Apr 20, 2015

The Titles of Christ in 1 John

Some time back I posted an extended quote from an article by Stewart Custer entitled “The Theology of First Corinthians” looking at the titles of Christ used in 1 Corinthians (see here). I thought I would post another article by Custer on the titles of Christ in 1 John (Biblical Viewpoint 5 [1971]: 45-46).
Son of God. This title, familiar from John's Gospel, occurs seven times in the First Epistle (3:8; 4:15; 5:5, 10, 12, 13, 20). The different combinations with “Son” occur twenty-two times in this Epistle, making this the predominant title for Christ.

His Son. This title, meaning “God's Son,” occurs six times (2:22, 23 (2 times), 24; 4:14; 5:12).

His only begotton Son. Although this title occurs only once (4:9), it is extremely important because the title cannot refer to-the incarnation. He was already “His only begotten Son” when God the Father sent Him into the world; therefore the title must refer to the eternal generation of the Son. “Only begotten” is the only proper translation for monogenes in this passage. This meaning is no doubt the correct one in John 3:16.

Jesus. “Jesus” occurs alone six times in 1 John (1:7; 2:22; 4:3, 15; 51, 5); it occurs in combination with “Christ” another six times (1:3; 2:1; 3:23; 4:2; 5:6, 20).

Christ. This occurs eight times. In addition to the combination “Jesus Christ,” it occurs twice in the phrase “the Christ” (2:22; 5:1).

The Word of life. Although some expositors take this title to be impersonal, referring to God’s Revelation, most conservatives believe the ultimate reference to be to Christ, God's final revelation who gives life. The only occurrence is in 1:1.

Advocate. John states once in The Epistle that we have “an Advocate” with the Father (2:1). This is the title parakletos which means “one called alongside to help.” The same title is applied to the Holy Spirit, “another Comforter” (John 14:16–17).

The Savior of the world. The Father sent the Son to be “the Savior of the world” (4:14).

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