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Worship and the Risen Jesus in the Pauline Letters by Tony Costa (A short review)

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 I think this was a very good book. It had a lot of interesting and detailed information concerning the worship properly rendered unto the Lord Jesus.


 Below are some citations (pretty much one from each chapter) which I felt were important for me to highlight. There were quite a few very good ones but I'd like to limit myself to about 1 per chapter.


Chapter 1

 "While the place of the risen Jesus in Christian worship plays a role in the worship of God for Paul, there are times where the risen Jesus is also included in a worship context where he becomes the object of worship." (page 7)


Chapter 2

 Concerning Jerome Neyrey: While Neyrey states that the meaning of words is found in "the cultural use of them" and "not in lexica," one wonders how one should understand the cultural use of such words without the aid of lexica to define them. (page 291, footnote #160)


Chapter 3

 "A prerequisite to calling on the Lord involves having a pure heart. This can imply that anyone can call on the Lord, but that the proper mode or state of calling on the Lord must involve a pure heart. The worshipper must be authentic in his worship." (page 61)

 I think it wold have been nice to see Psalm 145:18 cited.


Chapter 4

  "In short, idolatry can be defined as the worship of anything or anyone other than God." (page 129)

 "It misrepresents God by depicting him as a finite entity (thus blurring the distinctions between creator and creature), and it dishonors him by rendering the honor that belongs to God to a created material object." (page 130)


Chapter 5

 Concerning 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13:

 "If 1 Thessalonians is our earliest Pauline letter (and therefore the earliest Christian written document), then we can state that from the earliest written Christian record, prayer in the Pauline faith communities was addressed particularly to two divine persons: God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." (page 200)


Chapter 6

 "The worship given to the exalted Jesus does not threaten or challenge the worship of God; it is not an act of "Jesus-olatry", rather it complements the worship of God." (page 246)

 Concerning Jesus-olatry in footnote #126 on page 432 it reads: "The term is used by Dunn, Did the First Christian Worship Jesus? 147 who uses it in a negative way in his discussion on monotheism. Dunn assumes that the outright worship of Jesus challenges monotheism or the worship of God, which is the exact opposite of what Paul is trying to say: the worship of Jesus leads to and is consistent with the worship of God."


Chapter 7

The Conclusion

 "I thus conclude from this that my hypothesis regarding the place and relation of the risen Jesus to Christian worship as an object of worship has been justified by my findings." (page 275)



Final Comments

 I think several more passages could have been cited and explored which Paul taught the worship of Christ. It has been several months since I read this book so I can't remember all of them but 1 Corinthians 6:17 comes to mind.

 What I found to be excellent was on pages 195-196 some (yes, they are Trinitarians) have attempted to dilute the worship rendered unto the Lord Jesus and Costa calls them out on it. They do this by saying Christ is rendered either homage or prayer but that it isn't official worship or that it is a relative form of worship. I really enjoyed this section of the book.

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On 12/16/2018 at 5:16 AM, Faber said:

some (yes, they are Trinitarians) have attempted to dilute the worship rendered unto the Lord Jesus and Costa calls them out on it. They do this by saying Christ is rendered either homage or prayer but that it isn't official worship or that it is a relative form of worship.


 Here is one such example:


Michael Bradley: I believe we can commune with, fellowship with, talk to, and worship and praise both Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

We can develop good communication and best-friend type relationships with the both of Them. But when it comes down to direct serious prayer, I believe Jesus wants all of us to direct those kinds of prayers direct to His Father, not to Himself or to the Holy Spirit.





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