A believable, early version, of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Laodiceans has never been found, at least not until now. We know it existed at one time; it is referenced in the NT (Colossians 4:16). There have been pretenders, but no one has ever found an original Greek (think ancient) manuscript of the letter. So it’s not included in our current Bible. However, things are about to change.
In 1989, my twin sons and I were playing tourist in Turkey (Asia Minor). We spent considerable time inspecting the Roman ruins in the ancient city of Laodicea. Being a water engineer, I was particularly interested in the water system. While checking out the remains of the water ruins, a gentleman approached me about purchasing an ancient Greek document. I was pretty sure it was a phony, but I bought it anyway.
Since that time, it has just sat in my closet; I had forgotten all about it. Recently while I was reading T.S. Eliot’s “The Hippopotamus,” I was reminded of the Pauline letter. In the prologue to the poem, Eliot quotes Colossians 4:16. I started wondering, if I had by some miracle, found an early version of St. Paul’s epistle. It turns out that I had (I can’t give more details at this time because I’m currently writing a book about the arduous process of authenticating the epistle).
I was able to find a translator, and I’m now willing to share with the world the contents of this marvelous letter written by the Apostle Paul:
- Paul an Apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, to the brethren which are at Laodicea.
- Grace be to you, and peace, from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.
- I thank Christ in every prayer of mine, that you might continue and perservere in good works, by continuing to love and assist your neighbor and others in need.
- Do not be troubled by the vain speeches of anyone who perverts the truth, particularly those that would have you discriminate against our dear sisters. After all did not our Lord Jesus Christ appoint Mary to be an apostle, and perhaps more?
- And now may God grant that my converts attain a perfect knowledge of the truth of the Gospel, be humble, not dressing like a Pharasee, but instead doing the good works which accompany salvation.
- And now my bonds, which I suffer in Christ, are manifest, in which I rejoice and am glad.
- For I know that His shall turn to my salvation forever, which shall be through your prayer and the Holy Ghost.
- Whether I live or die, to me to live shall be a life to Christ, for I know that the Last Days are not at hand. That you should live life with an optimistic view toward the future.
- And our Lord will grant us mercy, that you may have the love, and compassion toward the immigrants from the south that have flooded our country.
- Wherefore, my beloved, act and think reverently toward the land that you live on, and it shall be to you life eternal.
- For it is God who is working in you.
- And do all things without sin
- And what is best, my beloved; rejoice in the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of money, big palaces, fancy camels, and adult toys are the root of all evil.
- Let all your requests be made known to God, but don’t bore him with the details, and be steady in the doctrine of Christ.
Warning: the above epistle is not authentic and is completely fictional, coming from the empty skull of one R. Dennis Hansen (my alter ego).