Nazarene Space

Paul’s Letter to the Laodiceans
James Scott Trimm

15 Bids shalom to the brothers who are in Laodicea and Nymphas, and the assembly that is in his house.
16 And when this letter is read to you, cause it also to be read by the assembly of the Laodiceans: and that which is written from Laodicea, read.
(Col. 4:15-16 HRV)

There has been much dispute on what this letter written “from Laodicea” is. The Greek has EK Laodicea, while the Peshitta and CPA have MIN Laodicea. Both the Aramaic and the Greek word may be taken to mean “of Laodicea” or “by way of Laodicea”.

This epistle seems to be of equal importance to Colossians based upon Col. 4:15-16.

Now there is a Pauline Epistle to the Laodiceans which has come down to us.

A copy of the letter is found in over 100 Bible mss. however it survives only in the Old Latin Version. Most of these mss are quite old, including some of the oldest dating back to the sixth century. Jerome mentions the book as early as the fourth century, but only label the book as false.

The letter also appear in manuscripts of early Albigensian, Bohemian, English, and Flemish versions. At the close of the 10th century Aelfric, a monk in Dorset, wrote a treatise in Anglo-Saxon in which he states that the apostle Paul wrote fifteen letters. In his enumeration of them he place Laodiceans after Philemon.

The book is included in all eighteen German Bibles printed prior to Luther's translation, beginning with the first German Bible, issued by Johann Mental at Strassburg in 1488. In these the Pauline Epistles, with the Epistle to the Hebrews, immediately follow the Gospels, with Laodiceans standing between Galatians and Ephesians.

In the first Czech (Bohemian) Bible, published at Prague in 1488 and reprinted several times in the 16th and 17th centuries, Laodiceans follows Colossians and precedes I Thessalonians.

The book also appeared in the Wycliff Bible (after Revelation) as follows:

1 Poul, apostle, not of men, ne by man, but bi Jhesu Crist, `to the britheren that ben at Laodice,
2 grace to you, and pees of God the fadir, and of the Lord Jhesu Crist.
3 I do thankyngis to my God bi al my preier, that ye be dwelling and lastyng in him, abiding the biheest in the day of doom.
4 For neithir the veyn spekyng of summe vnwise men hath lettide you, the whiche wolden turne you fro the treuthe of the gospel, that is prechid of me.
5 And now hem that ben of me, to the profiyt of truthe of the gospel, God schal make disseruyng, and doyng benygnyte of werkis, and helthe of euerlasting lijf.
6 And now my boondis ben open, which Y suffre in Crist Jhesu, in whiche Y glade and ioie.
7 And that is to me to euerlastyng helthe, that this same thing be doon by youre preiers, and mynystryng of the Holi Goost, either bi lijf, either bi deeth.
8 Forsothe to me it is lijf to lyue in Crist, and to die ioie.
9 And his mercy schal do in you the same thing, that ye moun haue the same loue, and that ye be of oo will.
10 Therfore, ye weel biloued britheren, holde ye, and do ye in the dreede of God, as ye han herde the presence of me; and lijf schal be to you withouten eende.
11 Sotheli it is God that worchith in you.
12 And, my weel biloued britheren, do ye without eny withdrawyng what euer thingis ye don.
13 Joie ye in Crist, and eschewe ye men defoulid in lucre, `either foul wynnyng.
14 Be alle youre askyngis open anentis God, and be ye stidefast in the witt of Crist.
15 And do ye tho thingis that ben hool,
16 and trewe, `and chaast, and iust, and able to be loued; and kepe ye in herte tho thingis that ye haue herd and take;
17 and pees schal be to you.
18 Alle holi men greten you weel.
19 The grace of oure Lord Jhesu Crist be with youre spirit.
20 And do ye that pistil of Colocensis to be red to you.

The Lost Books of the Bible says of this book:

This Epistle has been highly esteemed by several learned men of the church of
Rome and others. The Quakers have published a translation and plead for it, as
the reader may see, by consulting Poole's Annotations, on Col. vi. 16. Sixtus
Senensis mentions two manuscripts, the one in the Sorbonne Library at Paris,
which is a very ancient copy, and the other in the Libary of Joannes a
Viridario, at Padua, which he transcribed and published, and which is the
authority for the following translation. There is a very old translation of this
Epistle in the British Museum, among the Harleian Manuscripts, Codus 1212.
[R.H.P., Jr. The Lost Books of the Bible, (New York: Alpha House,

The following is the actual text of the letter in Latin and English translation:

Paulus apostolus non ab hominibus neque per hominem sed per Iesum Christum,
fratribus qui sunt Laodiciae.
2 gratia vobis et pax a Deo Patre et Domino Iesu Christo.
3 gratias ago Christo per omnem orationem meam, quod permanentes estis in eo
et perseverantes in operibus eius, promissum expectantes in diem iudicii.
4 neque destituant vos quorundam vaniloquia insinuantium, ut vos evertant a
veritate evangelii quod a me praedicatur.
5 veritatis evangelii deservientes et facientes benignitatem operum quae
salutis vitae aeternae
6 et nunc palam sunt vincula mea quae patior in Christo; quibus laetor et
7 et hoc mihi est ad salutem perpetuam; quod ipsum factum orationibus vestris
et administrantem Spiritum Sanctum, sive per vitam sive per mortem.
8 est enim mihi vere vita in Christo et mori gaudium.
9 et in ipsum in vobis faciet misericordiam suam, ut eandem dilectionem
habeatis et sitis unianimes.
10 ergo, dilectissimi, ut audistis praesentia mei, ita retinete et facite in
timore Dei, et erit vobis vita in aeternum;
11 est enim Deus qui operatur in vos.
12 et facite sine retractu quaecumque facitis.
13 et quod est, dilectissimi, gaudete in Christo. et praecavete sordidos in
14 omnes sint petitiones vestrae palam apud Deum. et estote firmi in sensu
15 et quae integra et vera et pudica et iusta et amabilia facite.
16 et quae audistis et accepistis, in corde retinete, et erit vobis pax.
17 salutate omnes fratres in osculo sancto.
18 salutant vos sancti.
19 gratia Domini Iesu cum spiritu vestro.
20 et facite legi Colosensium vobis.

Paul an emissary, not of men, neither by man, but by Yeshua the Messiah, to the
brethers which are at Laodicea.
2 Grace be to you, and Peace, from Elohim the Father and our Lord Yeshua the Messiah.
3 I thank Messiah in every prayer of mine, that you may continue and
persevere in good works looking for that which is promised in the day of
4 Let not the vain speeches of any trouble you who pervert the truth, that
they may draw you aside from the truth of the Gooodnews which I have proclaimed.
5 And now may Elohim grant, that my converts may attain to a perfect knowledge
of the truth of the Goodnews, be beneficent, and doing good works which accompany
6 And now my bonds, which I suffer in Messiah, are manifest, in which I
rejoice and am glad.
7 For I know that this shall turn to my salvation for ever, which shall be
through your prayer and the supply of the Ruach HaKodesh.
8 Whether I live or die; (for) to me to live shall be a life to Messiah, to
die will be joy.
9 And our Lord will grant us his mercy, that ye may have the same love, and
be like-minded.
10 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have heard of the coming of YHWH, so
think and act in fear, and it shall be to you life eternal;
11 For it is Elohim who works in you;
12 And do all things without sin.
13 And what is best, my beloved; rejoice in the Lord Yeshua the Messiah, and avoid
all filthy lucre.
14 Let all your requests be made known to Elohim, and be steady in the teaching
of Messiah.
15 And whatsoever things are sound and true, and of good report, and chaste,
and just, and lovely, these things do.
16 Those things which ye have heard, and received, think on these things,
and peace shall be with you.
17 All the set-apart ones salute you.
18 The grace of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah be with your spirit.
19 Cause this letter to be read to the Colossians, and the Letter of the
Colossians to be read among you.

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Views: 335

Comment by Aish Tamid on June 16, 2010 at 12:31am
Fascinating. :-)

Are you saying you believe this text to be authentic? Would you include it in future editions of the HRV?
Comment by Smart on June 16, 2010 at 1:01am
Though obviously not related to this specific copy of the text. But an Epistle of the Laodiceans is mentioned in the Muratorian Fragment (170AD) as a heretical forgery.

Which suggests Marcion or another heretic may have altered the original text to teach heresy. (He did this with Ephesians and others).
Comment by will brinson: ferguson on June 16, 2010 at 5:04am
What about this letter is it that some would concider it to be a fake? Any specifics?

Sounds like Shaul's writings to me, but maybe some do not like the fact that good work accompany (are one with) salvation or the fact that there is such a thing as filthy lucre [that which is "sought after in/by greed].
Comment by James Trimm on June 16, 2010 at 9:27am
The biggest argument against it is that it does not appear in any Greek or Aramaic (Syriac) mss....

On the other hand neither does the Gospel according to the Hebrews, it has not even survived in Latin, yet its claims to authenticity are undeniable.
Comment by Melvin Creston Williams on June 16, 2010 at 9:55am
I must say, you certainly know how to do your homework. You know your sources and present your case well. I,too have looked into this, and find no cause to doubt.
Comment by James Trimm on June 16, 2010 at 2:11pm
My goal at this point is simply to bring the book to the community's attention.
Comment by Aish Tamid on June 16, 2010 at 2:37pm
Speaking of Gospel according to the Hebrews... is your reconstruction of it going to appear in future editions of the HRV?
Comment by Aish Tamid on June 19, 2010 at 12:52am
I wish I had a more firm understanding of the connection between Laodiceans and Colossians.


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