Joshua Jipp is Assistant Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (or TEDS), and, in his book Christ is King, writes that “one of the ways early worshippers of Christ made sense of the significance of Jesus and their experience of him was through using royal tropes* and motifs to depict Christ as king” (3).
Jipp’s basic argument is that “Paul used, reworked, and applied ancient conceptions of the good king—both Greco-Roman and Jewish—to Christ in order to structure reality or the symbolic universe of his congregations” (9).
This does not mean that Christ was simply another king among many. “Paul clearly portrays Christ as absolutely set apart from and superior to any other ruler” (10). Thus we can’t (and won’t) fully understand Paul’s language unless we understand that Paul is “frequently . . . setting forth a vision of Christ as the king” (11).
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