Colossians and English Bible Versions

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The portion of Codex Sinaiticus containing Colossians 1:12-20

The Book of Jude is taking far too long, so I took a bit of a break and translated Colossians 1:12-20. This precious passage includes a very early hymn about Jesus Christ (vv.15-20). This doesn’t mean the passage was literally sung aloud in worship services by early Christians; it just means that they put theological truth into lyrical prose as a memory aid.

I’m going to use this passage to demonstrate why Christians should consider switching their devotional translation every once in a while to get a different . . . flavor when they read their Bibles.

I’ll delve into the details next time, but for now, I’ll just give you my own translation. First, a disclaimer – I am not a Greek scholar. My Koine Greek is probably best described as “workman-like,” and representative of a Pastor who has had a few years of Seminary-level Greek training and uses Koine Greek on a regular basis.

Here is my translation:

 12Giving thanks to the Father, who made you acceptable to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light, 13who rescued us from the jurisdiction of the darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14in whom we now have the redemption, that is, the forgiveness of sins.

15He is the exact likeness of the invisible God, the favored heir over all creation, 16because by Him everything was created in the heavens and on the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, dominions, rulers or authorities. Everything has been created by Him and for Him, 17because He Himself is earlier than everything and everything always holds together because of Him.

18Also, He is the head of the body; that is, of the congregation. He is the Ruler, the first-born from the dead so that He alone will always have first place in everything, 19because the Father is always pleased for all the fullness to reside in Christ, 20and through Him to reconcile everything to Himself. Christ made peace by the blood of His cross, through Himself – whether on the earth or in the heavens. 

My detailed translation, complete with information on how and why I classified and translated voice, tense, mood, prepositions, participles, infinitives, etc. the way I did is available here.

We’ll compare English Bible versions and make some observations next time!

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