1:1 From Paul, appointed by God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy

1:2 to the saints in Colossae, our faithful brothers in Christ: Grace and peace to you from God our Father.


Thanksgiving and prayer

1:3 We have never failed to remember you in our prayers and to give thanks for you to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

1:4 ever since we heard about your faith in Christ Jesus and the love that you show towards all the saints

1:5 because of the hope which is stored up for you in heaven. It is only recently that you heard of this, when it was announced in the message of the truth. The Good News

1:6 which has reached you is spreading all over the world and producing the same results as it has among you ever since the day when you heard about God’s grace and understood what this really is.

1:7 Epaphras, who taught you, is one of our closest fellow workers and a faithful deputy for us as Christ’s servant,

1:8 and it was he who told us all about your love in the Spirit.

1:9 That will explain why, ever since the day he told us, we have never failed to pray for you, and what we ask God is that through perfect wisdom and spiritual understanding you should reach the fullest knowledge of his will.

1:10 So you will be able to lead the kind of life which the Lord expects of you, a life acceptable to him in all its aspects; showing the results in all the good actions you do and increasing your knowledge of God.

1:11 You will have in you the strength, based on his own glorious power, never to give in, but to bear anything joyfully,

1:12 thanking the Father who has made it possible for you to join the saints and with them to inherit the light.

1:13 Because that is what he has done: he has taken us out of the power of darkness and created a place for us in the kingdom of the Son that he loves,

1:14 and in him, we gain our freedom, the forgiveness of our sins.



Christ is the head of all creation

1:15 He is the image of the unseen God and the first-born of all creation,

1:16 for in him were created all things in heaven and on earth: everything visible and everything invisible, Thrones, Dominations, Sovereignties, Powers – all things were created through him and for him.

1:17 Before anything was created, he existed, and he holds all things in unity. Now the Church is his body, he is its head.

1:18 As he is the Beginning, he was first to be born from the dead, so that he should be first in every way;

1:19 because God wanted all perfection to be found in him

1:20 and all things to be reconciled through him and for him, everything in heaven and everything on earth, when he made peace by his death on the cross.


The Colossians have their share in salvation

1:21 Not long ago, you were foreigners and enemies, in the way that you used to think and the evil things that you did;

1:22 but now he has reconciled you, by his death and in that mortal body. Now you are able to appear before him holy, pure and blameless –

1:23 as long as you persevere and stand firm on the solid base of the faith, never letting yourselves drift away from the hope promised by the Good News, which you have heard, which has been preached to the whole human race, and of which I, Paul, have become the servant.


Paul’s labours in the service of the pagans

1:24 It makes me happy to suffer for you, as I am suffering now, and in my own body to do what I can to make up all that has still to be undergone by Christ for the sake of his body, the Church.

1:25 I became the servant of the Church when God made me responsible for delivering God’s message to you,

1:26 the message which was a mystery hidden for generations and centuries and has now been revealed to his saints.

1:27 It was God’s purpose to reveal it to them and to show all the rich glory of this mystery to pagans. The mystery is Christ among you, your hope of glory:

1:28 this is the Christ we proclaim, this is the wisdom in which we thoroughly train everyone and instruct everyone, to make them all perfect in Christ.

1:29 It is for this I struggle wearily on, helped only by his power driving me irresistibly.



Paul’s concern for the Colossians’ faith

2:1 Yes, I want you to know that I do have to struggle hard for you, and for those in Laodicea, and for so many others who have never seen me face to face.

2:2 It is all to bind you together in love and to stir your minds, so that your understanding may come to full development, until you really know God’s secret

2:3 in which all the jewels of wisdom and knowledge are hidden.

2:4 I say this to make sure that no one deceives you with specious arguments.

2:5 I may be absent in body, but in spirit I am there among you, delighted to find you all in harmony and to see how firm your faith in Christ is.



Live according to the true faith in Christ, not according to false teaching

2:6 You must live your whole life according to the Christ you have received – Jesus the Lord;

2:7 you must be rooted in him and built on him and held firm by the faith you have been taught, and full of thanksgiving.

2:8 Make sure that no one traps you and deprives you of your freedom by some secondhand, empty, rational philosophy based on the principles of this world instead of on Christ.


Christ alone is the true head of men and angels

2:9 In his body lives the fullness of divinity, and in him you too find your own fulfilment,

2:10 in the one who is the head of every Sovereignty and Power.[*a]

2:11 In him you have been circumcised, with a circumcision not performed by human hand, but by the complete stripping of your body of flesh. This is circumcision according to Christ.

2:12 You have been buried with him, when you were baptised; and by baptism, too, you have been raised up with him through your belief in the power of God who raised him from the dead.

2:13 You were dead, because you were sinners and had not been circumcised: he[*b] has brought you to life with him, he has forgiven us all our sins.

2:14 He has overridden the Law, and cancelled every record of the debt that we had to pay; he has done away with it by nailing it to the cross;[*c]

2:15 and so he got rid of the Sovereignties and the Powers, and paraded them in public, behind him in his triumphal procession.[*d]


Against the false asceticism based on ‘the principles of this world’

2:16 From now onwards, never let anyone else decide what you should eat or drink, or whether you are to observe annual festivals, New Moons or sabbaths.

2:17 These were only pale reflections of what was coming: the reality is Christ.

2:18 Do not be taken in by people who like grovelling to angels and worshipping them; people like that are always going on about some vision they have had, inflating themselves to a false importance with their worldly outlook.

2:19 A man of this sort is not united to the head, and it is the head that adds strength and holds the whole body together, with all its joints and sinews – and this is the only way in which it can reach its full growth in God.

2:20 If you have really died with Christ to the principles of this world, why do you still let rules dictate to you, as though you were still living in the world?

2:21 ‘It is forbidden to pick up this, it is forbidden to taste that, it is forbidden to touch something else’;

2:22 all these prohibitions are only concerned with things that perish by their very use – an example of human doctrines and regulations![*e]

2:23 It may be argued that true wisdom is to be found in these, with their self-imposed devotions, their self-abasement, and their severe treatment of the body; but once the flesh starts to protest, they are no use at all.



Life-giving union with the glorified Christ

3:1 Since you have been brought back to true life with Christ, you must look for the things that are in heaven, where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand.

3:2 Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on the things that are on the earth,

3:3 because you have died, and now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God.

3:4 But when Christ is revealed – and he is your life – you too will be revealed in all your glory with him.



General rules of Christian behaviour

3:5 That is why you must kill everything in you that belongs only to earthly life: fornication, impurity, guilty passion, evil desires and especially greed, which is the same thing as worshipping a false god;

3:6 all this is the sort of behaviour that makes God angry.

3:7 And it is the way in which you used to live when you were surrounded by people doing the same thing,

3:8 but now you, of all people, must give all these things up: getting angry, being bad-tempered, spitefulness, abusive language and dirty talk;

3:9 and never tell each other lies. You have stripped off your old behaviour with your old self,

3:10 and you have put on a new self which will progress towards true knowledge the more it is renewed in the image of its creator;

3:11 and in that image there is no room for distinction between Greek and Jew, between the circumcised or the uncircumcised, or between barbarian and Scythian, slave and free man. There is only Christ. he is everything and he is in everything

3:12 You are God’s chosen race, his saints; he loves you, and you should be clothed in sincere compassion, in kindness and humility, gentleness and patience.

3:13 Bear with one another; forgive each other as soon as a quarrel begins. The Lord has forgiven you; now you must do the same.

3:14 Over all these clothes, to keep them together and complete them, put on love.

3:15 And may the peace of Christ reign in your hearts, because it is for this that you were called together as parts of one body. Always be thankful.

3:16 Let the message of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you. Teach each other, and advise each other, in all wisdom. With gratitude in your hearts sing psalms and hymns and inspired songs to God;

3:17 and never say or do anything except in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.


The morals of the home and household

3:18 Wives, give way to your husbands, as you should in the Lord.

3:19 Husbands, love your wives and treat them with gentleness.

3:20 Children, be obedient to your parents always, because that is what will please the Lord.

3:21 Parents, never drive your children to resentment or you will make them feel frustrated.

3:22 Slaves, be obedient to the men who are called your masters in this world; not only when you are under their eye, as if you had only to please men, but wholeheartedly, out of respect for the Master.

3:23 Whatever your work is, put your heart into it as if it were for the Lord and not for men,

3:24 knowing that the Lord will repay you by making you his heirs. It is Christ the Lord that you are serving;

3:25 anyone who does wrong will be repaid in kind and he does not favour one person more than another.



4:1 Masters, make sure that your slaves are given what is just and fair, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.


The apostolic spirit

4:2 Be persevering in your prayers and be thankful as you stay awake to pray.

4:3 Pray for us especially, asking God to show us opportunities for announcing the message and proclaiming the mystery of Christ, for the sake of which I am in chains;

4:4 pray that I may proclaim it as clearly as I ought.

4:5 Be tactful with those who are not Christians and be sure you make the best use of your time with them.

4:6 Talk to them agreeably and with a flavour of wit, and try to fit your answers to the needs of each one.


Personal news

4:7 Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a brother I love very much, and a loyal helper and companion in the service of the Lord.

4:8 I am sending him to you precisely for this purpose: to give you news about us and to reassure you.

4:9 With him I am sending Onesimus, that dear and faithful brother who is a fellow citizen of yours. They will tell you everything that is happening here.


Greetings and final wishes

4:10 Aristarchus, who is here in prison with me, sends his greetings, and so does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas – you were sent some instructions about him; if he comes to you give him a warm welcome. –

4:11 and Jesus Justus adds his greetings. Of all those who have come over from the Circumcision, these are the only ones actually working with me for the kingdom of God. They have been a great comfort to me.

4:12 Epaphras, your fellow citizen, sends his greetings; this servant of Christ Jesus never stops battling for you, praying that you will never lapse but always hold perfectly and securely to the will of God.

4:13 I can testify for him that he works hard for you, as well as for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis.

4:14 Greetings from my dear friend Luke, the doctor, and also from Demas.

4:15 Please give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea and to Nympha and the church which meets in her house.

4:16 After this letter has been read among you, send it on to be read in the church of the Laodiceans; and get the letter from Laodicea for you to read yourselves.

4:17 Give Archippus this message, ‘Remember the service that the Lord wants you to do, and try to carry it out’.

4:18 Here is a greeting in my own handwriting – PAUL. Remember the chains I wear. Grace be with you.