What is the Godhead?Question: "What is the Godhead?"
Answer: The term Godhead is found three times in the King James Version: Acts 17:29; Romans 1:20; and Colossians 2:9. In each of the three verses, a slightly different Greek word is used, but the definition of each is the same: “deity” or “divine nature.” The word Godhead is used to refer to God’s essential nature. We’ll take a look at each of these passages and what they mean.
In Acts 17, Paul is speaking on Mars Hill to the philosophers of Athens. As he argues against idolatry, Paul says, “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device” (Acts 17:29, KJV). Here, the word Godhead is the translation of the Greek theion, a word used by the Greeks to denote “God” in general, with no reference to a particular deity. Paul, speaking to Greeks, used the term in reference to the only true God.
In Romans 1, Paul begins to make the case that all humanity stands guilty before God. In verse 20 he says, “The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (KJV). Here, Godhead is theiotés. Paul’s argument is that all of creation virtually shouts the existence of God; we can “clearly” see God’s eternal power, as well as His “Godhead” in what He has made. “The heavens declare the glory of God; / the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1). The natural world makes manifest the divine nature of God.
Colossians 2:9 is one of the clearest statements of the deity of Christ anywhere in the Bible: “In him [Christ] dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” The word for “Godhead” here is theotés. According to this verse, Jesus Christ is God Incarnate. He embodies all (“the fulness”) of God (translated “the Deity” in the NIV). This truth aligns perfectly with Colossians 1:19, “God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him [Christ].”
Because the Godhead dwells bodily in Christ, Jesus could rightly claim that He and the Father are “one” (John 10:30). Because the fullness of God’s divine essence is present in the Son of God, Jesus could say to Philip, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).
In summary, the Godhead is the essence of the Divine Being; the Godhead is the one and only Deity. Jesus, the incarnate Godhead, entered our world and showed us exactly who God is: “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known” (John 1:18; cf. Hebrews 1:3).
Recommended Resource: Making Sense of the Trinity: Three Crucial Questions by Millard Erickson and The Forgotten Trinity by James White
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