1 Paul, Apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ at Colossae:
2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.
3 We always give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, whenever we remember you in our prayers. 4 For we have heard of your faith in Jesus Christ and of your love toward all the saints. 5 We also know that you hope for your reward in heaven, as you have learned from the Gospel of truth, 6 which was proclaimed to you and to all mankind. This Gospel is now bearing fruit and thriving everywhere, and also among yourselves, since the day you first heard of it and received the grace of the true God.
7 You have obtained that information from Epaphras, our beloved fellow servant of Christ. 8 He told us also about your love in the Holy Spirit.
9 So ever since the day we received his report, we have been praying for you in return unceasingly. This is our prayer for you: May God fill you with the knowledge of his will, with all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 May God help you to lead a life worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in divine insight. 11 May God strengthen you with all his glorious power and might to endure everything patiently and joyfully.
12 We give thanks to God our Father. For he enabled us to share the inheritance of the saints who live in the light.
13 He rescued us from the power of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son. 14 In him, through his blood, we find our redemption and the remission of our sins.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation. 16 All beings, whether heavenly or earthly, whether visible or invisible, whether thrones or dominions, whether principalities or authorities, were created in his name. Yes, everything was created through him and for him.
17 He stands above all, and everything subsists in him. 18 He is the head of the Church which is his body. He existed from the beginning, and became the pioneer of the resurrection. He is pre-eminent in everything. 19 For God in his perfection has graciously dwelt in him.
20 God has reconciled to himself all men through him, whether on earth or in heaven, and has made peace with them through his blood on the Cross.
21 You also were once estranged and hostile in disposition because of your evil deeds. Yet he has now reconciled you 22 in his flesh through his death, in order to present you holy, blameless, and irreproachable before him. 23 But you must remain well-grounded and steadfast in the faith. You must not shift from the hope of the Gospel which you heard, which has been preached to every creature under heaven, and of which I became the Apostle.
24 At present I am glad I am suffering for your sake. Thus I am making up in my own flesh the balance of the afflictions of Christ for the Church which is his body. 25 I became his missionary by virtue of the divine commission which authorized me to preach among you the Gospel of God in its fulness.
26 This was the secret which had been hidden for ages and generations. 27 Now God has revealed it to his saints. For he wanted to manifest the wealth and the glory of this secret to the Gentiles. This secret means that Christ is in you, and he is the hope of your glory.
28 Therefore we proclaim his Gospel. We advise and teach every man as wisely as we can to achieve the perfection of Jesus Christ. 29 This is the mission for which I am laboring and fighting with the mighty energy with which he has endowed me.
1 I want you to know what a fight I am putting up for you, for our brothers in Laodicea, and for all those who do not know me personally. 2 May their hearts be comforted. May they be knit together in love. May they have all the wealth of conviction that comes from insight. May they penetrate the secret revealed to us by God the Father and by Jesus Christ, 3 in whom all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are stored up.
4 Now I warn you again. You must not let anyone delude you with plausible arguments. 5 For though I am absent in the flesh, I am with you in spirit, and I am glad to see your discipline and the firmness of your faith in Christ. 6 Therefore order your lives according to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ which you have received. 7 Be rooted and built up in him. Be established in the faith, as you were taught. Be overflowing in thanksgiving for these blessings.
8 See to it that no one victimizes you through philosophy and through empty paganism. The former is based on human speculation, the latter on the worship of natural forces. Both of them are opposed to Christianity.
9 For we believe that Christ is the embodiment of divine perfection. 10 We believe that we become perfect through union with Christ. We believe that Christ is the head of all the angelic Principalities and Powers.
11 As you well know, you have received a mystical circumcision through the circumcision of Christ which enabled you to put off the sins of the flesh. 12 You have been buried with Christ through baptism. You have risen from the dead with Christ through faith in Almighty God who raised him from the dead.
13 Christ has raised you to life when you were dead through your trespasses and through the uncircumcision of your flesh. He forgave all your sins. 14 He cancelled the old book of the Law which stood against us. He put it out of our way. He nailed it on the Cross. 15 He despoiled the infernal dominions and realms. He dragged their rulers as captives in procession, and through his Cross he led us all to triumph.
16 Consequently, no one can call you to account on rules of food and drink, or on observances of a festival, or a new moon, or a sabbath. 17 For they were only symbols of future realities. The sum total of these realities is Christ.
18 You must not let anyone cheat you with a sham humility, angel-worship, imaginary visions, and puffed-up hallucinations of the flesh which have no connection with Christ. 19 For he is the head from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its ligaments and sinews, grows up with a divine growth.
20 Now if you have died in Christ and have parted company with all worldly principles, why do you still act as if you were living a worldly life? Why do you submit to human precepts and regulations 21 against touching, tasting, or handling things, 22 which all perish as they are used?
23 Such practices have a show of wisdom, with their self-imposed devotions, their self-humiliation, and their ascetic discipline. But they are all forgotten when nature demands full gratification.
1 If you have risen from the dead with Christ, seek the blessings of heaven, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Be heavenly-minded, not earthly-minded. 3 Your earthly life is at an end, and now begins your mystical life with Christ in God.
4 When Christ, who is our life, appears from heaven, you also will appear in glory with him 5 Therefore turn away from all the earthly cravings of your flesh, namely fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and avarice, which are as wicked as idolatry. 6 Men practicing these vices arouse the wrath of God, because they disobey him.
7 Remember that you were guilty of these sins in the past. 8 But now you must cast them all away, including anger, rage, malice, blasphemy, and obscenity. 9 Do not lie to one another. For you are through with your old self and your old practices. 10 Now you have begun life as a new man, recreated in wisdom after the image of the Creator. 11 In this respect there is no difference between Gentile and Jew, circumcized and uncircumcized, barbarian and Scythian, slave and freeman. Now Christ is everything, and he lives in everyone of you.
12 As the chosen and beloved saints of God, practice mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13 Be tolerant with one another and always ready to forgive anyone who has a difference with you. Forgive others as Christ has forgiven you.
14 Above all, practice charity, which is the bond of perfection.15 Let the peace of God reign in your hearts. For you have been called to become members of a single body. Be always thankful. 16 Let the Gospel of Christ dwell in you and enrich your hearts. Teach and admonish one another in all wisdom. Sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual anthems. Praise God and give thanks to him with all your hearts.
17 Whenever you have to say or do anything, always invoke the name of the Lord Jesus, and give thanks to God the Father through him.
THE CHRISTIAN FAMILY
18 Wives, obey your husbands, as it is your duty in the Lord.
19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh toward them.
20 Children, obey your parents always, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord.
21 Fathers, do not exasperate your children, and do not break their hearts.
MASTERS AND SLAVES
22 Slaves, obey always your secular masters. Do not render them mere external service, as if you had only men to please. Perform your duties with sincerity of heart and with fear of God.
23 Whatever your task may be, carry it out heartily, as if you were doing it for the Lord and not for men. 24 You know well that you will receive the reward of the inheritan from the Lord. Remember that you are serving the Lord Jesus. 25 Remember that the wrongdoer will receive retribution for the wrong he has done without any partiality.
1 Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly. Remember that you also have a master in heaven.
2 Be steadfast in your prayer, and watchful in your thanksgiving. 3 Pray for me also. May God afford me an opening for preaching the revelation of Christ, which is the cause of my imprisonment, 4 and show me how to proclaim his Gospel.
5 Be prudent in your behavior with outsiders, and make the most of this opportunity. 6 Your manner of speaking must always be gracious and seasoned with salt. You must know how to answer everyone.
TYCHICUS AND ONESIMUS
7 Tychicus will tell you all about my affairs. He is a beloved brother, a faithful missionary and a fellow servant in the Lord. 8 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that he may let you know how I am and cheer up your hearts. 9 He is accompanied by Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother. He will tell you of everything that has taken place here.
10 You have greetings from Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner; from Mark; the cousin of Barnabas about whom you have already received instructions and whom you must welcome when he visits you; 11 and also from Jesus, who is surnamed Justus. They are the only Jews who have helped me to preach the Kingdom of God. They have been a comfort to me.
12 You have greetings from Epaphras, a servant of Christ, who is one of your friends. He always remembers you in his prayers very earnestly. He hopes that you will become mature and perfect in every respect according to the will of God. 13 I assure you that he is greatly concerned over you as well as the brethren of Laodicea and Hierapolis.
14 You have greetings from Luke, our beloved physician, and from Demas. 15 Give our greetings to the brethren at Laodicea, to Nymphas, and to the Church in his house.
CHURCH OF LAODICEA
16 When this letter has been read to you, have it read also in the Church of Laodicea, and see that you read the letter from Laodicea as well.
17 And tell Archippus: “See to it that you fulfill the duty which has been committed to you in the service of the Lord.”
18 Receive this greeting from the hand of Paul himself. Remember that he is in prison, The grace of God be with you. Amen.