Son - Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words


[ 1,,G5207, huios ]
primarily signifies the relation of offspring to parent (See John 9:18-John 9:20; Galatians 4:30. It is often used metaphorically of prominent moral characteristics (See below). It is used in the NT of
(a) male offspring, Galatians 4:30;
(b) legitimate, as opposed to illegitimate offspring, Hebrews 12:8;
(c) descendants, without reference to sex, Romans 9:27;
(d) friends attending a wedding, Matthew 9:15;
(e) those who enjoy certain privileges, Acts 3:25;
(f) those who act in a certain way, whether evil, Matthew 23:31, or good, Galatians 3:7;
(g) those who manifest a certain character, whether evil, Acts 13:10; Ephesians 2:2, or good, Luke 6:35; Acts 4:36; Romans 8:14;
(h) the destiny that corresponds with the character, whether evil, Matthew 23:15; John 17:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:3, or good, Luke 20:36;
(i) the dignity of the relationship with God whereinto men are brought by the Holy Spirit when they believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, Romans 8:19; Galatians 3:26. ...

"The Apostle John does not use huios, 'son,' of the believer, he reserves that title for the Lord; but he does use teknon, 'child,' as in his Gospel, John 1:12; 1 John 3:1-2; Revelation 21:7 (hunios) is a quotation from 2 Samuel 7:14.

"The Lord Jesus used huios in a very significant way, as in Matthew 5:9, 'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God,' and Matthew 5:44-Matthew 5:45, 'Love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute you; that ye may be (become) sons of your Father which is in heaven.' The disciples were to do these things, not in order that they might become children of God, but that, being children (note 'your Father' throughout), they might make the fact manifest in their character, might 'become sons.' See also 2 Corinthians 6:17-18.

"As to moral characteristics, the following phrases are used:
(a) sons of God, Matthew 5:9, Matthew 5:45; Luke 6:35;
(b) sons of the light, Luke 16:8; John 12:36;
(c) sons of the day, 1 Thessalonians 5:5;
(d) sons of peace, Luke 10:6;
(e) sons of this world, Luke 16:8;
(f) sons of disobedience, Ephesians 2:2;
(g) sons of the evil one, Matthew 13:38, cp. 'of the Devil,' Acts 13:10;
(h) son of perdition, John 17:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:3. It is also used to describe characteristics other than moral, as:
(i) sons of the resurrection, Luke 20:36;
(j) sons of the Kingdom, Matthew 8:12; Matthew 13:38;
(k) sons of the bridechamber, Mark 2:19;
(l) sons of exhortation, Acts 4:36;
(m) sons of thunder, Boanerges, Mark 3:17."* [* From Notes on Galatians, by Hogg and Vine, pp. 167-169, and on Thessalonians, pp. 158,159.]


(1) For the synonyms teknon and teknion See under CHILD. The difference between believers as "children of God" and as "sons of God" is brought out in Romans 8:14-Romans 8:21. The Spirit bears witness with their spirit that they are "children of God," and, as such, they are His heirs and joint-heirs with Christ. This stresses the fact of their spiritual birth (Romans 8:16-Romans 8:17). On the other hand, "as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God," i.e., "these and no other." Their conduct gives evidence of the dignity of their relationship and their likeness to His character.

(2) Pais is rendered "son" in John 4:51. For Acts 13:13, Acts 13:26 See below.

* The Son of God

In this title the word "Son" is used sometimes
(a) of relationship, sometimes
(b) of the expression of character. "Thus, e.g., when the disciples so addressed Him, Matthew 14:33; Matthew 16:16; John 1:49, when the centurion so spoke of Him, Matthew 27:54, they probably meant that
(b) He was a manifestation of God in human form. But in such passages as Luke 1:32, Luke 1:35; Acts 13:33, which refer to the humanity of the Lord Jesus, the word is used in sense

"The Lord Jesus Himself used the full title on occasion, John 5:25; John 9:35 [some mss. have 'the Son of Man'; See RV marg.]; John 11:4, and on the more frequent occasions on which He spoke of Himself as 'the Son,' the words are to be understood as an abbreviation of 'the Son of God,' not of 'the Son of Man'; this latter He always expressed in full; See Luke 10:22; John 5:19, etc.

"John uses both the longer and shorter forms of the title in his Gospel, See John 3:16-John 3:18; John 20:31, e.g., and in his Epistles; cp. Revelation 2:18. So does the writer of Hebrews, Hebrews 1:2; Hebrews 4:14; Hebrews 6:6, etc. An eternal relation subsisting between the Son and the Father in the Godhead is to be understood. That is to say, the Son of God, in His eternal relationship with the Father, is not so entitled because He at any time began to derive His being from the Father (in which case He could not be co-eternal with the Father), but because He is and ever has been the expression of what the Father is; cp. John 14:9, 'he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.' The words of Hebrews 1:3, 'Who being the effulgence of His (God's) glory, and the very image of His (God's) substance' are a definition of what is meant by 'Son of God.' Thus absolute Godhead, not Godhead in a secondary or derived sense, is intended in the title." * [* From Notes on Galatians, by Hogg and Vine, pp. 99, 100.]

Other titles of Christ as the "Son of God" are: "His Son," 1 Thessalonians 1:10 (in Acts 13:13, Acts 13:26, RV, pais is rendered "servant"); "His own Son," Romans 8:32; "My beloved Son," Matthew 3:17; "His Only Begotten Son," John 3:16; "the Son of His love," Colossians 1:13.

"The Son is the eternal object of the Father's love, John 17:24, and the sole Revealer of the Father's character, John 1:14; Hebrews 1:3. The words, 'Father' and 'Son,' are never in the NT so used as to suggest that the Father existed before the Son; the Prologue to the Gospel according to John distinctly asserts that the Word existed 'in the beginning,' and that this Word is the Son, Who 'became flesh and dwelt among us.'" * [* From Notes on Thessalonians, by Hogg and Vine pp. 46,47.]

In addressing the Father in His prayer in John 17 He says, "Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the World." Accordingly in the timeless past the Father and the "Son" existed in that relationship, a relationship of love, as well as of absolute Deity. In this passage the "Son" gives evidence that there was no more powerful plea in the Father's estimation than that coeternal love existing between the Father and Himself.

The declaration "Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee," Psalms 2:7, quoted in Acts 13:33; Hebrews 1:5; Hebrews 5:5, refers to the birth of Christ, not to His resurrection. In Acts 13:33 the verb "raise up" is used of the raising up of a person to occupy a special position in the nation, as of David in Acts 13:22 (so of Christ as a Prophet in Acts 3:22; Acts 7:37). The word "again" in the AV in Acts 13:33 represents nothing in the original. The RV rightly omits it. In Acts 13:34 the statement as to the resurrection of Christ receives the greater stress in this respect through the emphatic contrast to that in Acts 13:33 as to His being raised up in the nation, a stress imparted by the added words "from the dead." Accordingly Acts 13:33 speaks of His incarnation, Acts 13:34 of His resurrection.

In Hebrews 1:5, that the declaration refers to the Birth is confirmed by the contrast in verse 6. Here the word "again" is rightly placed in the RV, "when He again bringeth in the Firstborn into the world." This points on to His Second Advent, which is set in contrast to His first Advent, when God brought His Firstborn into the world the first time (See FIRSTBORN). * [* The Western text of Luke 3:22 reads "Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee," instead of "Thou art My beloved Son, in Thee I am well pleased." There is probably some connection between this and those early heresies which taught that our Lord's Deity began at His baptism.

So again in Hebrews 5:5, where the High Priesthood of Christ is shown to fulfill all that was foreshadowed in the Levitical priesthood, the passage stresses the facts of His humanity, the days of His flesh, His perfect obedience and His sufferings.

* Son of Man

In the NT this is a designation of Christ, almost entirely confined to the Gospels. Elsewhere it is found in Acts 7:56, the only occasion where a disciple applied it to the Lord and in Revelation 1:13; Revelation 14:14 (See below).

"Son of Man" is the title Christ used of Himself; John 12:34 is not an exception, for the quotation by the multitude was from His own statement. The title is found especially in the Synoptic Gospels. The occurrences in John's Gospel, John 1:51; John 3:13-John 3:14; John 5:27; John 6:27, John 6:53, John 6:62; John 8:28 (John 9:35 in some texts); John 12:23, John 12:34 (twice); John 13:31, are not parallel to those in the Synoptic Gospels. In the latter the use of the title falls into two groups,
(a) those in which it refers to Christ's humanity, His earthly work, sufferings and death, e.g., Matthew 8:20; Matthew 11:19; Matthew 12:40; Matthew 26:2, Matthew 26:24;
(b) those which refer to His glory in resurrection and to that of His future advent, e.g., Matthew 10:23; Matthew 13:41; Matthew 16:27-Matthew 16:28; Matthew 17:9; Matthew 24:27, Matthew 24:30 (twice), Matthew 24:37, Matthew 24:39, Matthew 24:44.

While it is a Messianic title it is evident that the Lord applied it to Himself in a distinctive way, for it indicates more than Messiahship, even universal headship on the part of One who is Man. It therefore stresses His manhood, manhood of a unique order in comparison with all other men, for He is declared to be of heaven, 1 Corinthians 15:47, and even while here below, was "the Son of Man, which is in Heaven," John 3:13. As the "Son of Man" He must be appropriated spiritually as a condition of possessing eternal life, John 6:53. In His death, as in His life, the glory of His Manhood was displayed in the absolute obedience and submission to the will of the Father (John 12:23; John 13:31), and, in view of this, all judgment has been committed to Him, who will judge in full understanding experimentally of human conditions, sin apart, and will exercise the judgment as sharing the nature of those judged, John 5:22, John 5:27. Not only is He man, but He is "Son of Man," not by human generation but, according to the Semitic usage of the expression, partaking of the characteristics (sin apart) of manhood belonging to the category of mankind. Twice in the Apocalypse, Revelation 1:13; Revelation 14:14, He is described as "One like unto a Son of man," RV (AV,"... the Son of Man"), cp. Daniel 7:13. He who was thus seen was indeed the "Son of Man," but the absence of the article in the original serves to stress what morally characterizes Him as such. Accordingly in these passages He is revealed, not as the Person known by the title, but as the One who is qualified to act as the Judge of all men. He is the same Person as in the days of His flesh, still continuing His humanity with His Deity. The phrase "like unto" serves to distinguish Him as there seen in His glory and majesty in contrast to the days of His humiliation.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words