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Chapter 1

1 {I,} Paul, {write this letter to you,} and Timothy our fellow believer {is with me}. {I have been} sent to represent the Messiah Jesus, because that is what God chose. 2 {I send this letter} to you {who live} in {the city of} Colossae, who are God's people and faithful fellow believers who are united to the Messiah. {We pray that} God our Father and the Lord Jesus the Messiah will give you grace and peace.

3 We thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus the Messiah, {while we are} praying for you often. 4 {We give thanks to God because we} have learned that you trust in the Messiah Jesus and that you love all those who are God's people. 5 {You do these things} because you are confidently waiting for the things that God is keeping for you in heaven. You first learned about these things when you heard the true message, {which is} the good news about the Messiah. 6 {Believers are} proclaiming this good news that you heard {in Colossae to people} in many different places. {The good news} is changing more and more people's lives, just like it changed your lives when you first learned {about it} and understood the truth about how God acts kindly {towards us}. 7 This is what Epaphras told you {would happen}. He works with us, and we love him. He faithfully serves the Messiah as our representative. 8 He told us that you love {all God’s people}, just as God’s Spirit {has empowered you to do}.

9 Since the time when Epaphras spoke to us, we have been consistently praying for you, because he told us about how you love God's people. We ask God to show you everything he wants you to do, and {to make you} very wise and able to understand what God’s Spirit {is teaching you}. 10 {We have been praying that you know what God wants} so that you can live in a way that honors the Lord and pleases him in every way. {Living this way means} doing every sort of good thing and learning more and more about God. 11 {Living this way also means} having great strength to be able to endure in all situations and to wait patiently and joyfully. {This strength} comes from God's power, which is very great. 12 {Living this way also means} thanking {God our} Father, {because} he has made you worthy to receive in his presence your portion of what he is keeping for his people.

13 God our Father has delivered us from the evil that controlled us, and he has made his Son, whom he loves, rule over us instead. 14 Because we are united to his Son, God has set us free; {that is,} he has forgiven our sins. 15 God's Son perfectly reveals what God is like, even though no one can see God. The Son existed before and has first place over everything that God has created. 16 For the Father and the Son together created everything. {This includes} everything in heaven and everything on earth, and everything that we can see and everything that we cannot see, including all the ranks of important spiritual beings. The Father and the Son together created everything, and everything {exists} to honor the Son. 17 The Son existed before all of creation did, and he sustains and holds everything together. 18 He rules all believers—the church—like people's heads rule over their bodies. {He rules over the church because} he started it {when he was} the first person to come back to life. {Because of these things about him,} he is greater and more important than anything and anybody else. 19 {Another reason he is greater and more important than anything else is} because God the Father rejoices to have a Son who is God. 20 {God the Father also gladly chose to work} through the Son to repair the relationship between himself and everything and everyone in every place he created. {He did this by} making peace available, {which he accomplished} by the work of his Son, who died on the cross.

21 Before {you believed in the Messiah}, you did not want a relationship {with God}, and you were hostile {to him} because everything you did and thought was evil. 22 But {that has all changed} now {that you believe!} God the Father has repaired the relationship between himself and you {by working} through his Son when the Son became human and died. {God the Father repaired the relationship} so that he can make you his own people, who can dwell with him and who have no blemishes and who do no evil things. 23 {This is all true about you} as long as you continue to believe {in the Messiah} confidently and consistently, and as long as you do not give up on what God has promised to do for you in the good news that you heard and that people all over the world have heard. This {is the same good news that} I, Paul, serve God {by proclaiming to people}.

24 At the present time I cheerfully suffer {because it is} for your benefit. I am completing the work of the Messiah by physically suffering like he did in order to help the church, which is like the Messiah’s own body. 25 God called me to serve his church, and he gave me a part of his plan to carry out that concerns you. {My part of this plan is} to proclaim the full message of God. 26 God made this message a secret, concealing it for a long time and from many people. But now he has made the message known to his people. 27 God has decided to tell his people this very glorious message that was secret, which applies to non-Jews as much as to Jews. The secret is that the Messiah is united to you, which means that you can confidently expect to be glorious beings like the Messiah. 28 This is the Messiah we talk about with everyone. {When we talk about him,} we warn each person and we very wisely teach each person. {We do these things} so that all of these people, when they stand before God, are everything God wants them to be and are united to the Messiah. 29 With this goal in mind, I too work very hard. {I can do this} because the Messiah enables me to as he works through me in powerful ways.

Chapter 2

1 {I speak about how hard I work} because I want to tell you about how much effort I am putting in for you and for the fellow-believers who live in the city of Laodicea and for all fellow-believers who have not met me in person. 2 {I put in this effort} in order to encourage all of you {who have not met me} so that you unite yourselves together with love for each other. {I want you} to completely and confidently understand the truth; {that is,} to know about the secret that God had previously kept hidden, {which is} the Messiah. 3 This secret{, which is the Messiah,} contains concealed within it everything of great value, including wise thinking and accurate understanding. 4 I am telling you {about how hard I work for you and why I do} this in order that no person will be able to convince you to believe what is not true by arguing persuasively. 5 {You know that those who argue persuasively are wrong} because, even though I am not with you in person, I care about you and think about you. I am very happy to see that you are behaving properly and that you firmly believe in the Messiah.

6 Now {that I have told you the truth about the good news and about me), I want you to behave in a way that fits with how you are united to the Messiah, following the same pattern you established when you accepted the Messiah Jesus the Lord. 7 {Behaving in this way includes} staying firmly united to him{, just as a plant's roots hold it firmly in place,} and depending completely on him{, just as a house stands on its foundation}. {It also includes} confidently trusting {the Messiah}, just like Epaphras taught you, and giving thanks more and more.

8 Be on the alert so that no one who tries to lead you away from the truth by using meaningless and deceptive human wisdom will succeed. {Such a false message comes} from what older generations teach younger generations and from what humans normally think about the world, not from the Messiah. 9 {You must not be deceived by any message that is not from the Messiah} because he, a human, is fully God. 10 {Another reason is that} you have everything you need since you are united to the Messiah, who rules over all powerful spiritual beings. 11 When you were united to the Messiah, it was as if God the Father had circumcised you. I do not mean that a human physically cut flesh off you; instead, {what God the Father did for you is like circumcision because} he removed your weak and sinful parts. {What God the Father has done that is like} circumcision took place in the work of the Messiah. 12 {You can better understand this work of God in this way:} when they baptized you, it was as if {you died and} people buried you {because God the Father included you} when {the Messiah died and} people buried him. And it was as if God the Father brought you back to life {because he included you} when he brought the Messiah back to life. {This happened} because you believed that God the Father works powerfully, particularly when he brought the Messiah back to life. 13 You used to be spiritually dead, because you {often} sinned against God and because you were non-Jews {and not part of God's people}. But God the Father brought you back to life spiritually {because he included you} when he brought the Messiah back to life. {This means that} he has forgiven us for all the sins we have committed against him. 14 It was as if God had an official list of the debts we owe{, which are our sins}. {When he forgave us,} he wiped out that list of sins that counted against us and prevented it from coming between us and him. God accomplished this when {the Messiah died on the cross, as surely as if} he had nailed the list to the cross. 15 Moreover, God defeated the spiritual beings that rule the world, and he publicly showed {that he defeated them}, just as if he had paraded them around in the streets as prisoners. {This happened when the Messiah died} on the cross.

16 Because of these things {that God has done for you}, do not worry about what other people say you should do. {They may have opinions} about what to eat and what to drink, or about what special days to observe, including days for worship, days for celebrating when there is a new moon, or days of rest. 17 {God used} these things {to} point to what he had planned for the future, which is the coming of the Messiah himself. 18 {You will meet some people} who enjoy pretending to be humble and worshipping angels and who love to talk about {amazing} things they have seen. They act like they are great—although without good reason, because they think only from a human perspective. Do not listen to these people who are trying to take away the reward God has for you. 19 {These people} are not remaining loyal to the Messiah. It is he who leads the church, just like people's heads lead their bodies. The head directs how the whole body, each and every part, receives what it needs and how it works together, and in this way the body grows. Just like this, the Messiah directs the church so that it grows as God wants it to grow.

20 It is as if you have died, {because God included you} when the Messiah died, {and this frees you} from the spiritual beings that rule this world. So, you should not obey the rules {that these people have given you}. {Doing this would mean that} you were really still part of this world. 21 {These rules include commands like these:} “Do not feel {certain things}!" "Do not try {certain foods}!" "Do not take hold of {certain things}!” 22 All such rules are about things that perish when people make use of them, and {these rules} are required and taught by people{, not by God}. 23 Following these rules may seem to be a wise thing to do for people who worship God the way they want to, who pretend to be humble, and who treat their bodies badly {as part of their religion}. But, {following these rules} will not help you stop sinning.

Chapter 3

1 To return {to what I said before}, it is as if God brought you back to life {because he included you} when he brought the Messiah back to life. {Because of this,} I want you to stay focused on what is in heaven, since the Messiah is there. He sits next to God the Father on the throne {and rules everything}. 2 I want you to contemplate and desire what {God has ready for you} in heaven, not what {you could have here} on earth. 3 {You should think this way} because it is as if you have died. You are alive only because you are united to the Messiah in close relationship with God, and this cannot be seen {on earth now}. 4 {Since} you are alive because you are united to the Messiah, when {he returns again to earth and} everyone sees him, at that time you will be with him, and everyone will see that you too have become glorious {beings like him}.

5 Because {this is your destiny}, think of the desires you have to do evil things in this world as enemies that you must kill. {The evil things that you might be desiring include} having improper sex, doing impure things, enjoying wrong emotions, desiring evil things, and wanting more than you need, which is the same as worshiping another god. 6 {It is} because people have these desires {that} God is angry with them and will punish them. 7 You, just like them, used to have these desires to do evil things. {This was} when you acted out these desires. 8 But now {that you have believed}, you too must stop behaving in all evil ways. {These evil ways include} acting with anger, being angry with others, desiring to hurt others, talking bad about others, and speaking shameful words. 9 You must not tell lies to one another. You are not the person you used to be, a person who normally behaved in these evil ways. 10 You are a new person now, {a person} whom God is working in to make you know him more, {a person} who is like God, who turned you into this new person. 11 Since {you are all new people}, {it is not important} whether anyone is a non-Jew or a Jew, or whether anyone is circumcised or not, or whether anyone is a foreigner or an uncivilized person, or whether anyone is a slave or not. Instead, it is the Messiah who is most important, and {he is} united to all {of you}.

12 God has chosen you, he has set you apart as his own people, and he loves you. Because of this and because {you are new people}, you must always behave properly {towards others}. {This includes} caring about them, being kind to them, not being proud, not behaving harshly, and taking a long time to become angry. 13 You must not easily become irritated with one another, and when you blame other people for the things they have done, you must forgive them. Just as the Lord forgave you, in the same way you too {should forgive one another}. 14 And {what is} more important than everything {I have said} so far is that you love one another, because by doing this you will be united together, exactly as God has called you to be.

15 You must treat the peace which the Messiah has given you as a primary factor when you make decisions. {This is} because God has chosen you to have peace as you are united closely together, as if you were one person's body. Also, you must give thanks to God. 16 You must focus completely on the message about the Messiah as you think and act. You must teach and instruct one another very wisely using songs from the Scriptures, songs about Jesus, and songs given to you by the Holy Spirit. You must thankfully and sincerely sing to God.

17 Whenever you say or do anything, {you should behave} in every situation {as people who} represent the Lord Jesus, and you should thank God, {who is our} Father, {which you can do only} because of {the work of} the Messiah.

18 Wives must treat their husbands as the leaders in their families, since this is appropriate behavior for those who are united to the Lord. 19 Husbands must love their wives and not treat them harshly.

20 Children must obey their parents in every circumstance, because this pleases God {and is appropriate} for those who are united to the Lord. 21 Fathers must not make their children angry; otherwise, they may feel like giving up.

22 Slaves must obey those who are their masters in this world in every circumstance—not just when their masters are watching, which is how those who want to please only humans behave. Instead, {you who are slaves must obey your masters} sincerely because you stand in awe of the Lord. 23 You must do whatever work you have to do with all your strength, as if {you were working} for the Lord instead of merely human masters. 24 {Obey and serve in this way} because you know that the Lord will justly repay you by giving you what he has kept for you. {Remember that} the Lord Messiah is {the real master} for whom you are working. 25 {You must remember who the real master is} because God will punish anyone who does wrong in proportion to those wrong actions. {This is because} God does not judge people based on how they look or who they are but on what they have done.

Chapter 4

1 Masters must treat their slaves justly and fairly. {You who are masters must do this} because you know that you too serve a Master{, one who is} in heaven.

2 Pray {to God} persistently. Pay attention when you pray, and give thanks {to God}. 3 When you are praying, pray for us too. {Pray} that God will make it possible for us to freely proclaim our message, which is the secret about the Messiah that we now share with others. {It is} because {we proclaimed} this message that I am now in prison. 4 {Pray} that I am able to explain the good news clearly, since this is what God has called me to do.

5 Behave wisely around those who do not believe in the Messiah, taking advantage of every opportunity {you have}. 6 {When you talk with them,} you must always speak in a pleasant and interesting way. {If you talk this way,} you will know the best way to respond to each person.

7 Tychicus will tell you everything that has been happening to me. {He is} a fellow believer whom I love, who helps me faithfully, and who serves the Lord together with me. 8 I am sending Tychicus to you {with this letter} because I want you to know how we are doing and because Tychicus will help you be confident. 9 {I am sending him to you} with Onesimus, who is a faithful fellow believer whom I love. He is from your group. Tychicus and Onesimus will tell you about everything {that has been happening} here.

10 Aristarchus, who is in prison with me, and Mark, who is Barnabas’ cousin, send their regards to you. You already know that you should welcome Mark if he visits you. 11 Jesus, whom you may know by the name Justus, also {sends his regards}. These men{—Aristarchus, Mark, and Justus—}are the only Jewish believers who are working with me so that people would submit to God as their king. They have encouraged me {in this work}. 12 Epaphras, who is from your group {and} who serves the Messiah Jesus, sends his regards to you. He prays earnestly for you very often, that God will make you able to be what he has called you to be and to be sure of everything that God wants {you to do}. 13 {You know that he prays this way for you} because I can personally testify for him. {I tell you} that he works very hard for you, for the people {who live} in the city of Laodicea, and for the people {who live} in the city of Hierapolis. 14 Luke the doctor, whom I love, and Demas send their regards to you.

15 Give our regards to the fellow believers who live in Laodicea, to Nympha, and to the group of believers {that meets} in Nympha's home. 16 After the person who reads this letter to you finishes it, send {it to Laodicea} so that someone can read it to the group of believers there, too. Also, {ask for} the letter I sent to the believers in Laodicea so that you too can read it. 17 {You must} tell Archippus to make sure that he completes the task that God gave him to do as part of being united to the Messiah.

18 I, Paul, send my regards {to you}, and I am writing {these last words} myself {instead of having my scribe write them}. You must not forget that I am in prison. {I pray that God will} be gracious to you.