1 From Paul, 1 an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 2 to the saints, the faithful 2 brothers and sisters 3 in Christ, at Colossae. Grace and peace to you 4 from God our Father! 5
3 We always 6 give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since 7 we heard about your faith in Christ Jesus and the love that you have for all the saints. 5 Your faith and love have arisen 8 from the hope laid up 9 for you in heaven, which you have heard about in the message of truth, the gospel 10 6 that has come to you. Just as in the entire world this gospel 11 is bearing fruit and growing, so it has also been bearing fruit and growing 12 among you from the first day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth. 7 You learned the gospel 13 from Epaphras, our dear fellow slave 14 – a 15 faithful minister of Christ on our 16 behalf – 8 who also told us of your love in the Spirit.
9 For this reason we also, from the day we heard about you, 17 have not ceased praying for you and asking God 18 to fill 19 you with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you may live 20 worthily of the Lord and please him in all respects 21 – bearing fruit in every good deed, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might for the display of 22 all patience and steadfastness, joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share 23 in the saints’ 24 inheritance in the light. 13 He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of the Son he loves, 25 14 in whom we have redemption, 26 the forgiveness of sins.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn 28 over all creation, 29
16 for all things in heaven and on earth were created by him – all things, whether visible or invisible, whether thrones or dominions, 30 whether principalities or powers – all things were created through him and for him.
17 He himself is before all things and all things are held together 31 in him.
18 He is the head of the body, the church, as well as the beginning, the firstborn 32 from among the dead, so that he himself may become first in all things. 33
19 For God 34 was pleased to have all his 35 fullness dwell 36 in the Son 37
20 and through him to reconcile all things to himself by making peace through the blood of his cross – through him, 38 whether things on earth or things in heaven.
21 And you were at one time strangers and enemies in your 39 minds 40 as expressed through 41 your evil deeds, 22 but now he has reconciled you 42 by his physical body through death to present you holy, without blemish, and blameless before him – 23 if indeed you remain in the faith, established and firm, 43 without shifting 44 from the hope of the gospel that you heard. This gospel has also been preached in all creation under heaven, and I, Paul, have become its servant.
24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I fill up in my physical body – for the sake of his body, the church – what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ. 25 I became a servant of the church according to the stewardship 45 from God – given to me for you – in order to complete 46 the word of God, 26 that is, the mystery that has been kept hidden from ages and generations, but has now been revealed to his saints. 27 God wanted to make known to them the glorious 47 riches of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 We proclaim him by instructing 48 and teaching 49 all people 50 with all wisdom so that we may present every person mature 51 in Christ. 29 Toward this goal 52 I also labor, struggling according to his power that powerfully 53 works in me.
2 For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you, 1 and for those in Laodicea, and for those who have not met me face to face. 2 2 My goal is that 3 their hearts, having been knit together 4 in love, may be encouraged, and that 5 they may have all the riches that assurance brings in their understanding of the knowledge of the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 6 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I say this so that no one will deceive you through arguments 7 that sound reasonable. 8 5 For though 9 I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit, rejoicing to see 10 your morale 11 and the firmness of your faith in Christ.
6 Therefore, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, 12 continue to live your lives 13 in him, 7 rooted 14 and built up in him and firm 15 in your 16 faith just as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. 8 Be careful not to allow anyone to captivate you 17 through an empty, deceitful philosophy 18 that is according to human traditions and the elemental spirits 19 of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in him all the fullness of deity lives 20 in bodily form, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head over every ruler and authority. 11 In him you also were circumcised – not, however, 21 with a circumcision performed by human hands, but by the removal 22 of the fleshly body, 23 that is, 24 through the circumcision done by Christ. 12 Having been buried with him in baptism, you also have been raised with him through your 25 faith in the power 26 of God who raised him from the dead. 13 And even though you were dead in your 27 transgressions and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, he nevertheless 28 made you alive with him, having forgiven all your transgressions. 14 He has destroyed 29 what was against us, a certificate of indebtedness 30 expressed in decrees opposed to us. He has taken it away by nailing it to the cross. 15 Disarming 31 the rulers and authorities, he has made a public disgrace of them, triumphing over them by the cross. 32
16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you with respect to food or drink, or in the matter of a feast, new moon, or Sabbath days – 17 these are only 33 the shadow of the things to come, but the reality 34 is Christ! 35 18 Let no one who delights in humility and the worship of angels pass judgment on you. That person goes on at great lengths 36 about what he has supposedly seen, but he is puffed up with empty notions by his fleshly mind. 37 19 He has not held fast 38 to the head from whom the whole body, supported 39 and knit together through its ligaments and sinews, grows with a growth that is from God. 40
20 If you have died with Christ to the elemental spirits 41 of the world, why do you submit to them as though you lived in the world? 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!” 22 These are all destined to perish with use, founded as they are 42 on human commands and teachings. 43 23 Even though they have the appearance of wisdom 44 with their self-imposed worship and false humility 45 achieved by an 46 unsparing treatment of the body – a wisdom with no true value – they in reality result in fleshly indulgence. 47