Academic study of the New Testament (NT) excluding Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John sees the influence of Luke in Acts perspective of the divinity of Jesus and Paul's epistles provide his perspective. Reading Luke is critically similar to reading Acts when it comes to the perception of the divinity of Jesus. The early Christian literature of the Acts of the Apostles and the Pauline letters in particular, reflect specific ideas about Jesus and continue spurring debate on the divinity of Jesus, the Son of God, Jesus the man, and Jesus the Christ.
There were many centers of Christians attempting sorting out meaning of the experiences they shared with Jesus during his ministry as well as those in attendance of his trial, crucifixion, and the days surrounding his resurrection. Academic Bible scholars generally agree the understanding of these people about these aspects of Jesus differed with different perspectives lending to placing what they viewed as the significance of Jesus. Some looked at the death and resurrection as Jesus' divinity, while others focused on his message attempting spreading the words of Jesus.
Examination of the Acts reveals according to Attridge, Hendrix, Koester, and White an inference this book remains authored by a person adept in literary patterns of the time that lend to the impact of how the divinity of Jesus relates scripturally. Offering the words of the martyr Stephen at the time of his lynching, Luke's handling of this reveals the connection of Jesus' messianity, humanity, and his divinity and leaves no question of his two natures, (Acts 7:51-60) (1998)
The Book of Acts shows the competition among these groups to gain followings. Some of these believers pushed the observance of the Torah with the Jewish laws while the other end of this perspective ministered among the gentiles without the laws of the Torah. "There were others who we meet again in the Book of Acts, who apparently stood in continuity with the activity of John the Baptist and did not know the baptism that the Pauline Christians, at least, knew. Therefore, there was much more diversity in the early stages of the Christian movement than the Book of Acts suggest (Attridge, Hendrix, Meeks, White, 1998)."
Study of the Book of Acts exhibits of the power and wisdom of God through Jesus. As God's body on earth, these "Acts" reveal the divine "purpose" of Jesus and provide the singular basis of Jesus' divinity through the eyes of the diverse perspectives represented in this gospel. Examining some of the first chapters shows the divinity of Jesus in the Book of Acts and accommodates the diversity of views on this issue,
In verse 8 of this chapter with the ascendance of the resurrected Jesus, the disciples witness his divinity. Promising them the Holy \Spirit, Jesus rises to the Father.
The divinity of Jesus' the Christ anoints Peter with the Holy Spirit. With his anointed spirit Peter gives 3,000 people the prophecy of the return of Jesus and all convert to Christianity,
Peter continues preaching throughout this chapter under the anointed of the divine Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ.
Radiating the boldness of the divine Jesus Christ Peter and John continue ministry and gathering more believers into the Church in verse four. Verse 31 tells of the arrest of John and Peter as they are renewed in the divine Holy Spirit of Jesus imbuing them and the other Apostles with the great power of the divine Jesus Christ.
Through their faith in the power of the divine Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ, the Apostles continue healing the sick and casting out evil spirits among those possessed (verse 16). Arrested, the Apostles find an angel freeing them with the divine intercession of Jesus Christ. (Verse 18)
Apostle Stephen performs great miracles of healing under the power of the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ showing his faith and power derived from the divinity of the Christ. (Verse 8)
Stephen, full of faith and power does great wonders and signs among the people (verse 8).
Stephen's anointment in the Holy Spirit of the divine Jesus Christ brings him the sight of Jesus the Christ beside the right hand of God the father' In the name of Jesus Christ Stephen becomes the first martyr,
Preaching and John and Peter imbued with the Holy Spirit of the divine Jesus Christ see the Holy Ghost of Jesus save Simon, Philip, and some of the people of Samaria. Jesus' Holy Spirit takes Philip to and Ethiopian Eunuch who accepts the message of Jesus and becomes full of Jesus' divine Holy Spirit. Jesus' Christ's Holy Spirit takes Philip to Azotus.
The Holy Spirit falls on the house of Cornelius.
Many people accept the salvation of the divine Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ.
Verse 24 reveals the Holy Spirit of the divine Jesus Christ sending an angel freeing the imprisoned Peter. The Lord Jesus Christ sends an angel striking down Herod and the word of God spreads and multiplies (verse 24).
The Pauline Epistles
Generally accepted as the epistles of Paul are I Thessalonians, Galatians, I & II Corinthians, Philippians, Philemon and Romans. Paul adheres to the divinity of Jesus with his death and Holy resurrection. According to Christians.eu this perspective according to Pauline
Christianity nonetheless while Paul's epistles contain his focused conviction of the redeeming feature of believing in the Savior Jesus Christ (of itself a divinity) Paul rarely offers explanation of Jesus' nature as divine. Nor the nature of the Christ to those he ministered the message of Jesus and the plan of salvation through the sacrificial blood of his death and the eternity in the belief of his resurrection. (2013). There are however, among the epistles a scattering of Paul's testament to the divine nature of Jesus.
Smith (2012) advises how Paul believed that the Christ remained a human as supported by his Jewish contemporaries. Incorporating various anthropological terms, Paul, according to Smith describes Jesus Christ in Romans 5:`15 and in I Corinthians 15:21 as a man (anthropos) comparing him as well as contrasting him to God's first created man, Adam. Paul calls Jesus Christ the man from heaven in opposition to calling him the man from earth (I Cor 15:47-48). As the mediator between the Heavenly Father and humans, Paul writes in I Timothy (2:5) calling Jesus a man. (2012)
Herein, this equation of Jesus the man to God takes disagreement because of the manner Jesus identified self as nothing because he is born in the likeness of humanity in the flesh. This humbled Jesus. Jesus' humility shows in his obedience to God up to and including his purpose as the Lamb of God and the Holy Sacrifice. In this the exaltation of Jesus by God deems all knees bow at the name of Jesus - both in heaven and on earth as well as under the earth - in all tongues of the world avow to the glory of the Father in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord (Philippians 2:5-11, ESV) (Christians.eu, 2013)
Paul's epistle to the Colossians he tells them Jesus is the first child of all of God's creation in the image of the invisibility of God. As such, all things remain created through and for him. (1:15) Another of Paul's rare references to nature of Jesus is his reference in chapter two where he charges that within the body of Jesus dwells the fullness of God.
Smith cites Paul's epistle to the Philippians where the divinity of Jesus Christ equates the Holy Spirit of God to Christ (1:19). Further, as Smith continues, Paul's definition of abiding with Christ equates to abiding with God (1.23). The divinity of Jesus according to Paul in chapter two of Philippians remains because of the nature of Jesus equally divine of God with him receiving the adoration reserved in the worship of God. (2:5-11) (2012)
Smith reports Paul's epistle to the Romans affirms Jesus Christ as human in being a Jew and from the line of David. (1:3). Paul then writes to the Galatians how the Christ is according to the flesh of the Israelites (4:4). Paul's explanation how God's son was sent and born of the flesh of a woman under the Law makes the implication Jesus is not only a human but a Jew as well. Additional references to the Galatians of the divinity of Jesus Paul writes of the brother of the Lord as James - thus Jesus is a Jew because James is a Jew and a human as well but is also divine because he is the Lord (1:19). (2012)
In examination of Paul's epistles referencing that Christ is human according to Smith, Paul defers to how Christ appearance in the flesh does not equate to resembling the flesh. In other words, Paul intends using "likeness" of flesh full of sin rather than sinful human flesh with implications of the intention of God sending the Christ in the flesh to take on the sins of humanity-- producing the existence of the fallen and sinful flesh of humans. This specifically means though Christ was in the likeness of the sinful flesh of humans it does not mean he was human. Jesus Christ in the human flesh was the vehicle for taking on the sin of humanity (Phil 2:7). (2012).
Smith also surmises how Paul's use of "likeness" may interpret as forming the nature of the flesh as a human so that he appeared as a human. Romans offer another of Paul's references to the body of Jesus Christ underscores the perspective of his physical life (7:4). (2012)
In Colossians Paul writes about how reconciliation with each of us works through the body of Christ's flesh (1:21-22). Paul's reference to God raising Jesus from the dead clearly and further shows Paul's understanding of the divinity of Jesus is not in the flesh as his divinity is outside the flesh and separate and provides a historical designation to the salvation of humans through the flesh of Jesus when raised from the dead (Rom 8:11) ((I Cor 15:15). (2012)
Paul clearly understands God is himself the only savior with him teaching that the Christ remains subordinate to the Father (I Cor 15:27). The entire chapter 15 of Corinthians provides a clear picture of Paul's view of Jesus the flesh resurrected as the promise to humans, for humans and only humans. It is by the example of Jesus in the flesh dying, resurrecting to Jesus Christ and thus remains the mainstay of Paul's missionary sermon of the two natures of Jesus as made in the image of man -- suffering as a man - but come from God.
Paul's knowledge of the OT scripture prophecies of the Messiah intentionally used in his missionary work to provide a natural approach to in teaching the two natures of Jesus. Drawing on the OT, Paul provides comparisons to the prophecy of the OT of the coming of Jesus as promised by God. These are found in Paul's I Corinthians 2:8 comparisons to Psalm 24:7-9 as well as Exodus 24:16, as well as Corinthians 10:4, 9 with the Psalms 78:15. In addition, in defining the two natures of Jesus and establishing his divinity the comparisons Paul makes between Psalm 145:18 and Joel 2:32 with his epistle to the Romans (10:9-13)
Riss also offers the NT examples of Paul's epistles defining the divinity of Jesus. He references Colossians where Paul describes the entirety of deity dwelling in the body of Jesus (2:9). Riss provides examples of Paul's describing the divinity of Jesus in Thessalonians referencing the Lord Jesus (I Thessalonians 3:11)\. Paul offers the blessings of God the Father and of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself in (II Thessalonians 2:16, 17). Riss regards the implication of the relationship of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself as identified with God our father (II Thessalonians 2:16, 17).
Academic study of the New Testament (NT) excluding Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John sees the influence of Luke in Acts perspective of the divinity of Jesus and Paul's epistles provide his perspective. Modern Christianity continues debating the divinity of Jesus as the early Christians as exemplified in this paper. The one common denominator is the agreement among all Christians, Jews, and Muslims remains there was a man named Jesus whose message changed the world forever. Religious dogma today spurs this argument of the divinity of Jesus has unfortunately it becomes an argument of "we are the ones who are right," This leads to the famous Christian question, "What would Jesus do?"
Attridge, H., Hendrix, H.L., Koester, H., & White, I.M. (1998). The Gospel of Luke.
Attridge, H.W., Hendrix, H.L., Meeks, W. A., & White, M, L. (1998). The Diversity of Early
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Christians.eu, (2013) Jesus' Divinity. Retrieved from
Riss, R. (1996) The Divinity of Jesus. Retrieved from
Smith, B. D. (2012) Pauline Christology. Retrieved from