Copyright (c) Timothy E. Clontz 1999 All rights reserved.

The Letter of Paul to the Colossians

1
  1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 2 to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae: grace to you and peace from God our Father.
  3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love which you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel 6 which has come to you, just as in all the world it is bearing fruit and growing, even as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth; 7 as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, 8 and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.
  9 For this reason also, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you will live a life worthy of the Lord, to please him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things were created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might have the first place in everything. 19 For all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell in him 20 and through him, to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.
  21 And although you were once alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 yet he has now reconciled you in his fleshly body through death, in order to present you before him holy and blameless and beyond reproach-23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a minister.
  24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share for the sake of his body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions. 25 Of this church I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. 27 To them God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 We proclaim him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. 29 For this end I labor, striving with all his energy, which so mightily works within me.

2
1 For I want you to know how greatly I strive for you, and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not seen my face in the flesh, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged as they are knit together in love, to have all the riches of assured understanding and the knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ himself, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I say this so that no one may delude you with fine-sounding arguments. 5 For even though I am absent in flesh, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.
  6 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so live in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, overflowing with thanksgiving. 8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to human tradition, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. 9 For in him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 10 and you have been made complete in him, who is the head over all rule and authority. 11 In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, having forgiven us all our sins, 14 having canceled the certificate of debt, which stood against us with its decrees. He took what was hostile away from us, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them through him.
  16 Therefore let no one judge you in questions of food or drink or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day. 17 These things are only a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. 18 Let no one disqualify you for the prize by delighting in self- abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, puffed up without cause by his fleshly mind, 19 and not holding fast to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.
  20 If with Christ you died to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you still belonged to it, do you submit to regulations such as, 21 "Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!" 22 (referring to things which are all destined perish with use), according to human commandments and teachings? 23 These indeed have an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but they are of no value against fleshly indulgence.

3
  1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on the things above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
  5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you once walked, when you lived in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free, but Christ is all, and in all.
  12 So, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord forgave you, so you also must forgive. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
  18 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
  20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, or they will become discouraged.
  22 Slaves, in everything obey those who are your masters according to the flesh, not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25 For he who does wrong will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.

4
1 Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.
  2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. 3 And pray for us as well, that God may open a door to us for the word, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains, 4 so that I may make it clear, as I ought to speak. 5 Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. 6 Let your speech always be full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone.
  7 Tychicus will tell you all about my affairs. He is a beloved brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. 8 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts; 9 and with him Onesimus, the faithful and beloved brother, who is one of yourselves. They will tell you everything that has taken place here.
  10 My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, and also Mark, the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you have received instructions; if he comes to you, welcome him.) 11 and also Jesus who is called Justus. These are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved to be a comfort to me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of your number, a servant of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. 13 I testify for him that he has worked hard for you and for those who are in Laodicea and Hierapolis. 14 Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas send you greetings. 15 Give my greetings to the brethren at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. 16 When this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you read the letter from Laodicea. 17 Say to Archippus, "See to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it."
  18 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.