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2:1  You see, I’d like you to know just what a struggle I am having on behalf of yourselves, and the family in Laodicea, and all the people who don’t know me by sight.
2:2  I want their hearts to be encouraged as they’re brought together in love. I want them to experience all the wealth of definite understanding, and to come to the knowledge of God’s mystery—the Messiah!
2:3  He is the place where you’ll find all the hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
2:4  I’m saying this so that nobody will deceive you with plausible words.
2:5  Though I’m away from you in person, you see, I am present with you in the spirit, and I’m celebrating as I keep an eye on your good order, and the solidity of your faith in the Messiah.
2:6  So, then, just as you received Messiah Jesus the Lord, you must continue your journey in him.
2:7  You must put down healthy roots in him, being built up brick by brick in him, and established strongly in the faith, just as you were taught, with overflowing thankfulness.
2:8  Watch out that nobody uses philosophy and hollow trickery to take you captive! These are in line with human tradition, and with the “elements of the world”—not with the Messiah.
2:9  In him, you see, all the full measure of divinity has taken up bodily residence.
2:10  What’s more, you are fulfilled in him, since he’s the head of all rule and authority.
2:11  In him, indeed, you were circumcised with a special, new type of circumcision. It isn’t something that human hands can do. It is the Messiah’s version of circumcision, and it happens when you put off the “body of flesh”:
2:12  when you’re buried with him in baptism, and indeed also raised with him, through faith in the power of the God who raised him from the dead.
2:13  In the same way, though you were dead in legal offenses, and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with Jesus, forgiving us all our offenses.
2:14  He blotted out the handwriting that was against us, opposing us with its legal demands. He took it right out of the way, by nailing it to the cross.
2:15  He stripped the rulers and authorities of their armor, and displayed them contemptuously to public view, celebrating his triumph over them in him.
2:16  So don’t let anyone pass judgment on you in a question of food or drink, or in the matter of festivals, new moons or sabbaths.
2:17  These things are a shadow cast by the coming reality—and the body that casts the shadow belongs to the Messiah!
2:18  Don’t let anyone rule you out of order by trying to force you into a kind of fake humility, or into worshiping angels. Such people will go on and on about visions they’ve had; they get puffed up without good reason by merely human thinking,
2:19  and they don’t keep hold of the Head. It’s from him that the whole body grows with the growth God gives it, as it’s nourished and held together by its various ligaments and joints.
2:20  If you died with the Messiah, coming out from the rule of the “worldly elements,” what’s the point of laying down laws as though your life was still merely worldly?
2:21  “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”
2:22  Rules like that all have to do with things that disappear as you use them. They are the sort of regulations and teachings that mere humans invent.
2:23  They may give an appearance of wisdom, since they promote a do-it-yourself religion, a kind of humility, and severe treatment of the body. But they are of no use when it comes to dealing with physical self-indulgence.