The Case for the Deity of Christ

Here is an outline of  Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ by Robert M. Bowman, Jr. and J. Ed Komoszewski. (I do the work so you don’t have to!)

This is an excellent book explaining the Scripture’s teaching about the deity of Christ.

Note: The outline didn’t transfer to WordPress as well as I would have liked. You may download a pdf of this outline here.

We can recognize Jesus as divine for the following reasons:

I.      Jesus is worshipped as God. To worship Jesus as God means:

  1. Honoring and Glorifying the Son as well as the Father.
    1. Introduction: Even many Christians do not realize how long the belief in Jesus; divinity has been a core doctrine of the faith and how rapidly this belief developed in the early church among people who were Jews and who had a Jewish devotion to the one true God of Israel.
    2. The NT teaches us to honor Jesus as we would honor God.
    3. The NT glorifies Jesus Christ along with God.
  2. Worshiping the Son as well as the Father.
    1. The disciples worshipped Jesus.
    2. Angels worship Jesus.
    3. Everyone will worship Jesus (Phil. 2:8-11).
  3. Praying to the Son as well as to the Father.
    1. The disciples prayed to Jesus soon after his Ascension (Acts 1:24-25).
    2. The first martyr prayed to Jesus as he was dying (Acts 7:59-60).
    3. Paul prayed to be released from an infirmity (2 Cor. 12:8-9).
    4. Jesus encouraged his followers to pray to him (John 14:14).
  4. Singing praises to the Son as well as to the Father.
    1. Christians are commanded to sing hymns to Jesus (Eph. 5:18-20; Col. 3:16).
    2. Angels and heavenly beings sing praises to Jesus (Rev. 5:9-10).
    3. The early church sang hymns and songs to Jesus (Phil. 2:6-11).
    4. The early church understood (and therefore would have sung) the Psalms in reference to Jesus.
  5. Honoring the Son in every way we honor the Father. Jesus is the primary object of faith just as God is.
    1. We are to fear the Lord Jesus just as we fear God (2 Cor. 5:10-11; Eph. 5:21; Col. 3:22-25; 1 Pet. 3:14-16a).
    2. We are to serve the Lord Jesus just as we are to serve God.
    3. We are to love and obey the Lord Jesus just as we are to love and obey God.

II.    Jesus shares the attributes of God. To say that Jesus shares God’s attributes means:

  1. Jesus doesn’t just resemble God; he is the Son of God, God in human flesh.
    1. Introduction: No one has ever seen God (John 1:18a) but we do know what he looks like because his Son, Jesus Christ, reveals him (John 1:14, 18b).
    2. God’s attributes are those qualities that are essential to his nature.
      1. The attributes are divided and categorized in different ways; no system of categorization is hard and fast.
      2. Many attributes of God are similar to attributes we possess, e.g., goodness, but we don’t possess them in the same way (we are not good like God is good).
      3. These attributes are not only applied to Jesus, they are applied to him with the same meaning.
      4. This presents a paradox: The OT is clear: no one is exactly like God; the NT is equally clear: Jesus is exactly like God.
      5. Two important clarifications:

i.         Attributes are not properties. Properties belong to each member of the Godhead and express their interior relations.

  • E.g., being the Son of God is a property that belongs only to the Son, not to the Father or the Spirit.

ii.         This claim (that Jesus shares the attributes of God) does not mean that all of Jesus’ attributes are those of God or that Jesus shares all of God’s attributes.

  • Jesus is completely human and so, in his humanity, possesses all the attributes of a human (Heb. 2:17). Jesus possesses two sets of attributes: human and divine.
  1. Jesus Christ is God in a human body.
    1. Colossians 2:9 – “In him resides all the fullness of deity bodily.” The word “deity” means “the nature or state of being God,” in other words, his “Godhood.”
    2. Col. 2:9 argues that the presence and nature of God (“deity”) is totally and completely (“all” or “wholly”) found in Christ personally (“in him”) and is found in him “bodily.” The only reasonable conclusion is that Paul is claiming that Jesus Christ literally embodies God’s very being.
    3. Col. 2:10 does not negate the claim in 2:9 nor does it apply the same claim to Christians, it simply explains the significance of the claim for the church. Namely, believers are in Christ who possesses the fullness of deity and so have the fullness of God’s own love and power.
    4. Col. 1:19 is sometimes misconstrued as claiming that Jesus was not always divine. It is clear from the context, however, that Paul is referring to the Incarnation since in the previous verses (16-17) Paul emphasizes Jesus’ preexistence.
    5. Jesus is the exact representation of the Father (his “spitting image”).
      1. Jesus is the Son of God (the most common designation for him in Scripture.
      2. Jesus is also the exact representation of the Father (John 12:45; 14:7-10; Col. 1:13, 15; 2 Cor. 4:4; Heb. 1:3).
      3. Jesus is the radiance of the Father’s glory (Heb. 1:3 in the context of sonship language).
    6. Jesus not only existed before his birth, he has existed as long as God has existed.
      1. Jesus’ being “the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15; 2 Cor. 4:4) is different than humanity’s bearing the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 11:7).
      2. Christ existed “in the form of God” in heaven before he became man and enjoyed equality with God (Phil. 2:6-11).
      3. The NT refers to Jesus as being “sent” by God and as “coming from” God. This does not refer to his baptism since he was simply acknowledged by the Father at his baptism.
      4. Paul refers to Jesus being sent from God for the purpose of redemption and is sent in the same manner that the Spirit is sent (Gal. 4:4-6; cf. Rom. 8:3). Paul’s statements are meaningless apart from and understanding of Jesus’ preexistence.
      5. John makes clear that the Son came from heaven (John 8:42; 10:36) and returns to heaven (John 13:3; 16:28).
    7. The NT writers credit Jesus with being present at significant moments in Israel’s history before his birth.
      1. Jesus has played a role in the history of Jerusalem (Matt. 23:34 cf. 2 Chron. 36:15-16; Matt. 23:37; Luke 13:34).
      2. Paul indicates that Christ was with the Israelites in the wilderness (1 Cor. 10:1-13).
      3. John records Jesus’ claim to have existed before Abraham was born (8:56-59) and that Isaiah beheld his glory (123:37, 39-41 cf. Isa. 6:1-3, 10).
      4. Jude, referring to Jesus as “the Lord” (v. 4) goes on to say the he saved Israel and destroyed the unbelievers (v. 5).
      5. The NT writers indicate that Jesus was present at creation and participated in creation (John 1:3, 10; 1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 1:2) which means he must have existed before creation.

III.  Jesus bears the names of God.

  1. The Significance of Names
    1. What is a Name?
      1. “Name” can refer to a proper name (“Jesus”) or a title (“Savior”). There are many titles that the Bible calls “names.”
      2. There isn’t always a clear distinction between names and titles (e.g., “God,” “Christ”) in the Bible.
    2. What’s In a Name?
      1. Various names and titles may be used of being other than God (e.g., Heb. And Gr. Words for “god” and “lord”; “shepherd,” “savior,” rock”).
      2. These titles and names, when used of Jesus, prove Jesus’ divinity because of their contexts.
        1. That so many of these names and titles were used of Jesus confirms their significance.
        2. These usages often occur in contexts where the NT writer is quoting or alluding to the OT.
        3. The NT calls Jesus by these names and titles in the context of saying things about Jesus that connote deity (explaining or pointing out his attributes, his deeds, the worship he receives, etc.).
        4. Though English Bibles capitalize titles and names (and some even pronouns) relating to God, this was not the case in the languages that underlie the Bible, the ancient readers had to recognize them as referring to Jesus Christ by context.
    3. The Name of Jesus
      1. The names “Jesus” means “Jehovah saves.” Its use in Matt. 1:21 (cf. Luke 1:31) with its accompanying explanation implies that Jesus is Jehovah.
      2. The OT emphasis on God’s name was “Jehovah” or “Yahweh.” In the NT, the emphasis on God’s name is with regard to the name “Jesus.”
        1. Miraculous works, such as exorcism, were to be performed and prophecies given in the name of Jesus.
        2. Baptism is to be performed “into” Jesus’ name (Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5).
        3. Salvation and blessing come in or through the name of Jesus (Luke 24:47; Acts 2:21, 38; 4:12; 10:43; Rom. 10:13; 1 John 2:12).
        4. Jesus taught that believers will suffer and die for the sake of his name (Matt. 10:22; 24:9; Mark 13:13; Luke 21:12, 17; John 15:21) and be rewarded for what they give up for his name (Matt. 19:29). The disciples suffered for sake of his name (Acts 5:41) after being told not to speak in his name (Acts 4:17-18; 5:28, 40; 15:26; 21:13) and blessing is promised to those who suffer and are persecuted for his name (1 Pet. 4:14). Jesus measures faithfulness by adherence to his name (Rev. 2:3, 13; 3:8). We are to do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus (Col. 3:17).
  2. Jesus is Immanuel: “God With Us”
    1. Isaiah taught that the Messiah would be God (Isa. 7:14; 9:6; 10:21; 40:3, 9-11; 43:10-13; 59:15-20).
    2. The Gospel of John teaches that Jesus is God (John 1:1 cf. 14, 18; 20:28).
    3. The rest of the NT affirms that Jesus is God without confusing his being with the Father’s (Acts 20:28; Rom. 9:5; Heb. 1:8; Titus 2:13; 1 Pet 1:1).
  3. What it Means to Say “Jesus is the Lord”
    1. Jehovah or Yahweh was the personal name of God in the OT, not just the Israelite God, but the one true God the Maker and Creator. The name was translated using the Greek kurios in the LXX and that is the title used to refer to Jesus in the NT.
    2. Jesus is referred to as “Lord” in the Gospels in such a way as to identify him with Yahweh (Matt. 3:3; Mark 1:3; cf. Isa. 40:3; Matt. 8:25).
    3. Jesus is referred to in the book of Acts in the same way (Acts 1:24; 2:21 cf. Joel 2:32; Acts 7:59-60).
    4. Paul often refers to Jesus as “Lord” in this same manner (Rom. 10:9-13; 1 Cor. 1:2, 31; 2:2, 8, 16; 4:4; 5:4; 7:17; 7:32-35; 10:21; 16:22-23; Phil. 2:9-11) and takes the “Shema” (Deut. 6:4) and reframes it in such a way as to include both Father and Son (1 Cor. 8:4).
    5. Peter, in his first epistle, uses the title “Lord” in this way also (1 Pet. 2:3; 3:10-15).
  4. Jesus’ Names from A to Z
    1. Jesus is the Bridegroom of the church in the NT (Matt. 25:5, 10-13; John 3:29; 2 Cor.11:2; Eph. 5:23, 25-27; Rev. 19:7-9; 21:2, 9) just Yahweh is the husband of Israel in the OT (Isa. 54:4; 62:5).
    2. Jesus is “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” in Rev. 17:14 just as Yahweh was “God of gods and Lord of Lords and King of Kings” in Dan. 4:37 LXX).
    3. Jesus is “Savior” in the NT not only in a cosmic sense (Phil. 3:20; Titus 2:13; Acts 5:31; 2 Tim. 1:10; Titus 2:14) but also with the titles “Lord” and “God” (Titus 2:13; 2 Pet. 1:1) and calls him Savior while also calling God Savior (Titus 1:4; 2:13; 3:6).
    4. Jesus takes the title “I AM” (Gen. 17:1; Exod. 3:14; 20:2; Deut. 32:39; Isa. 41:4) in John’s Gospel (4:26; 6:10; 8:24, 28; 13:18-19).
    5. Jesus is the First and the Last in Rev. 1:17-18; 2:8; 22:12-13) just as Yahweh was in the OT (Isa. 41:4; 44:6; 48:12) and he is the Alpha and the Omega in Rev. 1:8; 21:6.

IV.  Jesus does the works of God.

  1. Jesus had a role in creating the universe.
    1. Jehovah is identified as God in the OT because he is the Creator (Gen. 1:1; Ps. 95:5; 100:3; 102:25; Isa. 37:16; 40:12, 25-26; 42:5; 44:24 (notable because it allows for no created being to work alongside God in the act of creation); Jer. 10:16; 51:19) and in the NT (Acts 4:24; 14:15; 17:24; Rev. 4:11).
    2. The NT also teaches that Jesus is the creator (John 1:3, 10; 1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 1:2).
    3. Arguments that imply that Jesus performed an inferior role in creation fail to grasp the full meaning of these passages grammatically and in context.
    4. The writer of Hebrews specifically uses a quote from the OT regarding Yahweh’s creative acts with reference to Jesus Christ to assert that the Son was the Creator (Heb. 1:2, 8, 10).
  2. Jesus has a role in sustaining the universe and interacting with it so that it works to further his plans.
    1. Jesus sustains the universe (John 1:1-4; 5:17; Acts 17:25, 28 cf. Ps. 104; 24-30; 1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:10-12 cf. Ps. 102:25-27).
    2. Jesus demonstrates power over creation through his many miracles which he performs without invoking anyone else’s name, unlike the apostles who invoked Jesus’ name for their miracles.
    3. Jesus also demonstrates power over creation through his miracles by commanding nature authoritatively and its obeying him such as when he fed the multitudes, calmed the sea, and walked on the sea which echo the control over nature attributed to Yahweh in the OT (Ps. 65:7; 77:16-20; 89:9; 107:23-30; Isa. 43:15-16).
  3. Jesus is the sole access to God, the sole revealer of God, and the sole mediator of God’s blessings (John 14:6).
    1. Jesus’ claim to be “the Way” means that he alone opens up access to God through forgiveness, salvation, redemption, and reconciliation.
    2. Jesus’ claim to be “the Truth” means that Jesus speaks with the authority of God and speaks God’s Words so that his speaking is God’s speaking.
    3. Jesus’ claim to be “the Life” means not only that Jesus gives eternal life, but that he also gives meaning to life.
  4. Jesus is the One who carries out God’s plan and brings it to fruition.
    1. Jesus will return and will be revealed in his all his glory as Creator and Redeemer.
    2. Jesus will raise the dead upon his return and this resurrection is the hope of his people who see his own resurrection as the pattern and promise of their own.
    3. Jesus will judge all humanity at his return, separating the wicked from the righteous and punishing the wicked while rewarding the righteous.

V.    Jesus is exalted as God.

  1. Jesus announced that he was to be worshipped an exalted as God during his trial before his Crucifixion (Mark 14:62-64). When he said this before the high priest Caiaphas, Caiaphas tore his clothes and accused Jesus of blasphemy.
  2. Jesus claimed that right to exercise prerogatives belonging only to God such as forgiving sins (Matt. 9:3; Mark 2:7; Luke 5:21), doing the works of God (John 10:25-33), and making himself equal with God (John 8:58-59).
  3. Jesus sits at the place of honor alongside God (Ps. 110:1 cf. Mark 12:35-37; see also Dan. 7:13) where he rules over all creation:
    1. The NT says that Jesus rules over “all things” (Matt. 11:25-27; 28:18; Luke 10:21-22; John 3:35; 13:3; 16:15; Acts 10:36; 1 Cor. 15:27-28; Eph. 1:22; Phil. 2:10; 3:21; Heb. 1:2; 2:8; Rev. 5:13).
    2. The NT describes Jesus’ exaltation the same as God’s exaltation: it is “above all” (Eph. 1:20-21; 4:10; Heb. 7:26 cf. 4:14; Phil. 2:9; Heb. 1:3) and “over all” (Rom. 9:5 cf. Eph. 4:6).
    3. The NT states that Jesus is exalted even above heavenly beings (Eph. 4:21; Phil. 2:10; Heb. 1:3-6, 13; 1 Pet. 3:22; Rev. 5:11-13).
    4. The NT says that Jesus sits on God’s throne Matt. 25:31; Rom. 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10; Heb. 1:3; 8:1; 12:2; Rev. 20:11; 22:1-3).
    5. The NT says that Jesus functions as God in his work from God’s right hand such as giving gifts to his people (Eph. 4:8, 10-11 cf. Ps. 68:18; 1 Cor. 12:5), sending the Holy Spirit (John 16:7), and receiving his own when they die (Acts 7:59-60).
    6. The NT points out that Jesus receives universal worship. The Book of Revelation points out five specific aspects of this:
      1. Jesus is worshipped with the same kind of worship as the Father (Rev. 4-5).
      2. The worship of angels is forbidden (19:10; 22:8-9) but the worship of Christ is encouraged (Rev. 5:11-14).
      3. Christ is worshipped in the throne room of God (Rev. 5).
      4. Jesus is at God’s right hand when he receives worship (Rev. 5:7-14).
      5. All creation worships Jesus (Rev. 5:13; cf. Exod. 20:4; Deut. 5:8-9).

About Michael R. Jones

Pastor and PhD candidate writing on Paul's theology of suffering.
This entry was posted in Apologetics, Christology, History, New Testament Theology, NT, Theology and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Case for the Deity of Christ

  1. Peter Hall says:

    A study like this leaves one amazed that Jesus is one theanthropic person. We must keep in mind also that if we over emphasize His deity, we obscure His perfect humanity. Yet, if we over emphasize His humanity, we obscure His perfect deity. If we deny His deity, there is no bridge between God and man, and the bridge is broken from the Divine side. If we deny His humanity, the bridge is broken on the human side.

    Truly we have a “better mediator” of a “better covenant” !.

    A great study…and thanks for doing the hard work !. After reading this, I feel a sermon comng on !.


  2. Hey, Peter! Someone (I can’t remember who) has said that heresy is when we go too far in one direction or the other. Now I’ll have to put up a post on the humanity of Jesus Christ the balance this one out!

    Blessings on your sermon!

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