Colossians 1:15-28

Colossians 1:15-28
Ordinary C34


15 He isI the imageII of the invisibleIII God,IV

Notes on verse 15a

I “is” = eimi. This is to be, exist.
II “image” = eikon. From eiko (resemble, be like) OR perhaps related to eiko (to submit, give way, be weak, yield). This is a likeness such as an image, statue, or other representation. It implies a prototype that is being mirrored – a replication rather than a shadow. It can be an image in a figurative sense as well. This is where the word “icon” comes from.
III “invisible” = aoratos. 5x in NT. From a (not, without) + horatos (this is visible, something that one can see); {from horao (to see, perceive, attend to, look upon, experience; to stare at, which implies clear discernment; by extension, attending to what was seen and learned; to see, often with a metaphorical sense, which can include inward spiritual seeing)}. This is something that one cannot see – something invisible. Figuratively, it could refer to the reality of the divine.
IV “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.

the firstbornV of allVI creation,VII 

Notes on verse 15b

V “firstborn” = prototokos. 8x in NT. From protos (what is first, which could be the most important, the first in order, the main one, the chief); {from pro (before, first, in front of, earlier)} + tikto (to beget, bring forth, produce). This is firstborn or oldest. Figuratively, it can also mean pre-eminent.
VI “all” = pas. This is all or every.
VII “creation” = ktisis. 19x in NT. From ktizo (to build, create, form, shape; God’s acts of creation); probably akin to ktaomai (to get, purchase, possess). This is creation, creature, or ordinance. It is also used for when a city is founded and creation as origin.

16 for in him all things in heavenVIII and on earthIX were created,X things visibleXI and invisible,

Notes on verse 16a

VIII “heaven” = ouranos. May be related to oros (mountain, hill) with the notion of height. This is the air, the sky, the atmosphere, and heaven. It is the sky that is visible and the spiritual heaven where God dwells. Heaven implies happiness, power, and eternity.
IX “earth” = ge. This is earth, land, soil, region, country, the inhabitants of an area.
X “created” = ktizo. Related to “creation” in v15. 15x in NT. See note VII above.
XI “visible” = horatos. Related to “invisible” in v15. 1x in NT. See note III above.

whether thronesXII or dominionsXIII or rulersXIV or powersXV—all things have been created through him and for him. 

Notes on verse 16b

XII “thrones” = thronos. Probably from thanos (bench); from thrao (to sit). This is throne or seat – the place where the king sits. So, it is used figuratively to mean power, dominion, or a potentate. This is where the word “throne” comes from.
XIII “dominions” = kuriotes. 4x in NT. From kurios (a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord); from kuros (authority, supremacy). This is lordship, mastery, or authority. It refers to the power over a region or a ruling within a heavenly hierarchy. It can refer to rulers or government.
XIV “rulers” = arche. From archomai (to begin or rule); from archo (to rule, begin, have first rank or have political power). Properly, this is what is first. In a temporal sense, that is beginning or origin. It can also refer to the one who ranks first, i.e. king or ruler. So, it can also be magistrate, power, or principality. It can be used more generally for what is preeminent.
XV “powers” = exousia. Related to “is” in v15. From exesti (to be permitted or lawful); {from ek (out, out of) + eimi (see note I above)}. This is power to act or weight. It especially denotes moral authority or influence. It can mean domain, liberty, freedom, capacity, mastery, right, force, or strength.

17 He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together.XVI 18 He is the headXVII of the body,XVIII the church;XIX

Notes on verses 17-18a

XVI “hold together” = sunistemi. 16x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + histemi (to stand, place, establish, appoint, stand ready, be steadfast). This is to establish, exhibit, demonstrate, stand together, prove.
XVII “head” = kephale. This is head or chief. It can be a literal head or, figuratively, a ruler or lord. It can also refer to a corner stone. This is where the word “cephalic” comes from.
XVIII “body” = soma. Perhaps from sozo (to save, heal, rescue); from sos (safe, well, rescued). This is body or flesh. It can be body in a literal or figurative sense (as the body of Christ). This is where the word “somatic” comes from.
XIX “church” = ekklesia. From ek (from, out from) + kaleo to call by name, invite, to name, bid, summon, call aloud) {related to keleuo (to command, order, direct); from kelomai (to urge on)}. This is properly a calling out or an assembly. It was used to refer to a church.

he is the beginning,XX the firstborn from the dead,XXI so that he might comeXXII to have first placeXXIII in everything.XXIV 

Notes on verse 18b

XX “beginning” = arche. Same as “rulers” in v16. See note XIV above.
XXI “dead” = nekros. Perhaps from nekus (corpse). This is dead or lifeless, mortal, corpse. It can also be used figuratively for powerless or ineffective. It is where the word “necrotic” comes from.
XXII “might come” = ginomai. This is to come into being, to happen, become, be born. It can be to emerge from one state or condition to another or is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth.
XXIII “have first place” = proteuo. Related to “firstborn” in v15. 1x in NT. From protos (see note V above). This is having preeminence, having the first rank, being a chief influence.
XXIV “everything” = pas. Same as “all” in v15. See note VI above.

19 For in him all the fullnessXXV of God was pleasedXXVI to dwell,XXVII 

Notes on verse 19

XXV “fullness” = pleroma. 18x in NT. From pleroo (to fill, make full or complete; properly, filling something up to the maximum extent or induvial capacity; used figuratively for furnish, influence, satisfy, finish, preach, perfect, and fulfill); from pleres (to be full, complete, abounding in, occupied with). This is fullness, supply, completion, superabundance, or multitude.
XXVI “pleased” = eudokeo. From eu (good, well, well done) + dokeo (to have an opinion, seem, appear, suppose; a personal judgment; to think); from dokos (opinion). This is to think well of, to be pleased or resolved. Properly, this is what someone finds good or acceptable – approving of some action or generally thinking well of.
XXVII “dwell” = katoikeo. From kata (down, against, throughout, among) + oikeo (to settle or be established somewhere in a permanent way, to make a home or live at home); {from oikos (house – the building, the household, the family, descendants; the temple)}. This is to live or settle on a permanent basis.

20 and through him God was pleased to reconcileXXVIII to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peaceXXIX through the bloodXXX of his cross.XXXI

Notes on verse 20

XXVIII “reconcile” = apokatallasso. 3x in NT. From apo (from, away from) + katallasso (to reconcile, change, or exchange; a moment when two parties come together in reconciliation and both parties change because of it); {from kata (down, against, among) + allasso (to change, transform) {from allos (other, another; another of a similar kind or type)}. This is to reconcile – to move from one place of feeling to a new one.
XXIX “making peace” = eirenopoieo. 1x in NT. From eirenopoios (making peace, a peacemaker); {from eirene (one, peace, quietness, rest, peace of mind, harmony; a common farewell among Jews (i.e. shalom) as a well-wishing that included a blessing of health and wholeness for the individual; indicates when everything that is essential is joined together properly; peace literally or figuratively; by implication, it is prosperity –not in the  sense of excessive wealth, but having enough from day to day); {perhaps from eiro (to join, tie together to form a whole)} + poieo (to make, do, construct, cause)}. This is to reconcile, work for peace, harmonize.
XXX “blood” = haima. This is blood in a literal sense as bloodshed. Figuratively, it can also be used to refer to wine or to kinship (being related).
XXXI “cross” = stauros. Related to “hold together” in v17. From the same as histemi (see note XVI above). This is an upright stake, cross. Literally refers to the horizontal beam of a Roman cross, generally carried by the one convicted to die.

21 And you who were once estrangedXXXII and hostileXXXIII in mind,XXXIV doing evilXXXV deeds,XXXVI 

Notes on verse 21

XXXII “estranged” = apallotrioo. 3x in NT. From apo (from, away from) + allotrios (something or someone that belongs to others; by extension, another, stranger, foreign, or foreigner); {from allos (other, different, another; this is one more of the same kind or a similar type)}. This is to alienate, exclude, be an alien.
XXXIII “hostile” = echthros. From echthos (hatred). This is an openly hostile person so an enemy, a foe, or a hated person. This speaks of irreconcilable hostility. It can also mean adversary and/or refer to Satan.
XXXIV “mind” = dianoia. 12x in NT. From dia (through, because of, across, thoroughly) + noieo (to perceive, think, understand); {from nous (mind, understanding, reasoning faculty, intellect, capacity to reflect); from ginosko (to know, recognize, realize, perceive, learn; gaining knowledge through personal experience)}. This is thought, intellect, or insight. It is thorough, critical thinking to reason through issues to reach a conclusion that is both logically sound and personal.
XXXV “evil” = poneros. From poneo (to toil); related to ponos (pain, trouble, labor, distress, suffering; toil, which implies anguish); from the base of penes (a laborer, poor person, starving or indigent person; someone who works for their living); from pernomai (working for a living; laborer, poor person; to work for daily bread); from peno (to toil to survive day by day). This is bad, evil, wicked, malicious, grievous, or toilsome. Properly, it is something that bears pain – it emphasizes the miseries and pains that come with evil. By contrast, the Greek kakos refers to evil as part of someone’s core character. Also contrasting the Greek sapros, which deals with falling away from a previously embodied virtue. This word can mean ill, diseased, morally culpable, derelict, vicious, malicious, or guilt. It can also refer to the devil or sinners.
XXXVI “deeds” = ergon. From ergo (to work, accomplish, do). This is work, task, deed, labor, effort.

22 he has now reconciled in his fleshlyXXXVII body through death,XXXVIII so as to presentXXXIX you holyXL

Notes on verse 22a

XXXVII “fleshly” = sarx. May be from saroo (to sweep, cleanse by sweeping); from sairo (to brush off). This is flesh, the body, human nature, materiality, kindred. Flesh is not always evil in scripture (as when it refers to Jesus taking on a human body). However, it is generally used in a negative way for actions made selfishly and not through faith. This can mean animal flesh, i.e. meat, or refer to body in contrast to soul/spirit. Flesh can be a way of talking about how things or people are related or talking about human frailty (physical or moral).
XXXVIII “death” = thanatos. From thnesko (to die, be dead). This is death, whether literal or spiritual. It can also refer to something that is fatal.
XXXIX “present” = paristemi. Related to “hold together” in v17 & “cross” in v20. From para (from beside, by) + histemi (see note XVI above). This is literally to place by stand. It can mean to present, exhibit, appear, bring, stand by, or prove. It can also mean to be ready, to assist, to yield, or to commend.
XL “holy” = hagios. From hagnos (holy, sacred, pure ethically, ritually, or ceremonially; prepared for worship, chaste, unadulterated, pure to the core; undefiled by sin; figurative for innocent, modest, perfect). God is totally different from humanity and thus set apart. That which is consecrated to worship God (elements of worship) or to serve God (as the saints) are holy because they are now set apart for God’s purposes. Holy because important to God. This is sacred physically, pure. It can be morally blameless or ceremonially consecrated.

and blamelessXLI and irreproachableXLII beforeXLIII him, 

Notes on verse 22b

XLI “blameless” = amomos. 9x in NT. From a (not) + momos (literally a spot; figuratively blame, disgrace, flaw, censure); {perhaps from memphomai (to blame, be disgraceful; be rejected due to doing bad things); from mempteos (rejected because one has been condemned)}. This is literally without blemish. Figuratively it can mean blameless or without fault i.e. without sin. This word might also be related to a plant from India called amomum, which was used in ointment. It may be akin to black cardamom. See
XLII “irreproachable” = anegkletos. Related to “church” in v18. 5x in NT. From a (not, without) + egkaleo (to call to account, make a charge, bring into question, call in a debt); {from en (in, on, at, by, with) + kaleo (see note XIX above)}.This is blameless, unaccused, unproved.
XLIII “before” = katenopion. Related to “invisible” in v15 & “visible” in v16. 3x in NT. From kata (down, against, throughout, among) + enopios (literally “in sight of”; before in a literal or figurative since); {from en (in, on, at, by, with) + ops (eye, face); {from optanomai (to appear, be seen); from horao (see note III above)}}. This is literally, “down in the eye of.” So, it is before someone – within their direct eyeline.

23 provided that you continueXLIV securely establishedXLV and steadfastXLVI in the faith,XLVII

Notes on verse 23a

XLIV “continue” = epimeno. 17x in NT. From epi (on, upon, what is fitting) + meno (to stay, remain, wait, await, continue, abide, endure; to literally stay in a place or to remain in a condition; to continue with hope and expectation). This is to remain, terry, continue, or persevere. It denotes persistence in pursing a goal or task.
XLV “securely established” = themelioo. 5x in NT. From themelios (related to a foundation); from tithemi (to put, place, set, fix, establish in a literal or figurative sense; properly, this is placing something in a passive or horizontal position). This is laying a foundation, grounded, setting a basis. Literally, it can be to erect. Figuratively, it can be to consolidate or settle.
XLVI “steadfast” = hedraios. 3x in NT. From hedra (seat) OR from hezomai (to sit). This is literally sitting securely. Figuratively, it is steadfast, morally firm, settled.
XLVII “faith” = pistis. From peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust). This is less about knowing, believing, and repeating a list of doctrines then it is about trusting God. Faith means listening to God and seeking to live a holy life even (and especially) when we don’t understand how everything works or fits together. Faith is about being faithful (trusting and doing) rather than being all knowing.

without shiftingXLVIII from the hopeXLIX promised by the gospelL that you heard,LI

Notes on verse 23b

XLVIII “shifting” = metakineo. 1x in NT. From meta (with, among, after, beyond) + kineo (to move, excite, or provoke; to stir in a literal or figurative sense). This is to move away, remove, shift.
XLIX “hope” = elpis. From elpo (to anticipate, welcome, expect; usually to anticipate positively). This is expectation, hope, trust, confidence faith. The expectation can be abstract or concrete.
L “gospel” = euaggelion. Related to “pleased” in v19. From eu (see note XXVI above) + aggelos (angel, messenger; a messenger from God bringing news – whether a prophet or an angel); {from aggellos (to bring tidings); probably from ago (to bring, lead, carry, guide)}. This is literally “the good news,” used for the gospel. This is also where “evangelism” comes from.
LI “heard” = akouo. This is hear or listen, but it also means to understand by hearing. This is where the word “acoustics” comes from.

which has been proclaimedLII to everyLIII creature under heaven. I, Paul,LIV becameLV a ministerLVI of this gospel.

Notes on verse 23c

LII “proclaimed” = kerusso. This is to proclaim, preach, publish. Properly, it is to act as a herald – announcing something publicly with confidence and/or to persuade.
LIII “every” = pas. Same as “all” in v15. See note VI above.
LIV “Paul” = Paulos. From Latin Paulus (small, little). This is Paul or Paulos, meaning little.
LV “became” = ginomai. Same as “might come” in v18. See note XXII above.
LVI “minister” = diakonos. Perhaps from dia (through, across to the other side, thoroughly) + konis (dust) OR from dioko (to chase after, put to flight; by implication, to persecute or to purse like a hunter after its prey; this can be earnestly pursue or zealously persecute) {related to dio (put to flight)}. This is a servant, minister, waiter, or attendant. It is used for a person who performs a service, including religious service. This is the root of the word “deacon.”

24 I am now rejoicingLVII in my sufferingsLVIII for your sake, and in my flesh I am completingLIX

Notes on verse 24a

LVII “rejoicing” = chairo. From char– (to extend favor, lean towards, be inclined to be favorable towards). This is to rejoice, be glad or cheerful; a greeting. This is the root verb that the Greek word for “grace” comes from (charis).
LVIII “sufferings” = pathema. 16x in OT. From pathos (passion, lust, suffering, something that happens to you, strong feelings); from pascho (to be acted on for good or ill; often used for negative treatment; properly, feeling strong emotions – especially suffering; can also be the ability to feel suffering). This is something that happens to you such as suffering, affliction, passion, or emotion. It can also be one’s capacity for deep feelings or enduring. Further, it can be hardship or pain.
LIX “completing” = antanapleroo. Related to “fullness” in v19. 1x in NT. From anti (opposite, instead of, against) + anapleroo (to fill up, supply, occupy, fulfil; adding what is missing so that something can be full); {from ana (up, again, back, among, anew) + pleroo (see note XXV above)}. This is to complete, fill, share, offset.

what is lackingLX in Christ’sLXI afflictionsLXII for the sake of his body, that is, the church. 

Notes on verse 24b

LX “lacking” = husterema. 9x in NT. From hustereo (to fall behind, come late, be interior, suffer need, be left out); from husteros (last, later). This is something lacking. So it could be a need or a defect. It could be a shortcoming or poverty.
LXI “Christ’s” = Christos. From chrio (consecrate by anointing with oil; often done for prophets, priests, or kings). Literally, the anointed one, Christ. The Greek word for Messiah.
LXII “afflictions” = thlipsis. From thlibo (to press in on and make narrow, rub together, constrict; figuratively to oppress or afflict). This is pressure that hems us in – used often of internal pressure that makes us feel like we have no other options and are confined or restricted. So, this is persecution, affliction, trouble, distress, and anguish. There is a different word, stenoxoria, that refers to external pressure that we feel from what’s going on.

25 I became its minister according to God’s commissionLXIII that was givenLXIV to me for you, to make the wordLXV of God fully known,LXVI 

Notes on verse 25

LXIII “commission” = oikonomia. Related to “dwell” in v19. 9x in NT. From oikonomeo (a steward, manager, or guardian; someone whose job it is to oversee a house; a treasurer or other fiscal agent; figuratively, someone who preaches the good news); {oikos (see note XXVII above) + nemo (to parcel out)} OR {from oikos (see above) + the base of nomos (what is assigned – usage, law, custom, principle; used for the law in general or of God’s law; sometimes used to refer to the first five books of the Bible or the entire Old Testament; also used to refer to theology or the practice and tradition of interpreting and implementing the law of God); {from nemo (to parcel out)}}. This is stewardship, management, or administration. It is one who looks after the resources or household affairs for someone else (their house or estate). It can also refer to a religious economy.
LXIV “given” = didomi. To give, offer, place, bestow, deliver. This is give in a literal or figurative sense.
LXV “word” = logos. From lego (to speak, tell, mention). This is word, statement, speech, analogy. It is a word that carries an idea or expresses a thought, a saying. It could refer to a person with a message or reasoning laid out in words. By implication, this could be a topic, line of reasoning, or a motive. It can be used for a divine utterance or as Word – Christ.
LXVI “make…fully known” = pleroo. Related to “fullness” in v19 & “completing” in v24. See note XXV above.

26 the mysteryLXVII that has been hiddenLXVIII throughout the agesLXIX

Notes on verse 26a

LXVII “mystery” = musterion. From mustes (an initiate); from mueo (to initiate someone into the secrets or mysteries of an order; to instruct learn, be disciples; properly, shutting your mouth and eyes to experience mystery); from muo (shutting eyes or mouth). This is a mystery or a secret doctrine that requires initiation to learn. In the New Testament, the plans of God were hidden until they were revealed in Christ through the Gospel. It is also used of Christian revelation in a broad sense rather than referring to something that cannot be known. This is the root of the word “mystery.”
LXVIII “hidden” = apokrupto. 4x in NT. From apo (from, away from) + krupto (to hide by covering, secret, hidden things). This is to hide, keep secret.
LXIX “ages” = aion. From the same as aei (ever, always, unceasingly, perpetually; on every occasion). This is an age, cycle of time, course, continued duration. It is also used to describe the eternal or forever. This is the word used to discuss the present age or the messianic age.

and generationsLXX but has now been revealedLXXI to his saints.LXXII 

Notes on verse 26b

LXX “generations” = genea. Related to “might come” in v18. From genos (family, offspring, kin – in a literal or figurative sense); from ginomai (see note XXII above). This is family, generation, kind, or nation. As generation, it implies an age as a period of time. It can also mean infinity. This is the root of the word “generation.
LXXI “revealed” = phaneroo. From phaneros (visible, apparent, clear, shining); from phos (light, a source of light, fire, or radiance; light with specific reference to what it reveals; luminousness whether natural or artificial, abstract or concrete, literal or figurative); from phao (to shine or make visible, especially with rays of light); from the same as phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear). This is to make visible or clear, to make known. Properly, it is to illumine and so to make apparent or bring into open view.
LXXII “saints” = hagios. Same as “holy” in v22. See note XL above.

27 To them God choseLXXIII to make knownLXXIV how great among the gentilesLXXV are the richesLXXVI of the gloryLXXVII of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 

Notes on verse 27

LXXIII “chose” = thelo. This is to wish, desire, will, or intend. It is to choose or prefer in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean inclined toward or take delight in. It can have a sense of being ready to act on the impulse in question.
LXXIV “make known” = gnorizo. Related to “mind” in v21. From ginosko (see note XXXIV above). This is to declare, know, discover, make known.
LXXV “gentiles” = ethnos. Probably from etho (a custom or culture). This is people who are united by having similar customs or culture. Generally, it is used to refer to Gentiles. This is a tribe, race, nation, or Gentiles in general. This is where the term “ethnicity” comes from.
LXXVI “riches” = ploutos. From polus (much, many, abundant) OR pleo (to sail, voyage); {probably from pluno (to plunge – so to wash); from pluo (to flow)} OR pletho (to fill, accomplish, supply; to fill to maximum capacity). This is abundance, wealth, or riches. It could refer to money/possessions or spiritual abundance. It can also be used for a valuable bestowment.
LXXVII “glory” = doxa. Related to “pleased” in v19. From dokeo (see note XXVI above). This is literally something that evokes a good opinion – something that connects to our understanding of intrinsic worth. The ultimate expression of this is, of course, God and God’s manifestation. So, this is opinion, honor, and dignity, but also praise, glory, renown, and worship.

28 It is he whom we proclaim,LXXVIII warningLXXIX everyoneLXXX

Notes on verse 28a

LXXVIII “proclaim” = kataggello. Related to “gospel” in v23. 18x in NT. From kata (down, against, according to, throughout, among, daily) + aggello (to announce, report) {from aggelos (see note L above)}. This is to proclaim openly and confidently a very specific message. It can also be celebrate, preach, or teach.
LXXIX “warning” = noutheteo. Related to “mind” in v21 & “make known” in v27 & “securely established” in v23. 8x in NT. From nouthesia (admonition, teaching, warning; focusing one’s mind by using reasoning to reprove or warn someone); {from nous (see note XXXIV above)} + tithemi (to put, place, set, fix, establish in a literal or figurative sense; properly, this is placing something in a passive or horizontal position)}. This is to warn, admonish, teach. Literally, it is to set one’s mind on something – specifically in giving someone a warning using logic. It can also be a gentle reproof.
LXXX “everyone” = pas + anthropos. Pas is the same as “all” in v15. See note VI above. Anthropos is related to “invisible” in v15 & “visible” in v16 & “before” in v22. Probably from aner (man, male, husband) + ops (see note XLIII above). This is human, humankind. Used for all genders.

and teachingLXXXI everyone in all wisdom,LXXXII so that we may present everyone matureLXXXIII in Christ.

Notes on verse 28b

LXXXI “teaching” = didasko. From dao (learn). This is to teach, direct, instruct, or impart knowledge. In the New Testament, this is almost always used for teaching scripture.
LXXXII “wisdom” = sophia. From sophos (wise, clever, skilled, learned, cultivated); related to saphes (clear). This is skill, wisdom, insight, intelligence, clarity. It is wisdom as applied through a practical skill or shrewdness. It is not thoughtfulness or the mere gaining of intelligence for its own sake. Sophia is wisdom in action for everyday living.
LXXXIII “mature” = teleios. 19x in NT. From telos (an end, aim, purpose, completion, end goal, consummation, tax). This is going through the steps to complete a stage or phase and then moving on to the next one. This is reaching an end and so being complete or “perfect.” It is also full grown or mature.

Image credit: “Icon of Christ.” Photo by Ian Scott, 2010.

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