15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.
17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
Paul, in these verses, is countering the Gnostics’ denial of the deity of Christ.
firstborn (v.15) — priority in time and supremacy in rank — not that He was the first created being but that He is before and above all creation.
for (v.16 – first use) = because
by Him (v.16) — within the sphere of His personality — His creative will and energy
all things (v.16) = “the all things” — the entire universe of things
were created (v.16) — tense indicates a definite act at a particular time
in the heavens and on earth (v.16) — everywhere
visible and invisible (v.16) — everything material and immaterial — everything, as seen from the human point of view
The words “thrones, dominions, principalities and powers” refer to both holy and fallen angels, to demons and man. The passage is aimed at the angel-worship of the Colossians; showing that while they have been discussing the various grades of angels which fill the space between God and men, and depending on them as media of communion with God, they have degraded Christ who is above them all , and is the sole mediator. — Ephesians and Colossians in the Greek New Testament, by Kenneth S. Wuest, page 184.
have been created (v.16) — tense indicates a result — “stand created” as an abiding state
through Him (v.16) = by means of Him, by His agency
for Him (v.16) = unto Him — all things depend on Him and serve Him
He (v.17) — emphatic
He is (v.17) — timeless present, apart from time
consist (v.17) = hold together (Hebrews 1:3)