The Colossian Hymn–Colossians 1.15-20


A Word in Edgewise

Paul aimed to drive home the point of the sufficiency of Christ by quoting what appears to be a preformed tradition—either a hymn or a poem—that commemorates the person and finished work of Christ.  It is likely that either Paul or one of his associates was the author of this piece, although we cannot rule out composition outside the Pauline circle.  The hymn is based broadly on the Jewish wisdom tradition where divine wisdom (a) reflects the divine glory, (b) serves as the agent of creation and (c) the agent of redemption (Wisd 7:22-28; cf. Proverbs 8).   As early theologians like Paul mulled over the significance of Christ, they found wisdom an ever-ready concept through which to filter the activity of Jesus.  Wisdom language and texts provided them a wealth of symbols and images to construe their newly found faith in a variety of ways and contexts.  There is much…

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