- Son of God
- A title of the king in the OT (e.g. Ps. 2:7), and in the plural form it is applied to faithful Jews (Wisd. 9:7). It is a Messianic title in the Dead Sea scrolls and in 4 Ezra (7:28). Although Christians attributed divine Sonship to Jesus as Messiah after the resurrection, the tendency was to push its usage ever earlier—to the baptism by John [[➝ John the Baptist]] (Mark 1:11) and the Transfiguration [[➝ transfiguration]] (Mark 9:7), or even before his birth. According to Paul (Rom. 1:4 and also John 1:18) Jesus was designated ‘Son of God’. This could mean that a pre-existent divine being entered human life and functioned in the person of Jesus. At any rate according to Matt. 1:18–25 the beginning of Jesus' life was an act in which God took the initiative. A saying is recorded in which Jesus refers to God as his Father (Mark 13:32). At the end of the gospel (Matt. 27:54, following Mark 15:39) the centurion makes the Christian confession of faith. If he in fact spoke such words, he may have said, ‘He is a son of God’ (there is no definite article in the Greek) meaning a divine being in the pagan sense; the emperor Augustus had the title ‘Son of God’ after his adoptive father Julius Caesar had been deified by decree of the Roman senate in 42 BCE. For the Christian readers of the gospels the importance was in the words being an unsolicited witness to what they themselves believed. It is a Christological title in the epistles of Paul (e.g. Gal. 4:4), and Heb. (1:5) quotes Ps. 2:7. Unambiguous divine status was accorded to Jesus by the Council of Nicaea (325 BCE).
Dictionary of the Bible.