All In All

Hello everyone. Welcome back to Deeper Waters as we continue our Trinitarian Bible Commentary. We’ve been going through the book of Colossians looking at one chapter a night and tonight, we’re going to be in the third chapter. Our focus verse tonight will be verse 11. However, I am going to start my quote at verse 5 so all can see the context of the passage:

5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

Paul is talking about righteous living and as usual, this is going to be connected to Christ. This should remind us that for the early church, holiness mattered a great deal. The basis for all righteous living in each case was the new revelation of Christ. Because of him, all were called to live holy lives and all were capable through him of living holy lives.

Christ is also the one that shatters apart the boundaries. Consider the types of people Paul lists. We might look at that list and not see the big deal. Let us consider some modern ties that might help make it clear.

What if we were talking about someone of Jewish descent and someone converted from Islam who had both become Christians in the Middle East?

What if we were talking about a black man and a white man in South Africa who were both Christians?

What if we were talking about a Protestant and a Catholic in Northern Ireland who were both Christians?

That’s getting the idea. The ethnic identity of someone made a big deal back then and Paul is taking that which most people took pride in and saying  “As far as it pertains to being in Christ, that counts for absolutely nothing.” Because you are in Christ, you are no longer to use race as an excuse to not acknowledge your fellow human being who is in Christ.

Christ is said to be all and in all. In other words, everything depends on Christ, which is a carry-over from Colossians 1 as this whole letter is about the supremacy of Christ, hardly a fitting letter to talk about Christ being a lesser god. This is also not pantheism. Christ is all in that he is supreme and Christ is in all in that by his very existence, he holds all other existence together. Nothing could exist if it were not for the existence of Christ.

Because of that, all life you see is that which is somehow touched by Christ, even if it refuses to acknowledge him. Christ overshadows all of life and this is his world. This is a lesson we as Christians should take to heart and reminds us of the importance Trinitarianism has on practical living. Because of who Christ is, we are to live differently

Are we living as Trinitarians today?

Fullness Of Deity

Welcome everyone to the Deeper Waters blog. For the past few months, we’ve been going through a Trinitarian Bible Study. That is, we’ve been going through the Bible and trying to understand the wonderful doctrine of the Trinity. We are in the Pauline epistles now and in the book of Colossians. Tonight, we’re going to be studying verse 9 of chapter 2, but to get the surrounding context we’ll be looking at 8-10. Let’s go to the text:

8See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

9For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.

To begin with, we are told to stay away from deceptive philosophy. Paul is not speaking about philosophy in general. I would even argue Paul was quite the philosopher himself and had read many of the philosophers, as is shown in his ability to debate and speak on Mars Hill in Acts 17.

In fact, all Christians should have some understanding of philosophy. I would that every Christian knew the basic thought at least of many of the great philosophers, particularly Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Augustine, and Aquinas.

The vain philosophies I believe are the false teachings that were going around, some of which we discussed yesterday in our look at the firstborn passage. These involved a sort of pantheon of lesser gods and the attempt to gain secret knowledge, which would blossom into full Gnosticism.

All of these are inadequate because of who Jesus is. Paul isn’t writing a letter and then suddenly deciding “You know, I think I should just drop in here something about the deity of Christ.” The deity of Christ is central to his argument. It is also important that it is a monotheistic system.

There is no pantheon of gods for Paul. You do not get just part of the deity in Jesus, as if such a thing were possible. Jesus is not just one of many. Jesus is not just one who represents one side of a supreme being. The fullness of deity dwells in the person of Jesus Christ.

In saying this, Paul is indeed giving an argument for the full deity of Jesus Christ in connection with the one God who exists. He is stating that this one God who exists has revealed himself in Christ and Christ is not lacking in being fully deity, that is, in having the nature of the one God. To make this anything less is to actually make the case for the opponents that Paul is arguing against.

What’s the end result? We aren’t captive by vain philosophies because all knowledge lies in Christ and we are in him. We are in the one who claimed to be the truth and there can be no knowledge of reality that contradicts the revelation that has been given in Christ.

For Paul, the deity of Jesus is not peripheral. It is essential.

The Firstborn

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters. It seems hard to believe that we’re in another book of the Bible. When I began this Trinitarian commentary, I had no idea it would last this long but lo and behold, it has. We are continuing our walk through the Pauline epistles and tonight, we start the book of Colossians. Right off the top, we’re going to deal with one of the Jehovah’s Witnesses favorite prooftexts against the Trinity, Colossians 1:15-20.

15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Firstborn! See?! Jesus is firstborn! That means that he’s created!

Not quite. First off, note that Jesus is the image of the invisible God. We as humans are made in the image, but Jesus is the image. As long as God has been, his image has been as well. An image is not a copy after all.

The firstborn passage does not refer to a chronological firstborn. One indication of this is in the Watchtower’s own New World Translation. In this passage, they add the word “other” four times. There is no basis for doing such except to support their dogma. One would think that if the New Testament clearly did not teach the deity of Christ, it would not need to be changed so much.

Firstborn instead refers to a place of pre-eminence. We can see this also because of Jesus being the firstborn from among the dead. He was certainly not the first one to come back from the dead, but he is the most eminent one as his resurrection is the basis for the resurrection of the rest of us.

This whole passage places Jesus in a supreme position above all things. This is the point of verses 16-17. James White gives an interesting look at this in his book “The Forgotten Trinity” stating that a proto-Gnostic heresy was going around that was believing in multiple lesser gods called aeons. Now the Gnostics were happy to accept Jesus as a being worthy of worship. He’s just an aeon however, a lesser god.

Paul will have none of that. Jesus is supreme. He is the one to whom honor and worship are owed, which is fitting since this passage could very well be yet another Christian hymn.

Note also that verse 17 says that in him all things hold together. What I like to ask JWs is that if this is true, and if Jesus ceased to exist on the cross when he died, how did all things hold together? Jesus is seen as the basis for all reality. How can he be anything less than God if all things are held together in him?

For further on this, many books can give you insights into the Greek of the text. As one who does not know Greek, I make it a point not to speak on that level, but I encourage it for all who are interested.

My conclusion is that the Witnesses have no basis in using this verse. The context as a whole speaks of the full deity of Jesus and to misunderstand one word and base the whole argument on that is entirely fallacious.

We shall continue this study of Colossians tomorrow.

Peace of God

Welcome back everyone to Deeper Waters. Another comment was posted in reply to my review of Loftus’s argument on Natural Evil and I wanted to say I really appreciated that one. I’m not sure of the identity of the one who made the comment, but I do appreciate it. However, we are going to continue our study now on the Trinity in the book of Philippians. The passage I am going to use tonight is the one I wrote a paper for on my Hermeneutics class. Now while I read the commentaries on this passage, I didn’t see anyone making the reference I was. Thus, I again present this as speculation, but I think there could be something to it of course or else I wouldn’t be saying it. The passage will be Philippians 4:4-9:

4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

I wrote on this passage due to the way it deals with the problem of anxiety we so often have. I am one who would be far better off in this world if I could follow my own advice. Tonight will not be about dealing with anxiety per se, but I hope the idea I have on this passage will help with that.

When we look at the start of the fourth chapter, we find that there are a couple of members having an argument in the church. This is something to keep in mind. Be careful of how you’re behaving. After all, imagine that what we know first about these people for all history is that they just couldn’t get along in church.

However, the goal of this is to get the peace of God from the God of peace. Have we considered what it means for him to be the God of peace however? What peace is lacking in this area in the church is the peace of good fellowship between the persons.

What if we put a Trinitarian idea in there? The God of peace is the one who has perfect fellowship in himself which is possible with a God who is triune. The peace that we as Christians are supposed to have is the peace that exists amongst the persons of the Trinity. Many of our problems come from not understanding how our fellow man sees something and maybe we should just stop and look and say “Maybe I should see where he is coming from.” Of course, I also believe that this peace is to be between believers. I don’t think there can be peace between light and darkness, good and evil, God and satan, etc.

My contention is that this peace makes the most sense with the doctrine of the Trinity. The peace that is to exist between the members of the body is to be that peace which is found in the very nature of the Trinity.

Tomorrow, we shall begin looking at Colossians.


Welcome back to Deeper Waters for our continuing Trinitarian commentary. It’s been our goal here to go through the Bible and see what we could find on the doctrine of the Trinity, and we are finding a lot of it! Right now, we’re in the book of Philippians and tonight, we’re going to look at the third chapter with verses 7-11:

7But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Paul has just got done listing his credentials in Judaism and showing that he disregards all of them. Everything is nothing compared to Christ. It is amazing how much he speaks of Christ in these verses. There is not mention of God in here except once. The center of Paul’s devotion has been Christ through whom he worships God. God is not removed entirely of course, but Christ is seen as the revelation of God through whom God is known.

He even considers everything else rubbish, which is where we get the title for tonight’s blog. The Greek word is skubalon. This is the only place in the NT that this word shows up and it is an extremely strong word. I have spoken to some people that even think you could insert an expletive for the word. Paul is wanting to use the strongest language he can to illustrate how worthless everything else is before Christ. (Add in the fun that when something goes wrong you can shout “Skubalon!” and hardly anyone has a clue what you’re saying.

Christ is also seen as the one through whom righteousness comes for Paul. In the Old Testament, righteousness came from YHWH and he was the righteous one. In the New Testament, we see this in Christ. Christ is so united with the Father that one cannot get righteousness apart from him. There is no righteousness of God that ultimately does not come through Christ.

What does Paul want to know? Paul wants to know Christ. He wants to know the power of the resurrection. He also wants to know the fellowship of his sufferings. These are strong words for an age where Word of Faith teachers emphasize physical healing as a sign of the favor of God. We don’t like to hear the message of suffering in America, but it is a reality. Paul knows that apart from this, he has no hope of resurrection to the new life.

Why does Paul think like this? Because he sees Christ as he is, fully God and fully man. Do we?

Every Tongue Confess

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we constantly seek to dive into the ocean of truth. We have for some time now been going through a sort of Trinitarian Commentary on the Scriptures. As I’ve said before, we are diving, but do not think we have fully explored the depths of the passages we are studying. I hope this is a call to get others to explore on their own the wonder of the ocean of truth. Tonight, we shall be finishing up the Philippians 2 hymn by looking at verse 11. Let’s go to the text:

11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
      to the glory of God the Father.

Again, this passage started out with a focus on Jesus and the shame that he endured in that he was to be our example. Paul is not wanting to leave us at just suffering and humbling ourselves. He wants us to see what the results are when we esteem others as better than ourselves. For that purpose, he tells us about what God does for Jesus in response.

We saw that every knee would bow at the name of Jesus yesterday. Today, we see that every tongue will confess. Again, we go back to the Scripture in Isaiah 45 and we’ll read verses 22-24.


 22 “Turn to me and be saved,
       all you ends of the earth;
       for I am God, and there is no other.

 23 By myself I have sworn,
       my mouth has uttered in all integrity
       a word that will not be revoked:
       Before me every knee will bow;
       by me every tongue will swear.

 24 They will say of me, ‘In the LORD alone
       are righteousness and strength.’ ”
       All who have raged against him
       will come to him and be put to shame.

 This is the full passage and it is a passage that is devoted in the book of Isaiah to God alone as Isaiah 40-48 is all about the monotheistic faith of Israel and how YHWH is the only true God as he challenges all the other gods to prove themselves before him.

His challenge goes so far however as to say that not only are there no other gods, but anyone who makes that claim will come and bow down before him and confess to him who he really is. What’s amazing for our purposes is that this is exactly what is to be said of Christ in the end. Everyone will come before him and acknowledge him for who he is. They will say that he is Lord, which is a term loaded with deity.

Why? For the glory of God the Father. Notice again that this juxtaposition is taking place. The title God is further explained by “the Father” so as to not confuse him with the Son, who has been proclaimed to be Lord. When we acknowledge that Jesus is Lord, then we honor the Father for the Son is the one through whom the Father’s reign exists.

Thus, throughout this hymn, we have the supreme example in Christ in that he had the highest position of all and lowered himself to the lowest position of all. In response to this, God the Father honored him again with the highest position of all. It is a wonder that someone could read this chapter and not see the deity of the Son.

May you not be one of them and may you follow the example he gave.

Every Knee Will Bow

Hello readers to Deeper Waters, hopefully a blog you frequent in your quest for Christian truth. Tonight, we’re going to be continuing our Trinitarian commentary in the book of Philippians. Right now, we’re in the masterful hymn in the second chapter of that book and we’re going to be looking at verse 10. Let’s go to the text.

10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

Again, the first part of this passage spoke of what the Son did in obedience to the Father. The second part now takes the shame that the Son went through as he took on the lowliest position of all and how the Father honored that by giving him the highest position of all. It was the position he could rightly claim by nature, but that he did not grasp onto as an excuse to avoid going to the cross. God gave him what was rightfully his as a result of the obedience he fulfilled.

Does the language bear any resemblance to an Old Testament passage? Definitely. Consider this from Isaiah 45:22-23.

22 “Turn to me and be saved,
all you ends of the earth;
for I am God, and there is no other.

23 By myself I have sworn,
my mouth has uttered in all integrity
a word that will not be revoked:
Before me every knee will bow;
by me every tongue will swear.

The language is identical and the speaker is no doubt God. Yet in this case, we are told that every knee will bow at the name of Jesus, which would refer to his person. This is the same God who said he would not share his glory with another yet in Philippians 2, we find that Jesus is receiving the worship that was to be given God alone.

The bending of the knee was a position of subservience. Those who came were those who would finally kneel before Jesus as inferiors recognizing that their superiors were before them. This would be the ultimate juxtaposition in that the one who came as a servant ended up being the Lord of all the universe. There could hardly be any greater contrast.

The recognition of who Jesus is goes to all places and all peoples as well. Everyone in Heaven will bow down before Jesus. All of the angels will acknowledge him and kneel (hypothetically seeing as they’re non-physical of course) before him as their master. Jesus is the Lord of the angels.

Everyone on Earth will bow before him. Whenever Jesus returns, anyone who is on the Earth, which would mean those who have not yet tasted death, will kneel before him as well and acknowledge him rightly as their king.

Finally, this even extends to the realm of the dead. The Bible does speak of the conscious existence of those who are dead and all of them will come out and kneel before the throne of Jesus. The conclusion that comes from all of this? Jesus is Lord of all.

I don’t know about you, but it sounds like deity to me.

Name Above All Names

Welcome back everyone to the Deeper Waters blog where we are continuing our look at the doctrine of the Trinity. Tonight, we are still continuing our walk through Philippians 2 and right now, we are in the great hymn in chapter 2. Tonight, we’re going to be looking at verse 9 of this chapter.

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,

This passage all throughout has been talking about Jesus. Now we have heard about the obedience of Jesus to God. From this point on in the second half of the hymn, we are going to see how God responded to the obedience of the Son.

We are told that God exalted the Son to the highest place. At this, we are caught in a paradox. Did not the Son have the highest place to begin with? However, we must quickly remind ourselves that that which was his by right he did not cling to and use as an excuse to not go forth with his mission.

This again doesn’t mean that the Son forsook his deity. He was always deity. He never used his deity however as an excuse to not come and save the world. I would say that he forsook the divine prerogative use of his deity. He performed supernatural acts as we would call them only when it was necessary for the fulfillment of his mission.

As he submitted, so he remained in submission not receiving that highest place again until the Father bequeathed it upon him. The Father was pleased to do so due to the obedience of the Son. God honored him for completing the task that needed to be done.

He was also given the name that is above every name. Now we can have a hard time understanding that in our 21st century American worldview. We live in a world where names are chosen out of baby books quickly and just with whatever sounds good usually or maybe a family name. In the ancient world, names were taken far more seriously.

Your name was wrapped up in your identity. It told the story of who you were. This is also why only God, or one who saw himself as deity, could change names in the Bible. Let us not forget that this is what Jesus did with Peter which means Jesus was making a claim even in changing Peter’s name.

What is the name that is above all names? It is the name of YHWH. No one could truly be given that name if they did not have it beforehand as no one else could be said to be eternally existing or to begin to eternally exist. The Son is given that name however in light of what he has done on the cross. Instead of a curse, God reveals his identity by the name that he is given. If Jesus truly does have the name that is above all names, as the text clearly says, then he cannot be anything less than God.

Tomorrow, we shall go to the next verse.

Obedient To Death

Welcome back everyone to the Deeper Waters blog. Tonight, we are continuing what has been titled a Trinitarian commentary on the New Testament. We are in the epistle to the Philippians at the moment and in the beautiful hymn in Chapter 2. Tonight, we are going to examine verse 8 of that passage:

8And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

Being found in appearance of a man points us back to the verse from yesterday. We said this is not denying that Jesus was fully human but rather indicated that to the people in the time period he lived, he seemed like an ordinary human. My Smallville obsession at this point is thinking that Clark Kent would be a good example of this as to the average onlooker, he would be just a man. To anyone else however who knows him, he is not just a man but is rather a superhero with the appearance of a man. (I will admit I do have a concern with the analogy as I sometimes debate back and forth if Clark Kent is truly human or not.)

There are different views on what this means. Some people think it refers to the Son of Man passage in Daniel 7. That just doesn’t strike me as plausible since Jesus certainly didn’t have the appearance of the Son of Man when he walked this Earth. Others however believe that it could refer to being like Adam, which to me makes much more sense as Jesus is the second Adam.

An interesting idea has been put forward that the idea of being obedient to death admits of the deity of this being. For other creatures that have a material component, death is not a choice. It is a necessity eventually. However, Jesus is described as one who was obedient to death.

Jesus could have avoided death at any time, but instead, he willingly underwent it. That was how far he was able to go in his obedience to the Father. His obedience was such a level where he did whatever the Father desired of him. Keep in mind that Jesus did ask if the cup could pass through him in the garden. If there was any other way, Jesus would have desired it, but he took the way that the Father had made.

It wasn’t just any death either. It was death on a cross. If you were a good Jew, death on a cross meant that you were being cut off from the covenant of God, which is what every Jew would have realized when Jesus was crucified. Since he died that kind of death, then there was no way that he could be the Messiah.

Yet Jesus was the Messiah and he went all the way to show it. As we will continue this passage, we will see how the Father responds, but the point is still relevant to Paul’s main reason for bringing this up. This is the kind of love Christians are to have for one another. Are we that obedient to God to love in such a way?

The Form of a Servant

Hello everyone. Welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are continuing our Trinitarian Bible Study. Right now, we’re in the book of Philippians and in the second chapter looking at the great hymn. I think JB for his comment based on last night’s post. I hadn’t heard that and I find it extremely interesting. Keep in mind based on that that this blog is not to be an end-all to study. I encourage anyone to look further and see what more can be said.

Having said that, we’re going to be looking at verse 7 tonight:

but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.

This in fact fits in with the comment that our good friend JB made. Jesus definitely had the position of a great emperor and still does. However, he was willing to come and lower himself. We see this all throughout the epistles. We heard it in 2 Cor. 8-9 when Christ was presented as our example of one who was rich but for our sakes became poor.

The passage tells us that Christ made himself nothing which is the highest example of self-sacrifice. Christ took upon himself that which he did not have to have to save those who he did not need and undergo a pain that he need not have to have undergone as the most innocent one of all. However, he saw fit to come and give himself for his people. Rather than the people dying for the cause of the emperor, Christ was the first to die for his people. Many have died for him since, but only by following his example.

We also find that he took the very nature of a servant. The word is the same word that’s used in verse 6. In other words, if Jesus really wasn’t God in nature, then he really wasn’t a servant in nature either. We see at the start however that he is fully God and now we see that he is fully a servant. He is the God-man. He is 100% God and 100% man.

We cannot lose sight of this great contrast in the passage. Paul is talking about Jesus dwelling in Heaven as God and then saying that he came to Earth and lived as a servant. He didn’t come down as an emperor or ruler or some glorified figure. Instead, he came down as a servant. He came from the highest of all to dwell in the lowest of all.

Human likeness. Does that mean that he was not a human? No. He was fully human. It means that by his appearance, everyone would have assumed that he was just a man. The truth is however that he was more than a man. He was the God-man again.

What do we learn from this? We ought to learn humility as well. We should be willing to give up what we have to bring about the good of others. If we are not, then we are not living as Christ did. The great emphasis to do so is that we are merely walking in the footsteps of Christ.

We shall continue tomorrow.