Apr 10, 2015

The Titles for Christ in 1 Corinthians

Some time back, I began digitizing material that I had in my multiple file cabinets. Occasionally, I have posted material from these articles here. Today, I have an extended quote from an article by Stewart Custer entitled “The Theology of First Corinthians” (Biblical Viewpoint 7 [1973]: 137–38). Here Custer discusses the titles of Christ used in 1 Corinthians.
Christ. This is the most frequent title of the Lord in I Corinthians (as in most of the Epistles), occurring sixty-two times. It occurs alone forty-four times; “Christ Jesus” occurs six times; “Jesus Christ” occurs twice; and the full title “Lord Jesus Christ” occurs ten times. “Christ” identifies the Lord as the Messiah, the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.
Lord. Paul applies the title “Lord” to Jesus fifty-nine times. The full title “Lord Jesus Christ” occurs ten times; “Lord Jesus” occurs six times (5:4 [2]; 9:1; 11:23; 12:3; 16:23). The title ''Lord” alone is applied to Jesus forty-two times in the Greek text (1:31; 3:5; 4:4, 5, 17; 6:13 [2], 14, 7:10, 12, 17, 22 [2], 25 [2], 32 [2], 34, 35, 39; 9:2, 5, 14; 10:9, 21 [2], 22; 11:11, 23, 26, 27 [2], 32; 12:5; 14:37; 15:58 [2]; 16:7, 10, 19, 22).

Maran (Aramaic for “Lord”). This title is found in the watchword Maranatha (I Cor. 16:22). The phrase can be interpreted as a prayer, “Our Lord come,” or as a promise of the second coming, “Our Lord comes.” Either view makes good sense. The term demonstrates that the Lord Jesus was called “Lord” by the Aramaic-speaking church before the gospel moved to Gentile lands.

Jesus. It is used alone in only one passage (12:3) in a set phrase for either confession or repudiation. The other uses are all in combination with other titles, as mentioned above.

Son. Paul teaches that believers are called into the fellowship of God's Son (1:9). When all the universe is brought into subjection to God, the Son also will be subjected, that God may be all in all (15:28). This does not mean that the Son is less than God, but that the Son will bring to a triumphal conclusion the mediatorial office which He now holds.

Power of God. Once the Lord Jesus is called “the Power of God” (1:24). He is the One who has created the universe and now sustains it (Col. 1:16-17). The message about the Lord Jesus is the power to save (Rom. 1:16).

Wisdom of God. In the same passage (1:24) the Lord Jesus is called “the Wisdom of God.” He has made foolish the wisdom of men (1:27), and He is Himself the Wisdom which all believers need (1:30).

Our Passover. The Lord Jesus is the fulfillment of all the typical teaching in the Old Testament concerning the necessity of blood sacrifice. Just as the lamb was sacrificed to avert the judgment of God in Old Testament times, so the Lord Jesus sacrificed Himself as the Lamb of God (John 1:29) to deliver all believers from the judgment of God. Thus He is “Our Passover” (5:7).

The Rock. One passage identifies the Lord Jesus with the great image of the Rock, which occurs throughout Scripture. He is “the Rock” for all God's people, whether in Old Testament or New Testament times (10:4).

The Last Adam. The first man, Adam, was created by the Lord as a living soul, but he soon forfeited life; “the Last Adam” is a life giving Spirit, since eternal life flows through Him to every believer (15:45).

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