I wish to acknowledge that much of this work came from “DERICKSON’S NOTES ON THEOLOGY A STUDY BOOK IN THEOLOGY” by Stanley L. Derickson. I have in most instances reduced it down to the basic summaries for each section of Christology due to the lack of space needed to reproduce this very excellent work. However, I am providing within this site a downloadable PDF version of the Chapter on Christology from the title above so that you can continue your studies within Christology.
There are many excellent writers, which have written many great articles and books on the subject of Christology. I am not going to use this site to try and prove that I can out perform them or reveal anything that has never been covered before. This site is simple dedicated to bringing forth a summation of the most critical points of Christology to those that wish to learn.
Very simply put Christology is a study of all that pertains to Jesus Christ our Lord. Christology is a sub branch of Soteriology (the doctrine of salvation through the work of Christ and the Holy Spirit). Although most people would logically place Soteriology as a sub branch of Christology in reality the opposite is true. From the beginning God had ordained the redemption of mankind which was long before Christ came to finalize/secure mankind’s redemption; through which the belief in Jesus’ saving role led to claims about who he was. From Genesis 1:1 until the last Amen in Revelation 22:21 the most important theme throughout the scripture is Jesus the Messiah in either His person or His work. No other subject has been given more complete coverage, and yet, it is not even half told thereby giving greater reason to study Christ.
From the beginning it must be kept in mind that the doctrine of Jesus Christ cannot be learned by simply learning everything through constant studying of facts; it has to be through revelation to the spirit of man. God does not seek to teach us through the scripture about Christ but to reveal His Son in us. Galatians 1:12 - For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. - 1:16 - To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
THE IMPORTANCE OF STUDYING CHRIST:
1. Christ Is The Center Of History. Our calendars reflect his presence on earth. The entire dating system of the western world centers on the appearance of the Lord in man’s history. Most countries celebrate His birth. Even though it is tied up with Santa Claus and commercialism, it is the birth of Jesus that is celebrated. Even if we were to reject His claims to deity, if the man was this important we ought to at least study Him from a natural curiosity as to his power over history.
Bancroft mentions in his Elemental Theology: “Jesus Christ is the central figure of the World’s history. The world cannot forget Him while it remembers history, for history is His story. To leave Him out would be like astronomy without stars, or like botany with the flowers forgotten. Horace Bushnell said, ‘It would be easier to untwist all the beams of light in the sky and to separate and erase one of the primary colors, than to get the character of Jesus out of the world.’
2. Christ Is The Center Of Our Life. If we are to follow His example we must know why He is a proper example, and then know His life so we can imitate Him. (1 John 2:6; 1 Peter 2:21ff) Man naturally seeks a model to pattern himself after. The model changes over time, and it is the believer’s responsibility to teach and preach the idea that Christ is the only person after whom believer should pattern his life after.
3. Christ Is The Center Of The Bible. All of Scripture deals with Him, His work on the cross and His future coming. He is seen from Genesis to Revelation. The Bible is called “Christocentric” because of this fact. The book of Genesis in 3:15 prophecies for the first time, the coming One that will take care of Satan. The book of Revelation ends with the Lord bringing to a close all that God had planned for mankind. Some references that relate to this thought: Matthew 5:17; Luke 24:27; Luke 27:44; John 5:39.
4. Christ Is To Be The Center Of Our Studies. We are told to grow in our knowledge of the Lord Jesus, and that this will bring glory to Him. The study will automatically, as we apply our learning, bring us into conformity with Him, and this will also bring glory to Him, for people will see Him in us rather than ourselves. 2 Peter 3:18
5. Christ Should Be The Center Of Our Revelation Of God. If we desire to know of God then we need to know of Christ. The Lord told the disciples that if they had seen Him they had seen the Father. We can know much of the character of God the Father if we study God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. John 14:9b; John 1:14.
6. Christ Should Be The Center Of Christianity. Christ is Christianity and Christianity is Christ. You can have all the religions of the world and their leaders, however if you remove their leaders, their religion can go on, indeed some have done so. Confucianism, Islam etc. Without Christ Christianity cannot exist.
There seems to be many in our land that are trying to usurp Christ and His position in Christianity. It seems that many are trying to see how little of Christ they can present and still call themselves a part of Christianity. The liberal spectrum relegate Him to a mere man that some of them hope existed, yet they still call themselves Christians. The term Christian comes from the thought of Christ being the leader of the follower. If they hope that he existed then shouldn’t their religion be Hopechristianity?
7. Christ Should Be The Center Of Our Message. If we are to refute the isms and cults of our day we must know the Christ of the Bible for there are many other Christs being presented today. There have been “Christs” that have come to complete the work that Jesus Christ our Lord supposedly failed to finish. Sun Myung Moon is one of these latter day LUNAtics that claims to be completing the work that the Lord had failed to accomplish.
II. THE PRE-EXISTENCE OF CHRIST:
Is the pre-existence of Christ of concern to us? Is it really important to our study of Christ? Most Certainly, for if He be not pre-existent then He be not God. If He be not God then we waste our time in this endeavor called Christianity. It should also be very clear that if Christ was not pre-existent then He was not God, and that He WAS a liar.
An associated question is this, “Is pre-existence the same as eternality?” No. He could have existed before His birth but only have existed since say, creation. Thus, he would not be an eternal being. This is not an acceptable line of thinking. He is eternal as God the Father and God the Holy Spirit are eternal. All three members of the Godhead have always existed in eternity past and will always exist eternity future. Eternality is not preexistence, however a denial of pre-existence almost always leads to the denial of eternality.
The following verses show both pre-existence and eternality.
1. John revealed this in the first chapter of his gospel. John 1:1.
2. Christ revealed this Himself. John 10:30; John 8:58; John 17:5, 24.
3. Paul revealed this. 1 Corinthians 10:4,9; Philippians 2:5-7; Colossians 1:17; (See also Matthew 23:37; John 3:13, 31; 8:42; 16:28-30; 2 Corinthians 8:9.)
CHRIST MINISTERED BEFORE HIS BIRTH:
1. He Participated In The Decrees: He undoubtedly participated in the decrees and the planning of the ages since He is God. It would be ludicrous to suggest that the Lord Jesus was not consulted in the plan of the ages since that plan hinged upon His obedience to the plan. The Father did not require the Son to manifest Himself to man, the Father did not require the Son to become flesh and blood, and the Father did not require that the Son should submit Himself to the death of the cross. Christ did it voluntarily in response to His own personal love for His creatures that were lost and damned to everlasting torment with the Devil.
2. He Created All Things: Colossians 1:16 says all that needs to be said on this subject so we will just quote it. “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers - all things were created by him, and for him;” (See also John 1:3; Hebrews 1:2)
3. He Sustains All Things: Not only did the Lord Jesus create all things but He maintains all things. He is in the position of guaranteeing that all of creation will continue on until the time of the consummation. Colossians 1:17
CHRIST SEEN IN THE OLD TESTAMENT IN RETROSPECT:
1. Genesis 3:15
2. Genesis 18:1-33
3. Exodus 40:38
4. Exodus 13:21
5. Exodus 33:9-23
6. Numbers 9:15
7. The Angel of the Lord: We will see in a future study that these appearances of God were the Angel of the Lord and that the Angel of the Lord is none other than Christ Himself in pre-incarnate appearances.
IV. PROPER NAMES
1. Jesus: The term Jesus is found in the Gospels around six hundred times, while in the rest of the New Testament about seventy times. It might be an interesting side light to mention that outside the Gospels the name Jesus is normally, in fact usually linked to other names of the Lord, such as Christ and Lord.
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Acts 2:36
Cambron mentions of the name Jesus, “Jesus is the personal name of the Lord. It is His earthly name, the name under which He was born, lived, and died. It is the name of His humiliation, of suffering, of sorrow. It is the name of the One who humbled Himself. The name Jesus, at the time of our Lord, was not uncommon; there were many who were named Jesus. Jesus is the Greek form for the Hebrew word Joshua, and both mean “Jehovah our Saviour.” This name, Jesus, was the one which was nailed over Him on the cross.”
2. Christ: Is an official name which points to the fact that He was, and is, the anointed one of Israel. Indeed the name Christ means the anointed one. The main distinction in the names is that Jesus was used before the cross and Christ was used after.
3. Messiah: The Hebrew term for anointed one is Messiah. The Old Testament always looked forward to the anointed one and now the New Testament reflects back upon the anointed one that came and completed the work that His first appearing required, yet still looks forward to the second appearing which will tie all plans for mankind together.
4. Lord: This is the New Testament equivalent of the Hebrew term Adonai or master. This is the term for Christ’s Deity.
5. Jesus Christ: Cambron mentions that this combination of terms sets forth His humanity but that He now is exulted, while the combination “Christ Jesus” depicts His present position contrasted with the fact that He was once humiliated.
6. Christ Jesus: This arrangement of the terms should lead the believer to realize that He is now exulted and that He once was humiliated, but that He now is fully and eternally exulted to His rightful place in Heaven.
7. The Lord Jesus Christ - Ephesians 1:3
8. I Am Exodus - 3:13-14; John 18:4-5
9. The Son Of God - Luke 1:35
10. The Son Of Man - Luke 9:58
11. Son Of Abraham - Matthew 1:1
12. Son Of David - Mark 10:47
13. Son Of The Highest - Luke 1:32
14. Second Man - 1 Corinthians 15:47
15. Last Adam - 1 Corinthians 15:45
16. The Word - John 1:1
17. Emmanuel - Matthew 1:23
18. Savior - Luke 2:11
19. Rabbi - John 1:38
20. Master - Matthew 9:11