Colossians 1:18 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Colossians 1:18, NIV: And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

Colossians 1:18, ESV: And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.

Colossians 1:18, KJV: And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

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

Colossians 1:18, NLT: Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything.

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

What does Colossians 1:18 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In addition to Jesus being creator and sustainer of all things (Colossians 1:17), all believers are under Christ's authority and leadership (Colossians 1:18). Paul often refers to believers or the church as a body (1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 4:16; 5:23). The term "head" carries both a functional and symbolic meaning. In either case the "head" is the source of decision-making, authority, and control. Christ is meant to be the source of our faith, and our lives should reflect His commands.

Paul adds two additional qualities about Christ in this verse. First, He calls Jesus "the beginning." This is most likely a reference to His role in creation (Genesis 1—2). In fact, in Hebrew, the book of Genesis is called Bereshith, which is the first word of the text, and literally means "The Beginning." Second, Paul refers to Jesus as "the firstborn from the dead," a reference to His resurrection. Because Jesus rose from the dead, He is to be "preeminent." The Greek wording in this last phrase emphasizes Jesus as supreme in all things.