This letter is from Paul, chosen by God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy.
It is written to God's holy people in the city of Colosse, who are faithful brothers and sisters in Christ. May God our Father give you grace and peace.
References for Colossians 1:2
We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
for we have heard that you trust in Christ Jesus and that you love all of God's people.
You do this because you are looking forward to the joys of heaven -- as you have been ever since you first heard the truth of the Good News.
This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is changing lives everywhere, just as it changed yours that very first day you heard and understood the truth about God's great kindness to sinners.
Epaphras, our much loved co-worker, was the one who brought you the Good News. He is Christ's faithful servant, and he is helping us in your place.
References for Colossians 1:7
He is the one who told us about the great love for others that the Holy Spirit has given you.
So we have continued praying for you ever since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you a complete understanding of what he wants to do in your lives, and we ask him to make you wise with spiritual wisdom.
Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and you will continually do good, kind things for others. All the while, you will learn to know God better and better.
We also pray that you will be strengthened with his glorious power so that you will have all the patience and endurance you need. May you be filled with joy,
always thanking the Father, who has enabled you to share the inheritance that belongs to God's holy people, who live in the light.
For he has rescued us from the one who rules in the kingdom of darkness, and he has brought us into the Kingdom of his dear Son.
God has purchased our freedom with his blood and has forgiven all our sins.
References for Colossians 1:14
Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before God made anything at all and is supreme over all creation.
References for Colossians 1:15
Christ is the one through whom God created everything in heaven and earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can't see -- kings, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities. Everything has been created through him and for him.
He existed before everything else began, and he holds all creation together.
Christ is the head of the church, which is his body. He is the first of all who will rise from the dead, so he is first in everything.
References for Colossians 1:18
For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ,
and by him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of his blood on the cross.
This includes you who were once so far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions,
yet now he has brought you back as his friends. He has done this through his death on the cross in his own human body. As a result, he has brought you into the very presence of God, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.
But you must continue to believe this truth and stand in it firmly. Don't drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed by God to proclaim it.
I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am completing what remains of Christ's sufferings for his body, the church.
God has given me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his message in all its fullness to you Gentiles.
This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to his own holy people.
For it has pleased God to tell his people that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. For this is the secret: Christ lives in you, and this is your assurance that you will share in his glory.
So everywhere we go, we tell everyone about Christ. We warn them and teach them with all the wisdom God has given us, for we want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ.
References for Colossians 1:28
I work very hard at this, as I depend on Christ's mighty power that works within me.