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1For I want you to know how greatly I strive for you, and for those at La-odiceʹa, and for all who have not seen my face, 2that their hearts may be encouraged as they are knit together in love, to have all the riches of assured understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, of Christ, 3in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4I say this in order that no one may delude you with beguiling speech. 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.

6As therefore you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so live in him, 7rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

8See to it that no one makes a prey of you by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. 9For in him the whole fulness of deity dwells bodily, 10and you have come to fulness of life in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. 11In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of flesh in the circumcision of Christ; 12and you were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13And you, who were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14having canceled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands; this he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15He disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in him.

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. 17These are only a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. 18Let no one disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, taking his stand on visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 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.

20If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the universe, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world? Why do you submit to regulations, 21“Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” 22(referring to things which all perish as they are used), according to human precepts and doctrines? 23These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting rigor of devotion and self-abasement and severity to the body, but they are of no value in checking the indulgence of the flesh.

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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