Given my recent dialogue with Tim (see comments here) I decided to check some apologetics websites and see how they address the issues in Colossians 1:15-18.  I came across Matt Slick of CARM’s study on Colossians 1 and he said something peculiar:

Firstborn, this does not mean that He is the first created thing. There is a Greek work [sic] for “first created” (protoktizo) and it is not used here. Instead, the word for first born is used, prototokos.

Now I also argued that “firstborn” does not mean “first created” which is easily demonstrated, but I was intrigued by this claim that there is a Greek word for “first created” (protoktizo).  I’ve checked all of my lexicons (BDAG; Louw & Nida; Souter; Newman; Vine; Strong; Liddell & Scott; et al.), as well as the Perseus website, and ran searches on BibleWorks in the Greek texts of the NT, LXX, Apostolic Fathers, Josephus, and Pseudepigrapha, and I haven’t been able to find anything.  I’ve tried a variety of spellings (πρωτωκτιζο, προτοκτιζω, προτοκτιζο, προτωκτιζω, πρωτοκτιζω) and they’ve all come up blank.  I googled the term but it only comes back to Slick; so I ask, has anyone come across this word in their Greek reading, and if so, where?  I suspect Mr. Slick made up a word by simply putting two Greek words together, but then again, it might be legitimate. 



8 thoughts on “Protoktizo?

  1. Nick, I’ve never heard that before. It would be very helpful if it were true. I hope Matt isn’t just trying to be slick with the JW’s.

  2. Drew: Yeah, a little too helpful. I think Slick is just being creative with Greek words. I welcome correction though.

    Rich: Your comment pretty much sums up all of his work. When I was a young believer I thought that his site was one of the best resources out there, but the more I learned, the less impressed I was with his apologetic.

  3. Hi Nick.

    The closest I can come are a few co-occurrences of πρωτος and κτιζω in Hermas, Visions III.iv.1 (12.1), “These are the holy angels of God, who were created first of all” (Οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ ἅγιοι ἄγγελοι τοῦ θεοῦ οἱ πρῶτοι κτισθέντες, Holmes) and also Hermas, Similitudes V.v.3 (58.3) “and the friends and advisors are the holy angels who were created first” (οἱ δὲ φίλοι καὶ σύμβουλοι οἱ ἅγιοι ἄγγελοι οἱ πρῶτοι κτισθέντες, Holmes)

    One problem is there are other ways to say “created”; one could use the notion of “formed” using πλασσω instead. As a matter of fact, that’s what 1Ti 2.13 does to convey the same idea “For Adam was created first, then Eve” (Ἀδὰμ γὰρ πρῶτος ἐπλάσθη, εἶτα Εὕα. (NA27)).

    So sure, someone could make the compound πρωτοκτιζω; but they could also make a compound like πρωτοπλασσω to convey something similar. But it’s all supposition (and therefore a horrible argument) until he produces some real, bona-fide parallels or citations using πρωτοκτιζω.

    Hope it helps.

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