"You Need Jesus!": An Interpretive Translation with Integrated Outline of Paul's Letter to the Young

From: Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy, our brother.

To: The saints in Colossae and the faithful brothers in Christ - grace to you and peace from God our Father.

 

Prayer of Thanks For What Jesus Has Done

He Has Given a Hope that Breeds Faith and Love

We are constantly giving thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always concerning you, having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints on account of the hope laid up for you in the heavens which you heard in the Word of Truth – the Gospel.

He Has Blessed His Gospel

This gospel is coming to you just as also it came bearing fruit and increasing in all the world, just as also in you, from the day in which you heard and knew the grace of God in truth. Just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow-bondslave, who is a faithful deacon of Christ on your behalf. And he informed us of your love in the spirit.

 

You Need to Know What Jesus Wants

On account of this, since the day we heard of it we have not stopped praying for you and asking for you that you should be filled with the real knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

He Wants You to Do Good

to walk worthily of the Lord to please Him in all things, bearing fruit in all good works

He Wants You to Grow in the Knowledge of His Father

and growing in the real knowledge of God;

He Wants You to Increase in Self-Control

strengthened with all power according to His glorious might for the purpose of all endurance and patience;

He Wants You to Increase in Thankfulness

giving thanks with joy to the Father, the One who made us acceptable to share in the inheritance of the saints in light! Who delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us unto the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins;

 

You Need the Preeminent Jesus (a pause to praise!)

He is the Source of and Sovereign Over All Creation

who is the image of the invisible God, the pre-eminent one of all creation, because all things were created in Him (in the heavens and the upon the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers), all things have been created through Him and unto Him. And He is before all things and all things hold together in Him.

He is the Source of and Sovereign Over All the Church

And He is the Head of the body – the church. He is the beginning – firstborn from the dead, in order that he should be firstly in all things because He (the Father) was pleased to dwell all the fullness in Him (Jesus) and to reconcile all things through Him (Jesus) to Him (the Father) having made peace through the blood of His cross – through Him whether the things upon the earth or the things in the heavens.

 

You Need the Reconciling Jesus

That Was Then…

And then, you were in a state of being alienated and hateful in your mind, in the midst of evil works,

This Is Now…

but now, He reconciled you in His physical body through death, to present you before Him (the Father) holy and blameless and above reproach! If, that is, you are abiding in the faith, having been settled, firmly seated, not having been shifted from the hope of the gospel which you heard, the one preached in all creation under heaven, which I, Paul, was made a deacon.

 

You Need the Jesus Who Is Sovereign Over His Gospel

Sovereign Over Our Suffering for the Gospel

Now, I rejoice in my sufferings on your behalf and I fill up in my body that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ on behalf of His body which is the church

Sovereign Over the Ministers of the Gospel

of which I became a deacon according to the stewardship of God , the one given to me for you to fulfill the word of God.

Sovereign Over When the Gospel is Revealed

This word of God is the mystery, having been hidden from the ages and from the generations

Sovereign Over to Whom the Gospel is Revealed

but now having been revealed to His saints; to whom God (the Father) willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery in the Gentiles, which is Christ in you – the hope of glory!

Sovereign Over Our Effort in the Gospel

Whom we are proclaiming, admonishing everyman and teaching everyman in all wisdom in order that we should present everyman complete1 in Christ. And for this purpose I labour, agonizing according to His energy (which is working in me in power!).

 

You Need to Know Jesus

The Goal: To Know Him

For, I don’t want you to forget how great a struggle I am having on your behalf and on behalf of the Laodiceans and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; in order that their hearts should be encouraged, having been welded together in love, to reach all the wealth of the full assurance of understanding, into the real knowledge of God’s mystery Christ! In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

The Reason: So We Won’t Get Fooled

I say this, in order that no one should deceive you with their “sales pitch,” for I may be absent in body, but I am with you in spirit, rejoicing and seeing the orderliness and firmness of your faith in Christ.

The Means: Live Like He Tells Us To

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him; having been rooted (in Him) and (now) being built up in Him and being established in the faith (just as you were taught it); abounding in thanksgiving!

 

You Need the Fully Saving Jesus

Don’t Be Deluded: You’re Complete in Him!

Take heed, lest someone shall be kidnapping you through philosophy and empty deception, according to man-made tradition, according to the elementary principles of the world, and NOT according to Christ! Because, all the fullness of deity is dwelling in Christ bodily and you are in a state of having been filled in Him (“you are complete in Him”) who is the Head of all rule and authority.

He Has Broken the Power of Sin

And you were circumcised in Him, with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of flesh; in the circumcision of Christ, having been co-buried in Him in baptism.

He Has Broken the Power of Death

In whom also you were co-raised through faith in the power of God (the Father) who raised Him (Jesus) from the dead.

He Has Broken the Power of Guilt

And you (who were in a state of death in the trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh), you He co-quickened2 with Him; having forgiven us all the sins and having cancelled the record of debt against us with its legal demands that stood against us.

 

You Need Jesus Alone

Not Legalism…

Therefore, don’t let anyone make decrees for you in regards to food or drink or with respect to festivals or New Moons or Sabbaths. These things are a shadow of the One that is coming and that One (lit: “the body”) is Christ.

Not Mysticism…

Don’t let anyone defraud you, consumed with his false humility, angel-worship and continually harping on what he has “seen.” He is proud for no reason by his fleshly mind. He isn’t holding on to the Head, out of whom the whole body is growing the growth of God; being supplied and being held together by the joints and ligaments.

Not Asceticism…

Since you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world – why are you subjecting yourself to decrees as if you were living in the world, according to the commandments and teachings of men? Things like, “Don’t handle this!” “Don’t taste that!” “Don’t touch the other!” “This,” “that” and “the other” are all set to perish with the using! Indeed, these are things that are having the appearance of wisdom in self-imposed worship and false humility and severe treatment of the body – but they are of no value against indulging the flesh!

 

 

You Need to Live Like Jesus

Think the Right Way About You and Jesus

Therefore, since you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is; seated in the realm of God’s right hand. Think on the things above, not on the things upon the earth. For you died and your life has been hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, our life, has been manifested, then you also will be made manifest with Him in glory!

Become What You Are – Kill Sexual Sin

Therefore, put to death “the deeds of the old man;”3

  • sexual immorality

  • impure fantasies

  • evil passion

  • lust

  • and the covetous greed which is idolatry

on account of which the wrath of God will come; in which also you walked then, when you were living in them.

Become What You Are – Take Off the Sins of Anger

But now, you also take off all these;

  • internal simmering anger

  • furious outbursts

  • deliberately harmful words

  • slanderous accusations

  • and verbal abuse out of your mouth.

Become What You Are – Strip Off the Lies

Do not lie to one another, having stripped off the old man with his evil practices and having put on the new man, the one being renewed unto knowledge according to the image of the one having created him; where there is no place for Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, Barbarian and Scythian, slave and free man, but Christ is all and is in all.

Become What You Are – Put on Love, Peace, Gratitude

Therefore, put on (as those chosen of God, holy and having been loved)

  • genuine compassion

  • pleasantness

  • personal humility

  • gentleness

  • patience

  • enduring each another

  • and graciously forgiving each other – if anyone has a complaint toward anyone – just as also the Lord forgave you so you also forgive one another.

And upon all these, put on love which is the bond that perfectly holds us together.4

And let the peace of Christ (into which you also were called in one Name) umpire in your hearts.

And be thankful.

Become What You Are – Immersed in the Word

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with thanks, from the heart, to God.

Become What You Are – Do All to His Glory

And whatever you do, in word or action, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

 

You Need Jesus in Your Home

In the Marriage

Wives, put yourself under the authority of your husband, as is fitting in the Lord.5 And, husbands, love your wives and do not get bitter against them.

In the Family

Children, listen and attend to6 your parents according to everything, for this is well-pleasing in the Lord. Fathers, do not wrongly provoke your children in order that they should not become disheartened.

 

You Need Jesus at Work

Slaves Should Work for Jesus

Slaves, listen and attend to your lord-according-to-the-flesh according to everything. Not in eyeservice as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do your work out of your soul, as to the Lord and not men, knowing that you will receive from the Lord the reward which consists of the inheritance. Serve Christ the Lord, for the one doing wrong will get back what he did wrong no matter who he is!7

Masters Should Lord Like Jesus

Lords, supply your slaves with what is due and what is fair, knowing that you also have a Lord… in heaven!

 

You Need to Depend on Jesus

Continue steadfastly in prayer, keeping watchful in it, in thanksgiving.

 

You Need Jesus to Help You Evangelize

Whether You are a Missionary…

And pray at the same time concerning us, that God should open to us a door for the Word to speak the mystery of Christ (on account of which also I have been put in bonds) in order that I should make it clear as I ought to speak it.

Or Just a Normal Christian

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, snatching up the opportunities. Let your words always be gracious, having been seasoned with salt, so that you know how to appropriately answer each one.8

 

Eight Men Who Have Shown How They Need Jesus

A Godly, Reliable Man

All the things about me, Tychicus will make known to you, the beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow-bondslave in the Lord; whom I sent to you for this very thing – in order that you might know the things concerning us and he might comfort your hearts.

A Humble, Resolute Slave

And with him is Onesimus, the faithful and beloved brother, who is one of your number; they will make known to you all the things here.

A Man Who Fights Alongside a Brother

Aristarchus greets you, my fellow prisoner-of-war.

A Brother Who Finishes Well

And Mark, the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you received commandments – if he comes to you, receive him).

A Worker Who Labours to Console

And Jesus, who is called Justus – these are the only fellow-workers for the kingdom of God of the circumcision, who became a consolation to me.

A Pastor Who Works Hard for the Good of Others

Epaphras greets you, the one of your number, a bondslave of Christ Jesus, always agonizing on your behalf in his prayers in order that you may stand complete and in a state of fullness in the will of God.9 For I bear him witness, that he has a deep concern for you and the ones in Laodicea and Hierapolis.

A Loyal Friend

Luke, the beloved physician, greets you;

A Helper Who Gives Up in the End

and Demas.

 

You Need Jesus in Church Life

In Relationships with Other Local Churches

Greet the brothers in Laodicea and Nymphas and the church in her house.

And whenever this letter is read before you, ensure that it is also read in the Laodicean church; and ensure that you read the letter out of Laodicea.

In Fulfilling Pastoral Ministry

And tell Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, in order that you might fulfill it.”

 

Final Greeting

I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Paul W. Martin. This translation remains a work in progress and thus is copyrighted to Paul W. Martin and may not be reproduced or quoted in any form without written permission of the author. Please address any inquiries to grace.fellowship@sympatico.ca

1 Greek, “telos.”

2 Literally, “made alive together.”

3 Literally, “the members, the ones upon the earth.” This refers to the actions attached to earthly (sinful) living as compared to heavenly (godly) living.

4 Literally, “the bond of perfection.” The exact meaning is not altogether certain, but it is clear the phrase is speaking about the way in which love unites the hearts of the church.

5 Literally, “submit yourself to your husbands.”

6 Literally, “obey.” The word carries the broader sense, however, of responding to a command, hence, listen and do.

7 Literally, “will get back what he did wrong, and this is not with respect to persons.” The idea is that no matter who you are in status or race, you will still get your due in this life if you disobey your earthly lords. This would be a particularly poignant warning to the Christian slave who might consider himself exempt from punishment now that he is saved by grace. This verse does not refer to eternal punishment.

8 Literally, “to know how it is necessary to answer each one.”

9 Literally, “and having been filled with everything that is the will of God.” Paul is suggesting that Epaphras prays for the same things that Paul prays (see 1:9-12; 2:1-3). That prayer is that these Christians would know God deeply and intimately and thereby know His will for their behavior.

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