Greek Word In Focus - Prototokos

Greek Word:- Prototokos  (pro-tot-ok'-os) – This word is translated Firstborn in English and it appeared about two times in the gospels (one time Matthew used it and one time Luke used it). Also it appears about five times in the Epistles and it was mainly used by Apostle Paul and the writer of the book of Hebrews. The word Prototokos is a noun and can be used literally and figuratively. The English word (firstborn) used for it somehow limited the full meaning of the word. The word firstborn literally mean that which opens the womb of a woman especially as it is used in the gospel. That is the first child of a woman, and culturally, it is important to point out that this word cannot be used for a female child. 

However, in the Epistles, the usage indicates something slightly different from the way and manner it was used in the gospels. Here the word Prototokos doesn’t just mean the firstborn that opens the womb; it reveals something greater in meaning than that. At the time of translation, the English language was limited in its vocabulary and as result the closest word to use is firstborn, hence the use of the word firstborn. The Prototokos as used in the Epistles doesn’t just mean firstborn but it means the sample of a kind of a thing. It means the prototype or model of a product.

This word is mainly used to refer to Christ, that is to say that Christ is the prototype of a kind of creation that has come into being. And these created beings are the born-again believers. That is why Apostle Paul used it in this verse in his epistle to the Romans this way – “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:29). Please mark the statement among many brethren, it is very important because it an indication that Prototokos and His brethren came from the same source. Here, David in the spirit spoke of about this class of people that will be created and he prophesied about it.

 “This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the LORD.”(Psalm 102:18). And the believers are the people that have been created and today we have no choice than to praise the Lord!
And no wonder the bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Being in Christ means taking the form of Christ, which is to say that one has been transformed to the image of Christ, therefore, looking at such individual one sees nothing but Christ!
The name Prototokos came because of resurrection, Prototokos is the name of the Christ that resurrected. So, God confirmed Him a son through resurrection (psalm 2:7, Romans 1:4).