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he was not content to register phenomena, but
must seek for their relations and their causes, and
that he constantly referred details to their correla-
tive principles. That he was moved to this by
the impulse of a practical demand rather than
of an intellectual necessity is plainly suggested by
what we can gather concerning his ' missionary
preaching.' The Epistles to the Thessalonians
furnish evidence as to its comparatively elementary
character up till A.D. 52. And it is within the
last ten years of his life that we are to place those
Epistles in which his distinctive theological ideas
are developed and exposed, within six of these last
ten years that we place the great group of Epistles
in which they find their classical and all but final
expression. Everything points to the fact that the
specifically Pauline combinations or inferences were
due to the stimulus of specific situations or to the
demands created by definite opposition. St. Paul's
mind ' is logical enough when his spiritual experience
demands it, but a large part of his affirmations
regarding the religious life and destiny of men is
thrown off, as occasion prompts, in vague hints, in
outbursts of intense spiritual emotion, in pictures
set within the framework of his inherited training,
in arguments devised to meet the needs of a par-
ticular church or a particular group of converts '
(H. A. A. Kennedy, St. Paul's Conceptions of the
Last Things, 1904, p. 22). It is impossible to separ-
ate the practical and ethical from the doctrinal, in
the interests of the Apostle ; and only imperfect
success can attend any attempt to study Pauline con-
ceptions by isolating their intellectual expression.

(1) SOURCES FOR PAULINISM. -For our informa-
tion regarding the thought and teaching of the
Apostle we are almost wholly dependent on his own
letters. From the Acts we learn the details of his
convers/on, the course and method of his missionary
activity, but concerning his teaching only what
may be gathered with caution from his speeches
reported there. The Letters are conveniently
divided into four groups.

(a) The Epistles to the Thessalonians, written
from Corinth some twenty years after his conver-
sion, in which we have an echo and some record of
that mission-preaching which had been the task of
St. Paul's life since that event, (b) The Epistle to
the Galatians may possibly be earlier still, though
by most authorities it is grouped with those to the
Romans and the Corinthians, written some five
years later, in which we find the Apostle at the
height of his intellectual energy, stimulated to the
discovery and enunciation alike of the relations
and of the foundations of those truths which had
formed the centre of his gospel, (c) A third group,
commonly known as the Epistles of the Imprison-
ment those to the ' Ephesians,' the Colossians,
and the Philippians belongs probably to A.D. 62-
63, and shows the Apostle responding to hostile
stimulus of a different kind, and carrying yet
further certain of the lines of thought laid, down in
earlier Epistles, (d) There is a fourth group of
Epistles, that known as the ' Pastorals,' addressed
to Timothy and Titus, written, if they were written
by St. Paul, after he had been released from hia
imprisonment. The much-disputed question of
their authenticity is hardly material to our present
purpose, seeing that the Pastorals have little addi-
tional to contribute to Pauline Christology. When
Christ is referred to as the ' one mediator between
God and man, the man Christ Jesus ' (1 Ti 2 s ), He
is presented under an aspect which does not appear
in St. Paul, though it does in the Epistle to the
Hebrews ; but in general the Christology of the
Pastorals is important rather as a criterion of



their authorship than as adding material for the
Pauline Cliristology.

The convictions of St. Paul regarding Christ
began at the same point as those of the primitive
community. Through a like experience of Jesus
as Living, Risen, and Glorified, he was seized by
the conviction that He was the Messiah. In his
case, however, the personal recollection of what
Jesus had been and taught, of the Messianic claim
made by Him and for Him, was replaced by the
testimony of those disciples who had already be-
lieved on Him, and had sealed their belief by stead-
fastness under persecution. That doubtless gave the
content of St. Paul's belief ; what created it was
the vision of Christ as risen : ' last of all he was
seen of me also' (1 Co 15 s ). To St. Paul also, as
to the earlier disciples, came the gift of the Spirit
(Ac 9 17 ). And ' straightway in the synagogues he
proclaimed Jesus, that he is the Son of God ' (9 20 ),
i.e. that He is the Messiah, the phrase having still
its Messianic significance (cf. Jn I 49 ), and finding its
equivalent in v. 22 ' proving that this is the Christ.'
It was in the Scriptures of the OT that he too
sought for the proof (Ac 18 28 ), as also for proof of
the further affirmation that it behoved the Christ
to suffer (17 3 ). Like Peter and like Stephen, but
by a different series of steps, he traces the history
of Israel down to the manifestation of Jesus (13 17ff- ).
He preached to Jews and Greeks alike ' that they
should repent and turn to God, doing works worthy
of repentance ' (26 20 ) ; moreover, he also connected
the promise of forgiveness with the revelation of
Christ (13 38 ), and recognized in Jesus One whom
God had ' appointed to judge the world in righteous-
ness' (17 31 ). And to this Exalted Christ St. Paul
also in the Acts gives the pregnant title Ktfpios.
This is specially significant in his speech to the
Elders at Miletus, in which there is a note of
personal attachment and devotion to the One he
there describes (20 19 - 21 - M - 32 - K ) which is not struck
elsewhere in the Acts, common as the title itself
is throughout. This prepares us for the evidence
of the Thessalonian Epistles, and for the subse-
quent development of the implication of the name.
There is thus scattered up and down the later
chapters of Acts evidence as to the character of St.
Paul's preaching, which suggests that it included
the same elements as are found in that of the Jeru-
salem Church ; and there is so far no reason to
suppose that it contained any elements peculiar to
himself, with the one important exception that he
claimed for the Gentile as Gentile, and not as Gen-
tile become Jew, the full privileges of Christian
salvation. And again this corresponds with what
may be gathered from the Thessalonian Epistles.

ONIANS. These Epistles are too commonly studied
almost exclusively for the light they throw on
Pauline eschatology ; but it is to be observed that
the directly eschatological passage occupies only one-
seventh of the First Letter, while before it is reached
the letter has passed what looks like an intended
close (1 Th 3 11 ' 13 ), and in the earlier portion the re-
ferences to the Parousia are brief and wanting in
elaboration. Nor are the proportion and emphasis
very different in the Second Epistle.

The really striking feature of these Epistles is
the equal emphasis on Christ the Lord and God
the Father as severally and jointly the source of
all Christian experience, ana the ground of all
Christian hope. In the opening verse of each
Epistle, Christ and the Father are combined as the
sphere in which the Church at Thessalonica has
its being. In 1 Th 3 11 the words ' our God and
Father and our Lord Jesus Christ ' appear as the
subject of a verb in the singular number, express-
ing a prayer that the Apostle may be guided on
his way (cf. 2 Th 2 16 ). It is from Christ no less

than from God that the Apostle claims to have
received his commission ( 1 Th 2), and it is ' through
the Lord Jesus ' that he utters his precepts ( 1 Th
4 1 [cf. 5], 2 Th 3 6 - 12 ). And though Christ is not
in these Epistles directly referred to as Judge, it
is implied that in the work of Judgment the Son
will also have a part (1 Th 3 13 4 6 5 J , 2 Th I 7 2 8 ).

It will be already plain that 6 Ktf/uoj is the con-
stantly recurring description of Christ ; but, more
than that, it is used only of Him. For the phrase
consecrated by OT usage, ' the Lord God,' St. Paul
has in fact substituted 'God the Father and the
Lord.' The usage of various names for Christ in
these Epistles has been examined by G. Milligan
(St. Paul's Epp. to Thess., 1908, p. 135) with the
following results. The human name ' Jesus ' by
itself is found only twice (1 Th I 10 4 14 ). The name
' Christ ' standing alone is also comparatively rare,
occurring four times ('apostles of Christ,' 'gospel
of Christ,' 'dead in Christ,' 'patience in Christ').
The combination ' Christ Jesus ' denoting the
Saviour alike in His official and in His personal
character, the use of which in the NT is confined to
St. Paul, occurs twice. On the other hand, Kfytoj
occurs twenty-two times in all, eight times with,
and fourteen times without, the article. The fact
that nearly two-thirds of these instances are anar-
throus shows how completely the word was al-
ready accepted as a proper name, and appropriated
to Christ.

It is consistent with the significance we have
assigned to this use of Ktfpioj that the phrase i)
ijpepa. TOV Kvplov, which in the OT means ' the Day
of Jahweh,' is employed here without hesitation
and without explanation to describe the day of
Christ's return in judgment (1 Th 5 2 ; cf. 2 Th 2 2 ).
Of like significance are the parallel use and the
interchange of ' God ' and ' Lord,' e.g. 1 Th S 23
'the God of peace himself,' and 2 Th 3 16 'the
Lord of peace himself ' ; 1 Th I 4 ' brethren beloved
of God,' and 2 Th 2 13 ' brethren beloved of the
Lord.' These phenomena are the more remark-
able inasmuch as they occur in Epistles which
otherwise are distinguished for an unusually per-
sistent expression of what may be called ' God-
consciousness.' It is not so much a doctrine con-
cerning God that forces itself on the attention, as
a habit of referring everything to ' God.' It is
God who has called the Thessalonians (1 Th 2 12 ),
the gospel of God that they have received (2 2 ), to
God that they have turned from idols (I 9 ), faith
toward God that they show (I 8 ). It is God whose
love they experience (I 4 ), whose rule is their
supreme authority (4 s 5 18 ), who gives them the
Holy Spirit (4 8 ), who is to sanctify them wholly
(S 23 ), who is to bring again the dead (4 14 ). All
these references (and they are not exhaustive) are
in the First Epistle ; and further illustration of
the same characteristic is furnished by the Second.

It is, therefore, in letters which at the same
time testify so continuously and so emphatically
to the unchallenged monotheism of the Apostle
that we find equally striking evidence that even
at this stage he assigned to Christ rank, dignity,
authority, and sovereign importance for religion,
such as are surpassed in none of his later writings.
And yet it cannot be said that in any essential
particular these Epistles carry us beyond the
Christology of the pre- Pauline Church. The fact
is that all, or nearly all, that St. Paul ever taught
concerning the Person of Christ is involved in His
' Lordship.'

' The confession of Christ's Lordship is the confession of His
Divinity. There is no doubt that to Paul and the mass of
believers the Man Christ Jesus, Risen and Exalted, . . . was
the object of worship. _ In Him they saw God manifested in a
human form. In His influence upon them they perceived the
influence of the Spirit of God. Of His Divine power they had
the most convincing evidence in the consciousness of the new



life, with the moral strength it imparted, which He had
quickened within them. . . . The ease and naturalness with
which Paul passes from the thought of God to that of Christ
shows that he knew of no other Uod save the God who was one
with Christ and Christ with Him, that in turning in faith and
prayer to Christ he was conscious he was drawing near to God
in the truest way, and that in calling: on God he was calling on
Christ, in whom alone God was accessible to men" (D. Somer-
ville, St. Paul's Conception of Christ, 1897, p. 145 and 144 n.).

This is possibly to anticipate the results of the
examination of the other Epistles, but only in
details. The central fact of Pauline Christology
is already evident in the Epistles to the Thessa-
lonians, viz. that while betraying no sign that his
monotheism is in danger, or that his way of inter-
preting it is either singular or calling for defence,
lie gives to the Exalted Man, Christ Jesus, the
value and many of the attributes of God.

A Messiah who is Messiah and more, One whose
function it is to save from the wrath that is im-
pending, but One to be in relation with whom is
to have found already the basis of new life in an
ethical sense, the condition of a new relation to
God, and One who therefore draws to Himself
faith, obedience, worship that is in briefest form
St. Paul's conception of Christ as set forth in
these Epistles. In subsequent letters St. Paul
analyzes tne relation of Christ to God and of
Christ to mankind, which this conception involves ;
but nothing can justify the suggestion that this
central conception was built up, as it were, out of
the elements into which it could subsequently be
resolved. It was one which reached St. Paul
whole and complete at the crisis of his conversion.
That there was some preparation, psychological
and even intellectual, for that transforming ex-
perience is quite possible, though St. Paul himself
would probably nave denied it. But that it can
be accounted for merely as the result of any sub-
jective process is a suggestion quite irreconcilable
with the evidence. We have the concurrent testi-
mony of St. Paul himself (Gal I 18 * ; cf. 2 Co 4)
that at the moment of his conversion he was
aflame with persecuting zeal against those who
believed in Jesus as Messiah, and of Acts (8 3 9 lff -),
that the martyrdom of Stephen was followed by
an outburst of calculated fury against the Chris-
tian heretics. And the revelation of the Risen
Christ resulted in something more than the mere
reversal of Saul's opinion regarding Jesus, and the
confession that He was indeed the Messiah ; it re-
sulted in a conversion of the whole man so com-
plete that the change of opinion which was its in-
tellectual expression was of secondary importance.
There was an ethical change which demands for
its explanation a religious as well as an intellectual
revolution ; and the explanation is that from the
time of his conversion St. Paul found in Jesus not
only X/5wr<5s but Ktfptos.

The proof of this ethical change lies in his sub-
sequent life and in all his Epistles. It is seen
alike in the ideals which he inculcates and in
the degree in which he himself approximates to
these ideals. And he asserts the closest causal
connexion between the qualities of this new life,
life of this quality, and Christ, so that the ethical
experience of himself and his fellow-believers has
contributed largely to his Christology. Already
in 1 Thess. (P) we find the triad of Christian
virtues faith, love, and hope recognized as being
the natural fruit of being ' in Christ ' ; and Christ
as the active source of 'increase' in that love
wherewith they have been ' taught of God ' to love
one another (1 Th 3 12 4 fl ). In 1 Th 5 we have the
picture of a Christian community wherein this
' love ' was to be operative in curbing the unruly,
in comforting those of little spirit, in supporting
the weak, in showing longsuffering towards all ;
where men were to abstain from every form of

evil, and to hold fast T& Ka\6v. These and other
ethical ideals for the common life receive their
sanction in the conviction that, as Christians,
men belong ' not to the night ' but ' to the day '
(5 5 - 8 ), i.e. in a certain sense they are already living
in the light of the world to come. And within
this series of precepts lies one which more than
anything else reveals the power over human nature
which St. Paul assigns to faith in Christ. ' At all
times be joyful ; pray without ceasing ; in every
circumstance give thanks. For this is what God
makes known to you in Jesus Christ as his will.'
A trust in God which would enable men to accept
everything which came to them as part of a
Father's will, and so enable them in every circum-
stance to be thankful, to be free from care how-
ever this reached St. Paul as part of the new ideal,
it testifies to an ethical harmony between him and
Jesus. St. Paul's explanation of it would be, ' It
pleased God to reveal His Son in me ' ; and again
the ethical experience must be taken into account
in the development of his Christology.

This may conveniently be studied under three
aspects, according as it bears upon the conception
of Christ : (a) as He now is, in glory ; (b) as He
was upon earth ; (c) as He had been before coming
to earth.

A. The glorified Christ. St. Paul's faith was in
a living Christ, a Being who was continuously
active in and on behalf of those who had been re-
deemed to God through Him, whether they were
regarded as individuals or as a corporate whole.
Accordingly, it is only natural that his thought
dwells preponderatingly on various aspects and
activities of Christ as He is now, in ' glory ' and
in the Church ; but along with this there goes al-
ways the recollection, whether tacit or expressed,
of what had preceded the glory, viz. the death,
and the manifestation in earthly life.

The four Epistles of the second group (Gal.
Rom., 1 and 2 Cor.) in the first place give greater
definiteness to the ' Lordship ' of Christ as the
central fact to be grasped and acknowledged by
men. The necessary but sufficient condition for
being reckoned a Christian was the sincere ac-
knowledgment of the religious relation to Christ
involved in confessing Him as 'Lord.' 'Believe
on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved '
had been St. Paul's word to the jailer of Philippi ;
and in Ro lO 8 ^ the same principle is laid down
and expanded. The 'word,' which in the mouth
of Moses (Dt 30 14 ) stood for the Mosaic Law, is
now represented by the gospel, the word of faith
proclaimed by the apostles. And as accepted and
openly acknowledged by those who believe that
God raised Jesus from the dead, it takes this form,
' Jesus is Lord ' ; and this acknowledgment is the
external condition of salvation. In the same con-
text St. Paul shows why this is so all-important.
He appeals to two passages of the OT, in each of
which the original reference is to Jahweh ('who-
soever believeth on him shall not be ashamed,'
from Is 28 16 , and ' whosoever shall call upon the
name of the Lord shall be saved,' from Jl 2 32 ) ; but
he predicates them of the Lord Jesus. Nothing
could show more simply or more completely the
place which the Risen Jesus had taken in the
religious consciousness of the Church. The hom-
age, the prayer, the dependence which were due
to God were due to Him ; and the protection, the
security, the salvation which were to be looked
for from God might be claimed at His hand. In
like manner, according to 1 Co 12 3 ( ' no one is able
to say that Jesus is Lord but by the Holy Spirit '),
this acknowledgment is traced to the Spirit's in-
spiration and is offered as a test whereby the in-
spiration of a speaker maybe ascertained. A - J




in Ph 2 9 - " in all probability it is this name of
' Lord ' which the Apostle describes as the ' name
above every name, the bestowal of which upon
Jesus at His Exaltation involved His right to the
homage of all created beings. St. Paul here ex-
presses his consciousness of the wonder of what
he believes to be the fact that God has bestowed
on Jesus His own glorious name, that whereby
He had so long been known and addressed by the
Jews, who shrank from pronouncing ' Jahweh ' (cf.
Ac 2 s6 ; and W. Lueken ad loe. in Schriften des
NT, ii. [1908] 379).

(a) Son of God. If St. Paul thus connects our
Lord's entry on the title and dignity of Kvpios with
His Resurrection and Exaltation, does he do the
same in reference to His status as Son of God?
The governing passage is in Ro I 4 rov opiffdtvros vlov
6eov tv Kara irvevfM ayiw<rvvris ^ dvacrrdfrews
veKpdv ' declared (or installed) Son of God with
power according to the spirit of holiness in virtue
of resurrection from the dead.' The emphasis is
probably on the words ' with power.' As yevdpevos
K ffirtp/MTos Aafttd, Jesus had been X/HO-TOJ KOT& <rdpKa
and vlbs Oeov in the Messianic sense, and was
crucified <: affdevdas (2 Co 13 4 ). But after and in
consequence of the Resurrection, He has entered
on the status of Son of God in an exalted form, set
free from 'the likeness of (weak and) sinful flesh,'
He has been promulgated as ' in power.' This open
acknowledgment of His true character was ' in ac-
cordance with his spirit of holiness.'

' The Resurrection was to Paul the disclosure of the nature of
Christ. It was not, only the crowning stage in the development
of the Life that had been lived on earth, its natural consumma-
tion, but as such it was also the revelation of the inner nature
of Christ and of the forces of His personal life that were con-
cealed, as well as hindered in their proper exercise on others,
as long as He was in the flesh ' (Somerville, op. cit. p. 17 ; see,
further, below).

In three other passages St. Paul refers to Christ
as ' the Son of God ' (Gal 2 20 , 2 Co I 19 , Eph 4 13 ). In
others again he speaks of Christ as ' the Son ' (1 Co
15 28 ) or 'his Son' (Ro I 8 - 9 5 10 , 1 Co I 9 , Gal 4 4 ).
Some of these passages may still refer to the
Messianic Sonship; but others more probably
belong to another class, of which Ro 8 3< 32 (rbv
favrov vlbv ir4fj.\l/as rov tdiov vlov OVK (pelo~a.To) and
Col I 13 (rod vlov Tfy dydiri]? avrov) furnish the clearest
examples. In these passages the conception of
Christ's Sonship has passed over into a conception
other and deeper than the official Messianic one ;
and it seems to involve a 'community of nature
between the Father and the Son' (Sanday-Headlam,
ad loc.), and a relationship independent of any
historical experience. At this point, therefore, St.
Paul does advance beyond any position which is
attested for the primitive community. It is useless
as well as needless to raise any question as to
whether he conceived the relation metaphysically
or otherwise. St. Paul is content to recognize it
as intimate, personal, unique. ' It is clear that in
the scale of being the son is the one who in origin
and nature is nearest to God' (J. Weiss, Christ,
p. 66).

This deeper conception of the Sonship is borne
out by the frequent and spontaneous use of the
name 'Father' for God. The full name for God
in the Church of the NT is 'the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ' (e.g. Ro 15 6 , 2 Co II 31 ,
Eph I 3 3 14 , Col I s , 1 P I 8 ). And as such He is
described absolutely as 6 irarrip, and known experi-
mentally by those who have in their hearts the
Spirit 'whereby we cry Abba, Father' (Ro 8 18 ).
All this circle of ideas testifies to the recognition
of a Sonship not only in the sense in which it was
equivalent to Messiahship, but in the sense of a
relationship which is intrinsic and unique.

It is quite unnecessary to go far afield to find
the source from which St. Paul derived this con-

ception of Christ's Sonship. It is attested by the
Synoptic Gospels as an element in the self-con-
sciousness of Jesus. There is nothing to suggest
that it was a discovery or a conclusion due to St.
Paul. As J. Weiss says :

'Paul shows no trace of uneasiness nor gives any hint of a
tradition as to how the relation of sonship arose or what its
actual significance was. When in Col I 15 he speaks of Christ as
the first-born of all creatures, we must not by any means con-
clude that Paul had in mind a begetting or birth, or any special
creative act. But neither is there in a single syllable any sug-
gestion of an emanation in the sense of the later Gnosticism, or
an election. It is significant that Paul does not feel the least
need to account for the existence of this Son of God by any
story of creation or birth, i.e. by what the Science of Religion
calls "Myth"' (Christ, p. 69 f.).

This means that neither intellectual construction
nor speculation gave rise to the conception. It

Online LibraryJames HastingsDictionary of the apostolic church (Volume 1) → online text (page 61 of 234)