The Berean Expositor
Volume 44 - Page 208 of 247
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The Pleroma
"All the Fullness of the Godhead Bodily-wise."
pp. 10 - 14
Three Greek words are translated "Godhead" in the N.T., namely, To Theion that
which is divine, the thing pertaining to Theos. Theiotes, divinity, the characteristic
property of Theos. That which is discernible from the works of creation, thereby making
idolatry "without excuse" (Rom. 1: 20) and Theotes.
Theotes, Deity, the being in Whom Theiotes of the highest order resides (Col. 2: 9).
The above is partly quoted from Dr. E. W. Bullinger's Lexicon, and it agrees with the
definitions given by Trench, Cremer, Lightfoot and most commentators.
Those of us who believe the doctrine of the Deity of Christ naturally turn to Col. 2: 9
as to a proof text, but this may not be the right attitude of heart and mind when dealing
with the sacred Scriptures. We do no honour to the Lord, if we misuse a portion of
Scripture, even to prove or to enforce the glorious doctrine of His Deity. Truth needs no
bolster. One of the reasons that caused us to hesitate about this use of Col. 2: 9 is that
when we apply the principle given in I Cor. 2: 13 namely, that we speak not in the
words of man's wisdom, "but which the Holy Ghost teacheth", and that we then go on to
compare spiritual things with spiritual, we come up against a doctrinal difficulty. If the
words "all the fullness" of the Godhead, prove the Deity of Christ, what do they prove in
Eph. 3: 19. There, the prayer of the apostle is for the believer, that Christ may dwell,
katoikeo, in their hearts by faith, and as a consequence that they may be "filled with (eis
unto, with a view to) all the fullness of God". If "all the fullness of Theotes" proves the
Deity of Christ, should not "all the fullness of Theos" prove the Deity of the Church? To
express the thought is to refute it. Such cannot be the meaning. In Col. 1: 19 we meet
the expression "all the fullness", but there it is not followed, either by "God" or
"Godhead", yet this first reference must have a definite bearing upon the second
reference found in Col. 2: 9.
"For it pleased the Father that in Him should all the fullness dwell pan to pleroma
katoikedai" (Col. 1: 19).
We cannot expect to understand the reference in Col. 2: 9 if we ignore the earlier
reference in Col. 1: 19.  They go together and constitute a united testimony. The first
passage opens with redemption (Col. 1: 14) and closes with "peace through the blood of
His cross" (Col. 1: 20). He Who created "all things, that are in heaven and that are in
earth" (Col. 1: 16) reconciled "all things, whether they be things in earth, or things in
heaven" (Col. 1: 20). We move from Creation to Reconciliation via the headship of the
church which is His body, and the blessed fact that He Who was in the beginning "the
firstborn of every creature" is revealed as being Himself "the beginning, the firstborn
from the dead". While the triumph of His resurrection is the feature that is stressed here,
we believe we shall never understand the reference to "fullness" in Col. 2: 9 if we do