[19] For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,

Colossians 1:19


[9] For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,

Colossians 2:9

Paul tells us that in Christ, “all the fullness” of God was pleased to dwell. Paul is going out of his way to make a point. But what is that point? As I began to set out in my previous blog, this passage is an explicit and unashamed declaration of the deity of Jesus Christ, who is fully God.

Overtime the word “fullness” has provoked a lot of discussion (which I don’t really want to go into). One of the best descriptions I have found is by Peter O’Brien a New Testament scholar, who says, “all the attributes and activities of God – his spirit, word, wisdom and glory – are perfectly displayed in Christ.”

Paul makes it clear in Colossians 2:9: it is all the fullness of “deity” that dwells in Christ, which is to say the divine nature, the essence and attributes and infinite qualities that make God God. Meaning Jesus is not partially God, he is wholly God! Everything you wanted to know about God but were afraid to ask is found and embodied and expressed in Jesus. See Jesus, see God.

Also Jesus alone is God, which means that no one else is. Not any other god that the world tells us is god is God.

James Dunn

“The importance of the language is to indicate that the completeness of God’s self-revelation was focused in Christ, that the wholeness of God’s interaction with the universe is summed up in Christ.”

Intriguing question: “when was God pleased for the divine fullness to dwell in Christ?” The reason this question arises is because there is the idea that the fullness of God took up residence in Christ.

So, did this happen at his baptism in the river Jordan? No, because that can imply Jesus was selected by God to act in the role of Son or to perform the duties of Messiah. Put another way, it would mean that before his baptism Jesus wasn’t God and that after it he was only “God” by virtue of his having been chosen by the Father.

My best shot as to when this “fullness” occurred is to look at what the Angel says to Mary the mother of Jesus.

[30] And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. [31] And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. [32] He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,

Luke 1:30-32

We mustn’t miss the little words in Colossians 1:19 “for” or “because” which connects us to the previous verse, “he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.” If he were not truly and wholly God he would not be either head of the church or firstborn from the dead or preeminent. But because he is truly and wholly God, he is. What a wonderful secure truth that is.

I know this has asked big questions and maybe for you hasn’t answered them fully, one reason for that is that the wonder of Christ being fully man and fully God is a glorious, wonderful, extraordinary mystery. However I would like to take you to one verse from Ephesians 3 to consider.

[19] and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:19

The way the NASB translates this verse is a bit more literal than the ESV which I am using it states, “to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”

The NIV translates this verse, “ that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

In other words, the “fullness of God” is the standard or level to which the church in Ephesus and therefore us are to be filled. Now that is mind blowing.

But what does this mean? Is it the power of God? Is it the Spirit of God? Is it Christ? Does it relate to the connecting verses, so love. Let’s take a simple look just for a moment. We are to be filled by God, with the fullness of God. I’m going with ESV, that it is with God himself that we are to be filled, not in the sense that we become God but that we are energised and empowered and transformed as his presence permeates our being. Changed from one degree of Glory to another.

That is why Paul now prays as he does In Ephesians.

If that doesn’t raise your expectations of what is available and possible for us in this life, nothing will.

More on this to follow.