Colossians

Colossians 1 

            This letter is from Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and from Timothy, our brother.  It was written to me and also to the holy and faithful Christ followers at. Colosse.  May God our Father grant me His grace and peace!

Paul always thanked God, the Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, when he prayed for the Christ followers at Colosse, because he had heard of their faith in Christ Jesus and the love they had for all of God’s people. The love I have for my fellow Christ followers comes from the hope that I have as I look forward to heaven, as I have since first hearing about the truth of the Good News!

All over the world the gospel has been changing lives, just as it has changed mine since the first day I truly heard and understood the truth about God’s grace in all of its truth. Epaphrus, Paul’s much-loved fellow bondservant, first brought the gospel to Colosse.  He is a faithful minister of Christ on behalf of Paul’s missionary team and was the one who told them of the Colossian church’s love in the Spirit.

Paul’s prayer for them and me is asking for God to fill me with the knowledge of His will for my life in all spiritual wisdom and understanding! Paul also prays that I may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord to please Him in every way while I bear fruit in every good work and grow in the knowledge of God!  Also that I will be strengthened with His glorious power so that I will have all of the patience and endurance I need as I joyously give thanks to the Father, who has enabled me to share in the inheritance of the saints who live in the light.

For God has rescued me from the dominion of darkness and has brought me into the kingdom of His dear Son, in whom I have redemption – the forgiveness of my sins!  Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God; the firstborn over all creation.  For by Him all things were created:  things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers of rulers or authorities – all things were created by Him and for Him. He (Jesus) existed before everything else began, in Him all things hold together, and He is the head of the body, the church.

He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything!  For God was pleased to have all of His fullness to dwell in Jesus. And through Jesus, God reconciled everything to Himself.  He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Jesus’ blood on the cross.

For at one time, I was alienated from God and was His enemy; separated from Him by my evil thoughts and behaviors.  ‘But now’ He has reconciled me to Himself!  He has done this through Christ’s physical death to present me holy in His sight, without blemish and free from reproach. But I must continue in my faith and stand in it firmly.  I am not to drift away from the hope of the gospel.

This Good News has been preached all over the world, and Paul was appointed by God to proclaim it.  Paul was able to rejoice in what he had to suffer for others, and he attempted to fill up in his flesh what was still lacking in regards to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of His body, which is the church.  God gave him the responsibility of serving His church by proclaiming his message in all of its fullness. This message was kept hidden for centuries and generations, but is now disclosed to me and all Christ followers.

For it has pleased God to tell His people that the riches and glory of Christ are also for the Gentiles – the mystery of Christ in me, my hope of glory!  I am to proclaim Christ, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that I may present them perfect in Christ.  Paul was working very hard to accomplish this purpose, all along depending on Christ’s mighty power that worked within him.

Colossians 2

            Paul wanted the Colossians to know how much he had agonized for them, for the church at Laodicea, and for Christ followers like me who never personally knew Paul.  His desire is that I be encouraged in heart and united with others in love, so that I may have the full riches of complete understanding to know the mystery of God, namely, Christ.  In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge!

Paul is telling me this so that no one will be able to deceive me with persuasive arguments.  Even though Paul was not with the Colossians physically, he was present with them in spirit and delighted to know about their discipline and the stability of their faith in Christ.  So then, just as I received Christ Jesus as Lord, I should continue to live in Him.  I am to be firmly rooted and built up in Him; strengthened in the faith that I was taught; and overflowing with gratitude.

I should not let anyone lead me astray through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depend on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.  For in Christ, all of the fullness of God dwells in bodily form, and in Him, I have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority!

When I came to Christ, I was ‘circumcised’, but not by a physical procedure, as it is a spiritual procedure in which there was a cutting away of my sinful nature.  For I have been buried with Him in baptism and raised with Him through my faith in the power of God, who raised Jesus from the dead.  Even though I was dead in my sins and the uncircumcision of my sinful nature, God made me alive with Christ!

God has forgiven all of my transgressions when He cancelled my debt consisting of hostile accusations against me.  He has taken away my sins by nailing them to the cross of Christ.  Through Jesus disarming all rulers and authorities on the cross, God publicly displayed His triumph over them.

Therefore, I should not let anyone act as my judge regarding food, drink, a holiday, a new moon, or the Sabbath.  These things are merely a shadow of the things to come, as the real substance belongs to Christ. I should not let anyone condemn me by insisting on self-denial.  Also, I should not let anyone say that I must worship angels, even though they say that they have had visions about this.  They claim to be so humble, but their sinful minds have made them proud.  But they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body.

For I am joined together with other Christ followers in His body by His strong sinews, and I am only able to grow as I get my nourishment and strength from God! Since I have died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why do I act as though I still belong to it and submit to its rules such as:  Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!  Such rules are merely human teachings about things that are gone as soon as we use them.  These regulations have the appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility, and their harsh treatment of the body, but they are of no value restraining sensual indulgence!

Colossians 3

            Because I have been raised to a new life with Christ, I should be seeking the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  I am to set my mind on the things above, and not on the things here on earth. For I have died, and my life is hidden with Christ in God, and when Christ, who is my life appears, then I also will appear with Him in glory!

Therefore, I need to put to death my earthly nature consisting of immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which amounts to idolatry.  It is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon those who disobey Him.  These are things I used to do in the life I once lived. But now I also am to put aside all of these:  anger, wrath, malice, slander and obscene talk.  I should not lie to others, because I have put aside my old self with its evil practices.

I am to put on the new self and be continually renewed by true knowledge into the image of my Creator. My new self should not make any distinction between a Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, foreigner, savage, slave or free; but Christ is all, and in all.

Because I am beloved of God and have been chosen by Him to be holy, I am to clothe myself with a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. If someone has hurt me, I need to forgive them – just as the Lord forgave me! And in addition to these qualities, I should put on love; which is the perfect bond of unity.  And I also need to let the peace of Christ rule in my heart, as all Christ followers are called to do, and I am to be thankful!

I am also to let the words of Christ dwell richly within me, so that I may be able to use wisdom to teach and admonish others with psalms, hymns, and spiritual choruses.  My singing should be filled with thanksgiving in my heart to God! And whatever I say or whatever I do, I should do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, always giving thanks through Him to God the Father!

Wives should submit to their husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.  Husbands should love their wives and never treat them harshly.  Children should be obedient to their parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.  Fathers should not aggravate their children, or they will become discouraged. Slaves should obey their earthly masters in all things; not just when they are watching you as men pleasers do, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.

And whatever I do, I am to work at it with all my heart, as though I were working for the Lord rather than for people, since it is the Lord who will reward me with an inheritance.  It is the Lord Christ I am to serve.  But if I do what is wrong, I will receive the consequences of the wrong, which I have done; as God has no favorites who can get away with evil.

Colossians 4

            Earthly masters should be just and fair to their slaves, because they also have a Master – in heaven.  I am to devote myself to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.  I am to pray for others who share the message of Jesus, so that God will open doors for them to be able to speak forth the mystery of Christ, as this is the reason Paul himself was imprisoned.

I am to pray that the message will be proclaimed clearly, as it should be. I should always conduct myself wisely among those who are not Christ followers and make the most of every opportunity.  My speech should always be full of grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that I may know how to answer everyone.

Tychicus was sent to the Colossians to tell them how Paul was doing.  He is a dear brother of Paul’s and a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord.  He was sent to let those in Colosse know how they were doing and to encourage them.  He came with Onesimus, who is a faithful and much loved brother, who was from Colosse as well.  They were to tell the Colossians everything that was happening with Paul and his co-workers.

Aristarchus, who is in prison with me, sends you his greetings, and so does Mark, Barnabas’s cousin.  (And as you were instructed before, if he comes to you, welcome him.)  Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends his greetings.  These are the only Jewish Christ followers among my co-workers, and they have proved to be an encouragement to me!

Epaphras, who is from your city and is a servant of Christ Jesus, sends his greetings.  He always prays earnestly for you, that you may stand firm in all of the will of the Lord, mature and fully assured.  He has a great concern for you Colossians, as well as Christ followers in Laodicea and Hierapolis.  Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas send their greetings.  Paul extends his greetings to the brothers and sisters at Laodicea, and to Nympha and those who meet in her house.

After you have read this letter, make sure that it is read in the church at Laodecia.  And you should read the letter I wrote to them as well.  Tell Archippus, “Pay serious attention to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.”  Paul wrote this letter in his own handwriting and asked the Colossians to remember his chains.  May the grace of God be with me and all Christ followers! 

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