Colossians 2:9 (DARBY):

For in him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

What is meant here by Godhead?

Does Godhead composed of Father, Son and Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit)?

  • 4
    That is a loose translation of the Greek word for "Divinity". This translation was obviously theologically motivated.
    – Jas 3.1
    Jul 22 '14 at 21:01
  • Godhead = archaic spelling of Godhood. "Godhead is a Middle English variant of the word godhood, and denotes the Divine Nature..." en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godhead_in_Christianity Jul 23 '14 at 1:51
  • 1
    "Godhead" is not an "archaic spelling" of "Godhood". It is, however, true that the two words are synonyms. The relationship between the English suffixes "-head" and "-hood" is complicated and debated. You can read about it here: oed.com/view/Entry/84900#eid1848632
    – fdb
    Jul 23 '14 at 17:04

I suggest you think of the term Godhead as personhood. As commenter davidbrainerd observed, an ME variant is godhood.

We might, for example, say of someone:

"She is secure in her personhood."

In other words, she is confident in who she is as a person--her personality, temperament, strengths, weaknesses, physical and intellectual attributes, and so on.

In the Godhead, according to traditional Christian thought, there are three persons, each of whom share the same personhood. When I think of God, very often I think of God the Father. What Paul is saying by implication in Colossians 2:9 is that Christ shares fully in all of the attributes of the Father.

While the passage in question does not mention the Spirit, from other passages throughout Scripture, the Holy Spirit, too, shares in all the attributes of divine personhood.

According to Christian doctrine, going back to--at least--the Nicene Creed of AD 325, each Person in the Godhead is truly God, since God is of one essence, but each Person has a unique role to play in redemptive history and beyond. When Paul says that in Christ all the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily, he is saying that Christ is of one essence with the Father and the Spirit. Or put differently, each person of the trinity is fully God.

I'm perhaps oversimplifying here, but I proffer the following in conclusion:

The Father delegates authority (1 Corinthians 15:27-28); the Son exercises that authority (ibid.); and the Holy Spirit reinforces that authority with His power. Through that power the Spirit reveals the Son and brings to believers' remembrance all that the Son said (see, for example, John 14:26 and 15:26).

  • 1
    "Except for truly exceptional situations, never allow the garnish to be larger than the meat and potatoes of an answer" (meta). "Opinions and tangents should be garnishes, not the entire meal. If a post is essentially an opinion-based argument or testimony, it doesn't fit and will need to be removed or edited" (meta). I've edited this to remove the tangential content.
    – Dan
    Jul 23 '14 at 17:24
  • @Daи: Point taken. However, what one person calls "garnish," another person might call "main course" (or at least part of the main course). I've revised my answer for a more full-orbed perspective. Don Jul 23 '14 at 18:43
  • 2
    The point is to focus on what Paul would have meant when he originally wrote that, which was several hundred years prior to the council of Nicea. Also, what is ME in your first sentence?
    – Dan
    Jul 23 '14 at 19:29
  • @Daи: ME=Middle English. As far as focus is concerned, the constituents of the Council of Nicea were not crafting the Creed out of whole cloth; rather, they used Bible passages such as Colossians 2:9 to craft it, passages which they interpreted accurately--or at least they believed they did--AND according to Paul's original authorial intention. What's the point of having creeds at all if we cannot trust the crafters of the creeds to have interpreted the Scripture accurately? Now if the Nicene Creed is not authoritative to you, well . . . , that's another kettle of fish! Don Jul 23 '14 at 22:58
  • 2
    A literature review of ancient Greek literature's use of πλήρωμα τῆς Θεότητος would be a good start to understanding what Paul might have meant and what his original hearers would have understood, in addition to a word study on Θεότητος itself.
    – Dan
    Jul 24 '14 at 16:21

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