1:1 Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God--and Timothy our brother:
1:2 To the people of God and the believing brethren at /1 Colossae who are in Christ. May grace and peace be granted to you from God our Father.
1:3 We give thanks /2 to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, constantly praying for you as we do,
1:4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love which you cherish towards all God's people,
1:5 on account of the hope treasured up for you in Heaven. Of this hope you have already heard in the Message of the truth of the Good News.
1:6 For it has reached you, and remains with you, just as /3 it has also spread through the whole world, yielding fruit there and increasing, as it has done among you from the day when /4 first you heard it and came really to know the grace of God,
1:7 as you learned it from Epaphras our dearly-loved fellow servant. He is to you a faithful minister of Christ in our stead,
1:8 and moreover he has informed us of your love, which is inspired by the Spirit.
1:9 For this reason we also, from the day we /4 first received these tidings, /5 have never ceased to pray for you and to entreat that you may be filled with a clear knowledge of His will accompanied by thorough wisdom and discernment in spiritual things;
1:10 so that your lives may be worthy of the Lord and perfectly pleasing to Him, while you exhibit the results of right action of every sort and grow into a fuller knowledge of God.
1:11 Since His power is so glorious, may you be strengthened with strength of every kind, and be prepared for cheerfully enduring all things with patience and long-suffering;
1:12 and give thanks to the Father who has made us fit to receive our share of the inheritance of God's people in Light.
1:13 It is God who has delivered us out of the dominion of darkness, and has transferred us into the Kingdom of His dearly-loved Son,
1:14 in whom we have our redemption--the forgiveness of our sins.
1:15 Christ is the /1 visible representation of the invisible God, /2 the Firstborn and Lord of all creation.
1:16 For /3 in Him was created the universe of things in heaven and on earth, things seen and things unseen, /4 thrones, dominions, princedoms, powers--all were created, /5 and exist through and for Him.
1:17 And /6 HE IS before all things and in and through Him the universe is a harmonious whole.
1:18 Moreover He is the Head of His Body, the Church. He is the Beginning, the Firstborn from among the dead, in order that He Himself may in all things occupy the foremost place.
1:19 For it was the Father's gracious will that the whole of the divine perfections should dwell in Him.
1:20 And God purposed through Him to reconcile the universe to Himself, making peace through His blood, which was shed upon the Cross--to reconcile to Himself through Him, I say, things on earth and things in Heaven.
1:21 And you, estranged as you once were and even hostile in your minds, amidst your evil deeds,
1:22 /7 He has now, in His human body, reconciled to God by His death, to bring you, holy and faultless and irreproachable, into His presence;
1:23 if, indeed, you are still firmly holding to faith as your foundation, without ever shifting from your hope that rests on the Good News that you have heard, which has been proclaimed in the whole creation under Heaven, and in which I Paul have been appointed to serve.
1:24 Now I can find joy amid my sufferings for you, and I fill up in my own person whatever is lacking in Christ's afflictions on behalf of His Body, the Church.
1:25 I have been appointed to serve the Church in the position of responsibility entrusted to me by God for your benefit, so that I may fully deliver God's Message--
1:26 the truth which has been kept secret from all ages and generations, but has now been revealed to His people,
1:27 to whom it was His will to make known how vast a wealth of glory for the Gentile world is implied in this truth--the truth that `Christ is in you, the hope of glory.'
1:28 Him we preach, admonishing every one and instructing every one, with all possible wisdom, so that we may bring every one into God's presence, made perfect through Christ.
1:29 To this end, like an earnest wrestler, I exert all my strength in reliance upon the power of Him who is mightily at work within me.
2:1 For I would have you know in how severe a struggle I am engaged on behalf of you and the brethren in Laodicea and of all who have not known me personally,
2:2 in order that their hearts may be cheered, they themselves being welded together in love and enjoying all the advantages of a reasonable certainty, till at last they attain the full knowledge of God's truth, which is Christ Himself.
2:3 In Him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are stored up, hidden from view.
2:4 I say this to prevent your being misled by any one's plausible sophistry.
2:5 For although, as you say, I am absent from you in body, yet in spirit I am present with you and am delighted to witness your good /1 discipline and the /1 solid front presented by your faith in Christ.
2:6 As therefore you have received the Christ, even Jesus our Lord, /2 live and act in vital union with Him;
2:7 having the roots of your being firmly planted in Him, and continually building yourselves up in Him, and always being increasingly confirmed in the faith as you were taught it, and abounding /1 in it with thanksgiving.
2:8 Take care lest there be some one who leads you away as prisoners by means of his philosophy and idle fancies, following human traditions and the world's crude notions instead of following Christ.
2:9 For it is in Christ that the fulness of God's nature dwells embodied, and in Him you are made complete,
2:10 and He is the /2 Lord of all /3 princes and rulers.
2:11 In Him also you were circumcised with a circumcision not performed by hand, when you threw off your sinful nature in true Christian circumcision;
2:12 having been buried with Him in your baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through faith produced within you by God who raised Him from among the dead.
2:13 And to you--dead as you once were in your transgressions and in the uncircumcision of your natural state--He has nevertheless given Life with Himself, having forgiven us all our transgressions.
2:14 The bond, /4 with its requirements, which was in force against us and was hostile to us, He cancelled, and cleared it out of the way, nailing it to His Cross.
2:15 /5 And the hostile princes and rulers He shook off from Himself, and boldly displayed them as His conquests, when by the Cross He triumphed over them.
2:16 /6 Therefore suffer no one to sit in judgement on you as to eating or drinking or with regard to a festival, a new moon or a sabbath.
2:17 These were a shadow of things that were soon to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.
2:18 Let no one defraud you of your prize, /7 priding himself on his humility and on his worship of the angels, and taking his stand on the visions he has seen, and idly puffed up with his unspiritual thoughts.
2:19 Such a one does not keep his hold upon Christ, the Head, from whom the Body, in all its parts nourished and strengthened by its points of contact and its connections, grows with a divine growth.
2:20 If you have died with Christ and have escaped from the world's rudimentary notions, why, as though your life still belonged to the world, do you submit to such precepts as
2:21 "Do not handle this;" "Do not taste that;" "Do not touch that other thing" --
2:22 referring to things which are all intended to be used up and perish--in obedience to mere human injunctions and teachings?
2:23 These rules have indeed an appearance of wisdom where self-imposed worship exists, and an affectation of humility and an ascetic severity. But not one of them is of any value in combating the indulgence of our lower natures.
3:1 /1 If however you /2 have risen with Christ, /3 seek the things that are above, where Christ is, enthroned at God's right hand.
3:2 Give your minds to the things that are above, not to the things that are on the earth.
3:3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
3:4 When Christ appears--He is /4 our true Life--then you also will appear with Him in glory.
3:5 Therefore put to death your earthward inclinations--fornication, impurity, sensual passion, unholy desire, and all greed, for that is a form of idolatry.
3:6 It is on account of these very sins that God's anger is coming,
3:7 and you also were once addicted to them, while you were living under their power.
3:8 But now you must rid yourselves of every kind of sin--angry and passionate outbreaks, ill-will, evil speaking, foul-mouthed abuse--so that these may never soil your lips.
3:9 Do not speak falsehoods to one another, for you have stripped off the old self with its doings,
3:10 and have clothed yourselves with the new self which is being remoulded into full knowledge so as to become like Him who created it.
3:11 In that new creation /1 there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free man, but Christ is everything and is /2 in all of us.
3:12 Clothe yourselves therefore, as God's own people holy and dearly loved, with tender-heartedness, kindness, lowliness of mind, meekness, long-suffering;
3:13 bearing with one another and readily forgiving each other, if any one has a grievance against another. Just as /3 the Lord has forgiven you, you also must forgive.
3:14 And over all these put on love, which is the perfect bond of union;
3:15 and let the peace which Christ gives settle all questionings in your hearts, to which peace indeed you were called as belonging to His one Body; and be thankful.
3:16 Let the teaching /4 concerning Christ remain as a rich treasure in your hearts. /5 In all wisdom teach and admonish one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, and sing with grace in your hearts to God.
3:17 And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything /6 in the name of the Lord Jesus, and let it be through Him that you give thanks to God the Father.
3:18 Married women, be submissive to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
3:19 Married men, be affectionate to your wives, and do not treat them harshly.
3:20 Children be obedient to your parents in everything; for that is right for Christians.
3:21 Fathers, do not fret and harass your children, or you may make them sullen and morose.
3:22 Slaves, be obedient in everything to your earthly masters; not /7 in acts of eye service, as aiming only to please men, but with simplicity of purpose, because you fear the Lord.
3:23 Whatever you are doing, let your hearts be in your work, as a thing done for the Lord and not for men.
3:24 For you know that it is from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. Christ is the Master whose bondservants you are.
3:25 The man who perpetrates a wrong will find the wrong repaid to him; and with God there are /1 no merely earthly distinctions.
4:1 Masters, deal justly and equitably with your slaves, knowing that you too have a Master in Heaven.
4:2 Be earnest and unwearied in prayer, being on the alert in it and in your giving of thanks.
4:3 And pray at the same time for us also, that God may open for us a door for preaching, for us to tell the truth concerning Christ for the sake of which I am even a prisoner.
4:4 Then I shall proclaim it fully, as it is my duty to do.
4:5 Behave wisely in relation to the outside world, buying up your opportunities.
4:6 Let your language be always seasoned with the salt of grace, so that you may know how to give every man /2 a fitting answer.
4:7 Tychicus, our much-loved brother, a trusty assistant and fellow servant with us in the Lord's work, will give you every information about me.
4:8 And for this very purpose I send him to you that you may know how we are faring; and that he may cheer your hearts.
4:9 And with him I send our dear and trusty brother Onesimus, who is one of yourselves. They will inform you of everything here.
4:10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner sends greeting to you, and so does Barnabas's cousin Mark. You have received instructions as to him; if he comes to you, give him a welcome.
4:11 Jesus, called Justus, also sends greeting. These three are Hebrew converts. They alone among such have worked loyally with me for the Kingdom of God--they are men who have been a comfort to me.
4:12 Epaphras, who is one of yourselves, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, sends greetings to you, always wrestling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand firm--Christians of ripe character and of clear conviction as to everything which is God's will.
4:13 For I can bear witness to the deep interest he takes in you and in the brethren at Laodicea and in those at Hierapolis.
4:14 Luke, the dearly-loved physician, salutes you, and so does Demas.
4:15 Christian greetings to the brethren at Laodicea, especially to Nymphas, and to /1 the Church that meets at their house.
4:16 And when this Letter has been read /2 among you, let it be read also in the Church of the Laodiceans, and you in turn must read the one I am sending to Laodicea.
4:17 And tell Archippus to discharge carefully the duties devolving upon him as a servant of the Lord.
4:18 I Paul add with my own hand this final greeting. Be mindful of me in my imprisonment. Grace be with you.