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, (Php 1:30; Col 1:29)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, (Eph 6:22; Col 1:27; Col 3:14; Col 4:8)3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Isa 11:2; Isa 45:3; Lu 11:49; 1Co 1:24; 1Co 1:30; 1Co 2:6; Eph 1:8)4I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. (Ro 16:18; Eph 5:6; 2Pe 2:3)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. (1Co 5:3; 1Co 14:40; 1Pe 5:9)
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. (Le 11:2; Le 23:2; Nu 28:11; Mr 2:28; Ro 14:3; Ro 14:5; Ro 14:10; Ro 14:13; Ro 14:17; Heb 9:10)17These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. (Col 2:2; Heb 8:5; Heb 10:1)18Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, (Eze 13:7; Ro 8:7; 1Co 9:24; Eph 4:17; Col 2:23; 1Ti 1:7)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. (Eph 4:15; Re 2:13; Re 3:11)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— (Ro 6:2; Ga 4:9; Col 2:8)21“Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (Col 2:16; 1Ti 4:3)22(referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? (Isa 29:13; Mt 15:9; 1Co 6:13; Tit 1:14)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. (Col 2:18; 1Ti 4:8)
New International Version
1I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally.2My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ,3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.4I tell you this so that no-one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.5For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.
Spiritual fullness in Christ
6So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him,7rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.8See to it that no-one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.9For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,10and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.11In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ,12having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.13When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,14having cancelled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.15And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Freedom from human rules
16Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.17These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.18Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind.19They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.20Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules:21‘Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!’?22These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings.23Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.
King James Version
1For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh;2That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;3In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.4And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.5For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.6As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:7Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.8Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.9For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.10And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:11In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:12Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.13And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;14Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;15And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.16Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:17Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.18Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,19And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.20Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,21(Touch not; taste not; handle not;22Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?23Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.
New International Reader’s Version
1I want you to know how hard I am working for you. I’m concerned for those who are in Laodicea. I’m also concerned for everyone who has not met me in person.2My goal is that their hearts may be encouraged and strengthened. I want them to be joined together in love. Then their understanding will be rich and complete. They will know the mystery of God. That mystery is Christ.3All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in him.4But I don’t want anyone to fool you with words that only sound good.5So even though I am away from you in body, I am with you in spirit. And I am glad to see that you are controlling yourselves. I am happy that your faith in Christ is so strong.
Having all things in Christ
6You received Christ Jesus as Lord. So keep on living your lives in him.7Have your roots in him. Build yourselves up in him. Grow strong in what you believe, just as you were taught. Be more thankful than ever before.8Make sure no one controls you. They will try to control you by using false reasoning that has no meaning. Their ideas depend on human teachings. They also depend on the basic spiritual powers of this world. They don’t depend on Christ.9God’s whole nature is living in Christ in human form.10Because you belong to Christ, you have been made complete. He is the ruler over every power and authority.11When you received Christ, your circumcision was not done by human hands. Instead, your circumcision was done by Christ. He put away the person you used to be. At that time, sin’s power ruled over you.12When you were baptised, you were buried together with Christ. And you were raised to life together with him when you were baptised. You were raised to life by believing in God’s work. God himself raised Jesus from the dead.13At one time you were dead in your sins. Your desires controlled by sin were not circumcised. But God gave you new life together with Christ. He forgave us all our sins.14He wiped out what the law said that we owed. The law stood against us. It judged us. But he has taken it away and nailed it to the cross.15He took away the weapons of the powers and authorities. He made a public show of them. He won the battle over them by dying on the cross.
Freedom from human rules
16So don’t let anyone judge you because of what you eat or drink. Don’t let anyone judge you about holy days. I’m talking about special feasts and New Moons and Sabbath days.17They are only a shadow of the things to come. But what is real is found in Christ.18Some people enjoy pretending they aren’t proud. They worship angels. But don’t let people like that judge you. These people tell you every little thing about what they have seen. They are proud of their useless ideas. That’s because their minds are not guided by the Holy Spirit.19They aren’t connected anymore to the head, who is Christ. But the whole body grows from the head. The muscles and tendons hold the body together. And God causes it to grow.20Some people still follow the basic spiritual powers of the world. But you died with Christ as far as these powers are concerned. So why do you act as if you still belong to the world? Here are the rules you follow.21‘Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!’22Rules like these are about things that will pass away soon. They are based on merely human rules and teachings.23It is true that these rules seem wise. Because of them, people give themselves over to their own kind of worship. They pretend they are humble. They treat their bodies very badly. But rules like these don’t help. They don’t stop people from chasing after sinful pleasures.