Epistle of Paul to the Laodiceans


1. He salutes the brethren. 3. exhorts them to persevere in good works, 4. and not to be moved by vain speaking. 6. Rejoices in his bonds, 10. desires them to live in the fear of the Lord.

1. Paul an Apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, to the brethren which are at Laodicea.
2. Grace be to you, and peace, from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.
3. I thank Christ in every prayer of mine, that you may continue and persevere in good works, looking for that which is promised in the day of judgment.
4. Do not be troubled by the vain speeches of anyone who perverts the truth, that they may draw you aside from the truth of the Gospel which I have preached.
5. And now may God grant that my converts may attain to a perfect knowledge of the truth of the Gospel, be beneficent, and doing good works which accompany salvation.
6. And now my bonds, which I suffer in Christ, are manifest, in which I rejoice and am glad.

This epistle, along with those to the Colossians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Philemon were likely written during Paul's Roman captivity, about A.D. 61- 63.

7. For I know that this shall turn to my salvation forever, which shall be through your prayer and the supply of the Holy Spirit.
8. Whether I live or die, to me to live shall be a life to Christ, to die will be joy.

Compare with: "For to me to live [is] Christ, and to die [is] gain." (Philippians 1:21)

9. And our Lord will grant us his mercy, that you may have the same love, and be like-minded.
10. Wherefore, my beloved, as you have heard of the coming of the Lord, so think and act reverently, and it shall be to you life eternal;
11. For it is God who is working in you;

Compare with: "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure." (Philippians 2:13)

12. And do all things without sin.
13. And what is best, my beloved; rejoice in the Lord Jesus Christ, and avoid all filthy lucre.

For "filthy lucre" or money, especially gained from sinful activities, see I Timothy 3:3, 8; Titus 1:7, 11; I Peter 5:2. I Timothy 6:10 is often misquoted as "money is the root of all evil," but it really says "the love of money is the root of all evil," meaning the root of all sorts of evil.

14. Let all your requests by made known to God, and be steady in the doctrine of Christ.
15. And whatever things are sound and true, and of good report, and chaste, and just, and lovely, these things do.

Compare with: "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things." (Philippians 4:8)

16. Those things which you have heard and received, think on these things, and peace shall be with you.
17. All the saints salute you.
18. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
19. Cause this Epistle to be read to the Colossians, and the Epistle of the Colossians to be read among you.

(Colosse and Laodicea are less than fifteen miles apart.) Compare with: "And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the [epistle] from Laodicea." (Colossians 4:16)

Paul's epistles were for the purpose of avoiding or stopping heresies. Error in Colosse was a local blend of Jewish (perhaps Essene) and Oriental ideas. Those heretics thought they were "supplementing" apostolic Christianity, which they saw as primitive, with greater knowledge and better access to spiritual things.

They imagined that: 1) the hierarchy of celestial powers (the "angels" of Jewish thought) was supreme, rather than Christ; 2) Christ was not unique in his divine nature nor in his actions, for he was not God but one of several mediators; 3) sin resulted from a lack of knowledge ("gnosis" in Greek), a particular sort of knowledge in which these heretics were specialists; and 4) salvation consisted in having this "gnosis" imparted by a series of rituals and ascetic practices (among which Jewish rites were prized, but Christian baptism was considered a mere low-level initiation).

Revelation 3:14-16, written about thirty years later, circa A.D. 95, says: "And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write.... I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold not hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth."

This Epistle to the Laodiceans has been highly esteemed by several learned men of the church of Rome and others, including the Quakers, who have printed a translation and plead for it.

Sixtus Senensis mentions two MSS., the one in the Sorbonne Library at Paris, which is a very ancient copy, and the other in the Library of Joannes a Viridario, at Padmus, which he transcribed and published, and which is the authority for this translation.

(There is also a very old translation of this Epistle in the British Museum, among the Harleian MSS., Cod. 1212.)

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