Stephen W. Casey
The art of communication between individuals and groups of people is a pathway for relationship. However, sin has tainted all of creation, turning the tongue into a restless evil. Jesus Christ, conversely, provides the model of conversation apart from the taint of sin. The historical context in which Jesus held conversation establishes the underpinning for a New Testament theology of conversation. Jesus’ example exemplifies how conversation flows from personal integrity, humility, and identity in Christ and establishes relationships that usher newcomers into the Kingdom of God in love.
In discipleship, every area of a person’s life must be exposed to the grace of God and His transforming power, which includes a believer’s manner and content of speech. Though few people would contest that a disciple’s speech should be transformed and made Christlike, little agreement exists regarding what kind of speech transformation should occur. Because of the vast content regarding speech in the Bible, this paper explores and interacts specifically with Paul’s instructions regarding speech in the Prison Epistles of Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians, which—in comparison to other writings from Paul—contain his strongest imperatives about speech.