The Person of Christ Part I The Incarnation of the Son of God -- By: John F. Walvoord

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 117:465 (Jan 1960)
Article: The Person of Christ Part I The Incarnation of the Son of God
Author: John F. Walvoord


The Person of Christ
Part I
The Incarnation of the Son of God

John F. Walvoord

[Editor’s Note: This article is the first in a series on the general subject, “The Person of Christ.” A previous series on Christ in the Old Testament, appearing in Bibliotheca Sacra (January-March, 1947, through January-March, 1949), forms a background for this study.]

The incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ is the central fact of Christianity. Upon it the whole superstructure of Christian theology depends. Probably no portion of Scripture has received more intense examination, more scholarly research, and more theological debate than the four Gospels as they unfold the birth and life of the Lord Jesus Christ. The interpretation of the Biblical revelation of the four Gospels inevitably lays down the guiding lines for all other interpretation.

The central character of the Scriptural presentation of the incarnation of the Son of God has been recognized by all branches of theology. Those attempting to sustain the thesis that Jesus was only a man have lost no time in questioning the facts as presented in the Bible, in denying the virgin birth of Christ, and a few have gone so far as to deny the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth because of the scarcity of extra-Scriptural literature dealing with the facts of the birth of Christ. Special attention necessarily has been directed to the Scriptural narratives.

Warfield gives a masterful summary of the small amount of reference to Christ outside the Scriptures: “The rise of Christianity was a phenomenon of too little apparent significance to attract the attention of the great world. It was only when it had refused to be quenched in the blood of its founder, and, breaking out of the narrow bounds of the obscure province in which it had its origin, was making itself felt in the centers of population, that it drew to itself a somewhat irritated notice. The interest of such heathen writers as mention it was in the movement, not in its author. But in speaking of the movement they tell something of its author, and what they tell is far from being of little moment. He was, it seems, a certain ‘Christ,’ who had lived in Judea in the reign of

Tiberius (14–37 A.D.), and had been brought to capital punishment by the procurator, Pontius Pilate (q.v.; cf. Tacitus, ‘Annals,’ xv. 44). The significance of His personality to the movement inaugurated by Him is already suggested by the fact that He, and no other, had impressed His name upon it. But the name itself by which He was known particularly attracts notice. This is uniformly, in these heathen writers, ‘Christ,’not ‘Jesus.”1...

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