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Bible Dictionaries

Holman Bible Dictionary

Son of God

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Term used to express the deity of Jesus of Nazareth as the one, unique Son of God. In the Old Testament, certain men and angels (Genesis 6:1-4; Psalm 29:1; Psalm 82:6; Psalm 89:6 ) are called “sons of God” (note text notes in modern translations). The people of Israel were corporately considered the son of God (Exodus 4:22; Jeremiah 31:20; Hosea 11:1 ). The concept also is employed in the Old Testament with reference to the king as God's son (Psalm 2:7 ). The promises found in the Davidic covenant (2 Samuel 7:14 ) are the source for this special filial relationship. The title can be found occasionally in intertestamental implications (Wisd. of Sol. 2Samuel 2:16,2 Samuel 2:18; 4 Ezra 7:28-29; 13:32,37,52; 14:9; Book of Enoch 105:2).

Jesus' own assertions and intimations indicate that references to Him as Son of God can be traced to Jesus Himself. At the center of Jesus' identity in the Fourth Gospel is His divine sonship (John 10:36 ). Jesus conceived of His divine sonship as unique as indicated by such assertions as “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30 NIV) and the “Father is in me and I am in the Father” ( John 10:38 NRSV). Elsewhere, He frequently referred to God as “my Father” ( John 5:17; John 6:32; John 8:54; John 10:18; John 15:15; Matthew 7:21; Matthew 10:32-33; Matthew 20:23; Matthew 26:29 ,Matthew 26:29,26:53; Mark 8:38; Luke 2:49; Luke 10:21-22 ).

At Jesus' baptism and transfiguration, God the Father identified Jesus as His son, in passages reflecting Psalm 2:7 . He was identified as Son of God by an angel prior to His birth (Luke 1:32 ,Luke 1:32,1:35 ); by Satan at His temptation (Matthew 4:3 ,Matthew 4:3,4:6 ); by John the Baptist (John 1:34 ); by the centurion at the crucifixion (Matthew 27:54 ). Several of His followers ascribed to Him this title in various contexts (Matthew 14:33; Matthew 16:16; John 1:49; John 11:27 ).

The term Son of God reveals Jesus' divine sonship and is closely associated with His royal position as Messiah. Gabriel told Mary that her Son would not only be called the Son of God, but would also reign on the messianic (David's) throne (Luke 1:32-33 ). The connection of Son of God with Jesus' royal office is also found in John (Luke 1:49; Luke 11:27; Luke 20:30 ), in Paul (Romans 1:3-4; 1 Corinthians 15:28; Colossians 1:13 ), and in Luke (Acts 9:20-22 ).

Primarily, the title Son of God affirms Jesus' deity evidenced by His person and His work. John emphasized Jesus' personal relationship to the Father. Paul stressed the salvation that Jesus provided (Romans 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:10 ), and the author of Hebrews focused on Jesus' priesthood (1 Thessalonians 5:5 ). All of these are vitally related to His position as Son of God.

David S. Dockery

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Son of God'. Holman Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hbd/s/son-of-god.html. 1991.

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