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I wish you could know how much I have struggled in prayer for you and for the church at Laodicea, and for my many other friends who have never known me personally. This is what I have asked of God for you: that you will be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love, and that you will have the rich experience of knowing Christ with real certainty and clear understanding. For God’s secret plan, now at last made known, is Christ himself. In him lie hidden all the mighty, untapped treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

I am saying this because I am afraid that someone may fool you with smooth talk. For though I am far away from you my heart is with you, happy because you are getting along so well, happy because of your strong faith in Christ. And now just as you trusted Christ to save you, trust him, too, for each day’s problems; live in vital union with him. Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him. See that you go on growing in the Lord, and become strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with joy and thanksgiving for all he has done.

Don’t let others spoil your faith and joy with their philosophies, their wrong and shallow answers built on men’s thoughts and ideas, instead of on what Christ has said. For in Christ there is all of God in a human body; 10 so you have everything when you have Christ, and you are filled with God through your union with Christ. He is the highest Ruler, with authority over every other power.

11 When you came to Christ, he set you free from your evil desires, not by a bodily operation of circumcision but by a spiritual operation, the baptism of your souls. 12 For in baptism you see how your old, evil nature died with him and was buried with him; and then you came up out of death with him into a new life because you trusted the Word of the mighty God who raised Christ from the dead.

13 You were dead in sins, and your sinful desires were not yet cut away. Then he gave you a share in the very life of Christ, for he forgave all your sins, 14 and blotted out the charges proved against you, the list of his commandments which you had not obeyed. He took this list of sins and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross. 15 In this way God took away Satan’s power to accuse you of sin, and God openly displayed to the whole world Christ’s triumph at the cross where your sins were all taken away.

16 So don’t let anyone criticize you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating Jewish holidays and feasts or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths.  17 For these were only temporary rules that ended when Christ came. They were only shadows of the real thing—of Christ himself. 18 Don’t let anyone declare you lost when you refuse to worship angels, as they say you must. They have seen a vision, they say, and know you should. These proud men (though they claim to be so humble) have a very clever imagination. 19 But they are not connected to Christ, the Head to which all of us who are his body are joined; for we are joined together by his strong sinews, and we grow only as we get our nourishment and strength from God.

20 Since you died, as it were, with Christ and this has set you free from following the world’s ideas of how to be saved—by doing good and obeying various rules[a]—why do you keep right on following them anyway, still bound by such rules as 21 not eating, tasting, or even touching certain foods? 22 Such rules are mere human teachings, for food was made to be eaten and used up. 23 These rules may seem good, for rules of this kind require strong devotion and are humiliating and hard on the body, but they have no effect when it comes to conquering a person’s evil thoughts and desires. They only make him proud.

Footnotes

  1. Colossians 2:20 by doing good and obeying various rules, literally, “by the rudiments of the world.”
Living Bible (TLB)

The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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