« Prev Appendix A Next »


Chapter 1:3 Who being the brightness, etc. The words are rendered by Beza, “the effulgence of his glory, and the impress of his person;” by Doddridge, “the effulgent ray of his glory, and the express delineation of his person;” by Macknight, “an effulgence of his glory, and an exact image of his substance;” and by Stuart, “the radiance of his glory, and the exact image of his substance.” The word “brightness,” does not adequately express the meaning of the first word, ἀπαύγασμα, which signifies an emitted light, a splendor proceeding from an object. The most suitable word would be, outshining, or irradiation, “the outshining of his glory.” The “express image” of our version is the impress, the engraven or impressed form, derived from the archetype. And “impress,” as given by Beza, fully expresses it.

The words are doubtless metaphorical, but the idea is this — that Christ, as a Mediator, as the Son of God in human nature, exactly represents what God is, being the very image of him who is invisible. “Substance,” or essence, is the divine nature in all its glorious and incomprehensible attributes of power, wisdom, holiness, justice, and goodness. These and other perfections are exhibited in Christ perfectly, and in such a way that we can look on them, and in a measure understand them. Hence he said, “He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father,” John 14:9.

The word ὑπόστασις, does not mean a “person,” either in Scripture or in classic writers. It is a meaning invented by the fathers during the Arian controversy. As used in the Sept. and in the New Testament, it means foundation or basis, Ezekiel 43:11, — substance, Psalm 139:15, — expectation, Psalm 38:11, — and confidence, 2 Corinthians 9:4. Its classic meaning, according to Stuart, is foundation, steadfastness, courage, purpose, resolution, determination, substance, essence, being. There is in Colossians 1:15, a phrase of a similar import, with “the impress of his substance,” where Christ is said to be “the image (εἴχων — the likeness) of the invisible God.” The substance or essence is “the invisible God,” and “the impress” is “the image.”

“In the opinion,” says Stuart, “that the verse now under consideration relates to the incarnate Messiah, and not to the Logos in his divine nature simply considered, I find that Scott and Beza concur, not to mention others of the most respectable commentators.”

It was the mistaken view which the fathers took of the passage that led them to invent a new meaning to the word ὑπόστασις; and many have followed them.

« Prev Appendix A Next »
VIEWNAME is workSection