Principalities and Powers

Study notes ▪ 1995
Tags: Spiritual realm; Spiritual warfare; Romans 8:38-39; 1 Corinthians 15:21-24; Ephesians 1:19-21; Ephesians 3:8-11; Ephesians 6:11-12; Colossians 1:16; Colossians 2:10; Colossians 2:15


The following is an analysis of the various New Testament passages that contain the words principality and power, or, more precisely, the Greek terms that underlie them (viz., arche, dunamis, exousia). Only the texts that use these terms in reference to realms of spiritual authority have been taken into account in this study.

1.     The principalities and powers were created by God.

“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him” (Col 1.16).

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8.38-39).

2.     Jesus Christ defeated the principalities and powers through his death on the cross.

“[And] having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Col 2.15).

3.     Jesus Christ, following his resurrection, was exalted to a position of authority high above the principalities and powers.

“And what [is] the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set [him] at his own right hand in the heavenly [places], far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come” (Eph 1.19-21).

“And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power” (Col 2.10).

4.     The principalities and powers are the believer’s enemies in spiritual warfare.

“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places]” (Eph 6.11-12).

5.     The principalities and powers are unable to separate us from God’s love.

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8.38-39).

6.     The principalities and powers are spectators of the wisdom of God—as evidenced in his plan for the church.

“Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all [men] see what [is] the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly [places] might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph 3.8-11).

7.     The principalities and powers will be destroyed definitively at the end of time.

“For since by man [came] death, by man [came] also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then [cometh] the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power” (1 Cor 15.21-24).


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Study notes (2 pages)   175k v. 2 Oct 2, 2011, 12:58 PM Greg Smith
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