What does the bible mean when it refers to Jesus Christ as the Son of God? There are varying opinions that have surfaced in the history of Christianity and the discussion continues even in our generation. Many theologians have written on the subject from the perspective of the Trinity and the purpose of the coming of the Son of God as well as the pre-existence of the Son. Few however have really delved into a biblical study of the usage of this title.
While many works tend to focus on the title “Son of God” in the grander view of the Trinity, D.A. Carson has given us this important book Jesus the Son of God: A Christological Title Often Overlooked, Sometimes Misunderstood, and Currently Disputed (To purchase in Moncton, please go here) focusing entirely on the title Son of God. The book was published by Crossway in 2012 and is approximately 108 pages in length spreadout into three chapters.
Carson begins the book with a survey of the shorter version of the term in the usage of “son of” in scripture. He points out that the term “son of” without a modifier generally refers to a biological son. With this in mind, this is not the only sense the title has. Carson explains that the title “son of” is used in a metaphorical sense as well (son of a bow, sons of thunder). It also takes on an indicative reference of who has trained an individual or a reference to your master (Son of the devil) or can even signify your trade (sons of the singers). Carson brings out that in this study that the term “son of” can also demonstrate the heir of a promise and it is not always biological. The Sons of Abraham were heirs by faith not by physical hereditary entitlement (Galatians 3:7). Carson has some really interesting information on the translation of the title “son of” and how in some modern translations it can sometimes be muddied with an over emphasis on a translational methodology called dynamic equivalency. This will become important in his argumentation in the 3rd chapter.