And the 'and' means, of course, exactly what Paul meant when he said
it. Those who dislike it, must line up to argue with him.
To some readers, Paul's 'and' and monotheism are mutually
exclusive: "He emphasized that this distinction was fundamental to
his belief: 'there is one God, the Father. . .and one Lord, Jesus
Christ' (1 Cor. 8.6). This is, to say the least, a remarkable
contradiction of Deut. 6.4, if he understood that verse in the way
that we do, as a statement of monotheism." (Margaret Barker, The
Great Angel, p. 193). But believe it or not, Paul was a monotheist,
as are his spiritual heirs today.
There is more than one way of misunderstanding this verse. Alas, 1 Corinthians 8:6 is the founding proof-text for 'Father-onlyism.' The word 'God,'
here, is reserved for God the Father alone! But when you stop to reflect
that 'Lord' is also a divine title, and by no means the lesser of the
two, some air deflates from this dilemma. While a slave might
call his master 'Lord,' so would a worshipper call the living God.
Already at the time the Septuagint was translated, from Hebrew into
Greek, there was visible a reticence about speaking the divine name:
"And he that names the name of the Lord, let him die the death: let all
the congregation of Israel stone him with stones; whether he be a
stranger or a native, let him die for naming the name of the Lord."
(Leviticus 24:16, Brenton Septuagint). So when public readers came across the
name 'Jehovah' in the scriptures, they would substitute 'Lord.' This is
the usage we find in copies of the Septuagint; 'kyrios,' the Greek for
'Lord,' is put in place of the divine name. Some dissenters from
Trinitarian orthodoxy say that this usage does not go back to the
beginning; however it is certainly found in the New Testament. The
reader who pays careful attention notices something striking. Though
the New Testament authors are not precisely consistent, there is a
tendency for 'God' to be used of the Father, and 'Lord' to mean the Son. 'Lord' is not a lesser or subordinate title; it
stands for the divine name. Speaking of Paul's letters, B. B. Warfield
"Obviously the significance of the title ‘Lord’ as applied to Jesus by Paul is not uninfluenced by its constant employment of God in the Greek Old Testament, and especially in those Old Testament passages which Paul applies to Jesus, in which ‘Lord’ is the divine name (e. g., 2 Thess 1:9; 1 Cor 1:31; 10:9,26; 2 Cor 3:16; 10:17, Rom 10:13, Eph 6:4, 2 Tim 2:19; 4:14: Isaiah 45:23 is cited with reference to God in Rom 14:11, and with reference to Jesus in Phil 2:10). Under the influence of these passages the title ‘Lord’ becomes in Paul’s hands almost
a proper name, the specific designation for Jesus conceived as a
divine person in distinction from God the Father. It is
therefore employed of Jesus not merely constantly but almost
exclusively. It is doubtful whether it is ever once employed of
God the Father, outside of a few citations from the Old
Testament: and in any case such employment of it is very
exceptional. It is accordingly in point of fact the determinate
title for Jesus as distinguished from God the Father. As such
‘the Lord Jesus Christ’ is coupled with ‘God our Father’ (or
‘the Father’) as the co-source of that grace and peace which
Paul is accustomed to invoke on his readers in the addresses to
his Epistles (1 Thess 1:1, 2 Thess 1:1,2, 1 Cor 1:3, 2 Cor 1:2;
Gal 1:3; Rom 1:7; Eph 1:2; Phil 1:2; 1 Tim 1:2; 2 Tim 1:2; Titus
1:4, cf. Eph 6:23; 1 Thess 3:11; 2 Thess 1:12). And throughout
the Epistles Jesus as ‘the Lord’ and the Father as ‘God’ are set
over against each other as distinct and yet conjoined objects of
the reverence of Christians, and distinct and yet conjoined
sources of the blessings of which Christians are the
(Warfield, B.B.. The Lord of Glory: The Designations of Our Lord in the New Testament (Kindle Locations 2023-2034).
But from where does Paul get his 'and'? Would it have been
perceived by his contemporaries as unusual or eccentric?