2 For I want you to know yhow great a wstruggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, 2 that ztheir hearts may be encouraged, being aknit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of bGod’s mystery, which is Christ, 3 cin whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I say this in order dthat no one may delude you with plausible arguments. 5 For ethough I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your fgood order and gthe firmness of your faith in Christ.
Alive in Christ
8 See to it that no one takes you captive by nphilosophy and oempty deceit, according to phuman tradition, according to the qelemental spirits1 of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For rin him the whole fullness of deity dwells sbodily, 10 and tyou have been filled in him, who is uthe head of all rule and authority. 11 In him also vyou were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by wputting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 xhaving been buried with him in baptism, in which yyou were also raised with him through faith in zthe powerful working of God, zwho raised him from the dead. 13 aAnd you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God bmade alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by ccanceling dthe record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 wHe disarmed the rulers and authorities2 and eput them to open shame, by ftriumphing over them in him.3
Let No One Disqualify You
16 Therefore let no one gpass judgment on you hin questions of food and drink, or with regard to ia festival or ja new moon or a Sabbath. 17 kThese are a shadow of the things to come, but lthe substance belongs to Christ. 18 Let no one mdisqualify you, ninsisting on asceticism and worship of angels, ogoing on in detail about visions,4 ppuffed up without reason by qhis sensuous mind, 19 and rnot sholding 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.
20 If with Christ tyou died to the uelemental spirits of the world, vwhy, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— 21 w“Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” 22 (xreferring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to yhuman precepts and teachings? 23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in zpromoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are aof no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.
Put On the New Self
3 bIf then you have been raised with Christ, seek cthe things that are above, where Christ is, dseated at the right hand of God. 2 eSet your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For fyou have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ gwho is your1 life happears, then you also will appear with him iin glory.
5 jPut to death therefore kwhat is earthly in you:2 lsexual immorality, impurity, mpassion, evil desire, and covetousness, nwhich is idolatry. 6 oOn account of these the wrath of God is coming.3 7 pIn these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now qyou must put them all away: ranger, wrath, malice, sslander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 tDo not lie to one another, seeing that uyou have put off vthe old self4 with its practices 10 and whave put on xthe new self, ywhich is being renewed in knowledge zafter the image of aits creator. 11 bHere there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave,5 free; but Christ is call, and in all.
12 dPut on then, as eGod’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, fcompassionate hearts, gkindness, hhumility, meekness, and patience, 13 hbearing with one another and, iif one has a complaint against another, gforgiving each other; gas the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on jlove, which kbinds everything together in lperfect harmony. 15 And let mthe peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called nin one body. And obe thankful. 16 Let pthe word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, qsinging psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, rwith thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And swhatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, tgiving thanks to God the Father through him.
Rules for Christian Households
18 uWives, submit to your husbands, as vis fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and wdo not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents xin everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. 22 Bondservants, obey xin everything those who are your earthly masters,6 not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 yWhatever you do, work heartily, zas for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord ayou will receive the inheritance as your reward. bYou are serving the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.
4 Masters, treat your bondservants1 justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.
2 cContinue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it dwith thanksgiving. 3 At the same time, pray also for us, that God may eopen to us a door for the word, fto declare the mystery of Christ, gon account of which I am in prison— 4 that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.
7 Tychicus will tell you mall about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant2 in the Lord. 8 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts, 9 and with him nOnesimus, our faithful and obeloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you of everything that has taken place here.
10 pAristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark qthe cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions—rif he comes to you, welcome him), 11 and Jesus who is called sJustus. tThese are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and uthey have been a comfort to me. 12 vEpaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always wstruggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand xmature and fully assured in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. 14 yLuke the beloved physician greets you, as does zDemas. 15 Give my greetings to the brothers3 at Laodicea, and to Nympha and athe church in her house. 16 And when bthis letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea. 17 And say to cArchippus, “See that you fulfill dthe ministry that you have received in the Lord.”
1 Paul, aSilvanus, and Timothy,
To the church of the bThessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
cGrace to you and peace.
The Thessalonians’ Faith and Example
2 dWe give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly1 ementioning you in our prayers, 3 remembering before four God and Father gyour work of faith and labor of hlove and isteadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4 For we know, jbrothers2 loved by God, kthat he has chosen you, 5 because lour gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and min the Holy Spirit and with full nconviction. You know owhat kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. 6 And pyou became imitators of us qand of the Lord, for ryou received the word in much affliction, swith the tjoy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8 For not only has the word of the Lord usounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth veverywhere, so that we need not say anything. 9 For they themselves report concerning us the kind of wreception we had among you, and how xyou turned to God yfrom idols to serve the living and ztrue God, 10 and ato wait for his Son bfrom heaven, cwhom he raised from the dead, Jesus dwho delivers us from ethe wrath to come.
Paul’s Ministry to the Thessalonians
2 For you yourselves know, brothers,1 that our fcoming to you gwas not in vain. 2 But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated hat Philippi, as you know, iwe had boldness in our God jto declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much kconflict. 3 For lour appeal does not spring from merror or nimpurity or oany attempt to deceive, 4 but just as we have been approved by God pto be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not qto please man, but to please God rwho tests our hearts. 5 sFor we never came with words of flattery,2 as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—tGod is witness. 6 uNor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, vthough we could have made wdemands as xapostles of Christ. 7 But we were ygentle3 among you, zlike a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 8 So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God abut also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.
9 For you remember, brothers, bour labor and toil: we cworked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 10 You are witnesses, and dGod also, ehow holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. 11 For you know how, flike a father with his children, 12 we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and gcharged hyou to walk in a manner worthy of God, iwho calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
13 And jwe also thank God constantly4 for this, that when you received kthe word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it lnot as the word of men5 but as what it really is, the word of God, mwhich is at work in you believers. 14 For you, brothers, nbecame imitators of othe churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For pyou suffered the same things from your own countrymen qas they did from the Jews,6 15 rwho killed both the Lord Jesus and sthe prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and toppose all mankind 16 uby hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always vto fill up the measure of their sins. But wwrath has come upon them at last!7
Paul’s Longing to See Them Again
17 But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, xin person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire yto see you face to face, 18 because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan zhindered us. 19 For what is our hope or ajoy or crown of boasting bbefore our Lord Jesus at his ccoming? Is it not you? 20 For you are our glory and joy.