Son of God is a title applied uniquely to
Jesus and in various ways to other people, even nations (e.g., Israel). Used by virtually every author of the
New Testament, the title "is arguably the most significant christological title... 'Son of God' or its equivalents ('the Son,' or 'my Son,' etc.) occur more than 124 times in the NT..."
^. The title, one that is applied by Jesus to himself (e.g., Mark 13:32) and by others as well (e.g. John 20:31), points to a special intimacy between Jesus and God the Father.
"Though the title 'Son of God' can sometimes be used simply to refer to Israel (Matt. 2:15), or to man as created by God (Luke 2:38), or to redeemed man generally (Rom. 8:14, 19, 23), there are nevertheless instances in which the phrase
'Son of God' refers to Jesus as the heavenly, eternal Son who is equal to God himself (see Matt. 11:25-30; 17:5; 1 Cor. 15:28; Heb. 1:1-3, 5, 8)." - Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, 547.
"In the New Testament revelation and later in Christian theology, 'Son of God' came to have a higher significance; Jesus is the Son of God because he is God and partakes of the divine nature." - George Eldon Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament,
"The phrase 'Son of God' (huios theou) it a title used of Jesus to indicate that he is divine in nature, just as the title 'Son of Man,' among other things, indicates that he is human." - Walter Elwell, Theological Dictionary of the Bible,
Sonship in the OT
Classic sonship passages in the
Old Testament are 1 Chronicles 17:3, 2 Samuel 7:12-14, Psalm 2:7, and Isaiah 9:6.
Sonship in the NT
In the NT, Jesus is understood as the Son of God, while believers are distinguished as "adopted" children of God (cf. Gal 4:5; Eph 1:5). For example, in the letter of 1 John, Jesus is designated as the Son while
believers are simply called children. Jesus' relationship is unique in comparison to that of a believers.
- Joel Green &
Scot McKnight, eds.,
Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, (IVP, 1992), p. 769