Colossians 1 1 Paul (apostle of Jesus Christ by God’s will) and brother Timothy, 2 to the saints at Colossae. Faithful brethren in Christ: grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 In our constant prayers concerning you, we thank the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all the saints. 5 These are built on the hope reserved for you in heaven that you formerly heard about in the gospel’s word of truth, 6 which came to you just as it did to all the world, and is bearing fruit as it does in you too, since the day you heard and truly recognised God’s grace. 7 Also, you learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow slave, who is for you a faithful servant of Christ, 8 and who also revealed to us your love in the Spirit.
9 As a result, we’ve not stopped praying for you since we heard, asking for you to be filled with complete discernment of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, 10 enabling you to live worthy of the Lord: pleasing him fully, bearing fruit in every good work and growing into the knowledge of God; 11 being invested with all power in line with his glorious strength, for all patience and long-suffering with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father, who qualified us to partake of the saints’ inheritance in the light.
13 He has rescued us from the jurisdiction of the darkness, and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of his love, 14 in whom we have redemption: the forgiveness of sins. 15 He is the image of God the invisible, and the firstborn of all creation, 16 for in him everything in the heavens and on the earth were created, things seen and those unseen (whether seats of judgment or dominions, principalities or powers), all things were created through him and for him, 17 and he is before all and in him everything comes together. 18 He is head of the body, the assembly of believers; the original firstborn from the dead, that he should hold first place among all.
19 For it delighted All Completeness to reside in him, 20 and, through him, having made peace through the blood of the cross, to reconcile by it everything to himself, whether on earth or in the heavens. 21 And you who once were alienated, hostile in your thoughts, wicked in your deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh through death, to present you holy, without fault and blameless in his sight, 23 if, of course, you persevere in the faith, firmly grounded and not drawn away from the hope of the gospel you heard, as it was preached to all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a servant.
24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, as I contribute in my flesh, my part of what remains—after the sufferings of Christ—of the afflictions required by his body, the assembly. 25 I became a servant of the body, by the commission God gave me, to fully expound the word of God for you: 26 the mystery which was hidden from the ages and generations, but is now revealed to his saints, 27 to whom God wished to reveal the glorious riches for all peoples of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and training everyone in all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ, 29 to which end I am working, striving through his strength acting powerfully in me.
Colossians 2 1 I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and those at Laodicea and for all who’ve never met me, 2 that your hearts may be comforted by being joined together in love, having all the riches of confident knowledge of the mystery of God, who is Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge. 4 I say this so that no one may delude you with persuasive words, 5 for though I am apart from you in the body, in the spirit I am with you, and delight to see the discipline and stability of your faith in Christ.
6 Just as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, go on in him; 7 having your roots in him, build on him; and being established in faith as you were taught, increase in it by your gratitude. 8 Be careful that no one captures you through the sophistries and vain seductions of the traditions of men and the principles of the world, and not in the way of Christ, 9 for the completeness of the godhead is embodied in him, 10 and you are complete in him who is head of every rule and power.
11 You were also circumcised in him, with a circumcision not done with hands, involving putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ. 12 Having been buried with him in baptism, you are also raised with him, through the transcendent power of the faith of God, who raised him up from the dead; 13 and though you were dead in the sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he made you alive with him, graciously forgiving all your sins. 14 He obliterated the written law which ruled against us as it was opposed to us, removing it from our midst and nailing it to the cross: 15 he stripped the rulers and the powers, exposing them to open disgrace, triumphing over them by the cross.
16 Let no one, then, judge you about eating or drinking, or regarding participation in festivals, new moons or Sabbaths; 17 these are but shadows of things which were intended—they are embodied in Christ. 18 Let no one defraud you of your reward by insisting on asceticism in the worship of angels, as he goes into great details of his false visions. He is puffed up without cause in his carnal mind, 19 and has lost connection with the head, from whom the entire body is nourished, and, held together by its joints and ligaments, matures with the growth that is from God.
20 Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of the world, why, as if still alive to the world, do you follow its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Don’t even touch!”? 22 Use of these will lead to moral decay, just like all man’s tenets and teachings. 23 Such maxims may indeed seem wise, with their contrived religious practices and humility, and their brutality to the body, but they have no value against the indulgences of the flesh.
Colossians 3 1 If then you are risen with Christ, pursue the higher things, where Christ is seated at God’s right hand; 2 turn your thoughts to things above, not things on earth, 3 for you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ our life appears, then you too will be revealed with him in honour, 5 so count all parts of your earthly body as dead; to sexual immorality, depraved lusting, evil cravings, and greed; all of which are idolatry. 6 Because of these things the anger of God is coming on the sons of unbelief, 7 and these you too once practiced when you lived with them.
8 But now remove from your mouth all these as well: anger, wicked fury, slanderous abuse and foul language, 9 and don’t lie to each other. Put off the old man with its practices 10 and put on the new; be made new through true knowledge into the likeness of its creator, 11 in which state there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian or Scythian, slave or freeborn, but Christ is the totality, and is in each one.
12 As God’s chosen then, holy and loved, clothe yourselves with merciful hearts of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and toleration, 13 bearing with one another, and if one is offended by another, forgiving each other. Just as Christ forgave you, so too should you. 14 Over all these add love, which is the binding agent of perfection, 15 and let the peace of God be your heart’s arbiter, for to this way of life you were called as one body, and grow in gratitude. 16 Let the word of Christ reside in you richly, so you may teach and exhort one another with all wisdom, and sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to the Lord with gratitude in your hearts.
17 Do all that you ever do, in word or action, in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him: 18 wives, take the place of subjection to your husband as is proper in the Lord; 19 husbands, love your wives and don’t be harsh with them; 20 children, obey your parents in all things as this pleases the Lord; 21 fathers, don’t be brutal with your children or their spirits may be broken; 22 slaves, obey your earthly masters in all things, not just while you’re being watched, to keep them happy, but with sincere hearts, fearing God, 23 and let your hearts be in all that you do, as working to the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that you will receive the reward of your inheritance from the Lord Christ, for it is he you serve, 25 but whoever does evil will be repaid for the wrong he has done—there will be no favouritism; Colossians 4 1 masters, be just and fair with your slaves, aware that you too have a master in heaven.
2 Persevere in prayer, staying alert and thankful; 3 praying at the same time for us, that God would open for us a door for speaking, to tell the mystery of Christ (to whom I am also captive), 4 that I might make it plain, which it is my obligation to do. 5 Conduct yourselves wisely among those outside, seizing every opportunity; 6 your words always seasoned with the salt of grace, discerning how you are to respond to each one.
7 Tychicus: beloved brother, faithful servant and fellow slave in the Lord, will tell you all my news, 8 and I send him to you for the same purpose, that he might learn how you are too; that he might encourage your hearts, 9 and, together with Onesimus, faithful and beloved brother (and one of your own), will tell you everything that’s happened here.
10 My fellow prisoner Aristarchus greets you, as does Barnabas’ nephew Marcus (whom you have directions to receive if he ever visits you), 11 and Jesus, who is called Justus. They are the only Jews among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have become a real encouragement for me. 12 Epaphras, one of your people and a slave of Christ, sends his best wishes. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may be firmly established, perfected and fulfilled in all the will of God, 13 for I can testify to his tremendous zeal for you and for those in Laodicea and Hierapolis.
14 Luke, the dear doctor, and Demas greet you.
15 Pass on my greetings to the brethren in Laodicea: to Nymphas and the assembly meeting at his home, 16 and when this letter has been read among you, make sure that it is also read in the Laodicean assembly, and that you also read their letter. 17 Say to Archippus, “Make sure that you fulfill the ministry you received in the Lord.”
18 I, Paul, add my best wishes with my own hand. Keep my bonds in mind. Grace be with you. Amen.