Jesus Christ: My Lord and My God! – Part 1

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Conclusion.

1. INTRODUCTION

The importance of recognizing that the New Testament identifies Jesus as deity, and yet as completely one with the Father, cannot possibly be over-stated. For the authors of the NT, this Christ himself became not only the interpretive grid, but also the sun at the centre of their scriptural universe, around which everything else has its orbit. Reflecting on the centrality of Christ in the Scriptures as displayed by these NT authors, Trejer states,

It is a Christian truism that Jesus Christ is central when reading the OT and NT as Scripture: he is their basic content, the Word of God; he gives them their form (in a certain sense Old and New Testaments); he himself is the aim toward which their reading should be oriented.[1]

Schlatter, likewise, speaks of the importance of the identity of Christ in the apostles’ teaching, saying that the early Christian message “in all its forms” focused on Jesus’ identity—in particular, his “oneness with God.”[2] This was so because “their success depended completely on their ability to transcend the notion that they worshipped the man Jesus in place of God or beside God. If they could not utterly discredit this charge, their work would disintegrate.”[3]

Given the centrality and importance of the deity of Jesus Christ to the apostles and the early church, it comes as no surprise that throughout the NT Jesus’ divinity is displayed in a diversity of ways. It is the aim of this series of posts to answer the question, “In what ways does the NT portray Jesus as divine?”[4] The goal will be to cover material from the different authors and genres of the NT. We will first examine how Jesus’ divinity is portrayed through the authority of his teaching and actions in the gospels. Second, we will note particular uses of both κύριος and θεὸς in reference to Christ, particularly in the epistles. Finally it will be noted how the ministry carried out and the worship offered to the name of Jesus clearly identify him as none other than true, almighty God.


[1] Daniel J. Trejer, “Jesus Christ, Doctrine of,” in Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible, ed. Kevin J. Vanhoozer (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2005), 363.

[2] Adolf Schlatter, The Theology of the Apostles: The Development of New Testament Theology, trans. Andreas Köstenberger (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1999), 33.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Obviously an exhaustive answer cannot be conducted here given our present constraints. We will rather work within the limits presently laid out.