This article is a fresh study of atonement language in the Letter to the Colossians. Long-held assumptions regarding theology, semantics, and trajectories of Christian thought often force parts of the Colossians text into preconceived atonement schemata, whether it be of the substitutionary/satisfaction atonement variety, the Christus Victor family, or some form of moral-influence atonement. This paper takes this dilemma seriously, positing that a close examination of the atonement language in Colossians will yield a distinct perspective that stresses the continuity of God’s action, roots the atonement in Israel’s exodus narrative, and portrays the cross of Christ as the battle where God quells rebellion and reconciles all things. Monosemic bias, a linguistic concept that suggests individual lexemes are always semantically underdetermined until utilized in a text, will be one of the primary tools in this study to avoid importing centuries-worth of tradition onto key terms. Intertextuality will root the understanding of this letter’s atonement language firmly in the exodus traditions of the Jewish Scriptures. With these tools at hand, Colossians’s atonement language shows itself to not fit neatly in the major families of atonement theology, and points of contention with traditional atonement theories are mentioned throughout the article. The findings of this study are collected as a unique model of Christ’s atoning work that the author of this letter presents to the fledgling church at Colossae.

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