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The Blue Letter Bible
Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: What Everyone Needs to Know about Jesus

Don Stewart :: What Does Jesus' Preexistence Mean?

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What Does Jesus’ Preexistence Mean?

What Everyone Needs to Know about Jesus – Question 8

The doctrine of Jesus’ preexistence means that He existed before He came to earth as a human being. There are a number of passages that make this biblical truth clear. We can note the various passages as follows.

1. Jesus Existed Before Abraham

When talking to the religious leaders of His day, Jesus said that he existed before the patriarch Abraham. His profound words as recorded by John:

Jesus said to them, “I assure you: Before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58 HCSB)

Before Abraham was born, Jesus existed.

2. God Became A Human In Jesus

One of the key New Testament verses says Jesus existed in the beginning with God. John begins his gospel by stating this fact. He put it this way:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1 KJV)

Not only did Jesus exist before Abraham, He has existed eternally. This is the consistent testimony of Scripture.

3. Jesus Is Preeminent over All Creation

The Apostle Paul also said that Jesus Christ was preeminent over all creation. He wrote the following to the Colossians:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. (Colossians 1:15 NRSV)

Jesus as the Creator has authority over all of His creation.

4. Jesus Had Past Glory

While here upon the earth, Jesus Himself spoke about his past glory with God the Father. On the night of His betrayal, our Lord prayed the following to God the Father:

Now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence with that glory I had with You before the world existed. (John 17:5 HCSB)

According to the words of Jesus He was in the presence of God the Father before this world was created. We do not exactly know what this glory consisted of. Yet, we know this glory belongs to God alone.

Later in the prayer to His Father, Jesus spoke of the love the Father had for the Son before the world was made:

Father, I want those you have given to me to be with me, to be where I am. I want them to see my glory, which you gave me because you loved me before the world was made. (John 17:24 God’s Word)

The fact that the Father loved the Son before the world was created is another indication that Jesus was in the presence of the Father before anything, angel or human, was created.

5. Jesus Took the Form of a Servant

The Apostle Paul wrote about the coming of Jesus to the earth as taking the form of a servant or a slave. He wrote the following to the Philippians:

Christ was truly God. But he did not try to remain equal with God. He gave up everything and became a slave, he became like one of us. (Philippians 2:6, 7 CEV)

Therefore, the One who existed as God for all eternity came to this earth and took the form of a servant. God humbled Himself for the purpose of saving humanity.

In sum, the Bible teaches that before anything was made, God the Son, Jesus Christ, existed in the presence of God the Father.

Summary – Question 8
What Does Jesus’ Preexistence Mean?

One of the key doctrines of the New Testament is the “preexistence of Jesus Christ.” The existence of Jesus Christ did not begin when He was born as a babe in Bethlehem. Indeed, Jesus’ preexistence means that He existed before He came to earth. The evidence is as follows.

Jesus told the religious rulers of His day that He existed before Abraham; a man who lived two thousand years earlier. While this does not necessarily mean that He existed eternally the idea that Jesus was alive before Abraham is certainly consistent with this idea.

However, the Bible goes further than this. The Bible speaks of Jesus not only existed before Abraham, He has existed for all eternity. Indeed, John begins His gospel by saying that the Word, Jesus, was in the beginning with God.

John then goes on to explain how the eternal God became a human being. The Lord Jesus, God the Son, came to earth to tell us who God is as well as what He expects from us.

The Apostle Paul wrote of Jesus’ position. His position is of one of preeminence over all creation. He rules over it.

Scripture also speaks of His previous glory. Jesus, in praying to God the Father, spoke of His time with the Father before the world was formed.

Jesus laid aside that glory when He came to earth as a human and took the role of a servant. Scripture emphasizes that He did this on our behalf.

This sums up what Scripture has to say about Jesus’ preexistence. The point of all of this is that His existence did not begin as a babe in Bethlehem. Indeed, He has existed as God the Son for all eternity.

Why Was Jesus Called Immanuel? ← Prior Section
What Did Jesus Do before He Came to Earth? Next Section →
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