Kurios is the word normally employed in the NT to speak of Jesus as Lord. The word, however, has a wide range of reference, being used of God (Acts 2:34), Jesus (Luke 10:1), humans (Acts 16:19), and angels (Acts 10:4). When characters in the Gospels speak of Jesus as Lord, they often mean no more than “sir.” At other times the designation Kurios expresses a full confession of
faith, as in Thomas’s declaration, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28 HCSB). “The Lord” came to be used as a simple yet profound designation of Christ in Luke and Acts. “The Lord Jesus” was used frequently in Acts as well (4:33) to speak of faith in Christ as Lord (16:31) and to identify baptism as being in the name of the Lord Jesus (8:16; 19:5). The phrase “Jesus is Lord” evidently was the earliest Christian confession of faith. In Acts 2:36 Peter declared that do had made Jesus both Lord and Christ.
Paul often used a fuller phrase to speak of Jesus’ lordship, “the Lord Jesus Christ.” It is significant that he used this in conjunction with the mention of God the Father and the Holy Spirit (1 Thess 1:1; 2 Cor 13:14). At other times Paul used the simpler formulas “the Lord Jesus” (2 Thess 1:7) or “our Lord Jesus” 1 Thess 3:13). In contrast to the many false gods and lords of pagans, there is for Christians one God, the Father, and one Lord, Jesus Christ (1 Cor 8:5-6). Paul was certainly familiar with the early confession “Jesus is Lord” because he averred in 1 Cor 12:3 that “no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit” (HCSB). The word is used often in connection with the hope of Christ’s second coming (Philip 3:20; 4:5; 1 Cor 16:22; Rev 22:20).
In Revelation the title “Lord” has another connotation. The emperors demanded to be called “lord,” and one emperor, Domitian, even issued a decree that began: “Our lord and god commands.” John declared that such titles were blasphemous, and that Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords, is the only emperor whom Christians can recognize (Rev 19:16).
Second Peter 2:1 and Jude 4 speak of Jesus as despotes, “Master” (HCSB). It carries a more emphatic stress on the sovereignty of Jesus as Lord. Interestingly the same word is used to address God in Luke 2:29 and Acts 4:24. Revelation 6:10 also uses this term to address Jesus as the one who will avenge the blood of the martyrs. END OF PART 1.