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Paul and the Pastoral Letters

What did Paul have to say about God and Jesus in his pastoral letters to Timothy and Titus? Did Paul believe that Jesus was God?

 1.       Paul believed and taught that God was the Father.

 1 Timothy 1:2 To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

2 Timothy 1:2 To Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

2.       Paul believed and taught that there was a distinction between God and Jesus. This clearly implies that God is separate from Jesus. Jesus is not God.

 1 Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope,

1 Timothy 1:2 To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 Timothy 2:3-5 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

2 Timothy 1:1-2 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. Titus 1:4 To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

3.       Paul believed and taught that it was possibly to be in the presence of both God and Christ. Once again, Paul makes a distinction between God and Jesus. If Jesus were God, these statements would not make sense. It would also be redundant.

 1 Timothy 5:21 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality.

2 Timothy 4:1-2 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.

1 Timothy 6:13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate,

4.       Paul believed that Jesus was a man, the human mediator between mankind and God.

1 Timothy 2:3-5 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

 5.       Paul believed that it was God who gave life to all things.

 1 Timothy 6:13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate,

6.       Paul believed that the Only God and Only Sovereign was immortal and invisible. He also makes a distinction between Jesus and the only Sovereign. Furthermore, Jesus was neither immortal nor invisible. He died and many people saw him, during his life and after his resurrection.

 1 Timothy 1:17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

1 Timothy 6:13-16 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will bring about at the proper time—He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.

7.       Paul believed that Jesus was the agent through which God saved mankind.

Here’s where it might be a bit tricky, (if you aren’t familiar with the concept of agency), since Paul referred to both God and Jesus as our Savior so stay with me.

 1 Timothy 4:10 For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.

Titus 1:1-4 Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, but at the proper time manifested, even His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior, To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

Now be careful when you read this next verse. Many Bibles have a comma after “our great God and Savior,” implying that Christ Jesus is our great God and Savior. However, commas aren’t inspired. They were added afterward in translation and copying, because the original manuscripts had no punctuation!

 Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

In this next verse, Paul helps us understand how he can say that God is the Savior of all men, and yet call Christ Jesus our Savior.

 Titus 3:4-6 But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,

Here we see that God is the one orchestrating salvation through Christ. God is the ultimate Savior, acting through Christ Jesus as his agent of salvation. God’s arm, his right hand man, is carrying out his salvation.

 

To summarize and condense:

Paul believed that God and Jesus were not one in the same, since he introduced them as separate persons in his greetings and also said it was possible to be in the presence of God and Christ.
Paul believed that the Father was the only God and Sovereign, the one who alone possesses immortality.
Paul believed that Jesus the Messiah was a man, not God, the mediator between mankind and God.
Paul believed that God carried out his plan of salvation through Christ Jesus, making God our Savior through Christ Jesus.

 

To further support the claim that Jesus is not God and is not the Father, consider the logic of the following:

 Paul taught that the only God was both immortal and invisible (Jesus was neither).

 1 Timothy 1:17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Armed with this information, we can make connection to Paul’s statement further along in his letter to Timothy.

 1 Timothy 6:13-16 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will bring about at the proper time—He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.

What do we see here? Well first, we see a distinction between God and Jesus. We also see that God, who gives life to all things and alone is Sovereign, immortal, and unseen by mankind, is the one who will bring about the return of Jesus!

Wow! Remind you of anything from the gospels?

How about Jesus statement in Mark 13 where he is talking about his return?

Mark 13:31 -32 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.

The Father is the only one who knows the day or the hour of the Son’s return!

Paul says that the only God and Sovereign, who is invisible and immortal, will bring about the return of Christ Jesus! Jesus himself identifies this figure as the Father!

 

Glory to God Almighty, the only true God and Father!

28 Responses to “Paul and the Pastoral Letters – Did Paul think Jesus is God?”

  1. on 29 Jun 2013 at 10:03 amDr. Ali

    Hi , Bethany , what about the scholars that too all to my knowledge say that Paul had a divine Christology ? , though they differ what type of divine .

    How do u respond to them ?

  2. on 29 Jun 2013 at 12:47 pmXavier

    Dr. Ali

    What about the many scholars who CLEARLY understand and define Paul’s Christology?

    It must be admitted by everyone who has the rudiments of an historical sense that the doctrine of the Trinity, as a doctrine, formed no part of the original message. St. Paul knew it not, and would have been unable to understand the meaning of the terms used in the theological formula on which the Church ultimately agreed. Dr. W. R. Matthews, Dean of St. Paul’s, God in Christian Thought and Experience, p. 180

    Apparently Paul did not call Jesus God. (Sydney Cave, D.D., Doctrine of the Person of Christ, p. 48).

    Paul habitually differentiates Christ from God. (C.J. Cadoux, A Pilgrim’s Further Progress, pp. 40, 42).

    Paul never equates Jesus with God. (W.R. Matthews, The Problem of Christ in the 20th Century, Maurice Lectures, 1949, p. 22).

    Paul never gives to Christ the name or description of ‘God’. (Dictionary of the Apostolic Church, Vol. 1, p. 194).

  3. on 29 Jun 2013 at 1:40 pmDr Ali

    Thanks brother Xavier for that quotations .

    I would still like to bring into your attention those scholars who deal with early Christian studies who say Paul hold a divine Christology , take for eg : Larry Hurtado and Richard Baukham , both well known scholars in the same field who hold that view and there are many scholars like them . What about them ?

  4. on 29 Jun 2013 at 2:01 pmXavier

    Dr Ali

    Yes, what about them. I certainly hope you don’t agree on their stance that Paul somehow has “adapted [and thus changed] the Shema” do you?

    In this astonishing bold association of Jesus with God [1Cor 8.5-6], Paul adapts wording from the traditional Jewish confession of God’s uniqueness, known as the Shema, from Deut 6.4… (Kyrios heis estin [LXX], translating Heb. Yahweh ‘echad). The adaptation of the Shema may be Paul’s own creative formulation here… Hurtado, Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity, Eerdmans, p 114, 2003.

    My argument is that the exaltation of Jesus to the heavenly throne of God [in Psa 110.1] could only mean, for the early Christians who were Jewish monotheists, his inclusion in the unique identity of God…The statement [in 1Cor 8.6] has been composed from two sources…one is the Shema…[and] it is now commonly recognized that Paul has here adapted the Shema and produced, as it were, a Christian version of it. God crucified: monotheism and Christology in the New Testament, Richard Bauckham, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, p 31, 37, 1999.

  5. on 30 Jun 2013 at 3:43 amDr Ali

    No , i do not agree with them .Before i read Pauline epistles i was of the view that Paul considered Jesus as God and some how transformed Christianity …..a common view among Muslims . But when i read the epistles of Paul i was surprised to find how clearly he distinguishes Jesus from God .

    Then i started reading what scholars has to say about the same , it is then i found out that a majority of scholars are of the view that Paul preached a devine Christology ! , i was surprised ! .

    So now my contention is .. who is right ?

  6. on 30 Jun 2013 at 6:28 amXavier

    Dr Ali

    Well, you either believe the scholars or what the epistles actually say.

  7. on 30 Jun 2013 at 9:21 amBethany

    Xavier is right, it’s either scripture or scholars. Personally I would choose the scriptures any day!

    They are very clear about who the only true God is.

    There is one God. His name is YHWH.

    Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear O Israel, YHWH is our God, YHWH is one.

    Isaiah 45:21 “Declare and set forth your case;Indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, YHWH? And there is no other God besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me.

    YHWH, the only God, is identified as the Father in the OT.

    Isaiah 63:16 For You are our Father, though Abraham does not know us and Israel does not recognize us.You, O YHWH, are our Father, Our Redeemer from of old is Your name.

    Malachi 2:10 “Do we not all have one father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously each against his brother so as to profane the covenant of our fathers?

    Jesus totally agrees with these statements:

    In prayer to the Father:
    John 17:3 This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

    Jesus has a God, the Father.
    John 20:17 Jesus *said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’”

    Mark 12:28-34 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” The scribe said to Him, “Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that He is One, and there is no one else besides Him; and to love Him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as himself, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that, no one would venture to ask Him any more questions.

    This passage is super important. Jesus is affirming the truthfulness of the creed of Israel, the Shema, which states that YHWH is God and that YHWH is one. This creed was strictly unipersonal and monothesitic. Note that the scribe uses singular personal pronouns to describe YHWH, which implies that it is a single individual. It is illogical to say that “he” can refer to three people. If God were to use correct grammar so as to communicate clearly to us, it should be a “they.” They are one and he is three. It just doesn’t work grammatically or logically.

    So Jesus is not correcting the Jewish understanding of God, he is affirming it. Not only that he tells the scribe they are not far from the kingdom for getting this right!!

    So does Paul:

    1 Corinthians 8:4-6 Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.

    Ephesians 1:1-3, 17 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,

    Ephesians 1:17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.

    1 Timothy 2:3-5 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

    1 Timothy 1:1-2 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope, To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

    1 Timothy 6:13-16 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will bring about at the proper time—He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.

    1 Timothy 5:21 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

    Why are these two significant? Because Jesus said that only the. Father knew not he day or the hour of his return. And here Paul is saying that God ( who he separates from Christ), the only sovereign, will bring about the return of Christ. Clearly Paul taught that the Father was the only true God.

    John’s revelation:

    Revelation 1:4-6 John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood— and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

    This is just a smattering of Scriptures to show that the Father is the only God. If we are just reading the text and not trying to form it into what we’ve been taught, it really doesn’t support what we’ve been taught.

  8. on 30 Jun 2013 at 4:02 pmTim (aka Antioch)

    One of our pastors said that as a professor at a well known Christian university, he has to sign a statement each year affirming his belief in the deity of Jesus and the trinity. Twice, in a joking manner, he has said during a sermon that he believes in Jesus’ deity because if he didn’t, he would lose his job and his pastorship at the church.

    I found that so revealing – and that he said it on two different occasions! So, we have students going through seminary. The ones who disagree, publically, don’t graduate. The ones who graduate who disagree (even if they initially did agree), keep quiet as they will say good bye to any career in acadamia or at any mainstream church. I suspect many require this for their subsistence. If I were a pastor with four small children, I wonder if psychologically I would even entertain any doubts about the deity of Jesus. How much of a factor is this with any of these scholars whose income depends on defending the orthodox?

  9. on 30 Jun 2013 at 9:06 pmSarah

    Wow, Tim. That’s revealing indeed. I think you’ve hit on one of the huge obstacles preventing most clergy from approaching this issue with anything resembling an open mind.

    But I also think that there are times in history when God reveals himself in ways that are too big to miss. Our era has created the perfect storm – we’ve got skilled apologists determined to expose trinitarianism for what it is, and we’ve got mass media to get the word out instantaneously and globally. This issue is inevitably going to find its way onto center stage. When it does, a whole lot of pastors and scholars will be faced with a choice. Some will cling to “orthodoxy,” but others will have the courage to risk their livelihoods for the sake of the truth. I don’t think that day is too far away…

  10. on 01 Jul 2013 at 4:18 pmTim (aka Antioch)

    Sarah,

    I wish for that to happen. I am a bit more skeptical. While I am hearing more and more radio pastors talking about this issue, which indicates to me they are hearing questions from their congregation, I think most people who have long years invested in the orthodox position are not going to change (some exceptions of course). I think it is going to be the next generation and it will thus be a slower process of attrition.

  11. on 01 Jul 2013 at 7:58 pmJas

    Tim
    It seems that even after the 2 witness prophesy and perform many wonders people stll do not turn to God with truth they will hear. I think too many denoms and groups think they have the total truth and will not accept they are being misled by their leaders probably many for social reasons.

  12. on 01 Jul 2013 at 9:25 pmSarah

    Tim,

    I suppose I might be a little optimistic about the rate of change. It certainly will be interesting to see how the next few years play out doctrinally speaking. I do agree with you that it makes things more challenging when one’s income depends on affirming a certain position.

  13. on 03 Sep 2013 at 6:51 pmDale

    Hey folks,

    On Bauckham, I hope that this helps: http://trinities.org/dale/OBB-preprint.pdf

    Honestly, it is all a tangle of confusions – and new ones, not the old ones.

    More needs to be written about their “inserting Jesus into the Shema” schtick.

  14. on 03 Sep 2013 at 10:33 pmJas

    Dale
    Excellent use of reasoning !
    And I am not monotheistic of the word Elohim but I am of the word El Elyon who alone does the source of All Creation exist. The Shema is not Proof of this because it can be rightly translated as a plural unity which can include all the Host of Heaven.
    But Most High God .says it ALL.

  15. on 23 Oct 2013 at 12:45 pmconfused

    hello iam confused about the trinity,i get options and commentarys,please can light be shed biblically

  16. on 23 Oct 2013 at 3:02 pmTim (aka Antioch)

    This talk was recently given at my church – about an hour long. I think Fred made a good presentation. I think it particularly interesting that he says he ‘invented the trinity’ long before he ever was exposed to the doctrine.

    It is not technical but it at least acknowledges the problems of the trinity. I realize that the audience and time constraint did not allow for anything but a casual dismissal of each of the ‘heresies’.

    Curious to hear any thoughts…

    http://www.ocfchurch.com/sermons/media-item/29/understanding-the-trinity

  17. on 23 Oct 2013 at 10:38 pmJas

    Tim
    Fred’s claim of inventing the trinity on the basis that God could not job out salvation is ignoring the fact that God used Aaron to do just that, so by Fred’s own words Aaron is a person of the Quadrinity yet not a different ,yet not a seperate God. More than likely he has justified this Lie as a tool to spread the doctrine of unity that all the groups of his denomination at least teach, so in fact he was taught the concept whether the word trinity was used. All the rest have been thoroughly covered here. Btw every person is a being and viceversa yet many persons can be members of One group yet the group always has a CREATOR who would be the Most High.

  18. on 24 Oct 2013 at 6:11 pmTim (aka Antioch)

    Jas,

    What passage are you referring to with respect to Aaron? I don’t associate Aaron to the same kind of salvation as Jesus would be associated with.

  19. on 24 Oct 2013 at 7:40 pmRay

    Could we as Christians, by looking at Paul’s letters make the case that Jesus is God, if by that we mean “by comparison”?

  20. on 24 Oct 2013 at 9:10 pmJas

    Tim
    Everything within the Aaronic Priesthood Covenant was a shadow and through faith was salvation for those who were righteous to that Covenant . Jesus was the Lamb and HighPriest of the Priesthood Covenant therefore fulfilling All the sacrifices from Adam to those living at his death. Do you really believe that Abraham and those righteous of Israel dont receive the Salvation that God promised on behalf of Aaron. Actually there was many many High Priest who mediated Salvation for 100 of thousands of righteous Israelites. There were 7000 at the time of Elijah which was during a very evil time of Israel and Judah.

    Ray
    No but you could make a case that Paul might have thought Jesus became a lessor god at his resurrection but one would have to ignore the anointer as a person

  21. on 24 Oct 2013 at 11:08 pmTim (aka Antioch)

    Jas,

    I don’t think anyone is ‘saved’ without Jesus’ sacrificial life. Yes, once that occurred, their faith, like ours, is salvation. I don’t see that anything Aaron did was anything but a covering for short term OR pointing to the work of Christ OR teaching us that we are unable to uphold the law.

    I’m not preaching that, that is just my understanding.

  22. on 25 Oct 2013 at 9:30 amJas

    Tim
    So you think that what God promised was somehow discounted because the sacrifice it pointed to had not come plus you think the Aaronic Covenant was just a lie. In Hebrews 4 it says Israel was preached the Gospel just as were those it was addressing yet some did not accept it with Faith and would not enter God’s rest .
    What was the Good news,.was it not Salvation? Does Hebrews identify it as another ? Hebrews was written to explain the change from the Aaronic Priesthood Covenant which had become faulty because of human sin by the Priest to a Priesthood that was tried and tested but was without sin and would stay that way forevermore .
    Could it be God’s rest is when Israel receives Salvation?
    Absolutely no one was able to uphold the Law so the necessity for the atonement was given to Israel on the account of Aaron pleading with God for the sake of the promises God made to the Fathers.

  23. on 25 Oct 2013 at 10:35 pmSarah

    Thanks for the link, Tim. I’m downloading Dr. Sanders’ presentation now. I thought this one was interesting from Chris Date’s Theopologetics podcast. He interviewed Dr. Chris Tilling, who recently wrote the book “Paul’s Divine Christology.” It’s certainly a different angle than I’ve heard before. A creative approach, if not particularly compelling.

    http://www.theopologetics.com/2013/08/05/episode-111-jesus-sweet-saviour-divine/

  24. on 18 Mar 2014 at 8:43 amJonathan

    “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

    “For as the Father has life in Himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in Himself.”

    “For I have come down from heaven…”

    “If you had known me you would know my father also.”

    “You are from beneath, I am from above. You are of this world, I am not of this world.”

    “Most assuredly I say to you before Abraham was I am.”

    “I and my father are one.”

    “The father is in me and I in him.”

    “If you had known me you would know my father also and from now on you know him and have seen him.”

    “I am in the father and the father in me.”

    “All things that the father has are mine.”

  25. on 21 Mar 2014 at 9:32 amXavier

    Here’s a useful list of references to the Father as “the one God” throughout the Pauline corpus. Compiled using BibleWorks 7:

    Romans
    ESV Romans 1:7 To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
    ESV Romans 15:6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    1 Corinthians
    ESV 1 Corinthians 1:3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
    ESV 1 Corinthians 8:6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
    ESV 1 Corinthians 15:24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.

    2 Corinthians
    ESV 2 Corinthians 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
    3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
    ESV 2 Corinthians 11:31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying.

    Galatians
    ESV Galatians 1:1 Paul, an apostle- not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead-
    3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,
    4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,
    ESV Galatians 4:6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

    Ephesians
    ESV Ephesians 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
    3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,
    17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,
    ESV Ephesians 4:6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
    ESV Ephesians 5:20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
    ESV Ephesians 6:23 Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Phillipians
    ESV Philippians 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
    ESV Philippians 2:11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
    ESV Philippians 4:20 To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

    Colossians
    ESV Colossians 1:2 To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
    3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,
    ESV Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

    1 Thessalonians
    ESV 1 Thessalonians 1:1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.
    ESV 1 Thessalonians 3:11 Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you,
    13 so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

    2 Thessalonians
    ESV 2 Thessalonians 1:1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
    2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
    ESV 2 Thessalonians 2:16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace,

    1 Timothy
    ESV 1 Timothy 1:2 To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

    2 Timothy
    ESV 2 Timothy 1:2 To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

    Titus
    ESV Titus 1:4 To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

    Philemon
    ESV Philemon 1:3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Verses commonly used but MOSTLY debunked/disputed:
    Romans 9:5
    1 Timothy 3.16
    Titus 2.13

    The ONLY verse where Paul explicitly calls Jesus “god”:
    Hebrews 1.8 [cited from Ps 45.6 where the Davidic king is called “god” as well.]

    Summary:
    Paul calls the Father “the [one] God” 30+ times.
    Paul calls Jesus “god” only ONCE.

    PS: Of interest is a list showing corruption in some ancient NT manuscripts, compiled from Bart Ehrman’s Orthodox Corruption of Scripture [1993]:

    Gal 2:20: “By faith in the Son of God” was changed in several ways, such as: “in God, Christ,” or “in God, the Son.”

    Titus 3:6: “Jesus Christ our Savior” was changed to “Jesus Christ our God.”

    Heb 13:20: “Our Lord Jesus” was changed to “Our God Jesus.”

  26. on 09 Apr 2015 at 12:29 pmMadalah

    St paul believed Jesus is equal to God
    5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, (philipians 2:5-6)

  27. on 10 Apr 2015 at 7:21 amJaco

    Madalah,

    I can’t see how your text proves this.

  28. on 10 Apr 2015 at 10:11 amBethany

    Here are some helpful notes from Dr. Dustin Smith’s “Helpful Guide to Phil 2” which addresses your question.

    “Philippians 2:6

    -“This Christ Jesus, while existing (present participle) in the morphe of God, did not consider that manner of equality [arpagmos].” Almost every one of these phrases is extremely debated.

    a. Firstly, this is referring to the human historical Jesus, which was specifically designated as ‘Christ Jesus.’ The verb ‘to exist’ is in a present participle, which indicates that the focus was the life of Jesus (nothing to do with preexistence, despite how translations render it).

    -morphe is a technical term which shows up here in 2:6 and also in 2:7 (‘taking the morphe of a servant’). How might this term have been understood when Paul used it?

    a. Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with wrath, and the morphe of his countenance was changed (Dan. 3:19 LXX).

    b. At the same time my reason returned to me, and I came to the honor of my kingdom; and my morphe returned to me (Dan. 4:33 Theod.).

    c. Then the king’s countenance (morphe) changed (Dan. 5:6 Theod.).

    2
    d. And king Belshazzar was troubled, and his countenance (morphe) changed upon him, and his nobles were troubled with him. Then the queen came into the banquet house, and said, O king, live forever: let not thy thoughts trouble thee, and let not thy countenance (morphe) be changed. (Dan. 5:9-10 Theod.)

    e. Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my thoughts greatly troubled me, and my countenance (morphe) was changed: but I kept the matter in my heart. (Dan. 7:28 Theod.)

    -morphe seems best understood as the outward inclination/mood which is expressed through functionality, emotion, and intent.

    -The equality with God within the Greek of 2:6 is linked with the definition of ‘morphe of God.’ Since morphe has to do with an outward functionality, this definition needs to permeate the manner in which the rest of 2:6 is understood. We noticed in Dan. 3:19 LXX, for example, that morphe was the Greek term used to express likeness of the face. The Aramaic word (צְלֵם ) is the equivalent to Gen. 1:26-27, where Adam is to be made in the image (צֶֶ֫לֶם ) of God. Since the position of the image of God was intended to make Adam the ruling steward over the created order, the function of rulership is bound together with the words image and morphe. If we follow this line of thinking, then Phil. 2:6 would refer to Christ Jesus as being in the form of God; i.e. functioning in the capacity of the king (which one would expect from Paul’s close use of ‘Christ Jesus’ in 2:5).”

    The verb used in the phrase “grasped at equality with God” is “arpagmos” in the Greek and it is only used once in the Bible. It has two different meanings, and the correct one is determined based on context.

    1. it can refer to an object which is grasped at, which a person does not currently possess, or

    2. it can refer to an object that one possesses, but does not use or exploit.

    Based on the context of Phil 2, Paul is saying that Jesus had the privileges that come with being God’s anointed ruler (the Messiah, the anointed king of Israel, God’s representative), but he did not exploit them for personal gain.

    Rather, he laid aside his messianic privileges and took on the mental attitude of a servant.

    This theme of people laying aside their privileges to serve others may be seen in the example of Paul, Epaphroditus, and the Philippian church (3:1-7, 2:25-30, 3:15-17)

    This passage is not talking about laying aside a “God-nature” and becoming a man. It is about Christ, laying aside his privileges to serve and it calls us to do the same.

  

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