I noticed that in Romans 5:1-8:39, which in most study Bible / commentary outlines are grouped into one part, Paul was not consistent in referring to the Lord Jesus Christ (5 places); sometimes "Jesus Christ" (5:1, 5:21, 7:25) but sometimes "Christ Jesus" (6:23, 8:39). These 5 verses are in strategic places (summary sentences), usually at the end of a chapter.

In the ESV translation (with matching Greek) we have:

Verse ESV Greek
Rom 5:1 through our Lord Jesus Christ dia tou kyriou hēmōn Iēsou Christou
Rom 5:21 through Jesus Christ our Lord dia Iēsou Christou tou kyriou hēmōn
Rom 6:23 in Christ Jesus our Lord en Christō Iēsou tō kyriō hēmōn
Rom 7:25 through Jesus Christ our Lord dia Iēsou Christou tou kyriou hēmōn
Rom 8:39 in Christ Jesus our Lord en Christō Iēsou tō kyriō hēmōn

My question

What is the theological significance in the two ways Paul used to match the title "Christ" and the name "Jesus" where he also appends "our Lord" within Romans 5:1-8:39? Is the varying grammatical construction a side effect of the larger phrase that contain it? I am specifically looking for a link of the 2 constructions with the topics discussed in Romans 5-8 (i.e. our baptism, union, freedom from the power of sin, and final salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ). It seems only Paul uses the "Christ Jesus" construction (see this article).

I notice in the ESV that the variation is linked with whether the preposition "in" or "through" is used: "through Jesus Christ our Lord" or "in Christ Jesus our Lord". Is the usage "Jesus Christ" or "Christ Jesus" depends on the theological significance of Paul's using "through" or "in"?

  • You might find the following article informative. gotquestions.org/Jesus-Christ-Christ-Jesus.html
    – Mr. Bond
    Oct 31, 2022 at 17:19
  • @Mr.Bond Thanks. I did come across that article. However, I want to scope it to possible significance related to the topics covered in Romans 5-8 (our baptism, union, and eventual salvation with Christ) instead of the hymn in Phil 2. Oct 31, 2022 at 17:21
  • Why assume that the difference has theological significance? Perhaps it is fundamentally a stylistic choice. Great stylists sometimes vary their word order. Nov 1, 2022 at 15:44
  • There's a discussion of the prepositions in a 1992 Journal of Religious Thought article Christ in Paul's Thought: Romans 1-8. Nov 1, 2022 at 16:16

1 Answer 1


Here are a few things to consider as to why Paul mostly uses the term Christ Jesus.

First of all when he met him on the Damascus Road he met the ascended glorified Christ Jesus. He never knew him after the flesh like the 12 apostles.

Commentaries from Bible Student's Notebook Volume XIII Issue 325

A.E. Knoch (1874-1965):

"Christ Jesus"and "Jesus Christ"-What a vast difference between these two titles, though one is merely a transposition of the other!
"Jesus Christ "is the humble, despised, rejected, crucified Messiah. His glorious wait until the future, at the time of His return to earth. At present He has no place down here. But "Christ Jesus" Already He is highest in the heavens. Seated at the right hand of God, there is no dignity to equal His. .... His present place of power and sovereignty in the celestial realms is acknowledged by Paul when he uses the title "Christ Jesus."

Charles H. Welch (1888-1967):

"The title of Christ Jesus seems to stress a new aspect of Christ's position and glory, pointing to the seated One at the right hand of God, rather than to the one who walked the earth and came only to Israel.

E.W. Bullinger (1837-1913):

Jesus was the name of his earthly life, and associated with him as the sin-bearer, The suffer, the man of sorrows. It was the name under which He was crucified. .... "Jesus" was His earthly name, and suffering, sorrow and death were His earthly lot; but God raised him from the dead, and then all was changed.

God has made that same Jesus, whom you have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Acts 2:36

His official title. "Jesus Christ" Who came to His Own was set for the blessing of Israel, but Israel knew not the day of their gracious visitation....

In other books, therefore, we have this title 256 times, setting Him forth as a risen and glorified one, defining the believers position as justified and accepted in Him. Hence, believers are always said to be "in Christ," quickened with Him, raised with Him,sitting together in the heavenlies, with Him, blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Him. We connect our position with him as Christ.

Charles Welch (1888-1967):

"The title seems to stress a new aspect of Christ position and glory, pointing to the One seated at the right hand of God, rather than to the one who walked the earth and came only to Israel ...

In all of this, course, it is always the same Person; only The title is changed. So, in the case of the title "Christ Jesus, "it is again the same person, but we do well to note that this particular title belongs exclusively to the ministry of the apostle Paul.

It is of design and with definite reference to the exclusive nature of the position indicated(The epistle to the) Ephesians speaks of those who belong to the church of the Mystery as being made to sit together in heavenly places "in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:6) that when speaking of the high calling of God to the Philippians Paul adds "in Christ Jesus "(Philippians 3:14) or that when speaking of the holy calling those who were chosen before age-times, he should speak of that purpose and grace that were given to them "in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 1:8-9).

Simply put, "Jesus" Is the most usual name for the Lord during his earthly life, and is employed by the apostle Paul as the Resurrected Christ seated in heavenly realm. Both are associated with different dispensations, or Administrations.

Edited, To give an answer to the rest of the question.

OP asks,

"Is the usage "Jesus Christ" or "Christ Jesus" depends on the theological significance of Paul's using "through" or "in"?"

God reveals much through His usage of words. "Through" and "in" has great significance according to the connection through Jesus Christ and in Christ Jesus.

Through defined: 223. dia ► Strong's Concordance dia: through, on account of, because of Preposition 1223 diá (a preposition) – properly, across (to the other side), back-and-forth to go all the way through, "successfully across" ("thoroughly"). ("thoroughly," literally, "successfully" across to the other side). used as a function word to indicate movement into at one side or point and out at another and especially the opposite side of. used as a function word to indicate passage from one end or boundary to another : from the beginning to the end of.

Bearing that in mind what happened "through" Jesus Christ? So much that the world cannot contain enough books.

For the sake of brevity will sum it up.

He made the One not having known sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21

It was "through" the body of Jesus Christ that the world's sin was dealt with through the death, burial and resurrection. It was complete. From the beginning of Jesus as a man, who tasted Adam's death , completed man's journey upward into the second Adam where He became a life giving spirit.

It made it possible to be put in Christ Jesus.

But you--and it is all God's doing--are in Christ Jesus: He has become for us a wisdom which is from God, consisting of righteousness and sanctification and deliverance; 1 Corinthians 1:30

The word "in" defined: : that is located inside or within 1722 en (a preposition) – properly, in (inside, within); (figuratively) "in the realm (sphere) of," as in the condition (state) in which something operates from the inside (within).

"We were baptized into Jesus Christ into his death but were raised into Christ."

Created in Christ Jesus Ephesians 2:10

Christ, is raising man into union with Himself, raises him into all that belongs to Him,into His divine life, and into partnership with His divine work--so that he dies in His death; rises in His Resurrection; ascends into His ascension; is seated with Him and His secession at the Father's right hand; and in His eternal life. A.J. Gordon (1836-1895)

  • @ gratefuldisciple. I was about to edit this and saw you did a great work of editing!!! I am grateful for you doing that! Thank you. :)
    – Sherrie
    Nov 1, 2022 at 13:42
  • 1
    This is a good answer. With regard to the specific uses in this question, it could be improved by commenting on how the different prepositions support the difference in nuance. In these uses verses “through” is always used with Jesus Christ and “in” always with Christ Jesus Nov 1, 2022 at 15:00
  • To Sherrie: You're welcome. That issue of Bible Student Notebook is a good find since it deals with exactly my question. I'm hoping for a more current commentary though (past 30 years). Also a commentary that addresses "in" vs. "through" preposition as @RevelationLad also mentions. So I'll wait a while for other answers before accepting yours. Nov 1, 2022 at 15:31
  • @ Revelation lad. Thanks! I just went ahead and took your advice and added more by commenting on how the different prepositions support the difference in nuance. In these verses “through” is always used with Jesus Christ and “in” always with Christ Jesus. By the way that was a great observation!
    – Sherrie
    Nov 1, 2022 at 22:27
  • @ Grateful disciple, That is such a good question you asked and brings much meaning when looking at scripture when you see "in Christ." That is the world believers are walking by spirit in now.
    – Sherrie
    Nov 1, 2022 at 22:32

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