That which belongs to God or pertains to him, that which is godlike or heavenly.
In some places in the Hebrew Scriptures, the words ʼEl (the singular form of the word “God”) and ʼElo·himʹ (the plural form of excellence of the word “God”) are used one after the other. Thus at Joshua 22:22 and Psalm 50:1 the Hebrew text reads ʼEl ʼElo·himʹ Yehwahʹ. While some translations (Ro; Ps 49:1, BC [Spanish]) simply transliterate the first two words of this phrase, others render them as “the God of gods” (AT, JB, La, VM [Spanish]) or, somewhat more accurately, “The Mighty One, God” (AS, Mo, RS), and “Divine One, God” (NW).—See GOD.
In the Christian Greek Scriptures, certain words derived from the·osʹ (god) appear and relate to that which is divine. The related words theiʹos, thei·oʹtes, and the·oʹtes occur at Acts 17:29, Romans 1:20, Colossians 2:9, and 2 Peter 1:3, 4.
At Acts 17:29, Paul, when in Athens, showed that it is illogical for humans to imagine that “the Divine Being [to theiʹon, form of theiʹos] is like gold or silver or stone.” Many translators here use terms such as “the Godhead,” “the Deity,” or “the divinity” (KJ, AS, Dy, ED, JB, RS), while E. J. Goodspeed’s translation says “the divine nature.” According to The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, the expression to theiʹon “is derived from the adjective theíos, meaning ‘pertaining to God,’ ‘divine.’” (Edited by G. Bromiley, 1979, Vol. 1, p. 913) Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon gives as the meaning “the Divinity.” (Revised by H. Jones, Oxford, 1968, pp. 787, 788) So the phrase to theiʹon can be understood to refer to a person or to a quality. Obviously, then, the context must guide the translator in his choice of words. Here at Acts 17:29, the context clearly shows that the person of God is being described, and so the expression is appropriately rendered “Divine Being” in the New World Translation.—Compare NIV.
At Romans 1:20 the apostle refers to the undeniable visible evidence of God’s “invisible qualities,” particularly his “eternal power and Godship [Thei·oʹtes].” Other translations read “Godhead” or “deity” (KJ, NE, RS, JB), conveying to many the idea of personality, the state of being a person. However, according to Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon, the Greek word thei·oʹtes means “divine nature, divinity.” (P. 788) So there is a basis for rendering thei·oʹtes as referring to the quality of being a god, not the person of God, and this is supported by the context. The apostle is discussing things that are discernible in the physical creation. For example, while the creation does not reveal the name of God, it does give evidence of his “eternal power”—needed to create and sustain the universe. The physical creation also displays his “Godship,” the fact that the Creator truly is God and is worthy of our worship.
Then, at Colossians 2:9 the apostle Paul says that in Christ “all the fullness of the divine quality [form of the·oʹtes] dwells bodily.” Here, again, some translations read “Godhead” or “deity,” which Trinitarians interpret to mean that God personally dwells in Christ. (KJ, NE, RS, NAB) However, Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon defines the·oʹtes in basically the same way it does thei·oʹtes, as meaning “divinity, divine nature.” (P. 792) The Syriac Peshitta and the Latin Vulgate render this word as “divinity.” Thus, here too, there is a solid basis for rendering the·oʹtes as referring to quality, not personality.
A consideration of the context of Colossians 2:9 clearly shows that having “divinity,” or “divine nature,” does not make Christ the same as God the Almighty. In the preceding chapter, Paul says: “God saw good for all fullness to dwell in him.” (Col 1:19) Thus, all fullness dwells in Christ because it “pleased the Father” (KJ, Dy), because it was “by God’s own choice.” (NE) So the fullness of “divinity” that dwells in Christ is his as a result of a decision made by the Father. Further showing that having such “fullness” does not make Christ the same person as Almighty God is the fact that Paul later speaks of Christ as being “seated at the right hand of God.”—Col 3:1.
Considering the immediate context of Colossians 2:9, it is noted that in verse 8, Christians are warned against being misled by those who advocate philosophy and human tradition. They are also told that “carefully concealed in [Christ] are all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge,” and they are urged to “go on walking in union with him, rooted and being built up in him and being stabilized in the faith.” (Col 2:3, 6, 7) In addition, verses 13 to 15 explain that they are made alive through faith, being released from the Law covenant. Paul’s argument, therefore, is that Christians do not need the Law (which was removed by means of Christ) or human philosophy and tradition. They have all they need, a precious “fullness,” in Christ.—Col 2:10-12.
Finally, at 2 Peter 1:3, 4 the apostle shows that by virtue of “the precious and very grand promises” extended to faithful anointed Christians, they “may become sharers in divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world through lust.” Elsewhere in the Scriptures, Christians are referred to as ‘sharing’ with Christ in his sufferings, in a death like his, and in a resurrection like his to immortality as spirit creatures, becoming joint heirs with him in the heavenly Kingdom. (1Co 15:50-54; Php 3:10, 11; 1Pe 5:1; 2Pe 1:2-4; Re 20:6) Thus it is evident that the sharing of Christians in “divine nature” is a sharing with Christ in his glory.