To the angel of the church in Laodicea, write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. (NIV)
1. As it is translated above, there is no Trinitarian inference in the verse. It agrees perfectly with what we know from the whole of Scripture: that God has made Jesus both Lord and Christ.
2. In the KJV, the word “ruler” (Greek = arche) is translated “beginning.” The word arche can mean “beginning,” “first” or “ruler.” When most people read the KJV, they say that Jesus Christ is the “beginning” of God’s original creation, and this has caused some people to say that the verse is Trinitarian, because Jesus would thus have been before everything else. If that interpretation is correct, then this verse would be a strong argument against the Trinity because then Christ would be a created being. “Arianism” is the doctrine that Christ was the first of all of God’s created things and that God then created everything else through Christ, and the way the KJV translates the verse can be understood as Arian.
3. It is possible (and some scholars do handle the verse this way) to understand the word “beginning” as applying to the beginning of the new ages that Christ will establish. If that were so, the verse would be similar to Hebrews 1:10. Christ, being the “firstborn from the dead,” would be the beginning of God’s new creation. Although it is certainly possible from a textual standpoint to handle the verse that way, the context of the verse is Christ ruling over his people. He is reproving and disciplining them (v. 19) and granting places beside him with the Father (v. 21). Thus, the translation of arche as “ruler” is a good translation and best fits the context. No one can argue with the fact that Christ is the ruler over all of God’s creation.
Broughton and Southgate, pp. 286-293
Snedeker, p. 470
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