· Epistle to the Colossians ·

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CHAPTER 1
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1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 2to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving and prayer

3We give thanks to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and we always pray for you. 4We have heard about your faith in Christ Jesus and about the love which you have for all the saints, 5because of the hope which is prepared for you in heaven. Of this hope you have heard before in the word of the truth of the Good News 6which has come to you; even as it is in the whole world. It has been bearing fruit and growing, as it has done in you too since the day you heard and experienced the grace of God in truth. 7This is what you also learnt from Epaphras, our beloved fellow-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf. 8He has informed us of your love in the Spirit. 9For this reason, since the day we heard this, we do not cease praying and making requests for you, so that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10We also pray that you may walk worthily of the Lord, to please him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God. 11May you be strengthened with all power, according to the might of his glory, for all endurance and perseverance with joy. 12May you give thanks to the Father, who has granted us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13He has delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated us into the Kingdom of the Son of his love. 14In him, we have our redemption, the forgiveness of our sins.

About Christ – The mystery: Christ in you

15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16For in him, everything was created, in the heavens and on earth, things visible and invisible, thrones, dominions, principalities and powers; everything has been created through him, and for him. 17He is before everything, and in him everything holds together. 18He is the head of the body, the Church, the first cause, the firstborn from the dead, so that in all he might have the first place. 19For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, 20and through him to reconcile everything to himself, both earthly and heavenly, having made peace through the blood of his cross.

21In the past, you were alienated and hostile in mind in your evil actions. 22But now, he has reconciled you in the body of his flesh through death, in order to present you holy, without blemish and blameless before him. 23This is if you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, not moved away from the hope of the Good News which you heard. I, Paul, became a servant of this Good News that is being proclaimed throughout all creation under heaven.

24Now, I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh, I complete what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ for the sake of his body which is the Church. 25I have become her servant, according to God’s commission which was I received for you, in order to fulfil the word of God. 26This is the mystery which was hidden for ages and generations. But now, it has been revealed to his saints. 27To them, God was pleased to reveal the glorious generosity of this mystery among the Gentiles. This mystery is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28This is what we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone in all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ Jesus. 29This is what I also work for, struggling with his energy which is powerfully at work in me.

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CHAPTER 2
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Spiritual struggles – Against false teachers

1I want you to know how greatly I struggle for you, for those at Laodicea, and even for all those who do not know me in person. 2Yes, I struggle so that their hearts may be comforted and for them to be united in love, obtaining the treasure that is in the full assurance of understanding, so that they may know the mystery of God the Father and of Christ. 3In him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4Now, I say these things so that no one may delude you with convincing words. 5Although I am physically absent, I am spiritually present with you, rejoicing and seeing your order, as well as the solidity of your faith in Christ. 6As you received Christ Jesus as the Lord, walk also in him, 7rooted and built up in him, established in the faith just as you were taught, overflowing from faith into thanksgiving.

Buried with him, raised with him

8Be careful not to let anyone rob you through philosophy and vain deceit, according to human tradition and the basic things of the world, and not after Christ. 9For in him all the fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10and in him who is the head of all principality and power, you are made full. 11In him, you were also circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, by casting off the sinful nature in the circumcision of Christ. 12You have been buried with him through baptism in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13You were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, but he made you alive with him by forgiving us all our trespasses and by 14wiping out the handwriting of ordinances which was against us. He removed it out of the way, nailing it to the cross, 15having exposed the principalities and powers, making a public display of them, and triumphing over them.

Useless or dangerous teachings

16Therefore, let no one judge you in matters of eating, drinking, or regarding a feast day, a new moon or a Sabbath day. 17These are a shadow of the things to come, but the body belongs to Christ. 18Let no one rob you of your prize by false humility and a religion of angels, dwelling on things which such a one has not seen, vainly puffed up by a carnal mind. 19Such a person is not holding firmly to the head, from whom the whole body, being supported and knit together through the joints and ligaments, grows with the growth given by God. 20But if you died with Christ as regards these basic principles of the world, why do you subject yourselves to commandments, as though you were still living in the world? 21‘Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch.’ 22These things are all destined to perish with use. These are merely human commands and teachings. 23Indeed, these things have an appearance of wisdom in self- imposed religion, humility, severe treatment of the body; but they have no value against the indulgence of the flesh.

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CHAPTER 3
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Raised with Christ – Death to what is earthly – The new self

1If you were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth. 3For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ who is our life is revealed, then you will also be revealed with him in glory. 5Therefore, put to death what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, depraved passions, lust and greed – which is idolatry. 6Because of these things, the wrath of God is coming on the children of disobedience. 7You also used to live in those things when you lived among these people; 8but now, put them all away: anger, rage, evil, slander, and shameful language. 9Do not lie to one another. You have put off the old self with his doings 10and you have put on the new self who is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of his Creator. 11Here, there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free; but Christ is all, and in all.

12As God’s elect, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, humility, and perseverance. 13Bear with one another, and forgive each other. If anyone has a complaint against anyone else, forgive, even as Christ forgave you.

14Above all, walk in love, which is the bond of perfection. 15Let the peace of God to which also you were called in one body rule in your hearts, and be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. In all wisdom, teach and admonish each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your heart to the Lord.

17Whatever you do, in word or in deed, do it all in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.

Christian family – Servants and Masters

18Wives, be in subjection to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

19Husbands, love your wives, and do not be bitter against them.

20Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is pleasing to the Lord.

21Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not be discouraged.

22Servants, obey in everything those who are your masters according to the flesh, not just when they are looking to please human beings, but in singleness of heart, fearing God. 23Whatever you do, work with your heart, as for the Lord, and not for men. 24Know that you will receive the reward of your inheritance from the Lord, for you serve the Lord Christ. 25But whoever does wrong will receive in return according to the wrong that he has done, and there is no partiality.

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CHAPTER 4
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1Masters, give to your servants what is fair and right, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.

Persevere in prayer

2Persevere in prayer, even in vigils of thanksgiving. 3Pray for us as well, so that God may open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ for which I am in chains. 4Pray also that I may reveal it as clearly as I should. 5Live wisely before those who are ‘outside’ and make the most of your time. 6Let your speech always be pleasant, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to properly answer those who have questions.

Paul’s fellow-workers

7All my affairs will be made known to you by Tychicus, the beloved brother, a faithful servant and fellow-slave in the Lord. 8I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that he may know your circumstances and comfort your hearts, 9together with Onesimus, the faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here. 10Aristarchus, my fellow-prisoner, greets you, and Mark, the cousin of Barnabas, concerning whom you received instructions, ‘if he comes to you, receive him,’ 11and also Jesus who is called Justus. These are my only fellow-workers for the Kingdom of God who are of the circumcision, and they have been my consolation.

12Epaphras who is one of you, a servant of Christ, salutes you. He is always wrestling for you in his prayers, so that you may stand perfect and fulfil in all things the will of God. 13I can testify about him: that he has devotion to you, and also to those in Laodicea and Hierapolis. 14Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas greet you. 15Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea; and also Nymphas, along with the Church which meets in her house. 16When this letter has been read among you, please have it also read in the Church of the Laodiceans; and also read the letter from Laodicea. 17Tell Archippus this, “Be mindful of the ministry which you have received in the Lord, and fulfil it.”

18Here is my greeting: Paul, with my own hand. Remember my chains… Grace be with you. Amen.