Greeting

1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the saints and faithful brothers in Christ who live in Colosse: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.

Gratitude for God’s Grace

We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying for you at all times 4 since we heard about your faith in Christ Jesus and about the love you have for all the saints. We thank him because of the hope that is stored up for you in heaven, a hope that you previously heard about in the message of the truth: the gospel that has come to you. And just as this gospel is bearing fruit and growing in all the world, so it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth; that is, since1 you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf,2 and who also declared to us your love in the Spirit.

Prayer for God’s Grace

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, 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 that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all power according to his glorious might for all endurance and longsuffering, with joy3 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light; 13 who has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, even the forgiveness of sins.

Prerogatives of the Divine Christ

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, both in the heavens and upon the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities. All things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.4 18 He is also the head of the body, the church; and he5 is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that in all things he may have the preeminence. 19 For it pleased God that all the fullness should dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile all things to himself, having made peace through the blood of his cross—whether things on the earth or things in the heavens.

Redemption in Christ

21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 22 he now has reconciled by his body of flesh, through death, so as to present you holy, blameless, and above reproach before him— 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was preached in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have been made a minister.

Marks of the Minister of Christ

24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ. I do this for the sake of his body, which is the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God— 26 the mystery hidden from the ages and generations past, but now revealed to his saints; 27 to whom God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ Jesus. 29 To this end I also labor, striving according to his working, which works mightily within me.

Notes

  1. Lit. just as
  2. Or your
  3. Or longsuffering with joy, giving
  4. I.e. continue and cohere
  5. Lit. who is

 

Not Philosophy, but Christ

For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you, for those who are in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love; and that they may attain to all the riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God—which is Christ himself— in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive arguments. For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to behold your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ. Therefore, just as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith just as you were taught it, always overflowing with thanksgiving.

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world-system, and not according to Christ. For in him dwells all the fullness of the godhead1 in bodily form; 10 and in him you have been made complete,2 who is the head over all rule and authority. 11 In him you also were circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, by the putting off of the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ; 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you also were raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, he brought to life together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 having blotted out that which stood against us, even the certificate of debt consisting of decrees3 opposed to us. And he has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross; 15 and having stripped the rulers and authorities of their power, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them through it.4

Not Legalism, Asceticism, or Mysticism, but Christ

16 Therefore let no one be your judge with respect to food and drink, or in regard to a festival or a new moon or various Sabbath days, 17 which are mere shadows of the things to come, whereas the substance5 belongs to Christ. 18 Let no one rob you of your prize, taking pleasure in self-abasement and the worship of angels, going on and on about the things he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, 19 and not holding fast to the head, from whom the whole body—nourished and knit together by its joints and ligaments—grows with a growth that comes from God.

20 If you died with Christ to6 the elementary principles of the world-system, why, as if you were still living in the world, do you subject yourselves to its regulations— 21 “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” 22 (all of which refer to things that are meant to perish with the using)—according to the commandments and teachings of mere men? 23 These do indeed give an appearance of wisdom in the form of self-made religion, false humility, and severe treatment of the body,7 but they are of no value whatsoever against the indulgence of the flesh.8

Notes

  1. Or deity
  2. Or filled, fulfilled
  3. Or judgments, sentences
  4. Or Him (Christ)
  5. Lit. the body (itself)
  6. Lit. from
  7. Or false humility by means of severe.
  8. Or possibly of no value whatsoever, leading only to the indulgence of the flesh

 

The New Man in Christ

If then you were raised with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God; and when Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Therefore put to death what is earthly within you:1 sexual immorality, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness (which is idolatry). Because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.2 And you yourselves once walked in them, when you lived in them. But now you must put off all these as well: anger, wrath, malice, slander,3 and obscene talk out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his practices, 10 and have put on the new man, who is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of the One who created him, 11 wherein there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.

12 Therefore, as the chosen ones of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another: Just as the Lord forgave you, so too you should forgive one another. 14 And above all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond for uniting you as one.4 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom5 teaching and admonishing one another with psalms6 and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace7 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.

Orderly Relationships

18 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is proper in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them.8 20 Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not press9 your children too hard, lest they should lose heart. 22 Slaves, in all things obey your masters according to the flesh, not with mere eye-service, as menpleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. 23 And whatever you do, work at it heartily, as if for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward: It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. 25 But the one who does wrong will pay for the wrong he has done; and with God there is no partiality.

Notes

  1. Lit. your members which are on the earth
  2. Some mss omit upon the sons of disobedience
  3. Or blasphemy
  4. Lit. which is the perfect uniting bond
  5. Or richly in all wisdom, teaching
  6. Or one another, with psalms
  7. Or gratitude
  8. Or deal harshly with them
  9. Lit. provoke

 

Masters, treat your slaves with justice and equity, knowing that you too have a master in heaven.

Final Commands

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray for us as well, that God would open to us a door for the word, that we might speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains; and pray that when I make it known, I may speak of it clearly, just as I ought.1 Walk in wisdom towards those who are on the outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

Final Greetings

Tychicus, our beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me. I am sending him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know our circumstances and that he may comfort your hearts. Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother who is one of you, will come with him. They will make known to you everything that is happening here.

10 Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, greets you, along with Mark, the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions: if he comes to you, you are to welcome him), 11 and Jesus, who is called Justus. These are my only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who belong to the circumcision, and they have become a comfort to me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of your number and a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, greets you. With great fervor he is always striving for you in his prayers, so that you may stand complete and fully assured in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him witness that he has a deep concern for you, and also for those who are in Laodicea and Hierapolis.14 Luke, the beloved physician, sends you his greetings, and Demas as well. 15 Greet the brothers who are in Laodicea, and also Nympha and the church that is in her house.

Concluding Exhortation and Blessing

16 Now when this letter is read among you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you, in like manner, read the letter that is coming to you from Laodicea. 17 And say to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry you have received in the Lord, so that you may fulfill it.”

18 I, Paul, write this salutation with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you. Amen.

Notes

  1. Lit. that I might manifest it, as it is necessary for me to speak.