15 He is the exact living image [the essential manifestation] of the unseen God [the visible representation of the invisible], the firstborn [the preeminent one, the sovereign, and the originator] of all creation.16 For [a]by Him all things were created in heaven and on earth, [things] visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities; all things were created and exist through Him [that is, by His activity] and for Him.17 And He Himself existed and is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. [His is the controlling, cohesive force of the universe.]18 He is also the head [the life-source and leader] of the body, the [b]church; and He is the beginning, [c]the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will occupy the first place [He will stand supreme and be preeminent] in everything.19 For it pleased the Father for all the fullness [of deity—the sum total of His essence, all His perfection, powers, and attributes] to dwell [permanently] in Him (the Son),20 and through [the intervention of] the Son to reconcile all things to Himself, making peace [with believers] through the blood of His cross; through Him, [I say,] whether things on earth or things in heaven.
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