in bodily form. σωματικῶς (sōmatikōs) Adverb Strong's 4985: Bodily, corporeally, belonging to the body. Adverb from somatikos; corporeally or physically.

The actual verse:

NASB 1995 “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form

Q: Does this pertain to Jesus deity within His glorified human body? Or does it mean within His divine form? Because the human nature isn’t deified.

Similar questions:

What does the Greek word θεότητος in Colossians 2:9 mean?

What does the Greek word θεότητος in Colossians 2:9 mean?

Is the fullness in Colossians 1:19 necessarily the same as the fullness in Colossians 2:9?

Is the fullness in Colossians 1:19 necessarily the same as the fullness in Colossians 2:9?

In Colossians 2:9 - Are Fully Deified souls in Christ ( πλήρωμα τῆς Θεότητος) : Sinless or Omnipotent?



3 Answers 3


The one of the key words here is the “fullness” or “entirety” (πλήρωμα) for if the Lord Jesus Christ is not God per se, but participates in divine features and has, thus, a participatory deity as a creature, such an expression would not be applicable to Him, for it is impossible for a creature - angel or man - to have the entirety of Godhead in himself, that is to say, to possess the actualized infinity of perfection in himself (to use Descartian terminology). If both Father and the Lord Jesus Christ have actualized infinity of perfection in Themselves, then both are God. That’s why also John says that the Jesus Christ is not given Spirit in an apportioned way, as to a creature, but immeasurably (John 3:34), and only God can contain actual immeasurability of God.

Had the Lord not had the actualized infinity of perfection, that is to say, had He not had the fullness of Godhead in Himself, but only in a developing/processual way, then it would have been a sacrilege to worship Him, the thing He allows, as we see in many instances of the Gospels.

As to the issue that in Christ the Godhead is present σωματικώς: simply, it means that in human nature/form of Jesus, that entails the human flesh/body, there dwells the entirety of divine perfection.

  • I am more curious about the specificity of “in bodily form” as opposed the the Greek word Sarx for flesh. What is it saying in that sense? Deity dwells in “what fashion” or “way”?
    – Cork88
    Dec 17, 2022 at 17:02
  • 1
    @Cork88 Christ has human flesh/body, here a terminological difference is irrelevant, for Paul sometimes uses σαρξ with a meaning of sinfulness, and σαρκικός means “given to worldliness and sinfulness”, which cannot be the case here. Simply, it means that in human nature/form of Jesus, that entails the human flesh/body, there dwells the entirety of divine perfection. Dec 17, 2022 at 17:37
  • Okay, fair enough, but could you incorporate that meaning into your answer, I find your current answer to be sound but lacking with the specificity behind σωματικῶς (sōmatikōs)?
    – Cork88
    Dec 17, 2022 at 17:57
  • I think this is also a very useful answer. +1.
    – Dottard
    Dec 22, 2022 at 21:05
  • @Dottard Thanks! Dec 23, 2022 at 4:57

The pertinent word in Col 2:9 is σωματικῶς, an adverb which means (BDAG) "bodily, corporately of Christ".

Its cognate adjective is σωματικός which means (BDAG)

  1. pertaining to being corporeal as opposed to uncorporeal, eg, Luke 3:22
  2. pertaining to the physical body, body-related, bodily, eg, 1 Tim 4:8

These are all derived from the cognate noun, σῶμα which means the human body.

Thus, Col 2:9 simply teaches what is taught in many other places:

  • John 1:14 - The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
  • Heb 2:14 - Now since the children have flesh and blood, He [Jesus] too shared in their humanity, so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death, that is, the devil,
  • 1 John 4:2 - ... Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God

Jesus existed in human form complete with a human body - He was human. However, Messiah, according to Col 2:9 was also God in human form exactly as Phil 2:5-7 -

... Christ Jesus: Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in human likeness.

Lastly, note that Paul in Col 2:9 uses a single verb (the verb that "bodily" modifies), namely "dwells" which is present indicative active. This is a post resurrection statement that this all the fullness of Deity dwells in Jesus' human body. As if to confirm this we have two other statements in the NT about Christ's resurrected form:

  • Luke 24:39 - look at My hands and My feet. It is I Myself. Touch Me and see—for a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
  • John 20:28 - Thomas replied, “My Lord and my God!”

A human body whether glorified or not is still not deity, if by deity the OP means God/the Father, the only true God. It was Jesus' God, the Father, who caused Christ to have this fullness. For those whose idea of God is a composite being, then Jesus, could not be thought of as God, being summed up in Jesus because Jesus is only a part of the composite whole.

The fullness of deity in Colossians 2:9 does not mean Jesus is God. Ephesians 1:22-23 show us the church having the fulness of Christ does not make the body (church) the Christ for the same reason a person being filled with holy spirit (Ephesians 5;18) does not make that person the holy spirit. Colossians 2:9 makes it clear that Jesus cannot be the person with whom he is filled.

Despite his elevation above all others, Jesus, is still subordinate to 'the one who subjected all things to him', his Father/God (1 Cor. 15:26, 27).

  • @Cork88 - please don't generate theological arguments in the comments.
    – Steve can help
    Dec 22, 2022 at 23:00

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