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What About John 1:1?

Many who take issue with Jehovah's Witnesses' New World Translation of theos in John 1:1c (as, "a god") often miss the point that this is 'a singular anarthrous predicate noun *preceding the verb and subject noun (stated or implied)*' – that is, not just that use of the noun theos in the third clause lacks the Greek definite article. (In the Greek language of this period, there was no such thing as an indefinite article; therefore, depending upon the grammar, syntax and immediate and global context of the phrase, when translating to English, the decision on whether to add an indefinite article or not would be decided by the translator).

This would also explain why some of the examples many feel inclined to provide (John 1, verses 2, 6, 12, 13, 18 and 51), that is, as NWT violations of this supposed guideline (that these also do not have the Greek definite article, and yet, they have otherwise translated theos there as "God"), do not apply; and this is simply because, those other instances do not fit the same grammatical, syntactical criteria as that found within John 1:1c.

Now, with regard to some specific examples of Biblical verses which do represent the same, basic, Greek grammatical construction of John 1:1c, please examine the following within your own preferred translation of the Bible and see whether the translators had, themselves, appreciated the need to insert either an "a" or "an" there. At each of the cases below, it has been found that most Bibles consistently do:

Mark 6:49

John 4:19

John 8:44a

John 9:17

Mark 11:32

John 6:70

John 8:44b

John 10:1

John 10:13

John 10:13

As can be seen, within each of the above verses, identity of the one being discussed was not at issue; no, but rather, the class of the individual is. Following this same syntactatical pattern (word order) as that found within John 1:1c, it should be easy to appreciate how that Jesus ("the Word") can also be properly identified as "a god"; but certainly not as "God," the one of whom he was just said to be "with" (1:1b).

Then, taking this one step further, regarding the protest that such a rendering would

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be in direct violation of the cultural, religious, strictly monotheistic view of the Jews, apparently, because of theological bias, many scholars are found to fail in their consideration just such related facts. To discover this, one need only to examine most any Bible commentary about Jesus' reference to other "gods," that is, as mentioned in Psalm 82:6 (and, as quoted by him in John 10:34), to see direct evidence of the Jewish cultural context of just such a legitimate use of theos (Hebrew, elohim) for others; and this, all in keeping with its similar application by the apostle John for Jesus, at John 1:1c.

With reference to any of such considerations, that is, as taken from even Trinitarian Biblical commentaries, please see this, otherwise, insightful statement; and, this time, made by a Trinitarian scholar, with the full implications to be likely overlooked by most other Trinitarian Bible students and/or scholars:

The Hebrew for ‘gods’ (‘elohîm) could refer to various exalted beings besides Yahweh [or, Jehovah], without implying any challenge to monotheism,…

Taken from: Blomberg, Craig L. (b.?-d.?). The Historical Reliability of John’s Gospel:

Issues & Commentary. (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, c2002), "The feast of Dedication" ([John] 10:22-42), p. 163. BS2615.6.H55 B56 2002 / 2001051563.

Furthermore, there is this:

If Moses could be [called in Hebrew 'elohim,' often translated as 'a god,' at Exodus 4:16 and 7:1], then, for the gospel writers, so could Jesus [in Greek as 'theos' = elohim], who was regarded by the New Testament [writers] as the very least a new Moses.

Taken from: Fletcher-Louis, Crispin (b.?-d.?). "4Q374: A Discourse on the Sinai Tradition: The Deification of Moses and Early Christology." Article appearing within:

Dead Sea Discoveries, A Journal of Current Research on the Scrolls and Related Literature. (Leiden, Netherlands; New York, New York: E. J. Brill, vol. 1, no. 1; April 1994–), vol. 3, no. 3 (1996), p. 252. BM487.A6 E6 / 96647062.

Quite interestingly, when discussing John 10:34 & 35, it is easy to find that, although most Bible commentaries can be found to accurately discuss/explain the Bible's legitimate uses of the Hebrew and Greek terms for "god" for others (throughout a number of places within the Bible, that is, as utilized in a lesser role than in its typical uses for the Almighty, Jehovah; e.g., Exodus 4:16; 7:1; 21:6; 22:8, 9, 28; 1 Samuel 2:25; Psalm 8:5; 82:1, 6; 97:7; 138:1), many can be found to fail to follow through, that is, in making the

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logical, Scriptural connection between those earlier uses and its similar use for Jesus at John 1:1c.

Therefore, whereas, within many a Trinitarian "New Testament" commentary one can easily find quick objection to an "a god" rendering of 'theos' within the third clause of John 1:1 (on the grounds that such wording would violate Jewish monotheism), more often than not, when examining their analysis of Jesus' words at John 10:34, 35, most seem to just wish to breeze through an, otherwise, correct assessment of Jesus' own use of this term for others, and they do this without seeing such earlier, Biblical uses as having any direct, logical correlation to the opening verse of the Gospel of John.

Curiously, an exception to this can be witnessed by way of the following analysis, this time, as made by another Trinitarian scholar. When specifically discussing the use of 'theos' within John 1:1c, this individual then also makes a direct allusion to Jesus' mention of other "gods" within John 10:34, 35 –

…the Logos was God…. It [the Greek word Logos, more commonly translated "Word"], signifies, among the Jews and other ancient people, when applied to God, every thing by which God reveals Himself to men, and makes known to them His will. In this passage [John 1:1] the principal proof [for "the Word" being identified as God] does not lie in the word [Greek, logos], nor even in the word [Greek, theos], which in a larger sense is often applied to kings and earthly rulers,…

Taken from: Knapp, Georg[e] Christian (b.1753-d.1853), D.D., Professor of Theology in the University of Halle. Lectures on Christian Theology. Translated by Woods, Leonard (b.?-d.?), JUN.D.D., President of Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine. Second American Edition, Reprinted from the last London Edition. (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:

Thomas Wardle, 1845), pp. 136, 137. BT75 .K64 1845 / 35-22780.

Perhaps it would interest some to know that, when translating John 1:1c, during the first few centuries after Christianity had begun, two of the earliest known Christian translations of the Greek ‘New Testament’ into a foreign language had utilized their own languages' indefinite article there as well (for, in the Greek language of Jesus’ day, there were no indefinite articles); and again, all in order to complete the proper sense of the phrase from the Koine Greek (of which, people were still using during this period), both of these translations had rendered John 1:1c (when translated to English), "and the Word was a god." For this, please examine the contents of the following web-link:

http://nwtandcoptic.blogspot.com/2006/09/john-11c-word-was-god.html

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Obviously, there need be more evidence to substantiate such a position; but, otherwise, that is just one of the many points we hope to bring out within in a forthcoming work entitled: What About John 1:1?

Yes, certainly, because of the faithfulness (as prophesied in Isaiah 53) and obedience (Romans 5:19; Hebrews 5:8) of Jesus as God’s Anointed One (Acts 10:38), that which he willingly displayed (John 4:34) toward his heavenly Father (John 5:36) and God (John 20:17), even to his own death (Matthew 26:39), as God’s “apostle” (Hebrews 3:1), our appointed “Savior” (Luke 2:11; John 3:16; Acts 5:31), serving likewise as our appointed “Lord” (Acts 2:34), designated “Judge” (John 5:22; Acts 17:31), heavenly Ruler (Revelation 3:21) and “King” (1 Corinthians 15:25), He has surely more right to the title “god” (Isaiah 9:6; John 1:18), than any other earthly (Exodus 4:16; 7:1), or heavenly “representative” (Psalm 8:5) of God. (John 7:29. Compare also: 1 Corinthians 15:27).

Agape, JohnCh1Vs1.

john1one@earthlink.net

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To learn more of the design as well as to follow the progress and intended release date of What About John 1:1?, we invite you to visit:

Good Companion Books http://wwww.goodcompanionbooks.com

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You may wish to also examine:

Some Interesting Observations About the Trinity, Perhaps Not So Commonly Known http://goodcompanionbooks.com/Some_Interesting_Observations.htm

Some Powerful Reasoning's About the Trinity Not So Easily Dismissed http://goodcompanionbooks.com/Some_Powerful_Reasonings.htm

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