1 I want you to know what a battle I am fighting for you and for those in Laodicea, yes, for all who have never known me personally, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, by having been knit together in love and by having atoned to the full assurance of understanding, so that they may finally reach the fullest knowledge of the open secret, Christ Himself, 3 in whom all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are stored up.
4 I am saying this to keep anyone from misleading you by persuasive arguments. 5 For though I am far away in person, still I am with you in spirit, and I am glad to note your fine order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.
6 So, just as you once accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue living in vital union with Him, 7 with your roots deeply planted in Him, being continuously built up in Him, and growing stronger in faith, just as you were taught to do, overflowing through it in your gratitude.
8 Take care that nobody captures you by the idle fancies of his so-called philosophy, following human tradition and the world's crude notions instead of Christ. 9 For it is in Him that all the fullness of Deity continues to live embodied, 10 and through union with Him you too are filled with it. He is the Head of all principalities and dominions. 11 And through your union with Him you once received, not a hand-performed circumcision but one performed by Christ, in stripping you of your lower nature, 12 for you were buried with Him in baptism and raised to life with Him through your faith in the power of God who raised Him from the dead. 13 Yes, although you were dead through your shortcomings and were physically uncircumcised, God made you live again through fellowship with Christ. He graciously forgave us all our shortcomings, 14 canceled the note that stood against us, with its requirements, and has put it out of our way by nailing it to the cross. 15 He thus stripped the principalities and dominions of power and made a public display of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
16 Stop letting anyone pass judgment on you in matters of eating and drinking, or in the matter of annual or monthly feasts or sabbaths. 17 These were but the shadow of what was coming; the reality belongs to Christ. 18 Stop letting anyone, in gratuitous humility and worship of angels, defraud you as an umpire, for such a one is taking his stand on the mere visions he has seen, and is groundlessly conceited over his sensuous mind. 19 Such a person is not continuing in connection with the Head, from which the whole body, when supplied and united through its joints and sinews, grows with a growth that God produces.
20 If once through fellowship with Christ you died and were separated from the world's crude notions, why do you live as though you belonged to the world? Why submit to rules such as, 21 "You must not handle," "You must not taste," "You must not touch," 22 which refer to things that perish in the using, in accordance with human rules and teachings? 23 Such practices have the outward expression of wisdom, with their self-imposed devotions, their self-humiliation, their torturings of the body, but they are of no value; they really satisfy the lower nature.