Colossians 1:15-18

The Supremacy of the Son of God

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.
17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

Images for Colossians 1:15-18

Colossians 1:15 in Other Translations

KJV
15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
ESV
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
NLT
15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
MSG
15 We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God's original purpose in everything created.
CSB
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation;

Colossians 1:15-18 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO COLOSSIANS

The Colossians, to whom this epistle is written, were not the Rhodians, by some called Colossians, from Colossus, the large statue of the sun, which stood in the island of Rhodes, and was one of the seven wonders of the world; but the inhabitants of Colosse, a city of the greater Phrygia, in the lesser Asia, near to which stood the cities of Laodicea and Hierapolis, mentioned in this epistle. Pliny {a} speaks of it as one of the chief towns in Phrygia, and {b} Herodotus calls it the great city of Phrygia; it is said to have perished a very little time after the writing of this epistle, with the above cities, by an earthquake, in the year of Christ 66, and in the tenth of Nero {c}; though it was afterwards rebuilt; for Theophylact says, that in his time it was called Chonae. When the Gospel was brought hither, and by whom, is not known, nor who was the founder of the church in this place; for the Apostle Paul was not, since his face had never been seen by them, Col 2:1, though it is said that Epaphras, the same name with Epaphroditus, was fixed by him pastor of this church; and others say Philemon was set over it by him. The occasion of this epistle was this, Epaphras, who had preached the Gospel to the Colossians, and very likely was the first that did, came to Rome, where the Apostle Paul was a prisoner, and gave him an account of them, how they had heard and received the Gospel, and of their faith Christ, and love to the saints; and also declared to him in what danger they were through some false teachers that had got among them, who were for introducing the philosophy of the Gentiles, the ceremonies of the law of Moses, and some pernicious tenets of the followers of Simon Magus, and the Gnostics; upon which the apostle writes this epistle to them, to confirm them in the faith of the Gospel Epaphras had preached unto them, and which was the same he himself preached; and to warn them against those bad men, and their principles; and to exhort them to a discharge of their duty to God, and men, and one another. It was written by the apostle, when in bonds at Rome, as many passages in it show, and about the same time with those to the Philippians and Ephesians; and the epistle to the latter greatly agrees with this, both as to subject and style. Dr. Lightfoot places it in the year of Christ 60, in the second of the apostle's imprisonment, and in the sixth of Nero's reign.

{a} Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 32. {b} Polymnia, l. 7. c. 30. {c} Eusebius in Chron.

\\INTRODUCTION TO COLOSSIANS 1\\

This chapter contains the inscription of the epistle; the apostle's usual salutation; his thanksgiving to God on behalf of the Colossians for grace received; his prayers, that more might be given them; an enumeration of various blessings of grace, which require thankfulness, in which the glories and excellencies of Christ are particularly set forth: and it is concluded with an exhortation to a steadfast adherence to the Gospel, taken from the nature, excellency, and usefulness of the ministry of it. The inscription, and the salutation, are in Col 1:1,2, and are the same with those in the epistle to the Ephesians, only Timothy is joined with the apostle here, and the Colossians have the additional character of brethren given them. The thanksgiving is in Col 1:3-5, the object of it is God, the Father of Christ; the time when made, when in prayer to him; its subject matter, the faith and love of the saints; to which is added, their happiness secured for them in heaven, their hope was conversant with: and whereas the Gospel was the means by which they came to the hearing and knowledge of it, this is commended from the subject of it, the doctrine of truth; from the spread of it in the world; and from its efficacy in bringing forth fruit in all, to whom it came in power, and that with constancy, Col 1:5,6, and also from the testimony of Epaphras, a faithful minister of Christ, and theirs, who was dear to the apostle, and of whom he had the above account of them, Col 1:7,8. And then follow his prayers for them, that they might have an increase of spiritual knowledge, and that they might put in practice what they knew; and for that purpose he entreats they might be blessed with strength, patience, and longsuffering, Col 1:9-11. And in order to excite thankfulness in himself and them, he takes notice of various blessings of grace; of the Father's grace in giving a meetness for eternal glory and happiness, by delivering from the power of darkness, and translating into the kingdom of his Son, Col 1:12,13, and of the Son's grace in obtaining redemption by his blood, and procuring the remission of sins, Col 1:14, which leads the apostle to enlarge upon the excellencies of the author of these blessings, in his divine person, as the image of God, and the first cause of all created beings, Col 1:15, which he proves by an enumeration of them, as created by him, and for his sake, by his pre-existence to them, and their dependence on him, Col 1:16,17, and in his office capacity, as Mediator, being the head of the church, the governor of it, and the first that rose from the dead; by all which it appears that he has, and ought to have the pre-eminence, Col 1:18. And this is still more manifest from his having all fulness dwelling in him, to supply his body the church, of which he is the head, Col 1:19, and from the reconciliation of all the members of it to God by him, Col 1:20, which blessing of grace is amplified partly by the subjects of it, who are described by their former state and condition, aliens and enemies, and by their present one, reconciled by the death of Christ in his fleshly body; and partly by the end of it, the presentation of them holy, blameless, and irreprovable in the sight of God, Col 1:21,22. Wherefore it is a duty incumbent on such to abide by the Gospel of Christ, which brings the good tidings of peace and reconciliation, and is the means of faith and hope; and the rather, since they had heard it themselves, and others also, even every creature under heaven; and the apostle was a minister of it, Col 1:23, and on his ministration of it he enlarges, by observing his sufferings for the church on account of the Gospel, which he endured with pleasure; and therefore they should, by his example, be encouraged to continue in it, Col 1:24. Moreover, he argues the same from his commission of God to preach it for their sakes, Col 1:25, and from the nature and subject matter of it, being a hidden mystery, and containing riches and glory in it; yea, Christ himself, the foundation of hope of eternal glory, Col 1:26,27, and from the end of preaching it, which was to present every man perfect in Christ; which end the apostle laboured and strove to obtain through the power and energy of divine grace, which wrought in him, and with him, Col 1:28,29.

Colossians 1:15-18 In-Context

13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,
14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.
17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,
20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Cross References 11

  • 1. S John 14:9; 2 Corinthians 4:4
  • 2. S John 1:18; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 11:27
  • 3. S ver 18
  • 4. S John 1:3
  • 5. Ephesians 1:20,21
  • 6. S Romans 11:36
  • 7. S John 1:2
  • 8. S Ephesians 1:22
  • 9. ver 24; S 1 Corinthians 12:27
  • 10. ver 15; Psalms 89:27; Romans 8:29; Hebrews 1:6
  • 11. Acts 26:23; Revelation 1:5
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