Bibliotheca Sacra 141 (April-June. 1984) 99-111.
Copyright © 1984 by
The "Christ Hymn"
of Colossians 1:15-20
F. F. Bruce
Perhaps in Paul's mind there was not the same measure of
urgency in the theological situation of the Colossian church as
there had been some years before in that of the Galatian
churches. At any rate, in Colossians he does not launch an attack
on the false teaching immediately after the prescript, as he does
in Galatians. The fact that the
directly planted by him, as the churches of
that he was personally unacquainted with most of its members
may also have something to do with his procedure. However that
may be, before he undertakes a refutation of the false teaching
which was being urged on the Colossian Christians, he presents
them with a positive statement of the truth which was being
challenged by the false teaching.
Hengel has recently drawn attention to the important part
that hymns or Spirit-inspired songs played in formulating the
doctrine of Christ in the primitive church, even before the start of
the Pauline mission.1 The doctrine of Christ was the principal
truth threatened by the false teaching at
doctrine Paul presents to his readers before dealing specifically
with the false teaching. His presentation of the doctrine of Christ
takes the form of the "Christ hymn" in Colossians 1:15-20.
Do these six verses really contain a hymn? Certainly one
cannot recognize here the established forms of either Hebrew or
Greek poetry. What is here is rhythmical prose, but it is rhyth-
mical prose with a strophic arrangement such as is found in
100 Bibliotheca Sacra — April-June 1984
much early Christian hymnody. As with the "Christ hymn" in
Philippians 2:6-11, it is not of the first importance to decide
whether Paul is composing the words de novo or reproducing an
inspired composition already known to him (and possibly to his
readers) and stamping it with his apostolic authority.
The strophic arrangement is indicated by the repetition of
key words or phrases. There appear to be two strophes — verses
15-16 and verses 18b-20 — with verses 17-18a supplying a tran-
sitional link between them. Each strophe begins with o!j e]stin
("He who is") and exhibits the key words prwto<tokoj ("first-
born"), o!ti e]n au]t&? ("because in Him"), di ] au]tou? ("through Him"),
ta> pa<nta ("all things"). The first and last clauses of the transition-
al link begin with kai> au]to<j e]stin ("He indeed is"), the first sum-
ming up the preceding strophe and the last introducing the
The First Strophe (1:15-16)
He who is the image of the invisible God,
Firstborn before all creation,
because in Him all things were created —
things in heaven and things on earth,
things visible and invisible,
whether thrones or dominions,
whether principalities or powers —
they have all been created through Him and for Him (author's
This first strophe celebrates the role of Christ in creation,
most probably in His character as the Wisdom of God. This early
Christian theme, which exercised a major influence on the
church's Christological thought, was not confined to the Pauline
circle and probably did not originate in it. It finds expression in
the prelude of Hebrews (Heb. 1:2b-3a), in the prologue of the
Fourth Gospel (John 1:1-5), and in the Apocalypse (Rev. 3:14).
Christ, then, is introduced as "the image of the invisible
God." That He is "the image of God" has been affirmed already by
Paul (2 Cor. 4:4), in a context which appears to reflect Paul's
conversion experience. Paul recognized the One revealed to him
in that same moment, recognize Him also as the image of God?3
When Ezekiel received his vision of God, he saw enthroned at the
heart of the rainbow-like brightness "a likeness as it were of a
human form" (Ezek. 1:26). Paul had a similar experience when
The "Christ Hymn" of Colossians 1:15-20 101
he recognized "the glory of God in the face of Christ" (2 Cor. 4:6).
He is not merely echoing someone else's form of words here; he is
expressing what his own experience confirmed as true.
To call Christ the image of God is to say that in Him the being
and nature of God have been perfectly manifested — that in Him
the invisible has become visible. In another letter Paul had de-
clared that since the creation of the world the "everlasting power
and divinity"4 of the unseen Creator may be "clearly perceived in
the things that have been made" (Rom. 1:20). But now an all-
surpassing disclosure of His "everlasting power and divinity'' has
been granted. "The light of the gospel of the glory of Christ" has
shone into His people's hearts through the same creative Word
that first called light to shine forth out of darkness (2 Cor. 4:4-6).
In addition to being the image of God, Christ is said to be the
"Firstborn before all creation." This rendering is designed to
clarify the force of the genitive phrase "of all creation." To con-
strue the wording as though He Himself were the first of all
created beings is to run counter to the context, which insists that
He is the One by whom the whole creation came into existence.
The construction prwto<tokoj pa<shj kti<sewj is similar to that in
John 1:15, 30, where John the Baptist says of Jesus prw?to<j
mou h#n, He was first in respect to me."5 In Colossians 1:15
prwto<tokoj with the genitive has the same force that prw?toj with
the genitive has in John 1:15, 30; it denotes not only priority but
The title "Firstborn" perhaps echoes the language of Psalm
89:27, where God says of the Davidic king, "I will make him the
firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth." But it belongs to
Christ not only as the Son of David but also as the Wisdom of
God. In the wisdom literature of the Old Testament wisdom is at
best the personification of a divine attribute or of the holy law,
but when the New Testament writers speak of Wisdom in person-
al terms, they consciously refer to One who is alive, one whose
ministry on earth was still remembered by many. To all those
writers, as to Paul, Christ was the personal (not personified) and
incarnate Wisdom of God. They were not so much arguing that
the personified wisdom of the Old Testament is actually Christ as
they were testifying that Christ (who lived on earth as Man, who
died and rose again, "whom God made our wisdom" [1 Cor. 1:30])
is the One who was before all creation, the preexistent Christ.
The idea of preexistence is not unknown in Jewish thought.
It is seen, for example, in later discussions about the Messiah6
102 Bibliotheca Sacra — April-June 1984
and in the preexistent Son of Man in the Parables of Enoch.7 But
such preexistent beings were, to the minds of those who dis-
cussed them, largely ideal. Here preexistence is predicated of
who had lived and died in
half-century. This is not the only place in the Pauline letters
where the preexistence of Christ is stated or implied, and Paul is
not the only New Testament writer to teach such a truth.
Paul speaks of Christ not only as preexistent, but also as
cosmic, that is, he finds in Christ "the key to creation, declaring
that it is all there with Christ in view."8 Whatever other figures in
Jewish literature may have preexistence ascribed to them, none
of them is credited with such cosmic activity and significance as
are here predicated of the preexistent Christ. Paul had already
used language of this kind; in 1 Corinthians 8:6 he said that
Christians acknowledge "one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom
are all things, and we through him." And in Romans 8:19-21 he
showed how the redemption secured by Christ works not only to
the advantage of its immediate beneficiaries, "the sons of God,"
but through them to the whole creation.
Not only is Christ's primacy with regard to creation asserted;
it is "in Him" that all things were created. When the Revised
Version appeared in 1881 with this rendering in place of the King
James Version's "by Him," some critics, like B. W. Newton,
charged the revisers with encouraging the "deadly" error of the
immanence of the Word in the world by thus "reversing the
translation of their Protestant predecessors."9
others had studied the matter a little further, they might have
discovered why Paul wrote e]n au]t&? here, and why the revisers
translated the phrase "in Him." The reason is that Christ is
identified with the beginning "in" which, according to Genesis
1:1, "God created the heavens and the earth."10 This is not mere
surmise; He is expressly called "the beginning" in Colossians
1:18. Perhaps one could say that here He is viewed as the sphere
within which the work of creation takes place, as in Ephesians
1:4 the people of God are said to have been chosen "in Him" even
earlier, before the world's foundation. God's creation, like His
election, is accomplished "in Christ" and not apart from Him.
When the preposition is changed, and creation is said to
have taken place "through him" (di ] au]tou?), as it is at the end of
verse 16, He is denoted as the Agent by whom God brought the
universe into being. This is in line with the testimony of the
Epistle to the Hebrews, which affirms that through the Son (di ]
The "Christ Hymn" of Colossians 1:15-20 103
ou$) God made the worlds (Heb. 1:2), and of the Fourth Gospel
which states that "all things came into being through him
[through the Logos, who is identified with the Son), and apart
from him none of the things that exist came into being" (John
This is to be distinguished from Philo's doctrine of the func-
tion of the logos in creation. It is easy to see affinities between
Pauline language and Stoic terminology, but Paul's thought is
derived not from Stoicism but from Genesis and the Old Testa-
ment wisdom literature, where wisdom is personified as the
Creator's assessor and master-workman. However, for Paul,
"master-workman" is no longer a figure of speech but a descrip-
tion of the actual role of the personal, preexistent Christ.
Thus Christ through whom the divine work of redemption
has been accomplished (Col. 1:14) is the One through whom the
divine act of creation 'was effected in the beginning. His media-
torial relation to the created universe provides a setting to the
plan of salvation which helps his people appreciate the gospel all
the more. For those who have been redeemed by Christ the uni-
verse has no ultimate terrors; they know that their Redeemer is
also Creator — the Origin and Goal of all.
Probably with special reference to the "Colossian heresy"
Paul then emphasized that if all things were created by Christ,
then those powers for which such high claims were made in that
heresy must have been created by Him. "Thrones, principalities,
authorities, powers, and dominions" probably represent the
highest orders of the spirit world, but the variety of ways in which
the terms are combined in the New Testament warns against
attempting to construct a fixed hierarchy from them. The point
is that the most powerful angel princes, like the rest of creation,
are subject to Christ as the One in whom, through whom, and for
whom they were created.
The concept of Christ as the Goal of
creation plays an
tial part in Pauline Christology and soteriology. To this concept
Jewish parallels have been adduced; for example, the third-
century Rabbi Yohanan offered the opinion that the world was
created with a view to Messiah.11 But for Paul, Messiah had come;
He is identical with Jesus who, not more than 30 years earlier,
had been crucified in
himself on the
standing of Paul's Christology which fails to reckon with his
personal commitment to Jesus, crucified and exalted, would be
104 Bibliotheca Sacra — April-June 1984
the kind of understanding that is dismissed in this letter as
being "according to the elemental forces of the world, and not
according to Christ" (Col. 2:8).
The Transitional Link (1:17-18a)
He indeed is before all things,
and they all cohere in Him;
He is also the head of the body, the church (author's translation).
The teaching of the first strophe is recapitulated in a twofold
reaffirmation of the preexistence and cosmic significance of
Christ: "He indeed is before all things, and they all cohere in
Him." The phrase "before all things" sums up the essence of His
designation as "Firstborn before all creation" and excludes any
possibility of interpreting that designation to mean that He Him-
self is part of the created order (albeit the first and chief part).
Since the phrase pro> pa<ntwn occurs elsewhere in the New Testa-
ment to denote priority in importance, this denotation, as well as
the idea of priority in time, may well be present here.
The statement "all things cohere in Him" adds something to
what has been said about His agency in creation. What has been
brought into being by Christ is maintained by being in Him. The
best known parallel to this comes, as stated earlier, in the prelude
of the Epistle to the Hebrews, where the Son is not only the One
through whom the worlds were made but also the One who
upholds all things by His almighty and enabling Word (Heb.
1:2b-3a). The Greek verb suni<sthmi is found as a Platonic and
Stoic term. According to Philo, the material of the human body
"coheres (sune<sthken) and is quickened as into flame by the provi-
dence of God."12 The Greek translator of Ben Sira, using a
synonymous verb, says that by the Word of God "all things hold
together (su<gkeitai)" (Sir. 43:26). But to Paul the living Christ,
who died to redeem His people, is the Sustainer of the universe
and the unifying Principle of its life.
Thus far the doctrine of Christ has been set forth in terms
that Paul shares with other New Testament writers -- terms
which indeed may have belonged to a widely used Christian
catechesis or confession, even if Paul stamped them here with
the imprint of his own experience and thought. But now he went
on to make a contribution to apostolic Christology which is
distinctively his own. Christ, he wrote, is also "the Head of the
body, the church."
The "Christ Hymn" of Colossians 1:15-20 105
Those who believe that verses 15-20 constitute an already
existing hymn incorporated into the argument of this letter con-
clude that "the church" is a gloss added by Paul to make plain the
sense in which "the body" is to be understood. This may be so.
But it is also widely supposed that in the original form of the
hymn the body was the ko<smoj.13 Christ is certainly presented in
this letter as Ruler of the ko<smoj— as Head, in particular, "of
every principality and power" (2:10). But when "Head" and
"body" are used as correlative terms, as they are here in 1:18a,
the physiological analogy is to the fore, and it is not established
that the physiological analogy ever figured in Christ's headship
over the ko<smoj.
Where the ko<smoj was viewed as a body, as in Stoicism, it is
animated by the divine world-soul and not by a power function-
ing as head of the body. And if it be maintained that the original
hymn was not only pre-Pauline but pre-Christian, and that it was
the kosmokra<twr, or the Gnostic redeemer, and not Christ, who
was originally presented as head of the body (the ko<smoj),14 one
would still ask for evidence that the head-body relationship was
current in that realm of thought.
But if the identity of the church with the body of which
Christ is the Head is implied or expressed in the original hymn, is
Paul then dependent on an existing composition (viz., this sup-
posedly pre-Pauline hymn) for this insight? Whereas the por-
trayal of the church as the body of Christ appears in his earlier
letters (cf. 1 Cor.
as Head of the body is found first in Colossians and Ephesians. It
seems unlikely to this author that this development of Paul's
earlier thought first took shape in someone else's mind. More
probably the hymn was composed within the circle of the Pauline
churches, under the influence of Paul's own teaching.
Another possibility has been ventilated, however. Benoit
suggests that it was only the first strophe celebrating Christ's
role as the creative Wisdom, that circulated independently before
it was incorporated in this letter, and that the second strophe
was constructed (by Paul himself?) on the model of the first.15
Since the transitional link, which leads from the first strophe
into the second, would have no point apart from second strophe
it would have been constructed at the same time as the second
strophe. This writer does not know if this consideration has any
bearing on the presentation of these verses in the 26th edition of
the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, where verses 15-18a
106 Bibliotheca Sacra -- April-June 1984
(the first strophe plus the transitional link) are set as poetry, but
verses 18b-20 (the second strophe) as prose.
This, however, is not the occasion for entering further into
Paul's doctrine of the church as the body of which Christ is the
Head, apart from repeating what has been suggested from Patris-
tic times, that the seed may have been sown in his mind when the
risen Lord addressed him on the
from heaven about the injuries being inflicted on His body on
The Second Strophe (1:18b-20)
He is the beginning,
Firstborn from the dead,
that He might be preeminent in all things,
because in Him it was decreed that all the fullness should
take up residence
and that through Him, [God] should reconcile all things
having made peace through the blood of His cross — [through
Him], whether those on earth or those in heaven (author's
As the first strophe celebrates Christ's role in the old crea-
tion, the second strophe celebrates His role in the new creation,
especially with regard to His work of reconciliation. In relation to
the old creation and the new He holds the rank of "Firstborn."
The new creation is the resurrection order; over it, as over the old
order, He is "the Beginning." He is not only "the Beginning" in
whom heaven and earth were first created, but also by His rising
from the dead He is proclaimed the One in whom men and women
who died in the first Adam are "made alive" (1 Cor. 15:22).
The risen Christ is Head of the body, which is the church.
His resurrection marked His victory over all the forces that held
men and women in bondage. On that first Easter morning He
brought new hope for humanity. Now Christ is "the Firstborn
among many brethren" (Rom. 8:29); He is "the Firstfruits of
those who have fallen asleep" (1 Cor. 15:20); His own resurrec-
tion is the harbinger of the great forthcoming resurrection-
harvest of His people. He who has been "designated Son of God in
power . . . by the resurrection of the dead" (Rom.1:4) exercises
universal primacy; the divine purpose is thus fulfilled "that He
should be preeminent in all things" (Col. 1:18).
The fact that the designation "Firstborn from the dead"
appears independently in Revelation 1:5 (expanding the title
The "Christ Hymn" of Colossians 1:15-20 107
"Firstborn" in a quotation from F's. 89:27)17 suggests that it may
have had a wider currency in first-century Christianity. The
same consideration applies to the title "the Beginning," which is
given to Christ at the beginning; of the letter to the Laodicean
church in Revelation 3:14, in the fuller form "the Beginning of
God's creation" (probably by way of an allusion to wisdom's self-
introduction as "the beginning of His way" in Prov. 8:22). Is there
further significance in the fact that the church to which these
words were addressed was situated, like the Colossian church, in
least it may be asked.
In the following words of the hymn the statement that God
has decreed the preeminence of Christ over every order of being,
both in this age and in the coming age, is repeated in different
terms. These terms may have been calculated to appeal with
peculiar force to the Colossian Christians in their present situa-
tion. "In Him it was decreed that all the fullness should take up
residence." The impersonal rendering "it was decreed" has been
adopted provisionally. But the verb is not impersonal: eu]do<khsen
means "decreed," "decided," "was well pleased," and implies a
subject. Who or what was well pleased? When the good pleasure
is God's, there are analogies for the omission of His name. For
example, "He was well pleased" could mean "God was well
pleased" (as in the KJV: "It pleased the Father that in Him should
all fullness dwell"). On the other hand, an explicit subject for the
verb is offered in the clause itself; "the fullness was well pleased to
take up residence in Him" (as in the RSV: "in him all the fullness
of God was pleased to dwell"). It cannot be decided with certainty
whether o[ qeo>j (understood) or pa?n to> plh<rwma (expressed) is the
more probable subject. Benoit, for example, prefers o[ qeo>j;18 on
the other hand Kasemann declares this construction to be "not
permissible19 (but on exegetical and theological, not on
Before which of the two constructions can be considered the
more probable, the meaning of plh<rwma in this sentence must be
examined and determined. So far as Paul's intention is con-
cerned, its sense is scarcely in doubt; it is repeated more fully in
Colossians 2:9: "It is in Him [i.e., Christ] that all the fullness of
deity dwells in bodily form." If, then, Colossians 1:19 is con-
strued to mean that "in Him all fullness of deity was well pleased
to take up residence" (the double aorist, eu]do<khsen and
katoikh?sai perhaps pointing to the time of His resurrection or
108 Bibliotheca Sacra -- April-June 1984
exaltation),20 this is tantamount to saying that God Himself, in all
His fullness, was pleased to dwell in Him. No substantial differ-
ence exists, then, in meaning between the two constructions.
This is so, as has been stated earlier, "so far as Paul's inten-
tion is concerned." This leaves open the possibility that in the
original hymn, if it were an independently existing composition,
the sentence had a different meaning from what has been placed
on it by its being incorporated into the argument of this letter.
But one should ask for evidence that the original meaning was
different, before accepting that it was so; and such evidence is
hard to obtain.
No doubt the word plh<rwma had a special sense (or senses) in
Gnostic terminology, but it does not follow that the present
occurrence originally bore that special sense (or senses). The
word is used by Paul and other New Testament writers in a
variety of senses. Conceivably it may have been used in a techni-
cal sense by the false teachers at
allusion to that technical sense here; but nothing can be estab-
lished as a matter of fact on the bare ground of its being conceiv-
able. In the mid-second century the Valentinians used plh<rwma
to denote the totality of aeons (divine entities or emanations),
and the word may have borne some such meaning in incipient
forms of Gnosticism in the mid-first century. But it is necessary
to insist no information on the Colossian heresy is known apart
from inferences drawn as cautiously as possible from the argu-
ment and wording of this letter. It would make sense — one can
say no more than that — if the Colossian heresy thought of a
hierarchy of powers among which the divine fullness was distrib-
uted and which occupied the intermediate realm between the
supreme God and the world of humanity. In that situation, any
communication between God and the world, in either direction,
would have had to pass through the spheres in which those
powers exercised control. Those who thought in this way would
see the point of treating such powers with due respect. The
nature of the Colossian heresy is the subject of the next article in
this series, but if it was anything like this, then it is undermined
in one simple affirmation: the totality of the divine essence and
power is resident in Christ. Christ is the One and all-sufficient
Intermediary between God and the world of humanity, and all the
attributes of God are disclosed in Him. There is no good reason to
suppose that the hymn at any stage bore a different meaning
from what it bears in the context of the Letter to the Colossians.
The "Christ Hymn" of Colossians 1:15-20 109
It was God's good pleasure, moreover, to "reconcile all things
to Himself" through Christ. The fullness of divine energy is man-
ifested in Him in the work of reconciliation as well as in that of
creation. In the words that follow in Colossians 1 this reconciling
activity is applied particularly to redeemed humanity, but first its
universal aspect comes into view. In reconciliation as in creation
the work of Christ has a cosmic significance; it is God's eternal
purpose (as stated in Eph. 1:10) that all things should be sum-
med up in Him.
If "all things" (both in heaven and on earth) were created
through Him, and yet "all things" (whether on earth or in heaven)
are to be reconciled to God through Him, it follows that "all
things" have been estranged from their Creator. Paul had spoken
of the creation as involuntarily "subjected to futility" but also as
destined to "be set free from its bondage to decay and [to) obtain
the glorious liberty of the children of God" (Rom. 8:20-21). Since
the liberty of the children of God is procured by the redemptive
work of Christ, the release of creation from its bondage to decay is
assured by that same redemptive work. That earlier argument of
Paul's is akin to his present one, but here not simply subjection
to futility but positive hostility is implied on the part of the
created universe. The universe has been involved in conflict with
its Creator, and needs to be reconciled to Him; the conflict must
be replaced by peace. This peace has been effected by Christ,
through the shedding of His blood on the cross.
Even if Paul was not the first author of these words about the
reconciliation of all things, his use of them as part of his argu-
ment implies that he understood them in accord with his general
teaching about reconciliation. It is difficult to interpret his
teaching along the lines of anything like universal reconciliation
as that phrase is commonly understood today. He did not antici-
pate Origen in the view that fallen angels benefit by the saving
work of Christ. Instead, Paul thought of the saving work of Christ
as denuding hostile spiritual powers of all vitality and potency.21
The peace effected by the death of Christ may be freely
accepted, or it may be imposed. The reconciliation of the uni-
verse spoken of here includes what would now be distinguished
as pacification. The principalities and powers whose downfall is
described in Colossians 2:15 are certainly not depicted as gladly
surrendering to divine grace but as being compelled to submit to
a power greater than their own. Everything in the universe has
been made subject to Christ even as everything was created for
110 Bibliotheca Sacra — April-June 1984
Him. By His reconciling work "the host of the high ones on high"
and sinful human beings on earth have been decisively subdued
to the will of God and must subserve His purpose. As the parallel
Christ-hymn of Philippians 2:6-11 indicates, the Father's good
pleasure is that all "in heaven and on earth and under the earth"
shall unite to bow the knee at Jesus' name and confess that He is
Lord. As Hengel has pointed out, the hymn to Christ "served as a
living medium for the progressive development of christological
thinking" in the earliest church, and it also "created community
in the union of a]galli<asij in praise and spirit-filled didaskali<a;
indeed, the unity of the earthly and the heavenly communities
became evident in the singing."22 Few exercises can so effectively
promote the spirit of unity as joint celebration of the person and
work of Christ.
This is the second in a series of four articles delivered by the author as the
ber 1-4, 1983.
Martin Hengel, Between
Jesus and Paul, trans. J. Bowden (
Press, 1983), pp. 78-96.
2 The strophic arrangement followed here is that suggested by Pierre Benoit,
"L'hymne christologique de Col 1, 15-20," in Christianity, Judaism and
Other Greco-Roman Cults, ed. Jacob Neusner, 4 vols. (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1975),
See Seyoon Kim,
The Origin of Paul's Gospel (
mans Publishing Co., 1982), pp. 137-62.
4 With the qeio<thj ("divinity") revealed in creation maybe contrasted the ethnic
("deity") embodied in Christ (Col. 2:9).
5 A. W. Argyle compares the construction of the Septuagint in 2 Kingdoms 19:43
(not found in the Hebrew of 2 Sam. 19:43): prwto<tokoj e]gw> h} su>, "I was born
before you" ("prwto<tokoj pa<shj kti<sewj [Colossians 1:151," Expository Times
66 [1954-55], pp. 61-62).
6 An example is the messianic interpretation of Psalm 72:17 as "Before the sun
his name was Yinnon" (Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 98b).
7 See Maurice Casey, The Son of Man (London: S.P.C.K., 1979), pp. 99-112.
8 Archibald M. Hunter, Interpreting Paul's Gospel (London: SCM Press, 1954),
Testament (London: Houlston, 1881), p. 65.
10 See C. F. Burney, "Christ as the APXH of Creation," Journal of Theological
Studies 27 (1925-26):160-77.
11 Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 98b.
12 Philo Who Is Heir of Divine Things? 58.
The "Christ Hymn" of Colossians 111
13 See E. Schweizer, "Die Kirche als Leib Christi in den paulnischen Anti-
legomena," Neotestamentica (Zurich: Zwingli Verlag, 1963), pp. 293-316
14 See Ernst Kasemann, "A Primitive Christian Baptismal Liturgy'' in Essays
on New Testament Themes (London: SCM Press, 1964), pp. 149-58.
15 Benoit, "L'hymne christologique de Col 1, 15-20," pp. 248-50.
16 See Augustine Sermon 279.1.
17 The phrase in Revelation 1:5 is o[ prwto<tokoj tw?n nekrw?n as compared with
prwto<tokoj e]k tw?n nekrw?n here, but the meaning is the same.
18 Benoit, "L'hymne christologique de Col 1, 15-20," p. 256.
19 Kasemann, "A Primitive Christian Baptismal Liturgy," P. 158.
20 Probably katoikh<sai should be construed as an ingressive aorist. It is not
questioned that God was in Christ before His resurrection, but the risen Christ is
the subject of this second strophe.
21 Because of His saving work they have been rendered "weak and beggarly"
22 Hengel, Between Jesus and Paul, pp. 95-96.
This material is cited with gracious permission from:
Please report any errors to Ted