Buying time

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16 KJV)

When I see the phrase, “buying time,” I generally think of someone trying to get out of trouble. “Oh, he’s just buying time hoping the boss will forget,” or something like that. But here, the apostle Paul is specifically telling us to ἐξαγοράζω which literally is to buy up, ransom or rescue. While a number of the modern translations render this as “making the best use of our time” it goes much further than that. It is a combination of two words that, when used separately, mean to go to market.

I see this as in imperative to actively seek out opportunities. Just before this he was talking about the walk of a believer. We are to walk as children of God, not as children of the world. That is, we are to “walk circumspectly” or uprightly for the world to see our example. Then when our walk is noted we are to use that opportunity to give God glory. In these evil days, we often have to deliberately seek out chances to talk about Jesus. We must “buy time.”

© 2021 Tim Lehmann. All rights reserved.

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