An update on my Bible study group's Christology study

On December 19, the small group Bible study I lead completed what turned out to be a 110 session, nearly 2-1/2 year review of the New Testament's witness as to the question of whether Jesus was God. In total, we examined approximately 450 passages comprising more than 40% of all the verses of the NT.

The concluding session of our NT review on Sunday contained something of a mid-season assessment of our discoveries to-date (we'll launch a review of 125-150 OT passages in January). The consensus view of those present distinguished between Jesus the human being and Jesus the resurrected, glorified one who sits at the right hand of God. No one believed the NT teaches that Jesus was God while on earth. Instead, group members said, the NT makes a clear distinction between God and the person Jesus through whom God worked.

On the other side of the resurrection Jesus was no longer a human being, but rather the one raised by God to a unique and eternal position of authority. Even in such exalted state, however, according to the mid-season view of group members, Jesus wasn't God's equal, but rather one elevated above everyone and everything other than God.

Study participants expressed unresolved questions after their first 110 hours of discussion - for example, about the verses and passages in the NT that declare the pre-existence of Jesus - and welcomed such an inconclusive status. In fact, throughout our journey I've quasi-demanded that the group not reach any definitive conclusions about our core question until we've completed our biblical review. Hence, yesterday's observations were clearly interim, not final, in nature.

The group member who came into the study with Christological views most inline with Trinitarian theology voiced the most obvious change of position. In the early months of our study, he spoke clearly and with authenticity about Jesus as God. He now believes Jesus was not God, but was a human on earth, but also (somehow) the one through whom God created everything (the pre-existence material) and the one who now reigns with God, just below God in eternal authority.

You might want to credit/blame me as the group's leader and the church's pastor for both that gentleman's change of views and the group's consensus opinion. The truth is not once have I declared to the group my views on the question, I have assiduously avoided drawing broad conclusions from the texts we've reviewed, and I have made every effort to point out the verses/passages the various sides of the debate rely on to support their views. Hence, the biblical text and our group's very active discussion of it have most affected his views, not I.

You may strongly disagree with my Christology; if you do, I respect your views and celebrate the faith that undergirds them. But I hope you will celebrate with me the good news of a group of lay Christians investing 2-1/2 years of study (so far) in intentional Bible study on such a specific and profound matter.

I will soon post a link to the OT texts we will review in the next phase of our study. Thanks again to those who responded in another thread to my request for suggested texts.


  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 2,627

    I have now posted to our church's website both the citations to and the NLT content of the 138 Old Testament passages our Sunday group Bible study will examine when it resumes its journey on January 9. If you're interested, you can view/download the PDFs (two pages and 47 pages respectively) from our downloads page, found HERE.

    As I told the group in an email to them announcing the release of the two documents,

    • The fact that a given text is on the list does NOT necessarily mean I think that text is helpful, or even relevant, to our study. I created the list by combing through resources I found online and via my Logos installation. When somebody claimed that an OT text had something to do with Jesus, I added it to the list. NOT because I agreed with the person, but because I want us to examine as much of the relevant material in the OT as possible, and I'm willing to use our time to look at passages that aren't useful if in the process we also catch more of the passages that are useful. Kind of like casting a net to catch fish knowing that you might also catch some non-fish items.
    • The fact that a given text is not on the list does NOT necessarily mean that text is not relevant. I'm quite confident that I missed more than a few relevant OT texts. Not intentionally! But I'm sure I missed some. Perhaps we'll catch some of the overlooked ones along the way, perhaps not. But by the time we finish with the 138 passages listed, we'll have a much greater than average understanding of the OT's contribution to the who was Jesus debate.  

  • TruthTruth Posts: 521
    edited December 2021

    Not sure how many are in your group. I think Jonestown reached over 900.

    Jonestown started near you in Indianapolis as a Bible study for enlightenment in which most participants appeared to reach the same or newly the same conclusion, leading to death. Jonestown took something like 20 years to reach destruction, though 1/10 that time might have been enough; more time produced bigger numbers. Curiously, that group also had an affinity for liberal and socialist political issues.

    Jonestown didn’t end well. Such ventures never do.

    Nevertheless, it is better that only the body should die than that the soul should die and be cast into eternal Hell.

  • Who comes (rides) on the clouds ?

    Logos Bible Search (come OR ride) NEAR clouds

    Jesus in human flesh did not need to convince other humans about Jesus being human, but Jewish Rabbi Jesus did need to prove what spiritually dwelt inside His Holy human body (spiritually different than all other humans on earth). Daniel 7 is written in Aramaic (Daniel 8 is written in Hebrew, like most of the old covenant). Ezekiel has phrase "son of man" spoken by יהוה Lord to Ezekiel (in Hebrew), but not "the son of man".

    Logos Bible Search (a OR the) BEFORE 1 WORD "son of man" finds Daniel 7:13 along with New Testament references to Daniel 7:13

    What does the phrase "the Son of Man" mean ?

    Philippians 2:5-11 LEB (with Hebrew words usually translated by Jewish scholars in LXX: יהוה as Lord & אלהים as God) => Think this in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of אלהים God, did not consider being equal with אלהים God something to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking the form of a slave, by becoming in the likeness of people. And being found in appearance like a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, that is, death on a cross. Therefore also אלהים God exalted him and graciously granted him the name above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven and of those on earth and of those under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is יהוה Lord, to the glory of אלהים God the Father.

    Who is יהוה Lord Jesus ?

    Keep Smiling 😊

  • the_MadJwthe_MadJw Posts: 56

    How ridiculous!

    Reading coprolite into the scriptures!

    Do you REALLY believe that Jesus taught THAT?


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