HE has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent.

For in him all the fulness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

Colossians 1:13‭-‬20 ASV

The first impression of reading these verses is that the terms “IMAGE” and “FIRST-BORN” accord Jesus Christ a status below that of absolute deity; but the very next verse emphatically forbids any such inadequate interpretation of this verse.

Image of the Invisible God

Paul is saying that Jesus Christ is none other than God Himself.

He even went further and said that “‘firstborn’ is equivalent to only begotten,’ and is a Jewish technical term meaninguncreated’

Why, then did Paul use these particular words here?

God created Adam in his own image (Genesis 1:27); but Adam promptly sinned and fell from that image.

By these words here, Paul compels us to see in Jesus a SECOND Adam who was indeed God’s image.

Christ was man as God created him to be in the person of Adam.

Christ was (and IS) also God, but the emphasis here is upon his perfect manhood.

Again, there is in this passage a strong suggestion linking Paul with the authorship of Hebrews where Hebrews 1:3 corresponds exactly to what is said here.

Paul applied the same title to Christ in 2 Corinthians 4:4. By using the word “image,” which is the same as that in Genesis, Paul in effect says:

Look at Jesus.

He shows you not only what God is.

He also shows you what man was meant to be.

Here is manhood as God designed it. Jesus is the perfect manifestation of God and the perfect manifestation of man.

Firstborn of all Creation

Of course, this verse was the major platform of Arianism, the great heresy that denied the deity of Christ.

From this they alleged that Jesus Christ was only a creature, understanding “firstborn” in the sense of being first in a temporal sequence; but there is overwhelming evidence that Paul did not so use that word in this passage.

Firstborn must be understood in the sense of supreme rather than in the temporal sense of born before.

The time sense in this world is hardly in the Greek word at all, and that here, it is not used in a time sense at all, but in the sense of special honor.

Firstborn is a title of the Messiah.

Just as so frequently in the English, words have different meanings, firstborn has two, that of time sequence and that of supremacy over.

Obviously it is the latter meaning which Paul meant here.

As a matter of fact, the other meaning was by far the most unusual.

David Lipscomb interpreted the word to mean in this place Over ALL Creation, Christ occupies the relation of supremacy such as is accorded the firstborn; and such is preeminently due to the`firstborn of all creation’.

Thus, the two words, image and firstborn, stand for Christ’s



This verse (Colossians 1:15) is the beginning of one of the most important paragraphs in the New Testament.

Before attempting a study of the separate parts, the passage should be seen in its entirety.



  • Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.
  • For in him were created all things in the heavens and on the earth, Whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities, All things through him and with a view to him have been created.
  • He is before all things and all things hold together in him.


  • Jesus is the head of the body, the church.
  • Who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead.
  • That in all things he might have the pre-eminence.
  • For in him he (God) was pleased to have all the fullness dwell.
  • The visible and the invisible.
  • And through him to reconcile all things to himself.
  • Having made peace through the blood of his cross.
  • Through him, whether the things on the earth or the things in the heavens.

Now, admittedly, this is a very carefully thought-out paragraph, or sentence of 137 words, and the organization of it is obvious; but for another Pauline paragraph manifesting these same qualities see Paul’s long salutation in Romans 1:8ff.

We reject out of hand the allegation that this marvelous paragraph is some kind of hymn or liturgical chant used in worship services of the early church.

Such a view is not supported by any evidence whatever except in the imagination of scholars.

It is based upon several very tenuous and unsure premises:

  • (1) That Paul would need to reach into the current hymnology of his day for accurate expression of the nature and essence of the being of Christ Jesus.
  • (2) That the great Christology of this passage had “developed” in the early church.
  • On the contrary, far from having developed any such exalted conception of Christ, those early churches were in danger of being carried away into the worship of angels, etc.

If the brethren at Colossae were singing these words already when Paul wrote, there would have been no temptation to gnosticism, and no need for Paul to have written them.

Of course, what some have in mind, through making a hymn out of this passage, is to make it easier for them to deny that Paul wrote it, or that it is indeed authoritative Scripture.

This remarkable paragraph has every mark of Pauline authorship, being a similar careful work, comparable to Romans 1:1-7.

It is here that Paul set forth the glories of the person of the Redeemer in a passage that is unique for its revealing beauty.

He summarized the whole truth concerning the glories of the person of Christ in his declaration that “It was the good pleasure of the Father that in him should all the fullness dwell.”

the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ;

Romans 1:3‭-‬4‭, ‬6 RSV

The dual nature of Christ, both his divinity and humanity, are affirmed by Paul in this passage.

The “called” are not merely those who hear the gracious gospel invitation, but are a company made up of the ones who obey.

In a certain sense, all are called, in the sense that the gospel is for all mankind.

Yet, in the Pauline usage of the word, it is applied to those who have responded to the great invitation.

Such a word as “CALLED” emphasizes the divine initiative in redemption.

As for the body that Jesus took when he decided to enter our earth life, it was descended through David, as attested by the genealogies of both Matthew and Luke, the very first verse of the New Testament hailing him as “the Son of David.”

However, it was only the humanity of Jesus that descended through David. In his totality, Christ descended from no man but was co-existent with the Father.

Having already announced the origin of the gospel in God himself (Romans 1:1), Paul immediately introduced God’s Son as the central fact of the good news, the gospel having but one center and that in Christ, Christ alone is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, the embodiment of all Jewish hopes, the willing sacrifice, the sin-bearer, and the atonement.

Hebrews 2:14-16 plainly declares that Christ “take hold of” the seed of Abraham, thus affirming that he had an existence before assuming a human body.

He, and he alone, is the architect of the crucifixion, the deliverer of God’s redeeming word.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.

John 1:1‭-‬3 RSV

He is that Word which was in the beginning with God, and which was God (John 1:1).

Christ is the Hope of Israel,

the Light of the Gentiles,

the Lily of the Valley,

the Bright and Morning Star,

the Fairest of Ten Thousand, Wonderful,


Mighty God,

Everlasting Father,

Prince of Peace!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called “WONDERFUL COUNSELOR, MIGHTY GOD, EVERLASTING FATHER, PRINCE OF PEACE.”

Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and FOR EVERMORE.


Isaiah 9:6‭-‬7 RSV

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