The Bible Project

Who Did Paul Think Jesus Was? - God E18

Episode Summary

This episode continues our series on God as a character in the Bible. Today Tim and Jon dive into the writings of Paul in the New Testament.

Episode Notes

This episode continues our series on God as a character in the Bible. Today Tim and Jon dive into the writings of Paul in the New Testament.

In part one (0:00-7:25), Tim explains that Paul’s writings are actually chronologically written earlier than the Gospels, even though they come toward the end of our modern Bibles. Tim says this is important because it shows that the theology expressed by Paul wasn’t something that developed years later after the Gospels. Instead, Paul’s stance on Jesus actually predates the accounts.

In part two (7:25-22:10), Tim and Jon examine Romans 10:8-9, 12-13: “The message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved…. For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'”

Tim’s point is that the Greek word “kurios,” when translated through the Hebrew, equates to Paul calling Jesus Yahweh. So in the quote from the book of Joel, the logic would be: Jesus = Kurios = Yahweh.

Joel 2:32: Hebrew: “Everyone who calls on the name of Yahweh will be saved.”

Joel 2:32 Greek Septuagint: “Everyone who calls on the name of Kurios will be saved.” “Jesus is Lurios”

Romans 10:9, 13: “Everyone who calls on the name of Kurios will be saved.”

Tim moves on and talks about Jesus and the Shema in 1 Corinthians 8:4. “Therefore concerning the eating of foods 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 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.”

Tim says that Paul has basically inserted Jesus into the Shema.

The Messianic Shema in 1 Corinthians 8:6:
For us, there is one God (theos),
the Father,
from whom are all things
and we exist for Him;
and one Lord (kurios),
Jesus Christ,
by whom are all things,
and we exist through Him.

The Shema in Deuteronomy 6:4-5:
Hebrew: “Listen O Israel, Yahweh is our Elohim, Yahweh is one.
Greek Septuagint: “Hear O Israel, Kurios is our theos, Kurios is one.
κύριος ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν κύριος εἷς ἐστιν

Tim says the analogy of 1+1=1 is a mathematical analogy to show how Paul reasons that Jesus and God the Father can be one and separate at the same time. With this logic, he can fit both Jesus and God the Father in the Shema comfortably.

In part three (22:10-end), Tim outlines Colossians 1:15-20:

And He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn of all creation.
For by Him all things were created,
[both] in the heavens and on earth,
visible and invisible,
whether thrones or dominions
or rulers or authorities—
all things have been created through Him and to himself.
And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

And He is head of the body, the church;
and He is the beginning,
the firstborn from the dead ones;
so that he might have first place in everything.
For in him it was the [Father's] good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell
and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself,
having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him,
whether things on earth or things in heaven.

Tim points out that this is a sort of summit of Paul’s ideas on Jesus. In Paul’s mind, Jesus unites all of the Old Testament themes, and all of the labels and titles Paul gives Jesus in this passage trace back to Old Testament ideas. Tim says Paul breaks with the meanings of the words and how they had been used in the Hebrew scriptures. Tim says that this passage is originally formatted as poetry, which makes sense because there are so many complex ideas being presented that poetry is the only proper way to appreciate it.

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Show Produced by:
Dan Gummel, Jon Collins, Matthew Halbert-Howen

Show Music:
Eden, Tae the Producer
Faith, Tae the Producer

Show Resources:
Our video on God: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAvYmE2YYIU&t=1s