The doctrine of the Trinity attempts to describe how the one God is revealed as three distinct persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and yet is one substance. The language of Father and Son could be viewed as implying a hierarchy within the Trinity. In this paper I will outline the problems with this interpretation and the use of figurative language when describing the orthodox understanding of the Godhead. After briefly presenting the historical and theological background to the doctrine of the Trinity and describing three common heresies I will explain how the language used to describe God can be regarded are hierarchical, and briefly touch on the problems of using everyday human language to describe the transcendent Trinity.
‘And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us’ (John 1:14). Saint Athanasius of Alexandria (c.296–373) took this verse from the Gospel of John in order to unpack his Christology of the incarnation. In this essay I will examine the work of Athanasius in order to study the claim that ‘The Word became flesh.’ Athanasius argued that God ‘became man, and did not come into man.’ The implications of his conviction are firstly, only God could save humanity and secondly, the Word was fully divine. I will assess the implications of Athanasius’ arguments in his treatise ‘On the Incarnation’ with reference to some of his other works.
Different types of literature can be categorised by their form, style or content. This is known as genre. The meaning of the text is embedded within the genre. The Bible contains literature from a number of genres. After providing a description of genre, I will assess its role in biblical interpretation using a pericope from Mark’s Gospel to demonstrate how genre impacts reading and meaning. I will conclude with describing the effect that genre has on teaching from this text.
The Letter of Paul to the Colossians contains six verses which form a hymn or poem in praise of Christ. This Christ Hymn is a densely packed statement of Paul’s Christological monotheism. Christ is exalted as sovereign over creation, the church and new creation. The letter was written in response to the false philosophy that the church in Colossae was in danger of following.
In Romans 1-3, Paul writes to the Christians in Rome about a major theme in his theology, the righteousness of God which has been revealed through the gospel. In this passage Paul describes the universal sinfulness and guilt of humanity that results in the wrath of God, before beginning to reveal the solution – faith in Jesus the Messiah.
In his final prayer with his disciples, Jesus Christ prays for the mutual glorification of the Father and the Son. In John’s Gospel, Jesus is glorified when he is lifted up on the cross at his crucifixion. John employs a double meaning of lifted up throughout the Gospel, demonstrating that the crucifixion is also the exaltation of Jesus.