This word "firstborn" (prōtotokos) is used in the Bible in several distinct senses.

1. its OT background refers to

a.  the firstborn belongs to YHWH (cf. Exod. 13:2,12; 22:29; 34:19; Num. 3:13)

b.  the pre-imminence of the firstborn son of the family (cf. Deut. 21:17; Ps. 89:27; Luke 2:7; Rom. 8:29; Heb. 11:28)

2. its use in Col. 1:15 speaks of Jesus as the first of creation which is a possible OT allusion to Pro. 8:22-31, or God's agent of creation (cf. John 1:3; 1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:15-16; Heb. 1:2)

3. its use in Col. 1:15,18; 1 Cor. 15:20,23; Rev. 1:5 refers to Jesus as the firstborn from the dead

4. it is an OT title used of the Messiah (cf. Ps. 89:27; Heb. 1:6; 12:23); it is a title which combines several aspects of the primacy and centrality of Jesus. 


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