Re: PRWTOTOKOS--KTISEWS a genitive of subordination

From: Kyle Dillon (
Date: Mon Nov 09 1998 - 02:13:19 EST

I haven't been following this thread much, but maybe I could give some of
the little input I have to offer. Daniel Wallace talks a little bit about
Colossians 1:15 on pages 104 and 128 of his grammar "Greek Grammar Beyond
the Basics." He classifies KTISEWS as a genitive of subortination, not a
partitive genitive, on the basis of the lexical uses of PRWTOTOKOS and the
use of the following causal clause (1:16). He states:

"Though some regard this gen. to be partitive (thus, firstborn who is a part
of creation), both due to the lexical field of "firstborn" including
"preeminent over" (and not just a literal chronological birth order) and the
following causal clause ("for--hOTI--in him all things were created")--which
makes little sense if mere chronological order is in view, it is far more
likely that this expresses subordination. Further, although most examples of
subordination involve a verbal head noun, not all do (notice 2 Cor
well as Acts 13:17). The resultant meaning seems to be an early confession
of Christ's lordship and hence, implicitly, his deity."

Wallace's points seem very sound and convincing. In the footnotes, he lists
some of the Biblical passages where PRWTOTOKOS refers to preeminence--1
Chron 5:1; Ps 89:27; Rom 8:29; Rev 1:5.

And the use of hOTI in the following clause is extremely convincing that
KTISEWS is a genitive of subordination. Christ's lordship, or preeminence
(being PRWTOTOKOS), is on the basis that he took the active part in the
creation of all things.

I hope I'm not repeating things that have already been said. :)

Kyle Dillon

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