Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,
since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints;
because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel
which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth;
just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf,
and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit.
For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously
giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities all things have been created through Him and for Him.
He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.
For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him,
and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.
And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds,
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
if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions.
Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God,
that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints,
to whom 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.
We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.
For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me. 2
For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face,
that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ Himself,
in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument.
For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.
Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,
having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.
For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,
and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;
and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ;
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.
When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions,
having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.
Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day
things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.
Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind,
and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.
If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as,
"Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!'
(which all refer to things destined to perish with use)in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men?
These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence. 3