1. I want you to know, then, what a struggle I am having on your behalf and on behalf of those in Laodicea, and on behalf of so many others who have never seen me face to face.
2. It is all to bind them together in love and to encourage their resolution until they are rich in the assurance of their complete understanding and have knowledge of the mystery of God
3. in which all the jewels of wisdom and knowledge are hidden.
4. I say this to make sure that no one deceives you with specious arguments.
5. I may be absent in body, but in spirit I am there among you, delighted to find how well-ordered you are and to see how firm your faith in Christ is.
6. So then, as you received Jesus as Lord and Christ, now live your lives in him,
7. be rooted in him and built up on him, held firm by the faith you have been taught, and overflowing with thanksgiving.
8. Make sure that no one captivates you with the empty lure of a 'philosophy' of the kind that human beings hand on, based on the principles of this world and not on Christ.
9. In him, in bodily form, lives divinity in all its fullness,
10. and in him you too find your own fulfilment, in the one who is the head of every sovereignty and ruling force.
11. In him you have been circumcised, with a circumcision performed, not by human hand, but by the complete stripping of your natural self. This is circumcision according to Christ.
12. You have been buried with him by your baptism; by which, too, you have been raised up with him through your belief in the power of God who raised him from the dead.
13. You were dead, because you were sinners and uncircumcised in body: he has brought you to life with him, he has forgiven us every one of our sins.
14. He has wiped out the record of our debt to the Law, which stood against us; he has destroyed it by nailing it to the cross;
15. and he has stripped the sovereignties and the ruling forces, and paraded them in public, behind him in his triumphal procession.
16. Then never let anyone criticise you for what you eat or drink, or about observance of annual festivals, New Moons or Sabbaths.
17. These are only a shadow of what was coming: the reality is the body of Christ.
18. Do not be cheated of your prize by anyone who chooses to grovel to angels and worship them, pinning every hope on visions received, vainly puffed up by a human way of thinking;
19. such a person has no connection to the Head, by which the whole body, given all that it needs and held together by its joints and sinews, grows with the growth given by God.
20. If you have really died with Christ to the principles of this world, why do you still let rules dictate to you, as though you were still living in the world?
21. -'Do not pick up this, do not eat that, do not touch the other,'
22. and all about things which perish even while they are being used -- according to merely human commandments and doctrines!
23. In these rules you can indeed find what seems to be good sense -- the cultivation of the will, and a humility which takes no account of the body; but in fact they have no value against self-indulgence.