Main point summary
Paul exults in the reality that Christ is the Alpha and Omega of all things, and he is the unity and goal of everything in between. Christ is the Supreme King of Creation, the Coherence and Reconciler of all things, and the Ultimate Culmination towards which all things exist and proceed.
ὅς ἐστιν εἰκὼν τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ἀοράτου,
Christ is the image of the invisible God.
πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως,
[ And ] He is the supreme one of all creation.
ὅτι ἐν αὐτῷ ἐκτίσθη τὰ ⸀ πάντα
[ He is supreme over all creation... ] Because bt him all things were created
ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς ⸀ καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς,
[What is meant by all things?] Namely all things in heaven and on the earth
τὰ ὁρατὰ καὶ τὰ ἀόρατα,
More specifically all things visible and invisible
εἴτε θρόνοι εἴτε κυριότητες εἴτε ἀρχαὶ εἴτε ἐξουσίαι·
[ And even the invisible things that seem to be contrary to him ] even if they are thrones or dominions or rulers or powers
τὰ πάντα δι’ αὐτοῦ
The manner that all things have been created was  through him.
καὶ εἰς αὐτὸν ἔκτισται·
The purpose that all things have been created is  for him.
καὶ αὐτός ἐστιν πρὸ πάντων
And he is before all
καὶ τὰ πάντα ἐν αὐτῷ συνέστηκεν,
And  in him all things hold cohere
καὶ αὐτός ἐστιν ἡ κεφαλὴ τοῦ σώματος τῆς ἐκκλησίας·
And he is the head of the bodily which is the church
ὅς ⸀ ἐστιν ἀρχή,
He is the begining
πρωτότοκος ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν,
Namely the firstborn from the dead
ἵνα γένηται ἐν πᾶσιν αὐτὸς πρωτεύων,
In order that in all things he may be the preeminent one
ὅτι ἐν αὐτῷ εὐδόκησεν πᾶν τὸ πλήρωμα κατοικῆσαι
[ He is the preeminent one... ] Because all the fullness of God (Trinitarian Fullness) delighted to dwell in him
καὶ δι’ αὐτοῦ ἀποκαταλλάξαι τὰ πάντα εἰς αὐτόν,
And through him to reconcile all things unto him
εἰρηνοποιήσας διὰ τοῦ αἵματος τοῦ σταυροῦ αὐτοῦ,
[ How did that reconciliation take place? ] By making peace through the blood of his cross
⸂ [δι’ αὐτοῦ] ⸃ εἴτε τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς εἴτε τὰ ⸀ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς·
[ What things were reconciled? ] Namely things in heaven and things on earth
The antecedent of this relative pronoun is in v13 namely the son of his love ( τοῦ υἱοῦ τῆς ἀγάπης αὐτοῦ)
genitive of subordination (Wallace)
aorist passive indicative 3rd singular - this verb is singular because τα παντα is a neuter collective subject
perfect passive indicative 3rd singular - this verb is singular because τα παντα is a neuter collective subject
perfect active indicative 3rd singular - indicates a completed action with ongoing effects
accusative subject of the infinitive
Although we will go further up and further in to the glories of this passage for eternity, there are three tiny prepositional phrases that deserve our attention now. Let's make three observations based on v16-17. Observation #1: Christ is the Sovereign King of All Things. Notice that prepositional phrase δι' αυτου - through him. Δια in this context indicates agency. Christ is the agent of creation. In other words, Christ is the Alpha; Christ is the source of all things; He is the creator of all things; Christ is the beginning - αρχῃ - the first cause. John exults in this reality in John 1:3, "Εν αρχῃ was the Word (λογος)...All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made." That means that as αρχῃ, source, and first cause of all things, Christ has creator rights over all things. He is the sovereign King! Therefore, there is no area of our lives which is outside of the preview of King Jesus. From quarks to quasars, from Narnia to Middle Earth, hermeneutics to homiletics, Christ is King. As Abraham Kuyper so powerfully stated, "No single piece of our mental world is to be hermetically sealed off from the rest, and there is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’" Or as JRR Tolkien expressed the same truth creatively, "God is the Lord, of angels, and of men—and of elves." Saints, there is no realm of reality over which Christ does not reign and in which he is not radically relevant. That is true because of Observation #2: Christ is the Singular Coherence of All Things. Look at the phrase εν αυτῳ in v17 . In him all things hold together - have their being. What does that mean? It means that if Christ stops speaking, things stop existing. Moment by moment he upholds all things by the word of his power. (Heb 1:3) It also means that all things find their value, truth, and purpose in relation to Jesus . As one pastor expressed it, Christ is the cosmic center of reality. It means that theology is not a branch of knowledge but the supreme harmony of all knowing. Therefore, let us not approach theology as if it were a sub-category education. Theology is the study of God and all things in relation to him. If Christ is the source and coherence of all things, then theology is not some closet hobby for "theologians" and seminary students. It has bearing on absolutely everything! Which leads to Observation #3: Christ is the Satisfying Culmination of All Things. Notice that little phrase in v16 - εις αυτον. "All things were created for him." John Piper has called this little phrase the the entire reason for Christian education. So feel the weight of that! Everything that is exists for Jesus. He is not only the Alpha, he is also the Omega. The A and Z and the goal of everything in between. What does it mean for all things to exists for Christ? V18 gives us a purpose clause that tells us: so that in all things he may be preeminent. In other words, everything is aimed at showing the supremacy, value, and beauty of Christ. As Jonathan Edwards would put it, the glory of God is the chief end of all things. Friends, that is the astonishingly good news for three reasons. First, the greatest display of that glory is the grace of God in reconciling sinners to himself. This passage is sandwiched by the sinners freed to go further up and in to the presence of God. (v13-14 & v21-22) Second, the greatest need of the human soul is to be satisfied in that glory. Third, the most potent demonstration of that glory in us comes when we passionately pursue our pleasure in Christ. CS Lewis celebrated this truth by explaining "fully to enjoy is to glorify." Therefore, we ought to be Trinitarian Hedonists who seek to be satisfied in Christ as the culmination of all things by seeing and savoring him as the King and Coherence of all things! Take a moment this morning just enjoying Jesus. Use your baptized, insatiable, well-ordered imagination to see Christ everywhere - the King, Coherence, and Culmination of absolutely everything. Strive to to see Jesus everywhere he shines; to exult in the reality that Christ is reality of his radical centrality; and to relentlessly seek to enjoy Him in everything and everything in Him.
v15 ὃς - Most scholars now see hymn fragments here and there in the NT, such as Phil 2:6–11; Col 1:15–20; 1 Tim 3:16; Heb 1:3–4; etc. Frequently, such texts begin with a relative clause that has been woven into the syntax of the surrounding prose discourse. Indeed, one of the standard features of Greek poetry is the introductory use of the relative pronoun. Sometimes, however, the RP has no antecedent because the hymnic fragment is introduced without syntactic connection. Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 340–341. πρωτότοκος - The Greek term πρωτότοκος (prōtotokos) could refer either to first in order of time, such as a first born child, or it could refer to one who is preeminent in rank. M. J. Harris, Colossians and Philemon (EGGNT), 43, expresses the meaning of the word well: “The ‘firstborn’ was either the eldest child in a family or a person of preeminent rank. The use of this term to describe the Davidic king in Ps 88:28 LXX (=Ps 89:27 EVV), ‘I will also appoint him my firstborn (πρωτότοκον), the most exalted of the kings of the earth,’ indicates that it can denote supremacy in rank as well as priority in time. But whether the πρωτό- element in the word denotes time, rank, or both, the significance of the -τοκος element as indicating birth or origin (from τίκτω, give birth to) has been virtually lost except in ref. to lit. birth.” In Col 1:15 the emphasis is on the priority of Jesus’ rank as over and above creation (cf. 1:16 and the “for” clause referring to Jesus as Creator). Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Biblical Studies Press, 2005). v16 δια - with focus on agency through (the agency of)...Christ as intermediary in the creation of the world. (BDAG) εις - εἰς w. the same word repeated gives it special emphasis...The result and goal are thus indicated. (BDAG) v17 BDAG 973 s.v. συνίστημι B.3 suggests “continue, endure, exist, hold together” here. Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Biblical Studies Press, 2005). v18 πρωτεύω (cp. πρωτεῖος; Pla., X. et al.; ins, incl. IMagnSip [IK VIII, 32, 3f]; pap, LXX; Ath., R. 24 p. 78, 4) to hold the highest rank in a group, be first, have first place ἵνα γένηται ἐν πᾶσιν αὐτὸς πρωτεύων that he might come to have first place in everything Col 1:18. (BDAG) 68.1 ἄρχομαιa; ἀρχήa, ῆς f: to initiate an action, process, or state of being—‘to begin, to commence, beginning.’ Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 654. v19 The aorist verb κατοικῆσαι (katoikēsai) could be taken as an ingressive, in which case it refers to the incarnation and may be translated as “begin to dwell, to take up residence.” It is perhaps better, though, to take it as a constative aorist and simply a reference to the fact that the fullness of God dwells in Jesus Christ. This is a permanent dwelling, though, not a temporary one, as the present tense in 2:9 makes clear. Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Biblical Studies Press, 2005).