21Let me tell you how hard I have worked for you and for the people in Laodicea and for all others who do not know me personally. 2I do this in order that they may be filled with courage and may be drawn together in love, and so have the full wealth of assurance which true understanding brings. In this way they will know God's secret, which is Christ himself.2.2 God's secret, which is Christ himself; some manuscripts have God's secret; others have the secret of God the Father of Christ; others have the secret of the God and Father, and of Christ. 3He is the key that opens all the hidden treasures of God's wisdom and knowledge.
4I tell you, then, do not let anyone deceive you with false arguments, no matter how good they seem to be. 5For even though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, and I am glad as I see the resolute firmness with which you stand together in your faith in Christ.
6Since you have accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, live in union with him. 7Keep your roots deep in him, build your lives on him, and become stronger in your faith, as you were taught. And be filled with thanksgiving.
8See to it, then, that no one enslaves you by means of the worthless deceit of human wisdom, which comes from the teachings handed down by human beings and from the ruling spirits of the universe, and not from Christ. 9For the full content of divine nature lives in Christ, in his humanity, 10and you have been given full life in union with him. He is supreme over every spiritual ruler and authority.
11In union with Christ you were circumcised, not with the circumcision that is made by human beings, but with the circumcision made by Christ, which consists of being freed from the power of this sinful self. 12
For when you were baptized, you were buried with Christ, and in baptism you were also raised with Christ through your faith in the active power of God, who raised him from death. 13
You were at one time spiritually dead because of your sins and because you were Gentiles without the Law. But God has now brought you to life with Christ. God forgave us all our sins; 14
he cancelled the unfavourable record of our debts with its binding rules and did away with it completely by nailing it to the cross. 15And on that cross Christ freed himself from the power of the spiritual rulers and authorities;2.15 Christ freed himself from the power of the spiritual rulers and authorities; or Christ stripped the spiritual rulers and authorities of their power. he made a public spectacle of them by leading them as captives in his victory procession.
So let no one make rules about what you eat or drink or about holy days or the New Moon Festival or the Sabbath. 17All such things are only a shadow of things in the future; the reality is Christ. 18Do not allow yourselves to be condemned by anyone who claims to be superior because of special visions and who insists on false humility and the worship of angels. For no reason at all, such people are all puffed up by their human way of thinking 19
and have stopped holding on to Christ, who is the head of the body. Under Christ's control the whole body is nourished and held together by its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God wants it to grow.
20You have died with Christ and are set free from the ruling spirits of the universe. Why, then, do you live as though you belonged to this world? Why do you obey such rules as 21“Don't handle this,” “Don't taste that,” “Don't touch the other”? 22All these refer to things which become useless once they are used; they are only human rules and teachings. 23Of course such rules appear to be based on wisdom in their forced worship of angels, and false humility, and severe treatment of the body; but they have no real value in controlling physical passions.
You have been raised to life with Christ, so set your hearts on the things that are in heaven, where Christ sits on his throne at the right-hand side of God. 2Keep your minds fixed on things there, not on things here on earth. 3For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4Your real life is Christ and when he appears, then you too will appear with him and share his glory!
5You must put to death, then, the earthly desires at work in you, such as sexual immorality, indecency, lust, evil passions, and greed (for greed is a form of idolatry). 6Because of such things God's anger will come upon those who do not obey him.3.6 Some manuscripts do not have upon those who do not obey him. 7At one time you yourselves used to live according to such desires, when your life was dominated by them.
8But now you must get rid of all these things: anger, passion, and hateful feelings. No insults or obscene talk must ever come from your lips. 9
Do not lie to one another, for you have taken off the old self with its habits 10
and have put on the new self. This is the new being which God, its Creator, is constantly renewing in his own image, in order to bring you to a full knowledge of himself. 11As a result, there is no longer any distinction between Gentiles and Jews, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarians, savages, slaves, and free, but Christ is all, Christ is in all.
You are the people of God; he loved you and chose you for his own. So then, you must clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13
Be tolerant with one another and forgive one another whenever any of you has a complaint against someone else. You must forgive one another just as the Lord has forgiven you. 14And to all these qualities add love, which binds all things together in perfect unity. 15The peace that Christ gives is to guide you in the decisions you make; for it is to this peace that God has called you together in the one body. And be thankful. 16
Christ's message in all its richness must live in your hearts. Teach and instruct each other with all wisdom. Sing psalms, hymns, and sacred songs; sing to God with thanksgiving in your hearts. 17Everything you do or say, then, should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, as you give thanks through him to God the Father.
Wives, submit to your husbands, for that is what you should do as Christians.
Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
Children, it is your Christian duty to obey your parents always, for that is what pleases God.
Parents, do not irritate your children, or they will become discouraged.
Slaves, obey your human masters in all things, not only when they are watching you because you want to gain their approval; but do it with a sincere heart because of your reverence for the Lord. 23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for human beings. 24Remember that the Lord will give you as a reward what he has kept for his people. For Christ is the real Master you serve. 25
And wrongdoers will be repaid for the wrong things they do, because God judges everyone by the same standard.
Masters, be fair and just in the way you treat your slaves. Remember that you too have a Master in heaven.
2Be persistent in prayer, and keep alert as you pray, giving thanks to God. 3At the same time pray also for us, so that God will give us a good opportunity to preach his message about the secret of Christ. For that is why I am now in prison. 4Pray, then, that I may speak, as I should, in such a way as to make it clear.
Be wise in the way you act towards those who are not believers, making good use of every opportunity you have. 6Your speech should always be pleasant and interesting, and you should know how to give the right answer to everyone.
Our dear brother Tychicus, who is a faithful worker and fellow-servant in the Lord's work, will give you all the news about me. 8That is why I am sending him to you, in order to cheer you up by telling you how all of us are getting on. 9
With him goes Onesimus, that dear and faithful brother, who belongs to your group. They will tell you everything that is happening here.
Aristarchus, who is in prison with me, sends you greetings, and so does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have already received instructions to welcome Mark if he comes your way.) 11Joshua, also called Justus, sends greetings too. These three are the only Jewish believers who work with me for the Kingdom of God, and they have been a great help to me.
Greetings from Epaphras, another member of your group and a servant of Christ Jesus. He always prays fervently for you, asking God to make you stand firm, as mature and fully convinced Christians, in complete obedience to God's will. 13I can personally testify to his hard work for you and for the people in Laodicea and Hierapolis. 14
Luke, our dear doctor, and Demas send you their greetings.
15Give our best wishes to the brothers and sisters in Laodicea and to Nympha and the church that meets in her house.4.15 Nympha… her house; some manuscripts have Nymphas… his house. 16After you read this letter, make sure that it is read also in the church at Laodicea. At the same time, you are to read the letter that the brothers and sisters in Laodicea will send you. 17
And say to Archippus, “Be sure to finish the task you were given in the Lord's service.”
18With my own hand I write this: Greetings from Paul. Do not forget my chains!
May God's grace be with you.