The Hymn To Christ

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also 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. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.”                   Colossians 1: 15 – 20

This passage has received as much discussion in recent times as any section of the epistle. In this century, scholars have concluded that vv. 15–20 contain a hymn to Christ. As such, it reflects the worship of the early church. The themes are far from abstract, removed, theological affirmations about Jesus. They are living, vibrant, essential elements that found a significant place in regular worship. The criteria for determining the presence of hymns includes lyrical style and linguistic abnormalities. The stylistic factors are mainly reflected in the “certain rhythmical lilt” of the passage. The linguistic features include unusual words, distinctive theological expressions, and any features which cause a break between the passage and its context. By these criteria, this passage must be considered an early hymn.

Melick, R. R. (1991). Philippians, Colossians, Philemon (Vol. 32, pp. 210–211). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.