John 20:28, Thomas' Confession & "Lord"

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Homer
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John 20:28, Thomas' Confession & "Lord"

Post by Homer » Fri Sep 02, 2022 10:57 pm

John 20:28
New American Standard Bible 1995
28. Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”


I have been studying Thomas' confession recently. We have seen much discussion, as I recall, of the question of what Thomas meant when he used theos (God) in His confession. I do not recall much said about his use of kyrios (Lord) applied to Jesus.

Although the word kyrios has a wide range of meaning similar to our "sir" at one extreme to the meaning of YHWH (substituted for YHWH in the Septuagint) at the other. According to the article in Kittles' Theological Dictionary it was used in place of YHWH over 600 times in the Septuagint. After the resurrection Thomas makes his confession. It seems to me very unlikely that Thomas meant to address Jesus as sir; Thomas already acknowledged Jesus as Lord (kyrios) the prior to Jesus death and resurrection:

John 14:5
New American Standard Bible 1995
5. Thomas *said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?”


Certainly Thomas didn't mean only "sir" at that time; most likely, he used it in the sense of "master". It seems to me that Thomas' confession was an acknowledgement of Jesus' deity, going much beyond "master". And thus without a Trinitarian or at least binitarian understanding we are left with polytheism.

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darinhouston
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Re: John 20:28, Thomas' Confession & "Lord"

Post by darinhouston » Sat Sep 03, 2022 11:21 am

Homer wrote:
Fri Sep 02, 2022 10:57 pm
Certainly Thomas didn't mean only "sir" at that time; most likely, he used it in the sense of "master". It seems to me that Thomas' confession was an acknowledgement of Jesus' deity, going much beyond "master". And thus without a Trinitarian or at least binitarian understanding we are left with polytheism.
I think Master is clearly in the context and agree it's more than "sir" - but what is it about the particular textual context (which is all we have given the broad semantic range of kyrios) gives you that impression (setting aside presuppositions).

Next, if we get past that and come to the conclusion that it is in some aspect "deity" he has in mind, we have to discuss the breadth of deity - it doesn't need to be so much as the eternal co-existent co-equal being the would necessitate a "binity" or "trinity". Even Arius was convinced of Jesus' pre-existence and his deity.

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dizerner
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Re: John 20:28, Thomas' Confession & "Lord"

Post by dizerner » Sat Sep 03, 2022 1:41 pm

I think it's the fact that Jesus really lived a legitimate fully human life that makes people hesitate to accept his divine side.

With the doctrine of Functional Kenosis, we can see that Jesus can in reality live an actual human life and yet still be God.
~ Classical Arminian Christian Mystic ~

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dwight92070
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Re: John 20:28, Thomas' Confession & "Lord"

Post by dwight92070 » Sat Sep 03, 2022 3:19 pm

Also, there's more here than a particular textual context. Thomas had much history with His Lord Jesus. The things they heard and saw and touched with their hands - 1 John 1- had to play into his confession as well.

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Re: John 20:28, Thomas' Confession & "Lord"

Post by Otherness » Sat Sep 03, 2022 11:47 pm

darinhouston>>>Next, if we get past that and come to the conclusion that it is in some aspect "deity" he has in mind, we have to discuss the breadth of deity - it doesn't need to be so much as the eternal co-existent co-equal being the would necessitate a "binity" or "trinity". Even Arius was convinced of Jesus' pre-existence and his deity.<<<

Yes, the word “deity” brings a lot of baggage along with it when it is called upon to do its duty in “disputes” like this. However, we can strip it down to its purest form if we stipulate that deity, first, refers to Uncreated Being. For Trinitarians it is here, in Uncreated Being, that we first “find” Jesus, being the Word Who was (and was with) God, before He was made flesh.

All OTHER being is rightfully (and must be) recognized to be created being regardless of the height it reaches in its ultimate state (deification?).

There is only One Uncreated Being! That is, there is only One God, only One I AM. Created being really has no business referring to any other created being as “My Lord and My God.” Were Jesus not, in Nature and Essence, Uncreated Being He did all of us, and certainly God, a great “disservice” in not rebuking Thomas [for his (otherwise) blasphemy].

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dwight92070
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Re: John 20:28, Thomas' Confession & "Lord"

Post by dwight92070 » Mon Sep 05, 2022 3:49 pm

Exodus 20:2-5 - "I am the Lord your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol ... You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God ..."


Revelation 4:7-14 - "And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him Who sat on the throne. When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders FELL DOWN BEFORE THE LAMB, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

"And they sang a new song saying, 'WORTHY ARE YOU TO TAKE THE BOOK AND TO BREAK IT'S SEALS; FOR YOU WERE SLAIN, AND PURCHASED FOR GOD WITH YOUR BLOOD MEN FROM EVERY TRIBE AND TONGUE AND PEOPLE AND NATION. YOU HAVE MADE THEM TO BE A KINGDOM OF PRIESTS TO OUR GOD; AND THEY WILL REIGN UPON THE EARTH.'

"THEN I LOOKED, AND I HEARD THE VOICE OF MANY ANGELS AROUND THE THRONE AND THE LIVING CREATURES AND THE ELDERS; AND THE NUMBER OF THEM WAS MYRIADS OF MYRIADS, AND THOUSANDS OF THOUSANDS, SAYING WITH A LOUD VOICE, 'WORTHY IS THE LAMB THAT WAS SLAIN TO RECEIVE POWER AND RICHES AND WISDOM AND MIGHT AND HONOR AND GLORY AND BLESSING.'

"AND EVERY CREATED THING WHICH IS IN HEAVEN AND ON THE EARTH AND UNDER THE EARTH, AND ON THE SEA, AND ALL THINGS IN THEM, I HEARD SAYING, 'TO HIM WHO SITS ON THE THRONE AND TO THE LAMB, BE BLESSING AND HONOR AND GLORY AND DOMINION FOREVER AND EVER.'

"AND THE FOUR LIVING CREATURES KEPT SAYING, 'AMEN.' AND THE ELDERS FELL DOWN AND WORSHIPED."

If Someone receives equal praise, worship, laud, honor, and reverence from ALL the angels and ALL created beings, as God Himself - there can be only one explanation.

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jeremiah
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Re: John 20:28, Thomas' Confession & "Lord"

Post by jeremiah » Tue Sep 06, 2022 7:54 pm

I think you're right Homer. Thomas didn't mean anything like 'sir'. Are there any who assert this?

I think he was down on the "supreme ruler" end of the word's semantic domain. The only other humans likely to hear expressions like this at that time would be kings and emperors like Caesar himself. Beyond human emperors, God himself.

I don't know that precise phrase was uttered by Romans at the time, and am not claiming that it was. If it was though, that would be an interesting addition to the list of titles Jesus was given by his followers in direct subversion to the Roman Caesars' titles. I.e. Lord and saviour of the whole world & Prince of peace to name a couple.

I hope you all are well.
Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy: for thou renderest to every man according to his work.

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darinhouston
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Re: John 20:28, Thomas' Confession & "Lord"

Post by darinhouston » Wed Sep 07, 2022 9:11 am

I have been spending a fair amount of time researching the academic literature on this "confession" and there is a VERY robust and diverse conversation in academic circles on this passage, both grammatically and conceptually.

I am also taking a course in New Testament Greek and that is aiding my ability to review the literature considerably when it comes to grammatical issues. Though, as they say, "a little greek can be dangerous."

One particularly interesting discussion on this passage is grammatic - it is notable to me in those discussions that the passage does not say "the Lord and the God of me" which would be the most common greek way to convey that the two terms relate to the same person. Instead, it says "the Lord of me and the God of me" - it's seen as a clearly ambiguous statement by most academics no matter how you approach it.

Hermeneutically, John 14:1 is considered by many to be relevant to interpreting this passage (not translating, but interpreting - translation is pretty simple, interpretation not so much). John 14:1 says "Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me." Some believe Thomas' "confession" is in remembrance and response to this - that he was confessing both of those things -- he now believed -- but what he believed was in God and also in Jesus, just as Jesus had commanded him to.

Making this more difficult is that John's greek often leans grammatically on Hebrew constructions since some grammatical forms a Hebrew (like John) would express don't exist in greek. Bottom line is that we have to be very careful forming or even supporting doctrine not clearly in view in the passage from ambiguous passages like this, especially with koine greek spoken by Hebrew writers.

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