every teacher will sympathize with Paul's desire “that ye know how ye must answer each one.”  He imbued with the spirit of piety, that you may not utter anything that would be rash and foolish, but be prepared to answer any one who may question you about your faith in a way that will show that you understand its nature, and that will tend to edification.
        This remark may be extended farther. It may be understood as meaning also, “be imbued with the spirit of religion, and you will be able to answer man appropriately on any subject.”  
1.      If he asks you about the evidence of the nature of religion, you will be able to reply to him;
2.      If he converses with you on the common topics of the day, you will be able to answer him     in a mild, kind, affable spirit;
3.      If he asks you of things of which you are ignorant; that is, something you do not know.
4.      If he introduces some topic of science with which you are not acquainted, you will not be ashamed to confess your ignorance,;
         and to seek instruction;

5.      If he addresses you in a haughty, insolent, and overbearing manner, you will be able to repress the risings of your temper, and to answer him with gentleness and kindness.

        To put it simply:  Know how to answer; in order to give just views and make right impressions. You will not be able to do this unless you are a person of the Book:  i.e., a devout student of the Word of God.  Paul may have special reference to the questions of “those without,” the answers to which would require much caution and heavenly wisdom. Much, very much, depends upon the proper use of the tongue, for it may be “a world of iniquity” or a fountain of life.  
         Therefore:  every person, especially every Christian, should pray and strive for wisdom and grace rightly to use his tongue; knowing that by his words he will be justified or condemned.