“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation” (Colossians 1:15).
Colossians 1:15 should be understood in a way that brings it wholly in harmony with the context of this chapter and the general teaching of Scripture. In the context of Colossians 1, Christ is here presented as the Creator of all and as preceding creation “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him” (Col. 1:16).
In the rest of the scripture, Christ is presented as divine and One with the Father and the Holy Spirit “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2). Here, Micah clearly sets forth the pre-existence of the One who was to be born in Bethlehem. The “goings forth” of Christ reach to eternity in the past “In the beginning was the Word” (John 1:1–3).
From the days of eternity the Lord Jesus Christ was one with the Father. Jesus said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8). The Father and the Son both share these timeless attributes.
Therefore, first born or prōtotokos, in Colossians 1:15, should be understood as a figurative expression describing Jesus Christ as the first in rank, or the first in a royal family. Christ’s position is unique, authoritative, and absolute. He has been entrusted with all prerogatives and authority in heaven and earth.
Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.
In His service,