Christ Jesus in Ignatius’ Letter

Ignatius, a bishop of Antioch during the reign of the Emperor Trajan (98–117 A.D) and martyr in Rome at end of the reign of Trajan ca. 115 A.D, records one of the earliest understanding of the person and the work of Christ Jesus. In the opening of his letter to the Smyrnæans he wrote:

I give glory to Jesus Christ the God who bestowed such wisdom upon you; for I have perceived that ye are established in faith immovable, being as it were nailed on the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, in flesh and in spirit, and firmly grounded in love in the blood of Christ, fully persuaded as touching our Lord that He is truly of the race of David according to the flesh, but Son of God by the Divine will and power, truly born of a virgin and baptized by John that all righteousness might be fulfilled by Him, truly nailed up in the flesh for our sakes under Pontius Pilate and Herod the tetrarch (of which fruit are we—that is, of His most blessed passion); that He might set up an ensign unto all the ages through His resurrection, for His saints and faithful people, whether among Jews or among Gentiles, in one body of His Church.

If I argued that this is one of the earliest well outlined Christology, would I be wrong?


Lightfoot, J. B., & Harmer, J. R. (1891). The Apostolic Fathers (156). London: Macmillan and Co.

2 thoughts on “Christ Jesus in Ignatius’ Letter

  1. I love Ignatius a lot. He was one of the writers who made me most sure of my path.

    I’m not a great theologian. I was pretty impoverished in the way of theology and doctrine as a Protestant. So I’m still learning a lot. But I tend to think that the Early Church had a better grasp of Christology and even the Trinity than many scholars give them credit for. They may not have been in able to define it in the refined terms and concepts that we have now — but they knew what was right well enough from the very beginning to reject what was wrong when heterodox views emerged.

    So no, you wouldn’t be wrong.

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