1. I want you to know how I strive for you, for those of Laodicea and for so many who have not met me personally.
2. I pray that all may be encouraged. May you be established in love, that you may obtain all the riches of a full understanding and know the mystery of God, Christ himself.
3. For in him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
4. So let no one deceive you with persuasive arguments.
5. Although I am far from you, my spirit is with you and I rejoice in recalling how well-disciplined you are and how firm in the faith of Christ.
6. If you have accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, let him be your doctrine.
7. Be rooted and built up in him; let faith be your principle, as you were taught, and your thanksgiving overflowing.
8. See that no one deceives you with philosophy or any hollow discourse; these are merely human doctrines not inspired by Christ but by the wisdom of this world.
9. For in Him dwells the fullness of God in bodily form.
10. He is the head of all cosmic power and authority, and in him you have everything.
11. In Christ Jesus you were given a circumcision but not by human hands, which removed completely from you the carnal body:
12. I refer to baptism. On receiving it you were buried with Christ; and you also rose with him for having believed in the power of God who raised him from the dead.
13. You were dead. You were in sin and uncircumcised at the same time. But God gave you life with Christ. He forgave all our sins.
14. He canceled the record of our debts, those regulations which accused us. He did away with all that and nailed it to the cross.
15. Victorious through the cross, he stripped the rulers and authorities of their power, humbled them before the eyes of the whole world and dragged them behind him as prisoners.
16. So, then, let no one criticize you in matters of food or drink or for not observing festivals, new moons or the sabbath.
17. These things were only shadows of what was to come, whereas the reality is the person of Christ.
18. Do not let yourselves be robbed of him by those people who offer you a religion of fear and the worship of the angels. In fact, they only appreciate their own visions and are puffed up with their idle notions,
19. instead of holding firmly to the head, Christ. It is he who nourishes and gives unity to the whole body by a complex system of nerves and ligaments, making it grow according to the plan of God.
20. If you have really died with Christ, and are rid of the principles of the world, why do you now let yourselves be taught as if you belonged to the world?
21. "Do not eat this, do not taste that, do not touch that..."
22. These are human rules and teachings, referring to things that are perishable, that wear out and disappear.
23. These doctrines may seem to be profound because they speak of religious observance and humility and of disregarding the body. In fact, they are useless as soon as the flesh rebels.