Colossians 1 Expanded Bible (EXB)
1 From Paul, an ·apostle [messenger] of Christ Jesus. ·I am an apostle because that is what God wanted [L …by the will of God]. Also from Timothy [Acts 16:1–5; 1 Cor. 16:10–11; Phil. 2:19–24; 1 and 2 Timothy], our brother.
2 To the ·holy [T saints] and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ that live in Colossae [a city located in the Lycus Valley in the Roman province of Phrygia, present-day central Turkey]:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father.[a]
3 In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 ·because we have [or ever since we; L having] heard about the faith you have in Christ Jesus and the love you have for all ·of God’s people [T the saints]. 5 You have this faith and love because of your hope, and what you hope for is ·kept safe [stored up; reserved] for you in heaven. You learned about this hope when you heard the ·message about the truth [or true message; L word of truth], the ·Good News [Gospel] 6 that ·was told [L has come] to you. [L …just as] Everywhere in the world that ·Good News [Gospel] is ·bringing blessings [L bearing fruit] and is growing. This has happened with you, too, ·since [L from the day] you heard and ·understood the truth about [or truly understood] the grace of God. 7 You learned about ·God’s grace [L it] from Epaphras, our ·dear [beloved; much loved] fellow ·servant [slave; bondservant], who is a faithful ·servant [minister] of Christ ·for us[b] [on our behalf]. [C Epaphras apparently established the church at Colossae during Paul’s three-year ministry in Ephesus; Acts 19:10.] 8 He also told us about the love you have ·from [or in] the Holy Spirit.
9 Because of this, since the day we heard about you, we have ·continued [not ceased] praying for you, asking God ·that you will know fully what he wants [L to fill you with the knowledge of his will], ·and that you will have great [L in all] ·spiritual wisdom and understanding [or wisdom and understanding from the Spirit] 10 so that you will live the kind of life that ·honors [is worthy of] and pleases the Lord in every way. You will produce fruit in every good work and grow in the knowledge of God. 11 ·God will strengthen you [L …being strengthened] with ·his own great power [L all power according to his glorious might] so that you will not give up when troubles come, but you will ·be patient. 12 And you will joyfully give thanks [or …have patience with joy, 12 giving thanks] to the Father who has made you[c] able to have a share in ·all that he has prepared for his people in the kingdom of light [L the inheritance of the saints/holy ones in the light]. 13 ·God [L …who] has ·freed [rescued; delivered] us from the ·power [authority; dominion] of darkness, and he brought us into the kingdom of his ·dear [dearly loved; beloved] Son, 14 ·who purchased our freedom[d] [L in whom we have redemption] ·and forgave our sins [or which is the forgiveness of sins].
The Importance of Christ
15 The Son [L …who] is ·the image of [exactly like; the visible representation of] the invisible God [John 1:18; Heb. 1:3]. He ·ranks higher than [L is the firstborn of/over] ·everything that has been made [all creation; Prov. 8:22–30]. 16 ·Through his power [L In him; or By him] all things were created [John 1:3; Heb. 1:2]—things in heaven and on earth, things seen and unseen, all ·powers [or heavenly authorities; L thrones], ·authorities [dominions; kingdoms], ·lords [rulers], and ·rulers [authorities; C these four may refer to angelic hierarchies, or to earthly and heavenly rulers]. All things were created through Christ and for Christ. 17 He ·was there before anything was made [L is before all things], and all things ·continue [endure; or hold together; unite] ·because of [or in] him. 18 He is the head of the body, which is the church. He is the beginning [C meaning (1) the source of the church; (2) the creator of all things; or (3) the beginning/initiator of the end-time resurrection]. He is the ·first one who was raised [L firstborn] from the dead. So in all things Jesus has ·first place [supremacy]. 19 God was pleased for all ·of himself [that he is; L of his fullness] to live in ·Christ [or the Son; L him]. 20 And through ·Christ [L him], God has ·brought all things back to himself again [L reconciled all things to himself]—things on earth and things in heaven. ·God made [L …by making] peace through the blood of ·Christ’s death on the cross [L his cross].
21 At one time you were ·separated [alienated; estranged] from God. You were his enemies in your minds, ·and the evil things you did were against God [or because of your evil deeds]. 22 But now God has ·made you his friends again [reconciled you] through Christ’s death in ·the body [his physical body; L the body of his flesh], so that he might bring you into God’s presence as people who are holy, ·with no wrong [without blemish; C as were sacrificial animals], and ·with nothing of which God can judge you guilty [blameless; innocent; free of accusation]. 23 This will happen if you continue ·strong [grounded; established] and ·sure [firm; steadfast] in your faith. You must not ·be moved [shift; drift] away from the hope ·brought to you by [or found in; L of] the ·Good News [the Gospel] that you heard. That same ·Good News [Gospel] has been ·told [preached; proclaimed] to ·everyone [L every creature; or in all creation] ·in the world [L under heaven], and I, Paul, ·help in preaching [L am a servant/minister of] it.
Paul’s Work for the Church
24 [L Now] I ·am happy [rejoice] in my sufferings for you. And I ·accept [fill up; complete] in my ·body [flesh] what ·Christ must still suffer [or is lacking in the suffering of Christ] ·through [or on behalf of] his body, the church. [C By suffering while spreading the Gospel, Paul both participates in Christ’s death and helps complete God’s plan.] 25 I became a ·servant [minister] of the church because God gave me a ·special work to do [stewardship; commission] ·that helps you [L for you], and that work is to ·tell fully [or complete; or preach everywhere; L fulfill] the ·message [word] of God. 26 This message is the ·secret [mystery; C something God had not previously disclosed; Eph. 1:9] that was hidden from ·everyone since the beginning of time [L ages and generations], but now it is made known to ·God’s holy people [T the saints]. 27 God ·decided [chose; willed] to let his people know this rich and glorious ·secret [mystery; 1:26] which he has for ·all people [the nations/Gentiles]. This ·secret [mystery] is ·that Christ lives in you. He is our only hope for glory [L Christ in you, the hope of glory]. 28 So we continue to ·preach [proclaim; announce] Christ to each person, using all wisdom to ·warn [instruct; admonish] and to teach everyone, in order to bring each one into God’s presence as a mature person in Christ. 29 To do this, I ·work [toil; labor] and struggle, using ·Christ’s [L his] great strength that works so powerfully in me.