Summary: Christ embodies “all the fullness” that constitutes divinity and sovereign God―all the attributes of the Godhead.


Tom Lowe


• “Special Notes” and “Scripture” follow associated verses.

• NIV Bible is used throughout unless noted otherwise.

Colossians 2:9-10 (NIV)

(9) For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, (10) and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;


(2:9) For in Him all the fullness{2.9.a] of Deity{2.9.c] dwells in bodily{2.9.b] form,

Christ embodies “all the fullness{2.9.a]” that constitutes divinity and sovereign God?all the attributes of the Godhead. John’s words?that “the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14) ?personifies the incarnation, for then, the Godhead assumed a bodily{2.9.b] form in Jesus; He was the visible shape in which the fullness of the Godhead dwelt, and men beheld His glory?the glory of the only begotten of the Father. The Godhead in its fullness took up its abode in Christ as a man . . . took up residence in humanity?the humanity of Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary. Divinity was incarnate in Christ. This, then, becomes an apt answer to the heretic’s question, “What precisely does “bodily” signify?” Deity{2.9.c] is not distributed up and down a whole series of angelic beings; it is organized in one personality, Christ’s. And as the “totality” of Godhead dwells in Christ, so He enables men to reach a full religious experience.

Just as the Shekinah glory filled the tabernacle and temple, the perfections of God the Father fill the Son, Jesus the Messiah. He lacks no part of God. Remember, Christ is God’s very image. What’s even more remarkable, He who embodies the fullness of God fills us (Colossians 2:10). The only way for sinners to be filled by the fullness of God is to be joined to Christ through faith?to be incorporated into the body of which He is the head. Christ is sufficient, perfect, and complete in His revelation of divine knowledge and in His embodiment of divine presence. We can have confidence Christ is more than enough.

The wonder of the Incarnation is that the Godhead fully knew the ramifications; and yet Christ came to earth anyway to live with those He created. God was well-pleased that the Son would dwell among men in the “fullness” of God (1:19).

There is no “fullness” (pleroma) in philosophy based on vain human reasoning. “For in Him (Christ) all the fullness{2.9.a] of Deity{2.9.c] dwells in bodily{2.9.b] form.” Hence, only in Christ can one have fullness. Apart from Him is only “emptiness.” The Gnostics of Paul’s day challenged both Christ’s deity and humanity. Those heretics diminished Christ to an angel whose body was only apparent, not real. Paul affirmed here that Christ is both fully God and truly man (see 1 John 4:1-6).

The coming Savior was described with the prophetic title, “Emmanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23). John gives us the same truth in John 1:1 and 14: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” I would paraphrase these verses thus: ‘The Word was in the beginning with Jehovah, sovereign God; the Word was unfleshed (without a body); the Word was God.’ According to the Holy Spirit’s revelation to John, the Word was with God, the Word was divine?yet definitely distinct from the Father.

Back in Paul’s day, in the church at Colossae, there were those who refused to accept the truth that Jesus was God-and-man in one body . . . a body of flesh just as surely as you and I are flesh. Jesus Christ ministered to all who came to Him. He did not possess the nature of angels. He was not a spirit-being like the cherubim. He, like “the children of men,” took part of man?the flesh part?a body. God sent His own son “in the likeness of sinful flesh” (Romans 8:1-3). He was born of a virgin; He was born exactly as the children of men are born, with the exception of the fact that the Virgin Mary was His mother and God Almighty was his Father. The Holy Ghost overshadowed Mary (Luke 1); she conceived and brought forth a Son. He was born as we were born; He was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger; the manger was not pleasant, but Christ came to die. He grew as any normal child would grow . . . in wisdom and in stature . . . and in that human body the fullness of the Godhead dwelt.

Scripture and Special Notes

[2.9.a} “Fullness” is used here for richness or completeness.

[2.9.b} “Bodily” signifies, according to the older commentators, incarnality; but the Incarnation is hardly on Paul’s mind here. Others think it means “actually” or “genuinely,” that is, in full reality. But the best explanation is “corporately,” that is, in one organism or body, Christ’s.

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