The Passion Translation
Paul’s Love for the Colossians
2 I wish you could know how much I have struggled[a] for you and for the church in Laodicea, and for the many other friends I’ve yet to meet. 2 I am contending for you that your hearts will be wrapped in the comfort of heaven and woven together into love’s fabric. This will give you access[b] to all the riches of God as you experience the revelation of God’s great mystery—Christ.
3 For our spiritual wealth is in him, like hidden treasure waiting to be discovered—heaven’s wisdom and endless riches of revelation knowledge.
4 I want you to know this so that no one will come and lead you into error[c] through their persuasive arguments and clever words. 5 Even though I’m separated from you geographically, my spirit is present there with you. And I’m overjoyed to see how disciplined[d] and deeply committed you are because you have such a solid faith in Christ, the Anointed One.
New Life in Christ
6 In the same way you received Jesus our Lord and Messiah by faith, continue your journey of faith, progressing further into your union with him! 7 Your spiritual roots go deeply into his life as you are continually infused with strength, encouraged in every way. For you are established in the faith you have absorbed and enriched by your devotion to him![e]
8 Beware that no one distracts you or intimidates you[f] in their attempt to lead you away from Christ’s fullness by pretending to be full of wisdom when they’re filled with endless arguments of human logic. For they operate with humanistic and clouded judgments based on the mindset of this world system, and not the anointed truths of the Anointed One.
9 For he is the complete fullness of deity living in human form. 10 And our own completeness is now found in him. We are completely filled with God as Christ’s fullness overflows within us. He is the Head[g] of every kingdom and authority in the universe!
11 Through our union with him we have experienced circumcision of heart. All of the guilt and power of sin[h] has been cut away and is now extinct because of what Christ, the Anointed One, has accomplished for us.
12 For we’ve been buried with him into his death. Our “baptism into death” also means we were raised with him when we believed in God’s resurrection power, the power that raised him from death’s realm. 13 This “realm of death” describes our former state, for we were held in sin’s grasp.[i] But now, we’ve been resurrected out of that “realm of death” never to return, for we are forever alive and forgiven of all our sins!
14 He canceled out every legal violation we had on our record and the old arrest warrant that stood to indict us. He erased it all—our sins, our stained[j] soul—he deleted it all and they cannot be retrieved! Everything we once were in Adam[k] has been placed onto his cross and nailed permanently there as a public display of cancellation.
15 Then Jesus made a public spectacle of all the powers and principalities of darkness, stripping away from them every weapon and all their spiritual authority and power[l] to accuse us. And by the power of the cross, Jesus led them around as prisoners in a procession of triumph. He was not their prisoner; they were his![m]
Liberty in Christ
16 So why would you allow anyone[n] to judge you because of what you eat or drink, or insist that you keep the feasts, observe new moon celebrations, or the Sabbath? 17 All of these were but a prophetic shadow and the evidence of what would be fulfilled,[o] for the body[p] is now Christ!
18 Don’t let anyone disqualify you from your prize! Don’t let their pretended sincerity fool you as they deliberately lead you into their initiation of angel worship.[q] For they take pleasure in pretending to be experts of something they know nothing about. Their reasoning is meaningless and comes only from their own opinions. 19 They refuse to take hold of the true source.
But we receive directly from him, and his life supplies[r] vitality into every part of his body through the joining ligaments connecting us all as one. He is the divine Head who guides his body and causes it to grow by the supernatural power of God.[s]
20 For you were included in the death of Christ and have died with him to the religious system and powers of this world. Don’t retreat back to being bullied by the standards and opinions of religion— 21 for example, their strict requirements, “You can’t associate with that person!” or, “Don’t eat that!” or, “You can’t touch that!” 22 These are the doctrines of men and corrupt customs that are worthless to help you spiritually. 23 For though they may appear to possess the promise of wisdom in their submission to God through the deprivation of their physical bodies, it is actually nothing more than empty rules rooted in religious rituals!
- 2:1 The Greek word agon (from which we get “agony”) means an intense conflict and struggle. This could imply Paul’s apostolic intercession for them.
- 2:2 Or in the Aramaic “approach.”
- 2:4 By implication, this “error” would be the teaching that Jesus is not enough, adding something to the all-sufficient Christ.
- 2:5 The Greek text literally means “unbroken battle formation.” The Aramaic can be translated “organized” or “principled.”
- 2:7 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek states “overflowing with gratitude.”
- 2:8 The Aramaic can be translated “strips you naked.” The Greek states “takes you captive.”
- 2:10 Or “Source.”
- 2:11 The Aramaic can be translated “flesh of sin.” The Greek means “body of the natural realm.”
- 2:13 Literally “the uncircumcision of your flesh.”
- 2:14 This “stained soul” has been erased of its filth. The word “erased” explicitly holds the concept of removal of stains. This would mean the nature of Adam has been erased and the nature of Christ has been embedded into us. We are totally set free from every trace of sin by the power of the blood of Jesus Christ.
- 2:14 The Aramaic can be translated “from our midst.” This would refer to all that was within us—the core of our past life and its memories of failure and disobedience. A new DNA has been embedded now within us through the cross and resurrection life of Christ.
- 2:15 Literally “governments and authorities.”
- 2:15 Implied by the obvious irony in the Greek. The Aramaic text has a phrase that is not found in Greek manuscripts. The Aramaic can be translated “having put off his body, he stripped principalities and powers and shamed them openly.” This implies that between the day of crucifixion and the day of resurrection while in the spirit-realm, Jesus destroyed death, the powers of darkness, and every work of the enemy through the blood of his cross. All the enemy’s weapons have been stripped away from him and now the church has authority in Christ to enforce this triumph upon the dethroned rulers of this world. However, an alternate translation of the Aramaic could be “after sending out his body [apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, believers], they enforced his triumph to all the thrones and authorities, putting them all to public shame by the manifestation of himself [in them].”
- 2:16 The Aramaic text implies “any unbeliever.”
- 2:17 The revelation of the Old Testament is so rich when we understand that its shadow is displaced by the body of Christ, the full revelation of who he is. The shadow only reflects the substance of what has now been fulfilled.
- 2:17 Or “substance.”
- 2:18 In the first century AD, there was a mystical Jewish religion called Merkabah Mysticism, or Chariot Mysticism, in which the initiate would seek to go into the palace of God through meditation and enter into his chariot-throne. His was the innermost palace of seven concentric heavenly palaces surrounding his chariot-throne. At each “palace” or level there would be a fierce protecting angel, acting as a mediator who had to be placated by angel worship, which would enable the worshiper to enter the next level. There were also ancient polytheistic folk religions that worshiped and invoked angels. These were entirely forbidden paths for believers in Jesus, and Paul warned them of that in this letter.
- 2:19 The Greek word used here is epichoregeo, which interestingly can be translated as “to lead the chorus,” or “choir director.” It was used to denote a person who paid for the expenses of a Greek drama, and who supplied all their needs throughout its production. Similarly, Jesus tunes us up to heaven’s notes, and draws out of us the melody of his divine symphony. He supplies the music to us, and imparts the wisdom for us to play it under his direction. This is the artful picture of how Jesus orchestrates his body with its many members.
- 2:19 Or “makes it grow with the discipline from God.”