1 For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you,1 and for those in Laodicea, and for those who have not met me face to face.2 2 My goal is that3 their hearts, having been knit together4 in love, may be encouraged, and that5 they may have all the riches that assurance brings in their understanding of the knowledge of the mystery of God, namely, Christ,6 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I say this so that no one will deceive you through arguments7 that sound reasonable.8 5 For though9 I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit, rejoicing to see10 your morale11 and the firmness of your faith in Christ.
Warnings Against the Adoption of False Philosophies
6 Therefore, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord,12 continue to live your lives13 in him, 7 rooted14 and built up in him and firm15 in your16 faith just as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. 8 Be careful not to allow anyone to captivate you17 through an empty, deceitful philosophy18 that is according to human traditions and the elemental spirits19 of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in him all the fullness of deity lives20 in bodily form, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head over every ruler and authority. 11 In him you also were circumcised – not, however,21 with a circumcision performed by human hands, but by the removal22 of the fleshly body,23 that is,24 through the circumcision done by Christ. 12 Having been buried with him in baptism, you also have been raised with him through your25 faith in the power26 of God who raised him from the dead. 13 And even though you were dead in your27 transgressions and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, he nevertheless28 made you alive with him, having forgiven all your transgressions. 14 He has destroyed29 what was against us, a certificate of indebtedness30 expressed in decrees opposed to us. He has taken it away by nailing it to the cross. 15 Disarming31 the rulers and authorities, he has made a public disgrace of them, triumphing over them by the cross.32
16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you with respect to food or drink, or in the matter of a feast, new moon, or Sabbath days – 17 these are only33 the shadow of the things to come, but the reality34 is Christ!35 18 Let no one who delights in humility and the worship of angels pass judgment on you. That person goes on at great lengths36 about what he has supposedly seen, but he is puffed up with empty notions by his fleshly mind.37 19 He has not held fast38 to the head from whom the whole body, supported39 and knit together through its ligaments and sinews, grows with a growth that is from God.40
20 If you have died with Christ to the elemental spirits41 of the world, why do you submit to them as though you lived in the world? 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!” 22 These are all destined to perish with use, founded as they are42 on human commands and teachings.43 23 Even though they have the appearance of wisdom44 with their self-imposed worship and false humility45 achieved by an46 unsparing treatment of the body – a wisdom with no true value – they in reality result in fleshly indulgence.47