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Bible Dictionaries

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words

First-Begotten, Firstborn

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1: πρωτότοκος

(Strong's #4416 — Adjective — prototokos — pro-tot-ok'-os )

"firstborn" (from protos, "first," and tikto, "to beget"), is used of Christ as born of the Virgin Mary, Luke 2:7; further, in His relationship to the Father, expressing His priority to, and preeminence over, creation, not in the sense of being the "first" to be born. It is used occasionally of superiority of position in the OT; see Exodus 4:22; Deuteronomy 21:16,17 , the prohibition being against the evil of assigning the privileged position of the "firstborn" to one born subsequently to the "first" child.

The five passages in the NT relating to Christ may be set forth chronologically thus: (a) Colossians 1:15 , where His eternal relationship with the Father is in view, and the clause means both that He was the "Firstborn" before all creation and that He Himself produced creation (the genitive case being objective, as ver. 16 makes clear); (b) Colossians 1:18; Revelation 1:5 , in reference to His resurrection; (c) Romans 8:29 , His position in relationship to the church; (d) Hebrews 1:6 , RV, His Second Advent (the RV "when He again bringeth in," puts "again" in the right place, the contrast to His First Advent, at His birth, being implied); cp. Psalm 89:27 : The word is used in the plural, in Hebrews 11:28 , of the firstborn sons in the families of the Egyptians, and in Psalm 12:23 , of the members of the Church.

Note: With (a) cp. John 1:30 , "He was before me," lit., "He was first (protos) of me," i.e., "in regard to me," expressing all that is involved in His preexistence and priority.

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Bibliography Information
Vines, W. E., M. A. Entry for 'First-Begotten, Firstborn'. Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/ved/f/first-begotten-firstborn.html. 1940.

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