The 2001 Translation

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2001 Translation


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    Colossians 2:9-10 – ‘Bodily Divinity’

    It is very difficult to translate Colossians 2:9-10 into English, and many different conclusions have been reached about what Paul was writing here.

    Literally, from the Greek, it says:

    ‘(9) for in him dwells all the fullness/fulfillment of-the diety bodily (10) and you-are in him being-fulfilled who is the origin/head/chief of-all sovereignty and authority.’

    Literally, from the Aramaic, it says:

    ‘(9) in-him he-dwells all fullness/fulfilment of divinity bodily (10) in also you you-fill of-him who-is origin/head/chief of-all-their principalities and-power ’

    Notice that the King James Version translates these verses as:

    For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
    And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.’

    The GOD’S WORD Translation says:

    All of God lives in Christ’s body, and God has made you complete in Christ. Christ is in charge of every ruler and authority.’

    The International Standard Version says:

    ‘Because, all the essence of deity inhabits him in bodily form. And you have been filled by him, who is the head of every ruler and authority.’

    As you can see, the wording of different Bible translations varies quite a lot, and their choice of words depends on whether the translators believe the Trinity doctrine. As a result, the translators have slanted the words to support their own religious beliefs – with the KJV even adding ‘Godhead’ – a word that does not exist in the source texts.

    So, what did Paul actually mean? Well, instead of looking to Church doctrines from centuries after Paul wrote his words, it makes far more sense to look at the context of the verse itself and to other Bible verses that convey a similar idea.

    In the surrounding context, whatever ‘the fulness of the bodily divinity’ may be, verse 10 indicates that it’s something also shared by people in the Christian congregation.

    So the wording of Colossians 2:9-10 doesn’t appear to be talking about a Trinitarian Godhead concept, or the idea that God lives in Jesus’ body, since ordinary Christians share in the ‘fullness’ of that ‘bodily divinity.’ It must be talking about something else.

    We are going by the theory that the wording may reflect what is said in John 14:20, which reads:

    ‘In that the day you will/know that I in (εν) the Father of/me, and you in (εν) me, and I in (εν) you.’

    Here Jesus was also speaking of a special relationship between the Father, himself, and the congregation. So this is the most similar verse in the Bible.

    Notice how it uses the Greek word εν (English: in) to reflect their relationship. From this description (given by Jesus himself), we conclude that this sharing of the divine body refers to that same oneness between Jesus, God, and the congregation.

    Notice how this conclusion is supported by the words of Colossians 3:1-4, which read:

    ‘So if you’ve been raised with the Anointed One, search for the things that are above… at the right hand of God where the Anointed One is sitting. Also, think about the things that are above (not on the earth), because you died and your life has been hidden away in the Anointed One and in God. Then when the Anointed One (who is our life) shows himself, you will also be seen with him in glory.’

    So, if we’re right about all this (and we’re not saying that we are), then we can translate the verses like this:

    (9) Rather, the divinity fully lives within him bodily, (10) and you’re [also] fully within him, [the one] who is the origin of all government and power!