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An Apostle of Christ Jesus by God's will,

And Timothy our brother,
To the devoted followers of Christ in Colosse,
And to the brothers who are faithful to him :
May favor be yours and peace,

From God our Father.

We always give thanks to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for you when we pray. For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which you are continually showing towards all his devoted followers for the sake of the hope which is to have its fulfilment in heaven, the hope of which you have already heard in the declaration of the truth which the Good News makes known. And this Good News is now with you just as it also is in the whole world, bearing fruit and growing, just as it did among you from the very day you heard of God's favor and came to understand thoroughly what it really is. It is just as you learned from Epaphras, our dear fellow-slave. He


is a faithful servant of Christ for us, and it was he who told us about the love with which you have been inspired by the Spirit.

For this reason, from the day we heard about it, we have never given up praying for you, and asking as a special favor that, in the exercise of every kind of wisdom and spiritual understanding, you may become thoroughly possessed of accurate knowledge of God's will, so that you may live worthily of the Lord and always please him, bearing fruit in every kind of generous deed and growing in accurate knowledge of God. Then


will be made strong with every kind of ability worthy of the might of his majesty. And you will gladly endure and persevere under all kinds of circumstances. Yes, you will continually give thanks to the Father who made you fit to share the lot of his devoted ones in the light. For he has rescued us from the rule of darkness, and put us into the kingdom of his dear Son, in whom we have deliverance, that is, the putting away of our sins.

He is the image of the unseen God and was in existence as his first-born son before creation. For in him was created everything in heaven and on earth, seen and unseen, angelic beings whether they belong to the order of thrones or lordships, or principalities or authorities. Everything has been created through him and for him. And he

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195 1:17. is before everything, and everything depends on him for its existence. And he himself is the head of the body, that is, of the Church. He is the beginning. He is the first to rise from the dead, so that in everything he may take the first place. For it pleased God that the divine nature in all its fulness should dwell in Christ, and that through him he should bring everything back into harmony with himself. So God brought about peace by means of the death of Christ on his cross, and through him, I say, brought everything back into harmony with himself, whether on the earth or in heaven. Yes, you yourselves were once estranged from God. You used to harbor hostile thoughts towards him, and to keep continually doing wicked things. But now, by means of Christ's death, God has brought you, as members of Christ's human body, into harmony with himself. And, as a result of this, you will stand in his presence as his devoted ones, pure and blameless; if, that is, you remain true to the Faith, firmly founded on it, and are not moved from the hope brought in the Good News which you heard, which also has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a servant.

Now I am glad amid my sufferings for you, and in my physical nature I keep filling up what is lacking in the troubles of the Christ, for the sake

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of his body which is the Church, of which I became a servant, in virtue of the responsibility with which God entrusted me for your benefit, so that I might cause the message of God to be known everywhere, that is, those divine truths which have been kept secret from former ages and generations, but have now been made known to God's devoted ones. And to them God saw fit to make known what is the wealth of the glory of these divine truths as realized among the heathen. For it is nothing less than Christ in you as the foundation of your hope of attaining to final blessedness. This is the Christ of whom we are telling you, as ve warn every one, and teach every one every kind of wisdom, so that we may present every one to God as a fully developed character in Christ. For this purpose I keep working hard and struggling with an energy which is divine and is working powerfully in me.

For I want you to know how great a struggle I am having for you and those in Laodicea and as many as have not seen me face to face. pose in telling you this is to encourage you, so that, being bound together in the bonds of love, and having attained to all the wealth of a deep and conscious insight, you may come to a full knowledge of God's secret truths as embodied in Christ. For in him are all the treasures of wisdom and

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