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For I want you to know how much I am struggling for you, and for those in Laodicea, and for all who have not seen me face to face. I want their hearts to be encouraged and united in love, so that they may have all the riches of assured understanding and have the knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ himself,[a] in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I am saying this so that no one may deceive you with plausible arguments. For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, and I rejoice to see your morale and the firmness of your faith in Christ.

Fullness of Life in Christ

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives[b] in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe,[c] and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority. 11 In him also you were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision,[d] by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ; 12 when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God[e] made you[f] alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, 14 erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed[g] the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.

16 Therefore do not let anyone condemn you in matters of food and drink or of observing festivals, new moons, or sabbaths. 17 These are only a shadow of what is to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 18 Do not let anyone disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, dwelling[h] on visions,[i] puffed up without cause by a human way of thinking,[j] 19 and not holding fast to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows with a growth that is from God.

Warnings against False Teachers

20 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the universe,[k] why do you live as if you still belonged to the world? Why do you submit to regulations, 21 ‘Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch’? 22 All these regulations refer to things that perish with use; they are simply human commands and teachings. 23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-imposed piety, humility, and severe treatment of the body, but they are of no value in checking self-indulgence.[l]

Footnotes

  1. Colossians 2:2 Other ancient authorities read of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ
  2. Colossians 2:6 Gk to walk
  3. Colossians 2:8 Or the rudiments of the world
  4. Colossians 2:11 Gk a circumcision made without hands
  5. Colossians 2:13 Gk he
  6. Colossians 2:13 Other ancient authorities read made us; others, made
  7. Colossians 2:15 Or divested himself of
  8. Colossians 2:18 Other ancient authorities read not dwelling
  9. Colossians 2:18 Meaning of Gk uncertain
  10. Colossians 2:18 Gk by the mind of his flesh
  11. Colossians 2:20 Or the rudiments of the world
  12. Colossians 2:23 Or are of no value, serving only to indulge the flesh

I want you to know how hard I am contending(A) for you and for those at Laodicea,(B) and for all who have not met me personally. My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart(C) and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery(D) of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.(E) I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.(F) For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit(G) and delight to see how disciplined(H) you are and how firm(I) your faith in Christ(J) is.

Spiritual Fullness in Christ

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord,(K) continue to live your lives in him, rooted(L) and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught,(M) and overflowing with thankfulness.

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy,(N) which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces[a] of this world(O) rather than on Christ.

For in Christ all the fullness(P) of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head(Q) over every power and authority.(R) 11 In him you were also circumcised(S) with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh[b](T) was put off when you were circumcised by[c] Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism,(U) in which you were also raised with him(V) through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.(W)

13 When you were dead in your sins(X) and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you[d] alive(Y) with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,(Z) 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness,(AA) which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.(AB) 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities,(AC) he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them(AD) by the cross.[e]

Freedom From Human Rules

16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you(AE) by what you eat or drink,(AF) or with regard to a religious festival,(AG) a New Moon celebration(AH) or a Sabbath day.(AI) 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come;(AJ) the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility(AK) and the worship of angels disqualify you.(AL) Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. 19 They have lost connection with the head,(AM) from whom the whole body,(AN) supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.(AO)

20 Since you died with Christ(AP) to the elemental spiritual forces of this world,(AQ) why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules:(AR) 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish(AS) with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings.(AT) 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility(AU) and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

Footnotes

  1. Colossians 2:8 Or the basic principles; also in verse 20
  2. Colossians 2:11 In contexts like this, the Greek word for flesh (sarx) refers to the sinful state of human beings, often presented as a power in opposition to the Spirit; also in verse 13.
  3. Colossians 2:11 Or put off in the circumcision of
  4. Colossians 2:13 Some manuscripts us
  5. Colossians 2:15 Or them in him

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