If Jesus was the first created, as some people claim, surely the Greek word ‘protoktistos’ would have been used instead – or is my information incorrect? I do not pretend to understand Greek and so I seek clarity and insight into the meaning and differences of ‘prototokos’ and ‘protoktistos’ and whether the latter Greek word literally means “first created” or not.

I am not asking about the meaning of the phrase ‘prōtotokos pasēs ktiseōs’ because that subject has already been addressed in other questions.

My question is: **does the Greek word ‘protoktistos’ mean “first created”?#

Linked to that, a secondary question is: if it does, is that Greek word ever applied to Christ Jesus?**

Previous questions on the subject of the Greek word translated into English as "firstborn" do not deal with the Greek word ‘protoktistos.’ It's a different Greek word and all I want to know is, can it be translated into English as 'first created'?

Clearly, my question is unclear. I will now go back to the drawing board and rethink the whole topic.

  • 1
    Good question - this is just to point out that the Tag '1-corinthians' ought to be 'colossians'.
    – Anne
    Jun 14, 2018 at 15:40
  • 2
    How is this question different than hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/27865/…
    – Perry Webb
    Jun 14, 2018 at 20:29
  • 2
    'Tokos' is usury (See Strong or Young). So prototokos is the first return on an investment. It may refer to a firstborn child - the first fruit of the marriage union. But the usage in scripture obliges a translator to include the idea of 'usury' within the translation. 'First Token' conveys the concept. Christ's resurrection was the first token that God's investment in a New Creation was a successful enterprise.
    – Nigel J
    Jun 15, 2018 at 3:11
  • 1
    @Nigel J - you've just partially answered my question. Pity the question has to be closed before others can contribute, though. I still want to know what ‘protoktistos’ means.
    – Lesley
    Jun 15, 2018 at 7:28
  • 2
    @Lesley I spent most of my last shift studying around this subject and I think I may understand - now - why you asked the question. Colossians 1:15 πρωτοτοκος πασης κτισεως - 'prototokos of every creature' [KJV]. Had your question been specific to this text I think we might have got somewhere with it, by relating 'creation' to 'prototokos' in this text rather than to a word not in scripture.
    – Nigel J
    Jun 17, 2018 at 7:27

1 Answer 1


Yes, the πρωτόκτιστος would mean the "first-created", and in this context, when the entire creation κτίσις is mentioned, it would mean that Jesus is the first, but nevertheless one among the created things, enlisted in their class as its first member. But it is written πρωτότοκος - "the first-born" - and not πρωτόκτιστος, and since τίκτω ("to give birth", "beget") here is semantically different from κτίζω ("to create"), thus also Christ's status is semantically different from the status of the entire creation. It is the same as if one has found a firsthand ink-written manuscript of Shakespeare's "Hamlet" and wrote: "I have found the ink-written manuscript of "Hamlet", the first-written of all printed "Hamlets". This sentence would clearly put the written "Hamlet" outside the class of the printed "Hamlets", for the verb "to write" is semantically different from the verb "to print". Similarly here, the "first-begotten" stands outside of the class of the "created". The immediate continuation of the sentence also excludes any possibility of putting Jesus in the class of created order, for we read that "everything, the visible and invisible is created in Him" and "through Him" (1:16), now "everything" is everything and it contains the entirety of creation, exempting from this entirety the one in whom and through whom this entirety is created. The same is said in Hebrews 1:1, saying that "through Him (the Son) God made the universe"; now, there is nothing created outside the universe and both the one who creates and the one through whom is created the universe are necessarily not enlisted with the universe, ergo, both are beyond creation/co-uncreated, ergo - co-eternal also, for time is an aspect of creation and beyond creation is only a-temporality/eternity.

πρωτόκτιστος is never applied and cannot be applied to Jesus Christ. Arians and their theological descendants Jehovah-witnesists tried to explain Proverb 8:22's ἔκτισεν with reference to God's Wisdom as God's Wisdom being created, and thus, from this passage transferring the createdness to Jesus. Yet this conjuncture of theirs does not stand criticism, but on this there is so many written. I have also written on this on this site of Biblical Hermeneutics (See question: "Does Proverbs 8:22 say that God's wisdom was the first person/thing that God created" Does Proverbs 8:22 say that God's wisdom was the first person/thing that God created? ).

  • @Lesley Dear Lesley, I understand, for some reason you may not have liked my post, but it would be nicer if you might have substantiated and voiced your dislike or objections. Cheers. Levan Jun 16, 2018 at 22:33
  • It was not I who downvoted your answer. Indeed, I have now upvoted your answer. Thank you for responding to my question.
    – Lesley
    Jun 17, 2018 at 6:08
  • Here is a link to an article I found that relates specifically to the meaning of "firstborn" and why the Greek word for "first created" is never applied to Christ Jesus (section IV): bible-researcher.com/metzger.jw.html
    – Lesley
    Jun 17, 2018 at 6:11
  • @Lesley Thanks dear Lesley, for reading and estimating! I will see the source you provide the link to and give my opinion about it also! Jun 17, 2018 at 12:48

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.