to walk worthily of the Lord, pleasing him in all respects

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Lent, day 12: The Song of Christ, part 1 of 4

Tucked away in the introduction to Paul’s letter are six verses that describe God’s son. They are part of Paul’s effort to encourage the Colossians to be thankful by recognizing how God has rescued them through Jesus. These verses set out to capture the magnitude of who Jesus is and what he has done. Take a moment and read Colossians 1:15-20. If you allow, here is my translation, prepared some time ago for my dissertation/book. Paul speaks of Jesus…

who is the image of the invisible God,
            firstborn of all creation,
for in him were created all things
            in the heavens and upon the earth,
            things visible and things invisible,
            whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities;
            all things through him and to him have been created;
            and he is before all things
            and all things in him hold together,
            and he is the head of the body, the church;

who is the beginning,
            firstborn from among the dead,
            so that he himself might become in all things preeminent,
for in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell,
            and through him to reconcile all things to him, 
            making peace through the blood of his cross, [through him]
            whether things upon the earth or things in the heavens.

There are too many things I want to say about this passage (which is why I don’t teach on it much in my New Testament survey course - it wouldn’t be much of a survey course with several weeks on Colossians and this passage in particular). For purposes of this blog, I want to focus on just a few things: tomorrow - the term “all,” Thursday - the Greek suffix “prōto” (‘first’), and Friday - the prepositions “in,” “through,” and “to”.  Believe it or not, I find these “little” words to be among the most exciting and most religiously important in the whole letter.

But right now all I ask is that you just soak the passage in with me. Read it through a few times. Read it in context (especially 1:12-1:23). And if you want, let me know what your thoughts are about vv. 15-20 or what questions they bring to your mind. Use the comments below or e-mail me at .

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