1For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face,
2that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ,
3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
4I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments.
5For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.
Alive in Christ
6Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him,
7rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
8See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits2:8 Or elementary principles; also verse 20 of the world, and not according to Christ.
9For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,
10and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.
11In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,
12having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.
13And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,
14by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
15He disarmed the rulers and authorities2:15 Probably demonic rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.2:15 Or in it (that is, the cross)
Let No One Disqualify You
16Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.
17These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.
18Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions,2:18 Or about the things he has seen puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind,
19and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.
20If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations—
21“Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch”
22(referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings?
23These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.