Colossians 1:15

The image (eikwn). In predicate and no article. On eikwn, see 2 Corinthians 4:4 ; 2 Corinthians 3:18 ; Romans 8:29 ; Colossians 3:10 . Jesus is the very stamp of God the Father as he was before the Incarnation ( John 17:5 ) and is now ( Philippians 2:5-11 ; Hebrews 1:3 ). Of the invisible God (tou qeou tou aoratou). But the one who sees Jesus has seen God ( John 14:9 ). See this verbal adjective (a privative and oraw) in Romans 1:20 . The first born (prwtotoko). Predicate adjective again and anarthrous. This passage is parallel to the Logo passage in John 1:1-18 and to Hebrews 1:1-4 as well as Philippians 2:5-11 in which these three writers (John, author of Hebrews, Paul) give the high conception of the Person of Christ (both Son of God and Son of Man) found also in the Synoptic Gospels and even in Q (the Father, the Son). This word (LXX and N.T.) can no longer be considered purely "Biblical" (Thayer), since it is found In inscriptions (Deissmann, Light, etc., p. 91) and in the papyri (Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary, etc.). See it already in Luke 2:7 and Aleph for Matthew 1:25 ; Romans 8:29 . The use of this word does not show what Arius argued that Paul regarded Christ as a creature like "all creation" (pash ktisew, by metonomy the act regarded as result). It is rather the comparative (superlative) force of prwto that is used (first-born of all creation) as in Colossians 1:18 ; Romans 8:29 ; Hebrews 1:6 ; Hebrews 12:23 ; Revelation 1:5 . Paul is here refuting the Gnostics who pictured Christ as one of the aeons by placing him before "all creation" (angels and men). Like eikwn we find prwtotoko in the Alexandrian vocabulary of the Logo teaching (Philo) as well as in the LXX. Paul takes both words to help express the deity of Jesus Christ in his relation to the Father as eikwn (Image) and to the universe as prwtotoko (First-born).