In Colossians 1:15-20 we have what appears to be a poem. In most English translations it is not noted as a poem, so what causes us to say this?
First there is a debate about it because the original Greek manuscripts were written in all capital letters with no spaces or punctuation. SOTHEAVERAGELETTERLOOKEDLIKETHISWHICHMAKESDECIPHERINGPOETRYAPRETTYTRICKYENDEAVOR. But most people agree that because of the parallelism, and the repetition it can be cautiously classified as a poem. One issue is that poems in other languages rarely translate well, so even if we
Here is the cool part. The ESV translates it in such a way that you can actually "see through" the English to the original greek pretty well. Below is my favorite structuring of the poem in English. Notice Sections I and IV correspond, and Sections II and III correspond:
I) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth,
all things were created through him and for him.
II) And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
III) And he is the head of the body, the church.
IV) He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead
that in everything he might be preeminent.
for in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dewll
and through him to reconcile to himself all things
whether on earth
or in heaven
making peace by the blood of his cross.