Exegeting God the Father

Exegeting God the Father

He alone can never die, and he lives in light so brilliant that no human can approach him. No human eye has ever seen him, nor ever will. All honor and power to him forever! Amen. – 1 Timothy 6:16

Hebrews 1:3 The Son is the radiance of his glory and the exact representation of his essence.

For millennia, people have wondered what God is like. People are curious and want to know. Theologians have developed a list of attributes that describe Him. For example, God is omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, infinite, righteous, and good. But such ideas are somewhat philosophical and abstract. What are His essence and character? Perhaps, a more interesting and down-to-earth question is, “What is God like as a person?” How does He act, think, feel? Is He approachable, welcoming, inviting? Is He judgmental, harsh, angry, or distant? Is He kind, caring, and emotionally available to His creation? Moses wanted to know. Moses asked.

Exodus 33:18 Moses responded, “Then show me your glorious presence.”

The Father responded. The request of Moses was partially met and granted.

Exodus 33:19-23

 19 The LORD replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh, before you. . . .”

 20 “But you may not look directly at my face, for no one may see me and live.”

 21 The LORD continued, “Look, stand near me on this rock.”

 22 “As my glorious presence passes by, I will hide you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by.”

 23 “Then I will remove my hand and let you see me from behind. But my face will not be seen.”

Father had a plan. All that people wanted to know about Him would one day be readily accessible when His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ came to planet Earth as a human being. If someone wanted to know what the Father was like they had only to look at His Son.

John 1:18 No one has seen God at any time; but the unique One, who is himself God, who is at the Father’s side, he has revealed him and made him known.

The Lord Jesus Christ came into the world to reveal and make known the Father.

The Greek term translated reveal, explain, unfold, or make known is exegesato. It comes from the Greek verb exegeomai, which means to lead out, explain, interpret,  tell, report, describe, or make known.  


The very essence and being of the Father are seen in the Son.

Father thank You for revealing Yourself and Your very essence, nature, and personality through the Lord Jesus Christ.


1 Timothy 6:16 [He] alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see.

The Greek word translated as unapproachable is aprositos. Aprositos is found only here in the entire New Testament. It comes from a without and proseimito approach. It connotes that which is inaccessible, unapproachable, or cannot be approached, hence it is translated as unapproachable light.

This conveys the idea that the Father reveals Himself through an intense and radiant light that human eyes cannot penetrate or comprehend.

Exodus 24:16-17

 16 And the glory of the LORD settled down on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days. On the seventh day the LORD called to Moses from inside the cloud.

 17 To the Israelites at the foot of the mountain, the glory of the LORD appeared at the summit like a consuming fire.

“The purpose of the light is to make people unable to see the very face of God. Unapproachable light may then be alternatively expressed as “the light that prevents people from seeing God” (UBS).

It is not so much that the Father is evasive. Rather, He veils Himself, making it difficult for people to see and attempt to comprehend His essence. In doing so, He prevents people from causing themselves harm. An analogy would be the devastating effect of looking directly at the sun with our unprotected human eyes and risking serious injury, even blindness.

Exodus 33:20 But you may not look directly at my face, for no one may see me and live.

The workaround for this conundrum was to send the Son to represent Him. The Son was readily visible and knowable.

Hebrews 1:3 The Son is the radiance of his glory and the exact representation of his essence.

The Son makes Himself available as the exact representation of the Father. The Lord Jesus Christ is the radiance of the Father’s radiant glory.

The term Greek word translated as radiance is apaugasma. Apaugasma is found nowhere else in the New Testament or the LXX. Apaugasma connotes that He is the effulgence, that is, the source of radiating light. The Lord Jesus Christ is the manifestation of God’s glorious presence, the radiance of God’s glory. The glorious light of the Father shines through the Son.

The Greek term rendered as exact representation is character. Character is only used here in the entire New Testament. Character refers to a mark or impression placed on an object, especially on coins. It came to signify a representation or reproduction. The Son of God bears the very stamp of . . . [God’s] nature (RSV). “Thus the Son is the exact representation, the embodiment of God, as he really is. His being is made manifest in Christ, so that to see the Son is to see what the Father is like” (O’Brien).

To exegete, understand the Father, look at the Son. The Lord Jesus Christ is the apaugasma of God’s glory. Through the Lord Jesus Christ, the glory of the Father is manifested for all people to see. Through Him, the Father’s glory has shined among us. The Lord Jesus Christ is the character of God. When we look at the Lord Jesus Christ, we see exactly what the Father is like (Barclay).

There is an exact correspondence between the two (Donald Guthrie)


© Dr. H 2022

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