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Colossians 1:16-19

Context

1:16 for all things in heaven and on earth were created by him – all things, whether visible or invisible, whether thrones or dominions, 1  whether principalities or powers – all things were created through him and for him.

1:17 He himself is before all things and all things are held together 2  in him.

1:18 He is the head of the body, the church, as well as the beginning, the firstborn 3  from among the dead, so that he himself may become first in all things. 4 

1:19 For God 5  was pleased to have all his 6  fullness dwell 7  in the Son 8 

1 tn BDAG 579 s.v. κυριότης 3 suggests “bearers of the ruling powers, dominions” here.

2 tn BDAG 973 s.v. συνίστημι B.3 suggests “continue, endure, exist, hold together” here.

3 tn See the note on the term “firstborn” in 1:15. Here the reference to Jesus as the “firstborn from among the dead” seems to be arguing for a chronological priority, i.e., Jesus was the first to rise from the dead.

4 tn Grk “in order that he may become in all things, himself, first.”

5 tn The noun “God” does not appear in the Greek text, but since God is the one who reconciles the world to himself (cf. 2 Cor 5:19), he is clearly the subject of εὐδόκησεν (eudokhsen).

6 tn The Greek article τό (to), insofar as it relates to God, may be translated as a possessive pronoun, i.e., “his.” BDAG 404 s.v. εὐδοκέω 1 translates the phrase as “all the fullness willed to dwell in him” thus leaving the referent as impersonal. Insofar as Paul is alluding to the so-called emanations from God this is acceptable. But the fact that “the fullness” dwells in a person (i.e., “in him”) seems to argue for the translation “his fullness” where “his” refers to God.

7 tn The aorist verb κατοικῆσαι (katoikhsai) could be taken as an ingressive, in which case it refers to the incarnation and may be translated as “begin to dwell, to take up residence.” It is perhaps better, though, to take it as a constative aorist and simply a reference to the fact that the fullness of God dwells in Jesus Christ. This is a permanent dwelling, though, not a temporary one, as the present tense in 2:9 makes clear.

8 tn Grk “him”; the referent (the Son; see v. 13) has been specified in the translation for clarity.



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