Bible scholars consider Colossians 1:15-20 an early Christian Hymn due to its rhythmic two-stanza prose. The stanza in verses 15-17 is a glorification of Christ’s domination over all creation while verses 18-20 attest to His preeminence in salvation.1 Its emphasis was on accurate Christology to dispel the heterodox beliefs that had cropped up in the church at Colossae. It affirms the Christological image of Jesus Christ as the Lord and His glory and majesty. It reiterates the Lordship of Christ as an important theological foundation for the Great Commission to a world soaked in unorthodox Hellenistic practices and Jewish mysticism. This paper examines the history, background, and context of the book of Colossians as well as the theology and significance of the Christ Hymn to a postmodern world.
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History, Background, and Context of Colossians
History of Colossians
The authorship of the epistle to the church at Colossae is attributed to Paul. He wrote this letter while incarcerated (Col 4:3) in a Roman prison. However, some scholars suggest that Paul was imprisoned in either Caesarea or Ephesus when he authored Colossians, Ephesians, and Philemon.2 With regard to its provenance, Paul points to his drawn-out imprisonment (Col 4:18), which, according to Abbott, indicates that the epistle could be dated between 60 and 61 AD.3
The historical city of Colossae lay in Asia Minor in the Lycus River bordering Laodicea and Hierapolis.4 The cities in this region were under the Roman rule. The church at Colossae was planted by Epaphras (Col 1:7), implying that Paul had not been in this city before writing the letter. It is likely that Epaphras converted to Christianity during Paul’s 3-year ministry at Ephesus. According to Barth and Blanke, Epaphras sought Paul’s assistance to deal with issues in the Colossian church, including the “philosophy and empty deceit” (Col 2:8) drawn from the Hellenistic-Jewish traditions.5 Therefore, Paul’s letter sought to denounce and rebut the false doctrines that had infiltrated the church at Colossae.
A significant proportion of the population in Colossae was Gentiles comprising of the indigenous inhabitants (Phrygians) and settlers (Greeks and Jews).6 The Jewish population was the descendants of Jews settled in Colossae from Babylonia in 2nd century B.C. As a result, Colossae was a city practicing diverse Hellenistic cults, Judaism, and early Christianity. As O’Brien writes, the polytheistic environment raised the likelihood of religious syncretism creeping into the church.7 This formed the motivation for Paul to write to the church to depict an accurate Christological image of Jesus Christ.
Paul’s letter is intended for the Colossians who he refers to as “the saints and faithful brethren in Christ at Colossae” (Col 1:2). Paul’s diction indicates that he was addressing Gentiles, not the Jewish population (Col 1:21). It is likely that the establishment of the church by Epaphras followed Paul’s missionary work described in Acts 19 prior to his imprisonment. O’Brien argues that the church at Colossae was multiethnic; it comprised “majority gentiles with a few Jewish believers”.8 However, the church was under a strong Jewish Christian influence, as seen in the call for the observance of “Jewish festivals, New Moon celebrations, and Sabbaths (Col 2:16). Further, it is evident that the Colossians had strong links with the church at Laodicea (Col 1:4).
Background of Colossians
Paul’s letter is meant for the church planted by Epaphras at Colossae. Scholars believe that the letter is a response to Epaphras’ revelation of heretical doctrines in the church upon to Paul.9 Epaphras, a disciple of Paul, had converted to Christianity at Ephesus prior to his incarceration. He planted the church at Colossae to spread the good news message to the gentiles. Barth and Blanke state that the epistle was written after Epaphras visited Paul in prison and informed him of the heresy in the church.10 The false teachings threatened the relationship between God and His church and Epaphras needed Paul’s help.
False teaching was cropping up in the church, presenting a threat to the congregation. Epaphras sought the assistance of Paul, who was detained in a Roman prison. The exact nature of the heresy in the church is not clear. The challenge is that Paul does not name the false teachers or explicate on the nature of the heretical doctrines.11 As a result, the reader can only deduce the false teachings by examining the Hellenistic-Judaic traditions that had cropped up in the early church. Nevertheless, Paul’s overt criticisms of the unorthodox teachings point to an inaccurate Christological message.
Abbott holds that the false teaching revolved around “ascent to the heavenly throne”, especially angelic worship (Col 2:18).12 The threat of this false teaching is that it negates the role of Christ as the intercessor by emphasizing on the mystical experience and asceticism. In order to reach the highest spiritual state, the false teachers gave a set of stringent rules on food or drink, new moon festivals, and Sabbaths (Col 2:16). The rules focused on the renunciation of worldly pleasures and self-abasement as the way to achieving visionary ascent. It appeared that Jewish traditions had infiltrated the church in some form of ascetic piety. Strict Jewish rules on circumcision, nutrition, and Sabbath observance had entered the church at Colossae.13
In other words, the emphasis on visionary experience and asceticism resulted in the pushing of Christ to the periphery. It led to the diminution of His work, ministry, and cosmic centrality. The inaccurate Christology and sham spirituality presented a threat to the church at Colossae. The misguided spirituality distorted the intercessory role of Christ and salvation. Paul’s letter to the Colossians was meant to inform the church about the greatness of Christ and his saving power. It puts to rest claims that the ascent to the heavenly throne could happen through meritorious practices or human rules.
Context of Colossians
In a literary context, Paul’s letter to the Colossians centers on the sufficiency of Christ. It is an affirmation of the “supremacy and preeminence of Christ” as the only way God’s creation can access His throne.14 It is grounded in the gospel message and the cosmic centrality of Christ in the church. The epistle builds an image of Jesus as the creator and Sustainer of all creation. Bruce states that Paul’s intent in the letter was to counter the Colossian heresy by reminding the congregation of Christological image embodied in creation and redemption.15
According to Deterding, the message of the letter begins after Paul sends his greetings to the Colossians (Col 1:3).16 He then proceeds to highlight the sufficiency of Christ by refuting the heretical teachings and concludes by encouraging the congregation to lead lives that mirror the Christological message. Deterding observes that the first part of Colossians (Col 1:3-2:7) is a prayer of thanks that implores the congregation at Colossae to focus on Christ as the redeemer who reconciles people to God.17 The mid section focuses on the consequences of the heretical teachings on the believers. Paul first reaffirms the cosmic centrality of Christ before delving into the impact of the heretical views (Jewish mysticism) that contradicted the Christological message.18 Later, he tears into the human traditions and laws that undermine the message of Christ’s sufficiency. In the last section (Col 3:5-4:18), Paul reiterates Christ’s role in redemption and sanctification. He states that Christ’s sufficiency is required in the believer’s lives, family relationships, and social concern for others.
Examination of the Christ Hymn (Colossians 1:15-20)
Context of Christ Hymn
The passage (Col 1:1-23) is considered a part of liturgical section or prayer. Michael Bird structures this section as thanksgiving (Col 1:3-8), intercessory prayer (Col 1:9-14), exaltation (Col 1:15-20), and short explanation of the hymn.19 Therefore, a thanksgiving statement in verses 13 precedes the hymn or praise. After the hymn, Paul provides readers with a message explicating Christ’s role as the reconciler (Col 1:21-23). O’Brien notes that the hymn, regardless of its authorship, is “central to its current context”.20 He further writes that the hymn comes after a thanksgiving prayer and the subsequent section involves “phrases and ideas” derived from it.21 In this regard, Colossians 1:15-20 not only serves as the climax of the praise, but also and enables Paul to put across a strong doctrinal statement, i.e., Christ as the reconciler.
The hymnic passage (Col 1:15-20) is thought to predate the thanksgiving prayer. Scholars note that the pronoun ‘whom’ precedes the hymn, referring to the “Son of His love” (Col 1:13).22 In this context, the function word ‘whom’ is a continuation of the references made in earlier verses. In particular, phrases such as “the Father who has qualified us” (1:12) and “in whom we have redemption” (1:14) form a series of pronouns meant to place the hymn in its context. Paul used these opening relative clauses to contextualize the hymn probably quoted from an outside source.
In addition to the opening relative clauses, the hymn has features indicating that it predates the current discourse. Moo observes a change in pronouns within the passage with “verses 13-14 being in first person, 15-20 being in third person, while 21-23 are in second and first persons”.23 Thus, while the sections preceding and following the hymn speaks to the readers directly, the hymn does not. In addition, the hymn adopts the chiasmus pattern, which makes it distinct from the other sections. Non-Pauline phrases have also been identified in the hymn, indicating that it originated from an external source. For instance, Moo notes that words like “visible, thrones, and beginning” as well as phrases like “to be established and blood of the cross” occur nowhere in other Pauline letters.24 Therefore, Paul could have wise sayings in the Hellenistic-Judaic tradition to affirm Christ’s supremacy in the hymn.
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Lohse also observes that if the hymn is omitted, the preceding (1:13-14) and succeeding (1:21-23) verses fits up coherently.25 This suggests Col 1:15-20 is an independent passage adapted from an external source. The intention was to ward of the heretical teachings that had infiltrated the church at Colossae by depicting an accurate Christological image. Therefore, the change of pronouns, chiastic pattern, and distinctive phrases/words used in Col 1:15-20 suggest that the hymn was adapted from an earlier source.
Colossians 1:15-20 qualify as a hymn as it contains the “V pattern that characterizes early Christological hymns”.26 Such hymns reiterate the story of creation, redemption, and glorification. Paul affirms Christ’s role as the Creator, Sustainer, and Savior in Col 1:15, a presentation that is consistent with the Christological stages of a hymn. According to Lohse, a hymn encompasses liturgy, baptismal confessions, and praises.27 He holds that if the hymn was a baptismal confession, then it could be a “creed to which every believer pledged” during baptism.28 Based on this view, the passage is a believer’s pledge of faith in Jesus upon baptism. It is a solemn promise to lead a life free from the “elemental powers of the world” (Col 2:8). Through baptism, Christ overcame death through resurrection. O’Brien holds that it is plausible that Paul introduced words or phrases from an external source to teach the congregation at Colossae to counsel each other, praise Christ, and give gratitude to the Lord.29
Origins of Christ Hymn
Scholars riding on the fact that evidence suggests that Colossians 1:15-20 has pre-Christian origins give diverse perspectives on this subject. O’Brien asserts that some of the words and ideas in Christ’s hymn originated from a Gnostic hymn.30 He notes that omitting the phrases “of the church and through the blood of his cross” diminishes the Christological message in the passage.31 He concludes that Colossians 1: 15-20 seems like a pre-Christian Gnostic hymn focusing on metaphysics and a supernatural redeemer. It was adapted as a baptismal liturgy that Paul uses to refute the heresy in the Colossian congregation.
Evidence of Gnostic origins is seen in the phrases or words that Paul uses in the hymn. Words such as ‘fullness’ (Col 1:19) appears in Gnostic view where it means the “totality of emanations” originating from God.32 Pre-Christian Gnostics believed in heavenly realism that exists near the throne of God. Paul purposely uses this phrase in the hymn to disprove this false belief and reaffirm that Christ is a manifestation of God to humanity. In addition, the attribution of creation and redemption to an agency was abhorrent to Gnostic beliefs. Therefore, Paul seeks to counter the heretical views and myths through the hymn.
However, according to Dunn, the hymn has no connections to either Gnostic or Jewish traditions.33 It was commonplace for writers to appropriate useful words or concepts from a different tradition to make it palatable to the readers. Similarly, Col 1:15-20 was probably adapted from various resources without retaining the actual argument or philosophy. Religious syncretism that dominated the Greco-Roman society is another possible heritage of the hymn. Terms and ideas created in the church with syncretistic though could have been adapted as part of the hymn.34 Therefore, it can be argued that both Judaism and religious syncretism influenced the ideas and phrases used in Christ’s hymn.
Moo asserts that while the Jewish religion is the primary resource for the hymn, syncretistic ideas in the passage must be acknowledged.35 For instance, the language in the passage is consistent with the perspective on “divine Wisdom” literature in the monotheistic Jewish religion.36 Furthermore, the phrase “image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15) appears to correlate with the “aura of the might of God” in Wisdom literature. Proverbs 8:22 also talks about “the firstborn of His ways”, which captures the flow of ideas in the “firstborn of all creation” in Col 1:15. For Paul, divine Wisdom was embodied in Christ; hence, he uses these words to describe His nature to the Colossae church. However, Paul’s reliance on the syncretistic resources is not substantial as the hymn contains concepts developed in the synagogue.
Theology and Significance of Christ Hymn
The main theological themes in Christ Hymn relate to Christ’s role as the Creator, Head of the church, a reconciler, and Redeemer, among others.
Christ in Creation
Colossians 1:15-20 is considered a liturgical section exalting “Christ’s supremacy in creation” (vv. 15-17) and His preeminence in salvation (vv. 18-20).37 Paul refers to Christ as the “image of the invisible God” (Col 1: 15). He stresses not only Christ’s similarity to God, but also His manifestation to us. The verse affirms Christ’s statement that “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Therefore, Paul implies that Jesus is a representation of God’s true nature. Matthew Gordley, commenting on Paul’s epistle to the Colossians, writes that Christ is the “personal revelation of God to humanity”, i.e., an embodiment of the divine manifested to us.38
In the Christ hymn, Paul also calls Christ the “firstborn over all creation” (Col 1: 15). According to Gordley, this reference does not imply that Christ is part of God’s creation; rather it suggests His supremacy in creation.39 The heretic view had permeated the Church at Colossae. The phrase ‘firstborn’ is an affirmation of non-temporality as seen in Exodus 4 where Israel is called God’s firstborn. This makes Israel God’s chosen nation. As the firstborn, Christ is the Ruler over all things in the universe.
Jesus’ role in creation is seen in verse 16: “For in Him all things were created that are in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions, or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him”. According to Abbott, the phrase ‘in Him’ is a dative case that could mean either position or agency.40 Based on the first interpretation, Paul stresses the cosmic centrality of Christ in all creation. The second interpretation could be that Jesus is the agent of creation. The first view is supported by Paul’s repeated use of the phrase ‘in Christ’ and ‘in Him’. Therefore, Christ is the representation of reality as pertains to creation and salvation.
The last part of verse 16 affirms Jesus as the agency of creation. However, even here His role is interpreted as locative. The words ‘in Him’, as opposed to ‘through Him’, accentuate Christ’s role as the ‘location’ from which all creation was brought into existence.41 Verse 18 reiterates this concept; it states, “He is the beginning”. His role in creation is extensive and covers “all things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible” (Col 1:16). The qualifiers used in this verse were important considering the heretic teachings that were going on in the church at Colossae. It shows that all creation, including the imperfect men in the eyes of the ascetics, originated in Christ, a view that heretics considered abhorrent.42
It reaffirms the idea of Incarnation and Christ’s role as the Creator of all things. This contradicts the idea of paying homage to intercessory beings and angelic worship practiced in Hellenistic culture and Jewish mystical beliefs. Paul declares that Christ created all things, including the ‘invisible’ heavenly angels. This dispels the Colossians’ belief in angelic worship or mysticism, which Paul labels a false teaching. Since Christ is the creator of angels, the idea of ‘heavenly ascent’ embodied in Jewish mysticism as well as angel worship was considered heterodox (Col 2:18).43
Christ’s supremacy in heaven and earth contradicts the false teachings that diminished His role in creation. Part of His creation includes “thrones, dominions, rulers, or authorities” (Col 1:16). Melick writes that in Jewish traditions, ‘thrones and dominions’ were synonymous to angelic beings.44 The hymn exalts Christ (the Firstborn) as the one who has dominion over all these forces, including evil spirits. Further, since “all things have been created by Him and for Him” (Col 1:16), which communicates the permanence of Christ’s creative work. All existence is through Him and for Him. As Melick writes, the words ‘for Him’ refer to Christ’s purpose and being. It also reflects Him as the sole goal of creation.45
Christ’s unchanging nature is clear in verse 17: “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together”. In Melick’s view, the present tense ‘He is’ affirms Christ’s unchanging nature, sovereignty, and preeminence.46 Moreover, the phrase ‘before all things’ communicates “His preexistence” as the Firstborn of all creation.47 Christ’s claim of preexistence is also evident in other scriptures in the bible. He says, “Before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58), which is an affirmation of His preexistence. Christ is also the reason for creation and he holds all things. He is the glue holding all creation together. Thus, Christ’s preexistence is an encouragement for believers.
Christ’s Work in Reconciliation and Redemption
In the Christ hymn, Paul spoke about Jesus’ divine nature as the ‘head’ of the church. In verse 1:18, Christ is called the “beginning and the firstborn of the dead”, implying that He is the sole leader of the church. Weaver’s definitive analysis of the Greek lexica found that the word ‘head’ means a “leader or one in authority”.48 Therefore, Jesus is the leader of the church as stated in Colossians 1:18. Further, as ‘the beginning’, He is the source of creation. His crucifixion and death heralded a new beginning for Christians. It marked the beginning of a new age for humanity characterized by a close relationship with Christ through redemption.49
As the “Firstborn from the dead”, Christ has authority over all things on earth (Col 1:18). This statement shows that Christ reigned supreme over death through His resurrection. He has preeminence in all things, including overcoming death and redemption. As the firstborn, he reigns supreme over all things in this world. Christ’s power to save is seen in verse 19, which says, “For in Him all fullness of God was pleased to dwell”. This verse could be understood as a solemn declaration of the deity of Jesus, an embodiment of God’s nature manifested to humanity. It could also be taken to mean that Christ is the intercessor between God and humanity. It suggests that redemption power is found in Christ. It depicts Christ as the Redeemer, which is consistent with the idea of Him being a deity.
The power to redeem is vested in Christ alone. He is the agency and purpose of reconciliation as seen in verse 1:20. This verse concludes with a redemptive view, which reinforces the statement made at the beginning that “And through Him to reconcile all things to Himself” (Col 1:20). The phrase ‘to reconcile’ expresses the act of switching enmity with affection and trust. Complete reconciliation occurs when God brings humanity to Himself despite man’s disobedience. Christ reconciles “all things to Himself” (Col 1:20) by His blood. It points to the end of times (Judgment) when every person will bow before the Lord and attest that Christ is Lord as seen in Romans 14:11. All beings, visible and invisible, will attest to His sovereignty, which is consistent with complete reconciliation.
Reconciliation is different from redemption in the sense that the former breaks down the barriers between the Lord and humanity to allow for “a new form of relationship” while salvation is only achieved through “the blood of His cross” (Col 1:20).50 Further, while in reconciliation all beings will attest to His sovereignty, salvation is achieved through Christ’s death and resurrection. His blood at the Cross was an atonement for sin. The Christ hymn is a revelation of Christ’s person and supremacy seen through His creative work. The hymn first focuses on His preeminence in creation and later stresses His role in redemption. The powerful message in this hymn sought to set the record straight on Christ’s role in creation and redemption to refute heresy and confusion in the Colossian church.
Significance of Christ Hymn
Paul, in Colossians 1:15-20, presents Christ as answer to false teachings and heresy in the church at Colossae. The passage affirms the truths about Christ that counters the heretical ideas in the modern church. It stresses an accurate Christological image characterized by the fullness of God vested in Christ, His supremacy over angels, preeminence, and firstborn status. Abbott states that Paul’s argument in this hymn centers on Christ as “the image of the invisible God” and as the “firstborn of all creation” (Col 1: 15).51 This means that since the fullness of God rests in Christ, He is the only one capable of reuniting all creation to God. Therefore, a believer can only be reunited with God through Christ who bears the fullness of the His Father.
Christ hymn also reveals the identity of God through Christ. In a bid to debunk the false teachings going on at the Colossian church, Paul reveals multiple attributes of Christ that can strengthen the believers’ faith in Him. The first attribute is the “image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15). The word ‘image’, in this context, describes the complete manifestation of God to man. Christians can learn that Christ is a perfect manifestation of God’s nature to humanity. The hymn also presents Jesus as having sovereignty over all things being the “Firstborn over all creation” (Col 1:15). This view helps debunk the erroneous belief that Christ was the first being God created. On the contrary, in Christ and through Him “all things were created” (Col 1:16), affirming His supremacy and preeminence.
He is also the glue that holds all creation together. Paul writes that Christ “is before all things and in Him all things consist”, affirming that He is the Sustainer of all creation. Believers can learn that Christ “holds, unites, and maintains” all existence or the universe. He is the power that sustains all creation. We also learn that Christ is the head of the congregation. Paul writes, “He is the head of the church” (Col 1:18), which is an attestation of Christ’s authority over the congregation. The verse also tells us that Jesus is the first to overcome death, which makes Him the preeminent one over all creation. Christ’s supremacy extends to redemption. God’s reconciliatory role and redemption power are seen in Colossians 1:19. Believers learn that it is through salvation in Christ that man’s relationship with God can be restored. It refutes the act of praying to intercessory beings, including heavenly angels (invisible things) that are part of Christ’s creation.
Paul, in Colossians 1:15-20, presents an accurate Christological image to debunk the heresy in the church at Colossae. The Christ hymn is an affirmation of His person and work in creation, sustenance, supremacy, preeminence (firstborn), and redemption. From a historical perspective, Paul wrote this letter while a Roman prison to assist Epaphras to refute the false doctrine in the congregations at Colossae and Chalcedonia. Scholars believe the hymn is a product of religious syncretism involving the Jewish mysticism and Hellenistic doctrines in the Greco-Roman era. It attests to Christ’s cosmic centrality and power as the glue that holds all creation together. It also emphasizes that all creation, including the angelic beings that were at the center of the heresy, falls under his sovereignty. The main theological themes in this passage include Christ’s role as the Creator, head of the church, Redeemer, and Reconciler. Christ’s death and resurrection that is epitomized in Christ’s hymn has implications for our salvation as the intercessor and reconciler of man with God.
Abbott, Thomas K. “Colossians.” In A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistles to the Ephesians and to the Colossians: A volume of The International Critical Commentary, edited by Samuel Rolles Driver, 88-95. Edinburgh, London: T. and T. Clark, 1968.
Barth, Markus, and Helmut Blanke. Colossians: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. New York: Doublday Publishing Group, 1994.
Bird, Michael F. “Colossians.” In Colossians and Philemon: A New Covenant Commentary, edited by Craig Keener, 79-104. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2009.
Bruce, Frank F. “Colossians.” In The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians, edited by Ned B. Stonehouse, F. F. Bruce, and Gordon D. Fee, 132-145. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1984.
Deterding, Paul E. Colossians. In A Volume of Concordia Commentary: A Theological Exposition of Sacred Scripture, edited by Dean O. Wenthe, 56-63. Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2003.
Dunn, James D. “Colossians.” In The Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon: A Commentary on the Greek Text, edited by I. Howard Marshall, W. Ward Gasque, and Donald A. Hagner, 112-118. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996.
Gordley, Matthew E. The Colossian Hymn in Context: An Exegesis in Light of Jewish and Greco-Roman Hymnic and Epistolary Conventions. Tubingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2007.
Lohse, Eduard. “Colossians.” In Colossians and Philemon. A Volume. of Hermeneia—A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible, edited by Helmut Koester, 85-92. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1991.
Melick, Richard R. “Colossians.” In Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon: Volume 32 of The New American Commentary, edited by David S. Dockery, 145-153. Nashville: Broadman Press, 1991.
Moo, Douglas J. “Colossians.” In The Letters to the Colossians and to Philemon: A Volume of The Pillar New Testament Commentary, edited by D.A. Carson, 78-94. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2008.
O’Brien, Peter T. “Colossians.” In Colossians, Philemon: Volume 44 of Word Biblical Commentary, edited by David A. Hubbard, 54-67. Waco: Word Book Publishers, 1982.
O’Brien, Peter T. Understanding the Basic Themes of Colossians, Philemon. Dallas: Word Publishing, 1991.
Weaver, James A. Colossians 1:15-20 and its Function in the Letter. Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International, 1982.
- Frank F. Bruce, “Colossians,” In The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians, ed. Ned B. Stonehouse, F. F. Bruce, and Gordon D. Fee (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1984), 133.
- Thomas K. Abbott, “Colossians,” In A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistles to the Ephesians and to the Colossians: A volume of The International Critical Commentary, ed. Samuel Rolles Driver (Edinburgh, London: T. and T. Clark, 1968), 89.
- Ibid., 91.
- Ibid., 94.
- Markus Barth and Helmut Blanke, Colossians: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (New York: Doublday Publishing Group, 1994), 41.
- Peter T. O’Brien, “Colossians,” In Colossians, Philemon: Volume 44 of Word Biblical Commentary, ed. David A. Hubbard (Waco: Word Book Publishers, 1982), 55.
- Ibid., 59.
- Ibid., 62.
- Markus Barth and Helmut Blanke, Colossians, 54.
- Ibid., 75.
- Thomas K. Abbott, “Colossians,” 91.
- Ibid., 92.
- Ibid., 93.
- Paul E. Deterding, “Colossians,” In A Volume of Concordia Commentary: A Theological Exposition of Sacred Scripture, ed. Dean O. Wenthe (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2003), 58.
- Bruce F. Frank, “Colossians,” 135.
- Paul E. Deterding, “Colossians,” 59.
- Ibid., 61.
- Ibid., 62.
- Michael F. Bird, “Colossians,” In Colossians and Philemon: A New Covenant Commentary, ed. Craig Keener (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2009), 86.
- Peter T. O’Brien, Understanding the Basic Themes of Colossians, Philemon (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1991), 112.
- Ibid., 119.
- Douglas J. Moo, “Colossians,” In The Letters to the Colossians and to Philemon: A Volume of The Pillar New Testament Commentary, ed. D.A. Carson (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2008), 79.
- Ibid., 82.
- Ibid., 86.
- Eduard Lohse, “Colossians,” In Colossians and Philemon. A Volume. of Hermeneia—A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible, ed. Helmut Koester (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1991), 86.
- Ibid., 88.
- Ibid., 91.
- Ibid., 92.
- Peter T. O’Brien, Understanding the Basic Themes of Colossians, Philemon, 113.
- Ibid., 115.
- Ibid., 116.
- Douglas J. Moo, “Colossians,” 81.
- James D. Dunn, “Colossians,” In The Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon: A Commentary on the Greek Text, ed. I. Howard Marshall, W. Ward Gasque, and Donald A. Hagner (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996), 114.
- Ibid., 116.
- Douglas J. Moo, “Colossians,” 81.
- Ibid., 83.
- Ibid., 85.
- Matthew E. Gordley, The Colossian Hymn in Context: An Exegesis in Light of Jewish and Greco-Roman Hymnic and Epistolary Conventions (Tubingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2007), 61.
- Ibid., 73.
- Thomas K. Abbott, “Colossians,” 92.
- Ibid., 94.
- Ibid., 95.
- Matthew E. Gordley, The Colossian Hymn in Context, 64.
- Richard R. Melick, “Colossians,” In Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon: Volume 32 of The New American Commentary, ed. David S. Dockery (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1991), 146.
- Ibid., 148.
- Ibid., 151.
- James A. Weaver, Colossians 1:15-20 and its Function in the Letter (Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International, 1982), 54.
- Ibid., 57.
- Ibid., 63.
- Thomas K. Abbott, “Colossians,” 92.
- Ibid., 94.