Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Divine Lord

One of the most important and controversial doctrines in the history of the Christian church has been the doctrine of the deity of Christ. Is Christ to be seen as merely a man? Or is he more? The orthodox answer (and biblical one I might add) is that he is more. He is very God of very God.

The divinity of Jesus of Nazareth is taught on almost every page of the Bible. One of the most powerful and often over looked evidences of the deity of Christ is the title of ku,rioj (Lord). This simple title that is used in almost every book of the New Testament to refer to Jesus is rarely seen as proof for the deity of Christ, but I will attempt to show, it should be seen as one of the strongest because it is used so frequently. But exactly how does this straightforward title show the divine nature of Jesus?

The key to this is to understand the New Testament in its cultural context. At the time the New Testament was written the ‘Bible’ of the day was the Septuagint (LXX). The LXX is a Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. It is the Bible, most likely, Jesus would have used. and it is the Bible that Paul quotes from often in his writings. The LXX often translated the divine name for God hw"Ühy> (Yahwah) with the Greek word ku,rioj. One clear example of this is in the Shema, Deuteronomy 6:4. The divine name Yahwah is translated by the Greek word for Lord. This is the background for the New Testament usage of the title Lord that is ascribed to Jesus.

When the New Testament writers give Jesus the title Lord they are doing much more that being polite. It is true that the word ku,rioj is used of people other than God as a polite greeting (much like our modern day word 'sir'). But it is more that this with Jesus. That is why the focus here has been on the fact the Jesus is not simply called Lord, but rather, Lord is a title given to Christ. In essence, Jesus is given the divine name, Yahwah by the New Testament. This is strong proof that Jesus is to be seen as divine and not merely a human.

1 comment:

  1. My favorite example of this is Romans 10:13. Paul quotes Joel 2:32, "For whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved." In Joel "Lord" is Yahweh, and in Romans there is no doubt that Paul is speaking of Christ.

    This one is helpful for those people who have no knowledge of the LXX and when explaining it might detract from your conversation. No need to even bring up the Septuagint in this case, although doing so can further cement your argument.


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