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Colossians 1:18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything.

< Colossians 1:16
Colossians 1:18 >

      18. Revelation of Christ to the Church and the new creation, as the Originator of both.
      he--emphatical. Not angels in opposition to the false teachers' doctrine concerning angel-worship, and the power of Oeons or (imaginary) spirit emanations from God (Col 2:10, 18).
      head of the body, the church--The Church is His body by virtue of His entering into communion corporeally with human nature [NEANDER], (Eph 1:22). The same One who is the Head of all things and beings by creation, is also, by virtue of being "the first-born from the dead," and so "the first-fruits" of the new creation among men, the Head of the Church.
      who is--that is, in that He is the Beginning [ALFORD]. Rather, this is the beginning of a new paragraph. As the former paragraph, which related to His originating the physical creation, began with "Who is" (Col 1:15); so this, which treats of His originating the new creation, begins with "who is"; a parenthesis preceding, which closes the former paragraph, that parenthesis (see on Col 1:16), including from "all things were created by Him," to "Head of the body, the Church." The head of kings and high priests was anointed, as the seat of the faculties, the fountain of dignity, and original of all the members (according to Hebrew etymology). So Jesus by His unction was designated as the Head of the body, the Church.
      the beginning--namely, of the new creation, as of the old (Pr 8:22; Joh 1:1; compare Re 1:8): the beginning of the Church of the first-born (Heb 12:23), as being Himself the "first-born from the dead" (Ac 26:23; 1Co 15:20, 23). Christ's primogeniture is threefold: (1) From eternity the "first-begotten" of the Father (Col 1:15); (2) As the first-born of His mother (Mt 1:25); (3) As the Head of the Church, mystically begotten of the Father, as it were to a new life, on the day of His resurrection, which is His "regeneration," even as His people's coming resurrection will be their "regeneration" (that is, the resurrection which was begun in the soul, extended to the body and to the whole creation, Ro 8:21, 22) (Mt 19:28; Ac 13:33; Re 1:5). Sonship and resurrection are similarly connected (Lu 20:36; Ro 1:4; 8:23; 1Jo 3:2). Christ by rising from the dead is the efficient cause (1Co 15:22), as having obtained the power, and the exemplary cause, as being the pattern (Mic 2:13; Ro 6:5; Php 3:21), of our resurrection: the resurrection of "the Head" involves consequentially that of the members.
      that in all things--He resumes the "all things" (Col 1:20).
      he might have the pre-eminence--Greek, "He HIMSELF may (thus) become the One holding the first place," or, "take the precedency." Both ideas are included, priority in time and priority in dignity: now in the regenerated world, as before in the world of creation (Col 1:15). "Begotten before every creature, or "first-born of every creature" (Ps 89:27; Joh 3:13).

JFB.


Questions Related to this Verse

Where in Scripture does it say that Jesus Christ is the head of the Church?

Where in Scripture does it mention the resurrection of Jesus?

Where in scripture does it talk about the resurrection of Jesus Christ?

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Colossians Images and Notes

The Book of Colossians

Colossians 1:16 - For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

Colossians 2:15-17 - [And] having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days]: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [is] of Christ.

Colossians in The New Testament - A Brief Overview

Painting of the Apostle Paul by Rembrandt - 1657
Painting of Paul the Apostle by Rembrandt - 1657

Introduction to The Book of Colossians

Brief Summary. Paul had been imprisoned at Rome and received messages about heresies at the church in Colossae. Paul defended the faith by exalting the person of Jesus, and clarifying the true doctrine of Jesus Christ.

Summary of The Book of Colossians

Purpose. The purpose of Paul's epistle to the Colossians is to instruct the believers that salvation is only in Jesus Christ. The person of Jesus Christ must be understood accurately and that "He is the image of the invisible God and in Him all the fulness of the Godhead dwells in bodily form (Colossians 1:15, 19). When Jesus died on the cross he put an end to the civil and ceremonial laws of Judaism. Believers can trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ, our God and creator.

Contents. The epistle to the Colossians contains Paul's instruction about the new life in Christ which comes through a spiritual union with Christ in heaven. This new life produces a Christlike character: brotherly affection, forgiveness, peace, worship and ministry, devotion to Christ, and thankfulness in everything.

Colossae. The city of Colossae was in the heart of New Testament Asia about a hundred miles east of Ephesus, in the Lycus River Valley, in southern Phrygia  Colossae was situated on the great highway which ran from Ephesus to the Euphrates Valley, near Hierapolis and Laodicea. According to Colossians 4:12-15 the church had been established in Colossae some time earlier and was Paul sternly warns the church regarding angel-worship, especially that of Michael the Archangel.

The Church at Colossae. Paul does not name himself as the founder of the church at Colossae, yet since he passed through the region of Phrygia (Acts 16:6; 18:23) which the city of Colossae was a part of, it may be assumed that Paul came there and preached Christianity.

The Heresy. The Church at Colossae was being severely attacked by false teachers. The heresy contained many false teachings which included: a false view of the universe, matter is evil, a distortion of man, sin is physical not spiritual, abstaining from foods and asceticism, a misunderstanding of the person of Jesus Christ and the Logos, the worship of angels, and elements of Judaism mixed with Christianity.

Authorship. The epistle to the Colossians was written by Paul the Apostle and included with his prison epistles.

Date. Colossians was written from Rome during Paul's first imprisonment, about 61-62 AD.

Outline of the Book of Colossians

Jesus Christ Exalted - Chapter 1
Christianity Exalted - Chapters 2
Union with Christ Exalted - Chapter 3-4

Jesus written in Hebrew
The Name Jesus In Ancient Hebrew Text
"Yeshua" in First Century Hebrew Text. This is how the name "Jesus" would have been written in ancient Hebrew documents. The four letters or consonants from right to left are Yod, Shin, Vav, Ayin (Y, SH, OO, A). Jesus is the Greek name for the Hebrew name Joshua or Y'shua which means "The LORD or Yahweh is Salvation".

Colossians Maps and Resources

Map of the Roman Empire (14 A.D.) - This map reveals the Roman Empire during the time shortly after the birth of Jesus, in 14 AD at the time of the death of Augustus. The order which prevailed in this extensive empire, the good military roads, and the use of Koine Greek as the general language of culture throughout the area were among the factors which multiplied the rapid spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (Color Map)

Map of Paul's First Missionary Journey (48 A.D.) - This map reveals the areas in Asia Minor where Paul visited in his first missionary journey. Around 48 AD, in the springtime, Paul and his companions Barnabas and Mark were sent on a mission from the church in Antioch. This would be the first of Paul's Missionary Journey's. (Color Map)

Map of Paul's Second Missionary Journey (51 A.D.) - This map reveals the areas in Asia and Greece where Paul visited in his second missionary journey. Paul re-visits a couple cities in Asia, one of which was Lystra where he was stoned and left for dead a few years earlier. He later has a vision that leads him over to Greece and Paul and his companions travel and minister in various cities in Greece (Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens and Corinth. Later Paul returns to Ephesus and finally to Caesarea and Antioch. (Color Map)

Map of Paul's Third Missionary Journey (54 A.D.) - This map reveals the areas in Asia and Greece where Paul visited in his third missionary journey. On Paul's third missionary journey he returned to the cities he had first visited on his first missionary journey. During this time he decided to remain in Ephesus for about 3 years, and this city was the main focus of his activities and an important Christian community (Acts 19). (Color Map)

Map of the New Testament World - This map reveals the "Nations" within the ancient world during the first century A.D., the time of the New Testament. The map includes the areas of Israel, Asia, Greece, and Italy. (Color Map)

Map of New Testament Asia - This map shows the cities within Asia Minor during the first century A.D., the time of the New Testament. The map includes the principal cities of Asia including Tarsus, Ephesus, and Colossae, and provinces like Galatia and Pamphilia. (Color Map)