I am primarily interested in the phrase "the King eternal":
New International Version 1 Timothy 1:17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
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The is a need to carefully look into the following corollary passages to answer the question.
John 1:18: No one has seen God at any time;
John 4:24: God is Spirit [therefore incorporeal];
John 6:46: Not that anyone has seen the Father;
Colossians 1:15: There is invisible God (also see 2Cor. 4:4: ... the image of God);
1Tim. 6: 15-16: ..., He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, who alone ha immortality, dwelling in UNAPPROACHABLE light, whom no man has seen or can see, ... (also read Exodus 19: 16-18; 20:18; and 33:20, “ ..., You cannot see My face; for no man SHALL see Me, and live.”
1John 4:12: No one has seen God at any time.
All the above passages of the Holy Scripture are consistent in declaring that 1Tim. 1:17 is about God the Father, and Jesus Christ is the visible image of the invisible God, the only true God of John 17:3; 1Cor. 8:6; Gal. 3:20; Eph. 4:6; 1Tim. 2:5; and James 2:19).
Paul, in 1 Timothy, has the expression twice:
That these refer to God the Father is fairly clear to me and every commentator I consulted. The grammar also makes this clear in both cases. However, and this is the interesting part, the NT gives all these epithets to Jesus as well:
Therefore, while Paul obviously had the Father in view, we note that the NT is keen to make Jesus receive the same epithets.
Is 1 Timothy 1:17 about God or about Jesus?
1 Timothy 1:17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Seems easy enough.
Jesus wasn't immortal - now, risen, exalted, he has eternal life.
knowing that Christ, having been raised up out from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer rules over Him. Rom 6:9
Jesus wasn't invisible - he has flesh and bones, so he is still not invisible.
See My hands and My feet, that I am He. Touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see Me having." Luke 24:39
Jesus isn't God, so that rules him out there too.
There is one God, the Father, by whom all things were created, and for whom we live. And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things were created, and through whom we live. 1 Cor 8:6
So that leaves us with God - the only immortal, invisible and eternal King.
While the passage starts off referring to Jesus (v12), Paul changes the focus as he prepares to close the passage with an 'amen', by coming back to the Father and God.
In light of John 14:8-10a, I agree that a more interesting and difficult question is why Paul chose the particular appellation that he did.
8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” 9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me?
Nevertheless, the previous verses to I Timothy 1:17, beginning with "but" in verse 14, address the work of the Messiah Jesus through to the end of verse 16. Then, beginning with the "and" in verse 17, Paul differentiates and describes God as the King of the eons . . . with glory and honor to the eons of the eons.
Strengthening that observation, we see in verses 11 and 12, a mirror image that conveys gratitude first to the Father and then to Jesus, the Son. Mirror images make me look for evidence of a chiastic structure, which I think is mildly present in verses 19 and 20, mirroring verses 10 and previous.
Is 1 Timothy 1:17 about God (IE: the Father) or about Jesus?
"King Eternal" a title applied only to Jehovah, both OT and NT writers knew that God never dies and will therefore reign for all eternity to come, the Psalmist says that God is King for ever and ever.
Psalm 10:16 (ASV) Jehovah is King for ever and ever: The nations are perished out of his land.
Psalm 90:2 (NET Bible)
2 Even before the mountains came into existence,[a] or you brought the world into being,[b]you were the eternal God.
Jeremiah 10:10 (NIV)
10 But the Lord is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King. When he is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure his wrath.
Exodus 15:18 (ASV) Jehovah shall reign for ever and ever
And in the book of Revelation the apostle John quoted voices out of heaven that said about the Lord God: "He will rule as king forever and ever." John certainly knew that the Creator will rule "into the ages of the ages"
Revelation 11:15 (NET Bible)
Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven saying: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ,and he will reign for ever and ever.”
The title "King Eternal" is also applied in the parallel verse Revelation 15:3
Revelation 15:3 New Heart English Bible
They sang the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, "Great and marvelous are your works, Lord God Almighty. Righteous and true are your ways, O King eternal.
ΑΠΟΚΑΛΥΨΙΣ ΙΩΑΝΝΟΥ 15:3 1881 Westcott-Hort New Testament (WHNU)
3 και αδουσιν την ωδην μωυσεως του δουλου του θεου και την ωδην του αρνιου λεγοντες μεγαλα και θαυμαστα τα εργα σου κυριε ο θεος ο παντοκρατωρ δικαιαι και αληθιναι αι οδοι σου ο βασιλευς των αιωνων
Those words most probably apply to the Father alone, because Paul speaks about Jesus Christ just before this passage, and distinguishes the referent of this passage from Jesus Christ by the adversative particle δὲ ("but", "as to").
But this does not imply that to Jesus Christ cannot or is not applied the term "God" by Paul, for the Apostle clearly asserts eternal existence of the Person of Jesus Christ with God-the Father and the Former's equality with the Latter (ἴσα θεῷ) (Philippians 2:6), and equal to God can be only God.
Even if in the same 1 Timothy 3:16 Paul did not write himself "θεὸς ἐφανερώθη ἐν σαρκί" but "ὃς ἐφανερώθη ἐν σαρκί" (which is a moot point, for the proponents of ὅς, besides the oldness of the mss traditions with this rendition, have to explain the weirdness of grammar by assuming a certain hymn existing in Paul's time which the Apostle alludes to and inserts in his letter; however, on the contrary, θεός makes a perfect sense grammatically), it is totally in tune with Paul's Christology, for he explicitly says that in Christ dwells the entire fulness of God in a fleshly fashion (Colossians 2:9), and it is impossible for the "entire fulness of God" to be housed by any creature, but by the one who shares the everything of God, i.e. is the Latter's equal and as such God Himself. If Jesus Christ has entire perfection of God-the Father in a bodily way, then He is God necessarily, for only God is perfect, which divine attribute Paul explicitly eternally ascribes to the Son, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 7:28).
That's why Paul explicitly prays to Jesus as to Lord and God, for nobody, unless one either blasphemes or is out of one's wits, prays to a creature (be it even a highest among them, like any highest of angelic hosts, be he Michael or Raphael etc.), to deliver him (sorry feminists, I do not like to write a "him/her" monstrosity) from a demonic presence as Paul does pray to Jesus (2 Cor. 12:8-9) to deliver him from the tormenting presence of an "angel of Satan" in him, but let me use Ockham's razor and stop here from drawing so many other Pauline examples.
Non-Trinitarians are necessitated to bring all their merciless text-torturing interpretative machinery to derive other conclusions, but what can I do? Only wish them all the good things with all sincerity.
The following is what Gill also stated: "Or else to God the Father, in agreement with a parallel place in Romans 16:27 who is the only true God, in opposition to nominal and fictitious deities, though not to the exclusion of the Son and Spirit; and to whom the several epithets here used may be unquestionably given:"
Notice Gill says, "not to the exclusion of the Son and the Spirit." No "ambiguity" here. Also Peter said the following at 2 Peter 1:1, "Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to hose who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ."
Now, I understand the "tension" as it pertains to the persons of the Trinity and who is the speaker in certain text.
Where there is not distinction made, it is obviously unnecessary to make a distinction. The persons of the Trinity are persons in relation to each other, any one of the person in relation to us is simply God. In that there is only One God. If God says to us His glory He will not give to another, that is because there is only One God.
Or to put it another way. The Holy Spirit is a person in relation to the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit is God in relation to us. If you are in a relationship with the Father/Son/Holy Spirit, then you must be in a relationship with them all, for there is only One God. If you deny one, you deny them all. Btw, I don't think "mojo" or good luck has anything to do with it.