Colossians 1; Colossians 2; Colossians 3; Colossians 4

1 From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus. I am an apostle because that is what God wanted. Also from Timothy, our brother. 2 To the holy and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ that live in Colossae: Grace and peace to you from God our Father. 3 In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 because we have heard about the faith you have in Christ Jesus and the love you have for all of God's people. 5 You have this faith and love because of your hope, and what you hope for is kept safe for you in heaven. You learned about this hope when you heard the message about the truth, the Good News 6 that was told to you. Everywhere in the world that Good News is bringing blessings and is growing. This has happened with you, too, since you heard the Good News and understood the truth about the grace of God. 7 You learned about God's grace from Epaphras, whom we love. He works together with us and is a faithful servant of Christ for us. 8 He also told us about the love you have from the Holy Spirit. 9 Because of this, since the day we heard about you, we have continued praying for you, asking God that you will know fully what he wants. We pray that you will also have great wisdom and understanding in spiritual things 10 so that you will live the kind of life that honors and pleases the Lord in every way. You will produce fruit in every good work and grow in the knowledge of God. 11 God will strengthen you with his own great power so that you will not give up when troubles come, but you will be patient. 12 And you will joyfully give thanks to the Father who has made you able to have a share in all that he has prepared for his people in the kingdom of light. 13 God has freed us from the power of darkness, and he brought us into the kingdom of his dear Son. 14 The Son paid for our sins, and in him we have forgiveness. 15 No one can see God, but Jesus Christ is exactly like him. He ranks higher than everything that has been made. 16 Through his power all things were made -- things in heaven and on earth, things seen and unseen, all powers, authorities, lords, and rulers. All things were made through Christ and for Christ. 17 He was there before anything was made, and all things continue because of him. 18 He is the head of the body, which is the church. Everything comes from him. He is the first one who was raised from the dead. So in all things Jesus has first place. 19 God was pleased for all of himself to live in Christ. 20 And through Christ, God has brought all things back to himself again -- things on earth and things in heaven. God made peace through the blood of Christ's death on the cross. 21 At one time you were separated from God. You were his enemies in your minds, and the evil things you did were against God. 22 But now God has made you his friends again. He did this through Christ's death in the body so that he might bring you into God's presence as people who are holy, with no wrong, and with nothing of which God can judge you guilty. 23 This will happen if you continue strong and sure in your faith. You must not be moved away from the hope brought to you by the Good News that you heard. That same Good News has been told to everyone in the world, and I, Paul, help in preaching that Good News. 24 I am happy in my sufferings for you. There are things that Christ must still suffer through his body, the church. I am accepting, in my body, my part of these things that must be suffered. 25 I became a servant of the church because God gave me a special work to do that helps you, and that work is to tell fully the message of God. 26 This message is the secret that was hidden from everyone since the beginning of time, but now it is made known to God's holy people. 27 God decided to let his people know this rich and glorious secret which he has for all people. This secret is Christ himself, who is in you. He is our only hope for glory. 28 So we continue to preach Christ to each person, using all wisdom to warn and to teach everyone, in order to bring each one into God's presence as a mature person in Christ. 29 To do this, I work and struggle, using Christ's great strength that works so powerfully in me.
1 I want you to know how hard I work for you, those in Laodicea, and others who have never seen me. 2 I want them to be strengthened and joined together with love so that they may be rich in their understanding. This leads to their knowing fully God's secret, that is, Christ himself. 3 In him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are safely kept. 4 I say this so that no one can fool you by arguments that seem good, but are false. 5 Though I am absent from you in my body, my heart is with you, and I am happy to see your good lives and your strong faith in Christ. 6 As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so continue to live in him. 7 Keep your roots deep in him and have your lives built on him. Be strong in the faith, just as you were taught, and always be thankful. 8 Be sure that no one leads you away with false and empty teaching that is only human, which comes from the ruling spirits of this world, and not from Christ. 9 All of God lives in Christ fully (even when Christ was on earth), 10 and you have a full and true life in Christ, who is ruler over all rulers and powers. 11 Also in Christ you had a different kind of circumcision, a circumcision not done by hands. It was through Christ's circumcision, that is, his death, that you were made free from the power of your sinful self. 12 When you were baptized, you were buried with Christ, and you were raised up with him through your faith in God's power that was shown when he raised Christ from the dead. 13 When you were spiritually dead because of your sins and because you were not free from the power of your sinful self, God made you alive with Christ, and he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the debt, which listed all the rules we failed to follow. He took away that record with its rules and nailed it to the cross. 15 God stripped the spiritual rulers and powers of their authority. With the cross, he won the victory and showed the world that they were powerless. 16 So do not let anyone make rules for you about eating and drinking or about a religious feast, a New Moon Festival, or a Sabbath day. 17 These things were like a shadow of what was to come. But what is true and real has come and is found in Christ. 18 Do not let anyone disqualify you by making you humiliate yourself and worship angels. Such people enter into visions, which fill them with foolish pride because of their human way of thinking. 19 They do not hold tightly to Christ, the head. It is from him that all the parts of the body are cared for and held together. So it grows in the way God wants it to grow. 20 Since you died with Christ and were made free from the ruling spirits of the world, why do you act as if you still belong to this world by following rules like these: 21 "Don't eat this," "Don't taste that," "Don't even touch that thing"? 22 These rules refer to earthly things that are gone as soon as they are used. They are only man-made commands and teachings. 23 They seem to be wise, but they are only part of a man-made religion. They make people pretend not to be proud and make them punish their bodies, but they do not really control the evil desires of the sinful self.
1 Since you were raised from the dead with Christ, aim at what is in heaven, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Think only about the things in heaven, not the things on earth. 3 Your old sinful self has died, and your new life is kept with Christ in God. 4 Christ is our life, and when he comes again, you will share in his glory. 5 So put all evil things out of your life: sexual sinning, doing evil, letting evil thoughts control you, wanting things that are evil, and greed. This is really serving a false god. 6 These things make God angry. 7 In your past, evil life you also did these things. 8 But now also put these things out of your life: anger, bad temper, doing or saying things to hurt others, and using evil words when you talk. 9 Do not lie to each other. You have left your old sinful life and the things you did before. 10 You have begun to live the new life, in which you are being made new and are becoming like the One who made you. This new life brings you the true knowledge of God. 11 In the new life there is no difference between Greeks and Jews, those who are circumcised and those who are not circumcised, or people who are foreigners, or Scythians. There is no difference between slaves and free people. But Christ is in all believers, and Christ is all that is important. 12 God has chosen you and made you his holy people. He loves you. So always do these things: Show mercy to others, be kind, humble, gentle, and patient. 13 Get along with each other, and forgive each other. If someone does wrong to you, forgive that person because the Lord forgave you. 14 Do all these things; but most important, love each other. Love is what holds you all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace that Christ gives control your thinking, because you were all called together in one bodyn to have peace. Always be thankful. 16 Let the teaching of Christ live in you richly. Use all wisdom to teach and instruct each other by singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 Everything you do or say should be done to obey Jesus your Lord. And in all you do, give thanks to God the Father through Jesus. 18 Wives, yield to the authority of your husbands, because this is the right thing to do in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and be gentle with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in all things, because this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not nag your children. If you are too hard to please, they may want to stop trying. 22 Slaves, obey your masters in all things. Do not obey just when they are watching you, to gain their favor, but serve them honestly, because you respect the Lord. 23 In all the work you are doing, work the best you can. Work as if you were doing it for the Lord, not for people. 24 Remember that you will receive your reward from the Lord, which he promised to his people. You are serving the Lord Christ. 25 But remember that anyone who does wrong will be punished for that wrong, and the Lord treats everyone the same.
1 Masters, give what is good and fair to your slaves. Remember that you have a Master in heaven. 2 Continue praying, keeping alert, and always thanking God. 3 Also pray for us that God will give us an opportunity to tell people his message. Pray that we can preach the secret that God has made known about Christ. This is why I am in prison. 4 Pray that I can speak in a way that will make it clear, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act with people who are not believers, making the most of every opportunity. 6 When you talk, you should always be kind and pleasant so you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should. 7 Tychicus is my dear brother in Christ and a faithful minister and servant with me in the Lord. He will tell you all the things that are happening to me. 8 This is why I am sending him: so you may know how we are and he may encourage you. 9 I send him with Onesimus, a faithful and dear brother in Christ, and one of your group. They will tell you all that has happened here. 10 Aristarchus, a prisoner with me, and Mark, the cousin of Barnabas, greet you. (I have already told you what to do about Mark. If he comes, welcome him.) 11 Jesus, who is called Justus, also greets you. These are the only Jewish believers who work with me for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me. 12 Epaphras, a servant of Jesus Christ, from your group, also greets you. He always prays for you that you will grow to be spiritually mature and have everything God wants for you. 13 I know he has worked hard for you and the people in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. 14 Demas and our dear friend Luke, the doctor, greet you. 15 Greet the brothers in Laodicea. And greet Nympha and the church that meets in her house. 16 After this letter is read to you, be sure it is also read to the church in Laodicea. And you read the letter that I wrote to Laodicea. 17 Tell Archippus, "Be sure to finish the work the Lord gave you." 18 I, Paul, greet you and write this with my own hand. Remember me in prison. Grace be with you.