Colossians 1 (New International Reader's Version)

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1 I, Paul, am writing this letter. I am an apostle of Christ Jesus just as God planned. Our brother Timothy joins me in writing. 2 We are sending this letter to you, our brothers and sisters in Colosse. You belong to Christ. You are holy and faithful. May God our Father give you grace and peace.

Paul Prays and Gives Thanks

3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you. 4 We thank him because we have heard about your faith in Christ Jesus. We have also heard that you love all of God's people. 5 Your faith and love are based on the hope you have. What you hope for is stored up for you in heaven. You have already heard about it. You were told about it when the message of truth was given to you. I'm talking about the good news 6 that has come to you. All over the world the good news is bearing fruit and growing. It has been doing that among you since the day you heard it. That is when you understood God's grace in all its truth. 7 You learned the good news from Epaphras. He is dear to us. He serves Christ together with us. He faithfully works for Christ and for us among you. 8 He also told us about your love that comes from the Holy Spirit. 9 That's why we have not stopped praying for you. We have been praying for you since the day we heard about you. We have been asking God to fill you with the knowledge of what he wants. We pray that he will give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 We pray that you will lead a life that is worthy of the Lord. We pray that you will please him in every way. So we want you to bear fruit in every good thing you do. We want you to grow to know God better. 11 We want you to be very strong, in keeping with his glorious power. We want you to be patient. Never give up. Be joyful 12 as you give thanks to the Father. He has made you fit to share with all his people. You will all receive a share in the kingdom of light. 13 He has saved us from the kingdom of darkness. He has brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves. 14 Because of what the Son has done, we have been set free. Because of him, all of our sins have been forgiven.

Christ Is Far Above Everything

15 Christ is the exact likeness of God, who can't be seen. He is first, and he is over all of creation. 16 All things were created by him. He created everything in heaven and on earth. He created everything that can be seen and everything that can't be seen. He created kings, powers, rulers and authorities. Everything was created by him and for him. 17 Before anything was created, he was already there. He holds everything together. 18 And he is the head of the body, which is the church. He is the beginning. He is the first to be raised from the dead. That happened so that he would be far above everything. 19 God was pleased to have his whole nature living in Christ. 20 God was pleased to bring all things back to himself because of what Christ has done. That includes all things on earth and in heaven. God made peace through Christ's blood, through his death on the cross. 21 At one time you were separated from God. You were enemies in your minds because of your evil ways. 22 But because Christ died, God has brought you back to himself. Christ's death has made you holy in God's sight. So now you don't have any flaw. You are free from blame. 23 But you must keep your faith steady and firm. Don't move away from the hope that the good news holds out to you. It is the good news that you heard. It has been preached to every creature under heaven. I, Paul, now serve the good news.

Paul's Work for the Church

24 I am happy because of what was suffered for you. And in my body I fill up my share in Christ's sufferings. I do it for his body, which is the church. 25 I serve the church. God appointed me to bring all of his word to you. 26 That word contains the mystery that has been hidden for many ages. But now it has been made known to God's people. 27 God has chosen to make known to them the glorious riches of that mystery. He has made it known among those who aren't Jews. And here is what it is. Christ is in you. He is your hope of glory. 28 We preach about him. With all the wisdom we have, we warn and teach everyone. When we bring them to God, we want them to be perfect as people who belong to Christ. 29 That's what I'm working for. I work hard with all of Christ's strength. His strength works powerfully in me.
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