Calling Jesus "God" in the NT

From: Paul Moser (
Date: Wed Sep 20 1995 - 14:42:00 EDT

Regarding the recent question whether the NT calls Jesus
"God", the following paper is admirably careful and
concise: Vincent Taylor, "Does the NT Call Jesus God?",
*Expository Times* 73 (Jan. 1962), 116-18. The popular
appeal to Rom 9:5, Titus 2:13, 2Pet 1:1, and Heb 1:8
leans on grammatical ambiguities unable to bear the
requisite theological weight. Taylor is sound on this
point, adding that "(Paul) will not compromise his
belief that God is one God, not even for Christ's
sake, and this is true also of the author of
Hebrews and John." Regarding Heb 1:8, the marginal
translation of the NRSV seems clearly preferable to
the translation in the text, especially after one
examines Psalm 45 in the LXX. The vocative of
"theos" is definitely not what the original context
supports. Jn 20:28 and Phil 2:6-9 do, however, offer
some evidence in the direction of later confessions--
on which see A.W. Wainwright, "The Confession 'Jesus is
God' in the NT," *Scottish Journal of Theology* 10
(1957), 274-99. The other relevant evidence is
surveyed in R.T. France, "The Worship of Jesus," in
*Christ the Lord*, ed. H. Rowdon (London, 1982), and
in R. Bauckham, "The Worship of Jesus...," NTS 27
(1980/81), 322-41. -- Paul Moser, Loyola University
of Chicago.

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