5. Jesus our Lord, the Divine Son of God

Audio (34:59)

Christ Pantocrator (1148 AD), mosaic, dome of Cathedral of Cefalu, Palermo, Italy
Christ Pantocrator (1148 AD), mosaic, dome of Cathedral of Cefalu, Palermo, Italy

Perhaps the central understanding of Jesus in the New Testament is as "Son of God." For Christians this title has always been a mark of Jesus' divine nature.

While Messiah and Son of David were not considered titles of divinity, Son of God is often an overtly divine title. So is Lord. In this lesson we'll explore some of Jesus' clearly divine titles.

Uses of Son of God

When we survey the Old and New Testaments, we find at least four different ways in which "Son of God" is used.

1. Creation Usage. One of God's creatures can be termed a "son of God" because he owes his existence to God's creative activity. Malachi observes: "Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us?" (Malachi 2:10a). Paul says to the Athenians, "As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring'" (Acts 17:28). The idea of "the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man" is built on this concept, but as Ladd observes, "This is a theology of creation, not of redemption."[61]

2. Family Usage. "Son of God" can describe the relationship of men to God as the objects of his loving care, spiritual sonship. Israel as God's elect people is sometimes referred to in this way. For example, God declares, "Israel is my firstborn son" (Exodus 4:22). Or, "You are the sons of the LORD your God. You shall not cut yourselves..." (Deuteronomy 14:1). In the New Testament, we Christians are described in terms of sonship to God, by both spiritual birth (John 3:3; 1:12) and by adoption (Romans 8:14, 19; Galatians 3:26; 4:5).

3. Messianic Usage. "Son of God" is used in a messianic way, where the king whom God has set in place is referred to as the "son of God," especially in the promise made to David. In the Old Testament, Son of God is used three times in clear messianic passages:

"I will be his father, and he will be my son." (2 Samuel 7:14a)

"He will call out to me, 'You are my Father,
my God, the Rock my Savior.'
I will also appoint him my firstborn,
the most exalted of the kings of the earth.
I will maintain my love to him forever,
and my covenant with him will never fail.
I will establish his line forever,
his throne as long as the heavens endure." (Psalms 89:26-29)

"As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.
I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me,
'You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.'" (Psalm 2:6-7, ESV)

Note especially the final phrase of Psalm 2:7, translated in the NRSV, ESV, and KJV with the verb "begotten," which we'll explore later in this chapter.[62] It seems that the Judaism of Jesus' time recognized the term Son of God as a messianic title.[63] We see a hint of this in the high priest's question at Jesus' trial: "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?" (Mark 14:61b = Matthew 26:63b = Luke 22:67, 70).

4. Divine Son Usage. Finally, and most important, Son of God is used in a theological way. Both in the New Testament and later in Christian theology, Jesus is said to be the Son of God because he is God and shares the divine nature.

As we study the names and titles of Jesus Christ, we recognize that Jesus is both Messiah and Son of God. My question, as I explore Son of God, is: What did Son of God mean when applied to Jesus during his lifetime? And in what sense did he begin to think of himself as Son of God?

The Son in the Synoptic Gospels

In the Synoptic Gospels, Son of God is a title that others sometimes use to refer to Jesus; it is not a title by which Jesus designated himself. Nevertheless, to portray Jesus as the Son of God was the purpose of Mark's Gospel:[64]

"The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God." (Mark 1:1)

Let's examine the various incidents in the first three (or Synoptic) Gospels where this title is used to see the development and meaning of this title.

When Jesus was twelve at the Temple: "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" (Luke 2:50).

As we'll see later in this lesson, at Jesus' baptism and transfiguration, the Father calls him "my Beloved Son."

At Jesus' temptation: "If you are the Son of God..." (Matthew 4:3, 6). Satan takes the Father's words and twists them. His temptation to Jesus is two-pronged. First, Satan seeks to cast doubt on Jesus' title of Son of God. Second, he tempts Jesus to prove his title by performing miracles. Satan tempts Jesus to act like the Hellenistic miracle worker "son of God." Jesus steadfastly refuses, citing the Scriptures: "It is written...."[65]

When Jesus' encounters demons in people, they cry out: "I know who you are -- the Holy One of God!" (Luke 4:34). Again: "You are the Son of God!" (Luke 4:41). Jesus didn't allow the demons to speak, not because what they said wasn't true, but precisely because it was true. Jesus did not want to be publically characterized as Son of God, especially out of the mouths of evil spirits.[66] In one of the great confessions of the Bible, Peter declares:

"You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." (Matthew 16:16)

In one of Jesus' prayers found in the Synoptic Gospels, we see Jesus' understanding of his Sonship:

"All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." (Matthew 11:27 = Luke 10:22)

This prayer sounds a good deal like the Father-Son vocabulary that we see in John.

Son of God in John's Gospel

Though Son of God is often used as a term of divinity in the Synoptic Gospels, in John's Gospel, that is the predominant use of the term. In John, Jesus talks openly of his relation to the Father as Son, which the Jews recognized was tantamount to "making himself equal with God" (John 5:18; cf. 10:33). You can see examples in John 5:17-27; 6:40; 10:25-37; 14:12-14; chapter 17; etc. John the Baptist is one of the first to recognize Jesus as divine:

"I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God." (John 1:34)

Alternate Divine Titles

There are several titles that are similar to Son of God.

  • Son of the Blessed (Mark 14:61). This title reflects the reticence of the high priest to utter the name of God.
  • Son of the Father (KJV), the Father's Son (NIV, NRSV, ESV, 2 John 3).
  • Son of the Highest (KJV), Son of the Most High (NIV, NRSV, ESV, Luke 1:32). "Most High" (Luke 1:35) reflects on of the early names of God in the Old Testament (Genesis 14:18-22).
  • Son of the Most High God (Mark 5:7).

Q1. In what way does the title Son of God make Jesus equal with the Father? When you deal with the Son, is that the same as dealing with the Father? Do you know Jesus the Son of God? Do you love him?

My Beloved Son

Jesus is the one the Father loves. We see this idea in messianic prophecy: "my chosen, in whom my soul delights" (Isaiah 42:1). It is also in God's voice from heaven at both Jesus' baptism and transfiguration: "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3:17; 17:5), or "my Son, the Beloved" (NRSV).

At Jesus' baptism, we hear the Father's voice: "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased." (NRSV, Mark 1:10-11 = Matthew 3:17 = Luke 3:22). Quoting Isaiah, Matthew says:

"Behold, my servant whom I have chosen,
my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased." (Matthew 12:18, ESV, RSV, KJV)

The word "beloved" or "whom I love" is agapētos, "pertaining to one who is in a very special relationship with another, only, only beloved."[67] For example, agapētos is used in reference to an only son in the story of Abraham: "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love" (Genesis 22:2; Septuagint).

The words seem to echo, though not quote directly, the messianic psalm we mentioned earlier: "You are my son; today I have begotten you." (Psalms 2:7, NRSV). We also see an echo of another passage concerning the Servant of Yahweh: "My chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him..." (Isaiah 42:1). The idea is also in Paul's writings: His Beloved Son (NRSV, ESV), His Dear Son (KJV, Colossians 1:13) and The Beloved (Ephesians 1:6).

In the Parable of the Tenants (Mark 12:1-12 = Matthew 21:33-46 = Luke 20:9-19), Jesus is, in the allegory, "a beloved son."

Q2. (Mark 1:10-11; Ephesians 1:6) If Jesus is the Father's Beloved, how can the Father send him to die? How does that make sense, given what we know of parental love? What does that say about God's love for us?

Jesus the "Only-Begotten"

One of the characteristic titles in John's Gospel is Jesus as God's "only begotten" (KJV, NASB), though modern translations tend to translate it as "One and Only" (NIV) or "only" (NRSV, ESV). The word in question is the adjective monogenēs, which means, "pertaining to being the only one of its kind within a specific relationship, one and only, only."[68] Here, "pertaining to being the only one of its kind or class, unique (in kind)," of something that is the only example of its category.[69],[70] Jesus is utterly unique. He is not just another created human being. He is unique from the Father.

Some scholars tell us that we shouldn't overly stress the idea of begetting, since technically the word derives from the verb ginomai, "be born, become," rather than gennaō, "beget."[71] However, since all nine uses in the New Testament are found in connection with a parent and child, begetting is clearly implied. I know some may disagree, but I think "only begotten" is a good and clear translation -- and the sense in which the early Church Fathers understood the word. John uses monogenēs to describe Jesus five times in his writings:

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)

 "No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known." (John 1:18)

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

"Whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son." (John 3:18)

"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him." (1 John 4:9)

The prologue of John's Gospel and the word monogenēs had a very strong influence on orthodox Christology, as evidenced in the Nicene Creed (325, 381 AD). Note that the Church Fathers (for whom Greek was their native language) understood monogenēs in the sense of "begotten" rather than merely "unique."

"We believe ... in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten[72] Son of God, begotten[73] of the Father before all worlds, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made...."

John's use of the word monogenēs indicate that Jesus is utterly unique in his Sonship. We become sons and daughters of God by spiritual birth or adoption (depending upon which analogy you choose). Praise God! What a privilege this is! However, though we resemble Jesus, he is unique in his relationship to God, since he is the Son from eternity, the Second Person of the Trinity. He is not just another created human being who is a "son" or "child" by creation, or by new birth. Jesus is unique from the Father. He is the Only Begotten -- in a class by himself, one of a kind.

The Only-Begotten God

One of the most remarkable sentences in the New Testament uses the word monogenēs.

"No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known." (John 1:18)

What makes this so remarkable is that John seems to refer to Jesus as fully God "at the Father's side." He distinguishes between Jesus and the Father, but calls Jesus, "the Only Begotten God." Wow!

However, not all translations render this bold statement thus. While the earliest Greek manuscripts read "only-begotten God," the KJV, NKJV, and the New Jerusalem Bible (in the tradition of the Latin Vulgate), followed by the NRSV use the word "Son" instead of "God," following the majority of Greek manuscripts (though not the earliest).[74] Whatever the original text in this particular verse, John clearly places Jesus right next to God as fully divine (John 1:1-3, etc.).

Q3. (John 1:18) How does the title "Only Begotten God" signify Jesus' divinity? How does the Only Begotten Son differ from you and me as sons and daughters of God? What does "only-begotten" say about Jesus' status with the Father? About the costliness of the cross?

Lord (and Master)

Though it isn't clear unless you understand the background, Jesus title as Lord is a title of divinity. Let me explain.

The generic Hebrew word for God is 'El or 'Elohim. But God revealed himself to Moses with his own name: Yahweh. Moses is at the burning bush receiving a commission from God to deliver the Israelites from Egypt. During the conversation, Moses asks, "What is your name?"

"God (elohim) said to Moses, 'I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the
Israelites: "I AM has sent me to you."'" (Exodus 3:14)

God reveals to Moses his name in a new way: "I AM WHO I AM." What does it mean? The phrase consists of three words in Hebrew: the verb "to be" (hāyā)[75] occurs twice, and sandwiched between them is 'ashar, a "particle of relation," that can be translated "that," "who," etc., depending on the context.[76] Since both verbs are in the Hebrew imperfect tense they can be translated either:

I AM WHO I AM "He who is," the "Self-Existent One," OR

"He who will continue to be (present with his people)."

(This title extends into the New Testament in the title "Alpha and Omega," which we'll consider in Lesson 10.)

In English these four Hebrew letters (YHWH, called the Tetragrammaton) were formerly rendered "Jehovah" (KJV), but are better pronounced "Yahweh". However, in modern Bibles you rarely see the Divine Name given. As the pre-Christian era drew to a close, there was a strong movement among devout Jews to avoid pronouncing the Divine Name at all, lest they misuse it and break the commandment: "You shall not misuse the name of the LORD [Yahweh] your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name" (Exodus 20:7; Deuteronomy 6:11). Their avoidance even extended to reading the divine name from Scripture in the synagogue. It became the custom in the synagogue that when the reader came to YHWH, he would read it as Adonai, the Hebrew word for "Lord."

So most of our English Bibles follow this same tradition. In the Old Testament, when you see "LORD" in small caps, that indicates God's given name Yahweh. When you see "Lord" in upper and lower case that indicates the Hebrew word Adonai, "Lord."

All this linguistic history is confusing -- but important. When the Bible was translated from Hebrew into the Greek Septuagint, YHWH (which the Jews pronounced as Adonai), was consistently rendered with the Greek word kyrios, "owner, one who is in charge by virtue of possession," then anyone in a position of authority, "lord, master." So in Judaism, the Greek kyrios was often used to refer to God himself.

Thus, to extend the title of "Lord" to Jesus means, at the very least, "master, superior," but is usually intended to refer to Jesus as divine. The characteristic Christian statement of faith is, "Jesus is Lord" (1 Corinthians 12:3).

Thus, the title, "Lord Jesus Christ" contains a powerful and comprehensive statement about who Jesus is! He is God himself! Let's consider some of the combinations used with "Lord."

  • Lord (often)
  • Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:11; 3:18)
  • Lord Christ (Colossians 3:24)
  • Lord from heaven (KJV, 1 Corinthians 15:47) seems to be a gloss added to explain the nature of the "man from heaven," and does not occur in the earliest Greek manuscripts.[77]
  • Lord Jesus Christ, is used extensively, especially in Paul's epistles.[78]
  • Lord Jesus is also used extensively, especially in Acts and in Paul's epistles.[79]
  • One Lord (Ephesians 4:5)
  • Lord both of the dead and living (Romans 14:9). This title, the text explains, was won by Christ's resurrection.
  • The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets (Revelation 22:6)
  • Lord of glory (1 Corinthians 2:8) seems to echo Psalm 24 which speaks of the "King of glory." The phrase "our glorious Lord Jesus Christ" (James 2:1) also contains this idea.
  • Lord of lords (Revelation 17:14; 19:16; 1 Timothy 6:15) is used in the context of "king of kings." It is an emperor's title, one who is the ultimate king, with other kings and lords subservient to him. A similar title is given to God in Deuteronomy 10:17 and Psalm 136:3.
  • Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8; Mark 2:28; Luke 6:5). By Jesus' masterful explanation of the true purpose and meaning of the Sabbath, he demonstrates that he as the heavenly Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath, that is, the One who knows and created Sabbath's true meaning.
  • The Lord Our Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6). Jeremiah has prophesied that God will raise up among David's descendents "a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely, and do what is just and right in the land." This King will be called: "The LORD (that is, Yahweh) Our Righteousness."

Because this last prophecy is about the coming Messiah, it is a powerful statement of Jesus' divinity, that he will both demonstrate and bring righteousness. In the New Testament we see the corollaries:

"It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God -- that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption." (1 Corinthians 1:30)

"God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Corinthians 5:21)

"... Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins...." (1 John 2:1-2).

See more above in Lesson 6 on Jesus as the holy and righteous one.

Lord of all. "For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile -- the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him" (Romans 10:12). "Lord over all" (KJV). Also Acts 10:36.

Finally, Simeon is promised that he will not die before seeing "the Lord's Christ" (Luke 2:26). Here "Lord" refers to Yahweh, not Jesus.

Q4. Why is the title "Lord Jesus" such an exalted one. What does it tell us about Jesus' divinity?

Lord and Rabbi

As we saw in Lesson 2, the KJV uses "master" to translate didaskalos, a common form of address for a rabbi, though most modern versions translate this as "teacher." Several times in Luke's Gospel, Jesus is called "master," epistatēs, an administrative technical term used for various officials.[80]

But it is also true that sometimes in the Gospels, when Jesus is addressed as "lord" (kyrios), the speaker is using the sense of someone in a position of authority, "lord, master."[81] This title was sometimes used as a term of respect by a disciple for a rabbi, an acknowledgement that the rabbi had the power to command the disciple.

This is particularly evident in two passages from Luke's Gospel.

"[Jesus] said, 'Follow me.' But he said, 'Lord (kyrios), let me first go and bury my father.' And Jesus said to him, 'Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.' Yet another said, "I will follow you, Lord (kyrios), but let me first say farewell to those at my home." Jesus said to him, 'No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.'" (Luke 9:59-62)

"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?" (Luke 6:46)

We use the title "Lord" so lightly. If Jesus is our Lord, then we shouldn't hesitate to obey immediately. Rather than just mouth the word, we must do what he says. He is Lord God of all. He is also the Lord who has absolute authority over us, his disciples.

Q5. (Luke 9:59-62; 6:46) Is Jesus our Lord if we don't obey him immediately? Is he our Lord if we don't follow his teachings? What areas of your life do you need to surrender to his Lordship?

The "I Am" Sayings in John's Gospel

John's Gospel includes a number of passages that emphasize Jesus' deity by placing two Greek words together, egō eimi, "I am."[82] When these words are used emphatically, "I am" is a rather unveiled reference to the name by which God revealed himself to Moses as Yahweh -- "I AM THAT I AM" (Exodus 3:14). In saying "I am" in this way, Jesus is declaring his divinity and oneness with the Father.

Here are the "I AM" passages found in John that include a predicate:

  1. "I am the bread of life" (John 6:35, 48, 51).
  2. "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12, cf. 9:5).
  3. "I am the gate for the sheep" (John 10:7, 9).
  4. "I am the good shepherd" (John 10:11, 14).
  5. "I am the resurrection and the life" (John 11:25).
  6. "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6).
  7. "I am the vine" (John 15:1, 5).

It is no coincidence that John emphasizes Jesus' "I AM" statements. He wants his readers to believe in Jesus as the Son of God and have eternal life (John 20:31).

Q6. Since Yahweh seems to be formed from "I AM" as God's own name, what is the significance of Jesus' "I am" statements? Which of these "I am" statements means the most to you personally?

Jesus as God

In this lesson we've examined "Son of God, "Only Begotten," and "Lord" as divine titles. It is clear that during Jesus' ministry, his enemies saw the implications of his words, and the titles his followers used as blasphemy (John 19:4), that he was "making himself equal with God" (John 5:18). Now we come to a series of references that place Jesus on the same level as God the Father.

In a clear messianic passage from Isaiah we see the Messiah with explicitly divine titles.

"For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God,
Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6)

Paul also declares Jesus, without qualification, as God over all.

"To [the Jewish people] belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen." (Romans 9:5, ESV)

Thomas's confession when Christ appears to him after the resurrection is one of the most profound of any disciple.

"Then he said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.' Thomas answered him, 'My Lord and my God!'" (John 20:27-28)

In Revelation 1:8 it appears that Jesus is speaking and has the title "the Lord God" and "the Almighty" (pantokratōr), though the speaker could be God the Father.[83] But often in Revelation and elsewhere, titles used of God are then used of Christ as well. As the early church developed, Pantokratōr, which means, "Almighty, All-Powerful, Omnipotent (One)," became a title of Christ, especially in the Eastern Orthodox Church. The icon of Christ Pantocrator is one of the most widely used religious images of Orthodox Christianity.

As we saw in Lesson 2, at the beginning of John's Gospel, Jesus, the Logos, is declared to be God.

"In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God." (John 1:1)

John's first epistle concludes with a similar declaration.

"And we are in him who is true -- even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life." (1 John 5:20)

Some writers would add here titles in the Old Testament that might refer to the Christ, but probably refer to Yahweh. We'll show restraint.

Image of Invisible God

Finally, Paul and the writer of Hebrews see in the visible Jesus, the incarnation of the Invisible God.

"Who is the image of the invisible God...." (Colossians 1:15)

"The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word...." (Hebrews 1:3a)

We see this explained in John's Gospel in a somewhat different way.

"Philip said to him, 'Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.'
Jesus said to him, 'Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?'" (John 14:8-9)

Jesus is God in the flesh! Incidentally, the title "God manifest in the flesh" (KJV) relies on less reliable manuscripts. Modern translations render this verse as, "He was manifested in the flesh...." (1 Timothy 3:16).[84]

Emmanuel, God with Us

"Emmanuel" or "Immanuel" (depending upon how one spells it) is a transliteration of the Hebrew name in Isaiah 7:14, literally meaning, "with us is God."[85] The name originally symbolized the presence of God ('el) to deliver his people from the Assyrian army that threatened their very existence in Isaiah's day. However, Matthew 1:23 takes Isaiah 7:14 messianically, and applies the name of the child of the virgin as prophecy of Jesus. The title Immanuel certainly applied to Jesus, since "God with us" is a perfect way to describe the birth of the God-Man, Jesus Christ, who is fully man and fully God.

Names and Titles of Jesus: A Discipleship Study, by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
Also in paperback, PDF, and Kindle

The Bible is rather clear. Jesus is not a mere man, a good and great man. He is God himself, God in the flesh. Thus how we believe his words, how we obey his teachings, how we serve him, how we love Jesus, reflect how much we really love God. My prayer for you is that you may fulfill the first great commandment, to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength in your devotion to his Son Jesus.


Father, thank you for sending to us your Only Son, your Beloved Son. Help us to love him as you do. Thank you for your sacrifice of the one closest to you that we might be saved. It's hard to understand how this can be, but we profoundly thank you. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

Names and Titles of Jesus

  • My Son (often)
  • Son of God (many times)
  • The Son (many times in John; also Matthew 11:27; Luke 10:22)
  • Son of the Blessed (Mark 14:61)
  • Son of the Father (KJV, 2 John 1:3)
  • Son of the Highest (KJV, Luke 1:32)
  • Son of the Living God (Matthew 16:16)
  • Son of the Most High (NIV, NRSV, ESV, Luke 1:32)
  • Son of the Most High God (Mark 5:7)
  • The Father's Son (NIV, NRSV, ESV, 2 John 1:3)
  • Only Begotten of the Father (KJV, John 1:14)
  • Only Begotten Son (KJV, John 1:18; 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9)
  • One and Only (NIV, John 1:14)
  • One and Only Son (NIV, John 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9)
  • God the One and Only (NIV, John 1:18)
  • Only Son (ESV, NRSV; John 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9)
  • I Am (several times in John)
  • Beloved Son (Matthew 3:17; 17:5; Colossians 1:13; Mark 12:6)
  • Dear Son (KJV, Colossians 1:13)
  • The Beloved (Ephesians 1:6)
  • My Beloved (Matthew 12:18, ESV, RSV, KJV)
  • Mighty God (Isaiah 9:6)
  • The Almighty (Revelation 1:8)
  • Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6)
  • Lord (often)
  • Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:11; 3:18)
  • Lord Christ (Colossians 3:24).
  • Lord from heaven (KJV, 1 Corinthians 15:47)
  • Lord Jesus Christ (often)
  • Lord Jesus (often)
  • Lord of all (Acts 10:36)
  • One Lord (Ephesians 4:5)
  • Lord of glory (1 Corinthians 2:8; Psalm 24)
  • Lord of lords (Revelation 17:14; 19:16; 1 Timothy 6:15)
  • Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8; Mark 2:28; Luke 6:5)
  • The Lord Our Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6)
  • Our Righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30)
  • The Righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21)
  • Righteous One (1 John 2:1-2)
  • Lord of all (Romans 10:12)
  • Lord both of the dead and living (Romans 14:9)
  • The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets (Revelation 22:6)
  • Lord God (Revelation 1:8)
  • God over All (Romans 9:5)
  • My Lord and My God (John 20:28)
  • God (John 1:1)
  • The True God (1 John 5:20)
  • The Image of the Invisible God (Colossians 1:15)
  • The Exact Representation of His Being (Hebrews 1:3a)
  • Emmanuel, Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23)

Songs and Hymns

The titles in this lesson center around Jesus revealed as divine, with key titles, such as I Am, Son of god, Only Begotten, One and Only, Beloved Son, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Lord, Righteous One, My Lord and My God, Emmanuel, etc.

  • "Come, O Come, Emmanuel," words: 12th century; music: 15th century
  • "Cornerstone" ("My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness"), by Edward Mote, Eric Liljero, Jonas Myrin, Reuben Morgan, William Batchelder Bradbury (© 2011 Hillsong Music Publishing)
  • "Emmanuel" ("His name is called Emmanuel"), by Bob McGee (© 1976, C.A. Music)
  • "Emmanuel" ("My Shepherd King, you're watching over me"), by Reuben Morgan (© 2005 Hillsong Music Publishing )
  • "God With Us" ("Oh Emmanuel God with us"), by Jason Ingram and Leslie Jordan (© 2012, Integrity's Praise Music)
  • "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" ("Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; Hail th'incarnate Deity,
    Pleased with us in flesh to dwell, Jesus our Emmanuel"), words: Charles Wesley (1739), music: Felix Mendelssohn (1840)
  • "He Is Lord," author unknown
  • "He's the Lord of Glory" ("He is the great I am ... the everlasting Father"), by Phyllis C. Spiers (© 1950, 1962, Gospel Publishing House)
  • "His Banner Over Me is Love" ("I am my Beloved's and he is mine"), unknown author.
  • "His Banner Over Me," by Kevin Prosch (© 1991 Mercy / Vineyard Publishing)
  • "Holy" ("Jesus You Are"; "You're the Great I Am ... You will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead"), by Jason Ingram, Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman (© 2011 Atlas Mountain Songs)
  • "How Majestic Is Your Name" ("Prince of Peace, Mighty God"), by Michael W. Smith (© 1981, Meadowgreen Music Co.)
  • "I Am," by Michael W. Smith and Wayne Hillard (© 1980 Designer Music Group, Inc.)
  • "I Am" ("Maker of the heavens, Bright and Morning Star ... Fount of Living Water, the Risen Son of Man, the Healer of the Broken .. Savior and Redeemer ... Author and Perfecter, Beginning and the End"), by Mark Schultz (© 2005 Crazy Romaine Music)
  • "I Will Look Up" ("Jesus, Lord of All ... Prince of Peace, Perfect Healer, King of Kings, Mighty Savior"), Chris Brown, Jason Ingram, Mack Brock, Matt Redman, Wade Joye (© 2013 Said And Done Music )
  • "Jesus Messiah" ("Blessed Redeemer, Emmanuel") by Chris Tomlin, Daniel Carson, Ed Cash, Jesse Reeves (2008 sixsteps Music)
  • "Jesus Son of God," Chris Tomlin, Jason Ingram, Matt Maher (© 2012 S. D. G. Publishing, sixsteps)
  • "Jesus the Son of God," words and music: Garfield T. Haywood (c. 1914)
  • "Jesus, Name Above All Names" ("Beautiful Savior, Glorious Lord, Emmanuel, God with Us, Blessed Redeemer, Living Word" by Naida Hearn (1974, 1978 Scripture In Song)
  • "Jesus, Only Jesus" (He is our hope, our righteousness ... Holy, King Almighty Lord"), by Christ Tomlin, Matt Redman, et al. (© 2013 S. D. G. Publishing)
  • "Joy to the World" ("the Lord is come ... the Savior reigns"), words: Isaac Watts, music: Antioch, arranged by Lowell Mason (1836)
  •  "Lord I Need You" ("my one defense, my righteousness"), by Christy Nockels, Daniel Carson, Jesse Reeves, Kristian Stanfill, Matt Maher (© 2011, sixsteps Music)
  • "My Hope is Built on Nothing Less" ("than Jesus' blood and righteousness ... on Christ the solid rock I stand"), words: Edward Mote (1834), music: Solid Rock: William B. Bradbury (1863)
  • "Sing, Sing, Sing" ("Lift high the name of Jesus ... Song of God, You are the One"), by Chris Tomlin, Daniel Carson, Jesse Reeves, Matt Gilder, Travis Nunn (© 2008, sixsteps Music)
  • "This Is Amazing Grace" ("Worthy is the Lamb who was slain"), by Jeremy Riddle, Josh Farro, Phil Wickham (© 2012 Phil Wickham Music)
  • "We Will Glorify" (We will glorify the King of kings ... "who is the great I Am"), by Twila Paris (1982 New Spring)
  • "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" ("Save in the death of Christ my God"), words: Isaac Watts (1707), music: Hamburg, Lowell Mason (1824)
  • "Worthy Is the Lamb" ("High and lifted up Jesus Son of God") by Darlene Zschech (© 2002, Hillsong Publishing)
  • "Your Great Name" ("Son of God and man") by Krissy Nordhoff and Michael Neele (2008, Integrity's Praise! Music)


From Appendix 6. Exercises to Help You Internalize the Names of Jesus, select some activities that will help you internalize the truths of this lesson's names, titles, descriptors, and metaphors. This week, how can you creatively pray, meditate, write, worship, consider, draw or paint, compose, picture, and live out these truths in your community?

Actively participating in these ways will help you grow to be like Christ.


[61] Ladd, Theology, p. 160.

[62] NIV translates it, "Today I have become your Father." The verb is yālad. "In its narrowest sense yālad describes the act of a woman in giving birth to a child, but it is sometimes used of the father's part in becoming a parent" (TWOT #867). The "begats" of the Old Testament use this word.

[63] Son of God appears in a messianic context in Enoch 105:2; IV Ezra and the Apocalypse of Baruch 70:9; and in several Dead Sea scrolls: 4Q174 (Florilegium), 4Q246 (Aramaic Apocalypse), and 1QSa 28a. Ladd, Theology, pp. 161-162, denies that Son of God was a common messianic designation in New Testament times, but he wrote prior to careful examination of several Dead Sea scroll texts.

[64] It is also the purpose of John's Gospel: "But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" (John 20:31).

[65] Is the idea of the messianic Son of God present in the temptation? Is Satan saying, "If you are the Messiah...."? I don't think so. The temptations have little to do with messianic expectations. Rather, they seek to turn the Father's Beloved into a puppet of Satan. As Ladd puts it, "Sonship is antecedent to messiahship, and not synonymous with it" (Ladd, Theology, p. 164).

[66] In Acts 16:17, an evil spirit in a slave girl has a similar understanding of who Paul is, "servants of the Most High God," but he also sought to prevent her from speaking this.

[67] Agapētos, BDAG 7, 1.

[68] It is used in the New Testament as "only son" (of Abraham, Hebrews 11:17; of the widow of Nain, Luke 7:12; of the man with the demon-possessed son, Luke 9:38) and "only daughter" (of Jairus, Luke 8:42). In the Septuagint you see it with Jephthah's daughter, an only child (Judges 11:34).

[69] Monogenēs, BDAG 658, 2.

[70] Morris, John, p. 105, fn. 93.

[71] Morris, John, p. 105, fn. 93. This compound adjective is formed from monos, "sole, single" + genos, "kind." Brown (John 1:13) says, "Monogenēs describes a quality of Jesus, his uniqueness, not what is called in Trinitarian theology his 'procession.'"

[72] Monogenēs.

[73] Gennaō. The very Father-Son relationship supports the idea of "begetting" vs. "making."

[74] "Only begotten God" is found in a substantial number of the earliest texts (P66,75 Aleph1,*, B C*, L, etc.), as well as in quotations from early Fathers such as Irenaeus, Origin, Didymus of Alexandria. "Only begotten Son" is found in A, C3, Θ, Ψ, f1,13, and the Byzantine texts, and Latin and Syriac translations. Clearly, the majority of Greek manuscripts support "only-begotten Son," but it seems that among the earliest Greek manuscripts more support "only-begotten God." You would expect it to read "only-begotten Son," because the phrase is used elsewhere (John 3:16, 18; 4:9; Hebrews 11:17). You wouldn't expect "only-begotten God." The field of Textual Criticism seeks to determine the original text from several principles. The original text is likely to have the strongest "external support" from the early Greek manuscripts. The original text is likely to be the "hardest reading," since you'd expect scribes to change a less-expected text to a more-expected text. For these reasons most modern translations agree with the majority of Editorial Committee of the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament, which gives "only-begotten God" a {B} or "some degree of doubt" rating, on a scale of A to D (Metzger, Textual Commentary, p. 198).

[75] Albright and others suggest a slight emendation of the Hebrew text from the Qal stem, "to be," to the Hiphil stem, which carries the causative idea, "to cause to be." If you were to accept this theory, God would be saying, "I cause to be whom I cause to be," that is, a revelation of the Creator. However, since there is no known example of this verb in the Hiphil and the context of the passage doesn't talk about God as Creator, but God's role as the redeeming, covenant God, the Qal stem is preferred. (So Christopher J. H. Wright, "God, Names of," ISBE 2:507 and Victor P. Hamilton, hāyā, TWOT #491. On the other view David W. Baker, DOTP 362).

[76] 'Ashar, BDB 81-84.

[77] Metzger, Textual Commentary, p. 568.

[78] "Lord Jesus Christ": Acts 11:17; 15:26; 28:31; Romans 1:7; 5:1, 11; 13:14; 15:6, 30; 1 Corinthians 1:2, 3, 7, 8, 10; 6:11; 8:6; 15:57; 2 Corinthians 1:2, 3; 8:9; 13:14; Galatians 1:3; 6:14, 18; Ephesians 1:2, 3, 17; 5:20; 6:23, 24; Philippians 1:2; 3:20; 4:23; Colossians 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:1, 3; 5:9, 23, 28; 2 Thessalonians 1:1, 2, 12; 2:1, 14, 16; 3:6, 12, 18; 1 Timothy 6:3, 14; Philemon 3, 25; James 1:1; 2:1; 1 Peter 1:3; 2 Peter 1:8, 14, 16; Jude 17, 21.

[79] "Lord Jesus": Matthew 16:19; Luke 24:3; Acts 1:21; 4:33; 7:59; 8:16; 9:17; 11:20; 15:11; 16:31; 19:5, 13, 17; 20:21, 24, 35; 21:13; Romans 14:4; 16:20; 1 Corinthians 5:4 (twice); 11:23; 16:23; 2 Corinthians 1:14; 4:14; 11:31; Ephesians 1:15; Philippians 2:19; Colossians 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 2:15, 19; 3:11; 3:13; 4:1, 2; 2 Thessalonians 1:7, 8; 2:8; Philemon 1:5; Hebrews 13:20; Revelation 22:20.

[80] Epistatēs, BDAG 38. Luke 5:5; 8:24, 45; 9:33, 49; 17:13.

[81] For example, Matthew 15:22, 25, 27; 17:15; 20:30, 31, 33; Luke 5:8, 12; 7:6; 9:54, 59, 61; 10:40; 11:1; 12:41.

[82] There are more verses in John translated, "I am," but in most cases they don't include the pronoun egō, which can be implied by the verb eimi itself, since in Greek the distinctive inflection of the verb tells us gender, tense, and voice. When the pronoun appears with the verb, it is emphatic -- there to make a point.

[83] In Revelation 15:3, Lord God Almighty (pantokratōr) seems to be addressed to God.

[84] Metzger (Textual Commentary, p. 641) sees "He" as supported by "external evidence and transcriptional probability," which best explains the other readings. It is supported by "the earliest and best uncials (Aleph*, A*, C* Ggr. D* is similar).

[85] BDB 769.

Copyright © 2024, Ralph F. Wilson. <pastor@joyfulheart.com> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.

Sign up now!To be notified about future articles, stories, and Bible studies, why don't you subscribe to our free newsletter,The Joyful Heart, by placing your e-mail address in the box below. We respect your privacy and never sell, rent, or loan our lists. Please don't subscribe your friends; let them decide for themselves.
Country(2-letter abbreviation, such as US)
Preferred FormatHTML (recommended) Plain text