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Colossians 2:9

King James Version (KJV)
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

For in him dwelleth all the fullness - This is opposed to the vain or empty doctrine of the Gentile and Jewish philosophers: there is a fullness in Christ suited to the empty, destitute state of the human soul, but in the philosophy of the Jews and Gentiles nothing like this was found; nor indeed in the more refined and correct philosophy of the present day. No substitute has ever been found for the grace of the Lord Jesus, and those who have sought for one have disquieted themselves in vain.

By the Godhead or Deity, Θεοτης, we are to understand the state or being of the Divine nature; and by the fullness of that Deity, the infinite attributes essential to such a nature.

Bodily - Συματικως signifies truly, really; in opposition to typically, figuratively. There was a symbol of the Divine presence in the Hebrew tabernacle, and in the Jewish temple; but in the body of Christ the Deity, with all its plenitude of attributes, dwelt really and substantially: for so the word σωματικως means; and so it was understood by the ancient Greek fathers, as is fully shown by Suicer, in his Thesaurus, under the word.

"The fullness of the Godhead dwelt in Christ 'bodily,' as opposed to the Jewish tabernacle, or temple; truly and really, in opposition to types and figures; not only effectively, as God dwells in good men, but substantially or personally, by the strictest union, as the soul dwells in the body; so that God and man are one Christ." See Parkhurst.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

For in him dwelleth - That is, this was the great and central doctrine that was to be maintained about Christ, that all the fulness of the Godhead dwelt in him. Every system which denied this was a denial of the doctrine which they had been taught; and against every thing that would go to undermine this; they were especially to be on their guard. Almost all heresy has been begun by some form of the denial of the great central truth of the incarnation of the Son of God.

All the fulness - Notes, Colossians 1:19.

Of the Godhead - Of the Divinity, the divine nature - θεότης theotēsThe word is one that properly denotes the divine nature and perfections. Robinson, Lexicon. It occurs nowhere else in the New Testament.

Bodily - σωματικῶς sōmatikōsThis word also is found nowhere else in the New Testament, though the adjective bodily - σωματικὸς sōmatikos- occurs twice; Luke 3:22, “in a bodily shape;” and 1 Timothy 4:8, “for bodily exercise profiteth little.” The word means, “having a bodily appearance, instead of existing or appearing in a spiritual form;” and the fair sense of the phrase is, that the fullness of the divine nature became incarnate, and was indwelling in the body of the Redeemer. It does not meet the case to say, as Crellius does, that the “whole divine will was in him,” for the word θεότη theotē- “godhead” - does not mean the will of God; and it is as certainly true that the inspired prophets were under the control of the divine will, as that the Saviour was. Nor can it mean, as Socinus supposes, that the fulness of divine knowledge dwelt in him, for this is not the proper meaning of the word ( θεότης theotēs) “godhead;” nor can it mean, for the same reason, that a fullness of divine gifts was intrusted to him. The language is such as would be obviously employed on the supposition that God became incarnate, and appeared in human form; and there is no other idea which it so naturally expresses, nor is there any other which it can be made to express without a forced construction. The meaning is, that it was not anyone attribute of the Deity that became incarnate in the Saviour; that he was not merely endowed with the knowledge, or the power, or the wisdom of God; but that the whole Deity thus became incarnate, and appeared in human form; compare John 14:9; John 1:18. No language could, therefore, more clearly demonstrate the divinity of Christ. Of what mere man - of what angel, could it be used?

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
There is a philosophy which rightly exercises our reasonable faculties; a study of the works of God, which leads us to the knowledge of God, and confirms our faith in him. But there is a philosophy which is vain and deceitful; and while it pleases men's fancies, hinders their faith: such are curious speculations about things above us, or no concern to us. Those who walk in the way of the world, are turned from following Christ. We have in Him the substance of all the shadows of the ceremonial law. All the defects of it are made up in the gospel of Christ, by his complete sacrifice for sin, and by the revelation of the will of God. To be complete, is to be furnished with all things necessary for salvation. By this one word "complete," is shown that we have in Christ whatever is required. "In him," not when we look to Christ, as though he were distant from us, but we are in him, when, by the power of the Spirit, we have faith wrought in our hearts by the Spirit, and we are united to our Head. The circumcision of the heart, the crucifixion of the flesh, the death and burial to sin and to the world, and the resurrection to newness of life, set forth in baptism, and by faith wrought in our hearts, prove that our sins are forgiven, and that we are fully delivered from the curse of the law. Through Christ, we, who were dead in sins, are quickened. Christ's death was the death of our sins; Christ's resurrection is the quickening of our souls. The law of ordinances, which was a yoke to the Jews, and a partition-wall to the Gentiles, the Lord Jesus took out of the way. When the substance was come, the shadows fled. Since every mortal man is, through the hand-writing of the law, guilty of death, how very dreadful is the condition of the ungodly and unholy, who trample under foot that blood of the Son of God, whereby alone this deadly hand-writing can be blotted out! Let not any be troubled about bigoted judgments which related to meats, or the Jewish solemnities. The setting apart a portion of our time for the worship and service of God, is a moral and unchangeable duty, but had no necessary dependence upon the seventh day of the week, the sabbath of the Jews. The first day of the week, or the Lord's day, is the time kept holy by Christians, in remembrance of Christ's resurrection. All the Jewish rites were shadows of gospel blessings.
Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5 (EGW), 1126-30

Jesus took the nature of humanity, in order to reveal to man a pure, unselfish love, to teach us how to love one another. 5BC 1126.1

As a man Christ ascended to heaven. As a man He is the substitute and surety for humanity. As a man He liveth to make intercession for us. He is preparing a place for all who love Him. As a man He will come again with power and glory, to receive His children. And that which should cause us joy and thanksgiving is, that God “hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained.” Then we may have the assurance forever that the whole unfallen universe is interested in the grand work Jesus came to our world to accomplish, even the salvation of man (Manuscript 16, 1890). 5BC 1126.2

50, 51. See EGW on Acts 1:9-11. 5BC 1126.3

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7 (EGW), 907

Falsehood Mingled With Truth—As we near the end of time, falsehood will be so mingled with truth, that only those who have the guidance of the Holy Spirit will be able to distinguish truth from error. We need to make every effort to keep the way of the Lord. We must in no case turn from His guidance to put our trust in man. The Lord's angels are appointed to keep strict watch over those who put their faith in the Lord, and these angels are to be our special help in every time of need. Every day we are to come to the Lord with full assurance of faith, and to look to Him for wisdom.... Those who are guided by the Word of the Lord will discern with certainty between falsehood and truth, between sin and righteousness (Manuscript 43, 1907). 7BC 907.1

9 (1 Peter 1:18, 19; see EGW on Matthew 27:45, 46; Mark 16:6; John 1:1-3, 14; Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 4:15). Sufferings of Deity—“In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” Men need to understand that Deity suffered and sank under the agonies of Calvary. Yet Jesus Christ whom God gave for the ransom of the world purchased the church with His own blood. The Majesty of heaven was made to suffer at the hands of religious zealots, who claimed to be the most enlightened people upon the face of the earth (Manuscript 153, 1898). 7BC 907.2

(Hebrews 1:3.) A Perfect Specimen of Sinless Humanity—In Christ is gathered all the glory of the Father. In Him is all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. He is the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of His person. The glory of the attributes of God are expressed in His character. The gospel is glorious because it is made up of His righteousness. It is Christ unfolded, and Christ is the gospel embodied. Every page of the New Testament Scriptures shines with His light. Every text is a diamond, touched and irradiated by the divine rays. 7BC 907.3

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 1, 295

The ancient philosophers prided themselves on their superior knowledge. Let us read the inspired apostle's understanding of the matter. “Professing themselves to be wise,” he says, “they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.... Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator” (Romans 1:22-25). In its human wisdom the world cannot know God. Its wise men gather an imperfect knowledge of God from His created works, and then in their foolishness they exalt nature and the laws of nature above nature's God. Those who have not a knowledge of God through an acceptance of the revelation He has made of Himself in Christ, will obtain only an imperfect knowledge of Him in nature; and this knowledge, so far from giving elevated conceptions of God, and bringing the whole being into conformity to His will, will make men idolaters. Professing themselves to be wise, they will become fools. 1SM 295.1

Those who think they can obtain a knowledge of God aside from His Representative, whom the Word declares is “the express image of his person” (Hebrews 1:3), will need to become fools in their own estimation before they can be wise. It is impossible to gain a perfect knowledge of God from nature alone; for nature itself is imperfect. In its imperfection it cannot represent God, it cannot reveal the character of God in its moral perfection. But Christ came as a personal Saviour to the world. He represented a personal God. As a personal Saviour, He ascended on high; and He will come again as He ascended to heaven—a personal Saviour. He is the express image of the Father's person. “In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9). 1SM 295.2

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6 (EGW), 1068

20-25 (Psalm 19:1-3; Acts 17:22-29; 1 Corinthians 1:21; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:3). Nature's Revelation Imperfect—The most difficult and humiliating lesson that man has to learn is his own inefficiency in depending upon human wisdom, and the sure failure of his own efforts to read nature correctly. Sin has obscured his vision, and of himself he cannot interpret nature without placing it above God. He cannot discern in it God, or Jesus Christ, whom He has sent. He is in the same position as were the Athenians, who erected their altars for the worship of nature. Standing in the midst of Mars’ Hill, Paul presented before the people of Athens the majesty of the living God in contrast with their idolatrous worship. [Acts 17:22-29 quoted.] 6BC 1068.1

Those who have a true knowledge of God will not become so infatuated with the laws of matter or the operations of nature as to overlook, or refuse to acknowledge, the continual working of God in nature. Nature is not God, nor was it ever God. The voice of nature testifies of God, but nature is not God. As His created work, it simply bears a testimony to God's power. Deity is the author of nature. The natural world has, in itself, no power but that which God supplies. 6BC 1068.2

There is a personal God, the Father; there is a personal Christ, the Son. [Hebrews 1:1, 2: Psalm 19:1-3 quoted.] ... 6BC 1068.3

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