This is another in a series of excerpts from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” available through Amazon and other booksellers.
In the previous column, we explored the eyewitness testimony of John with respect to Jesus’ deity. Here, we briefly survey what Paul has to say about the matter.
Although Paul likely had no personal encounters with Jesus prior to the crucifixion, he meets Jesus in dramatic fashion on the road to Damascus after Christ’s resurrection (Acts 9:1-9). Paul’s conversion, testimony, and epistles bear evidence of his conviction that Jesus was, and is, divine. Here are just three examples:
Romans 9:5 – “The ancestors are theirs [the Israelites], and from them, by physical descent, came the Christ, who is God over all, praised forever. Amen.”
This text is significant for at least two reasons. First, it is the earliest New Testament writing that calls Jesus “God” (dating to about AD 57), less than thirty years after Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Second, the word “praised” (eulogetos) follows the word for God (theos) in the Greek text. This is unusual, for without exception in Scripture, a doxology places the word “praised” (or “blessed”) before the name of God. Here, Paul uses the reverse form, indicating that he intentionally equates Christ with God.