Skip to content

The three meanings of “Son of God”

December 10, 2012

The Man Christ Jesus

According to Bruce Ware (The Man Christ Jesus), there are at least three distinct but related senses in which the title “Son of God” is used of Christ throughout Scripture. I’ve adapted these and quoted relevant Scriptures below:

1) The Eternal Son. Before His incarnation, the second person of the  Trinity is known as the “Son of God”. (see also, John 3:16-17; Heb 1:1-2; 1 John 4:9-10).

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law.
(Galatians 4:4 ESV)

2) Incarnate and Historic Son. Jesus the Messiah, son of David, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of Mary, is known as the “Son” of God. This is the man Jesus being known as Son of God, the Davidic Messiah. (see also, John 1:33-34, 49; Gal 2:20)

And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
(Luke 1:31-33 ESV)

3) The Risen and Triumphant Son. Jesus, crucified and risen, currently exalted and reigning Messiah is also referred to as Son of God. This appears to be used in a unique way post-resurrection to refer specifically to Jesus’ exaltation (e.g., Psalm 2; Acts 13:32-33; 1 Cor. 15:27-28; Heb 4:14)

concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,
(Romans 1:3-4 ESV)

This insight is particularly illuminating and helps us distinguish between seeing every use of “Son of God” to refer to Christ’s divinity (despite sometimes making no sense in the larger context), and also seeing a merely human meaning behind every use of “Son of God”; both errors to be avoided.

See my interview with Dr. Bruce Ware here. Buy The Man Christ Jesus here.

Any thoughts?

Advertisements
One Comment leave one →
  1. Steve permalink
    December 10, 2012 4:03 pm

    Great stuff!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: