Tuesday, April 30, 2013

John 1 And The Trinity Teaching

This is a departure from my usual commentary/narrative style. This purpose of this post is to capture some snippets found on the web regarding the trinity teaching, John 1:1, and research done by some whose knowledge of Greek is admittedly much deeper than mine.

(At times, the below-referenced website "" does not respond. If that happens, here is a link to download a 100-page book that contains some of the same material.) (This article provides a rebuttal to Julius Mantey's arguments regarding the New World Translation's rendering of "a god" at John 1:1c.) (This article shows how Coptic Greek is very specific in separating God and the Word. Note: In this PDF, there is a link that is either no longer a live website ( or is a typo.)  This article on wikipedia demonstrates that Jehovah's Witnesses are NOT the only ones choosing a rendering that disagrees with the mainstream teaching that Jesus is God. It compares 19 translations of John 1:1c, showing which chose to go with "the Word was God" and which chose a rendering that doesn't make Jesus out to be God Himself. 

Two of the more interesting quotes from the Wikipedia article are:
“[It] is clear that in the translation “the Word was God,” the term God is being used to denote his nature or essence, and not his person. But in normal English usage “God” is a proper noun, referring to the person of the Father or corporately to the three persons of the Godhead. Moreover, “the Word was God” suggests that “the Word” and “God” are convertible terms, that the proposition is reciprocating. But the Word is neither the Father nor the Trinity… The rendering cannot stand without explanation.”[4]Translations by James MoffattHugh J. Schonfield and Edgar Goodspeed render part of the verse as "...and the Word was divine."
An Orthodox Bible Commentary notes: "This second theos could also be translated ‘divine’ as the construction indicates "a qualitative sense for theos". The Word is not God in the sense that he is the same person as the theos mentioned in 1:1a; he is not God the Father (God absolutely as in common NT usage) or the Trinity. The point being made is that the Logos is of the same uncreated nature or essence as God the Father, with whom he eternally exists. This verse is echoed in the Nicene Creed: 'God (qualitative or derivative) from God (personal, the Father), Light from Light, True God from True God… homoousion with the Father.'"[5]

Additional Notes From The Gospel of John
At John 20:17, Jesus had just been resurrected. Mary Magdalene, thinking Jesus was a gardener, pleads with him to tell her where he has taken Jesus' body. With just a single word from Jesus, she immediately realizes who he is and apparently throws herself on him, clinging to him. Jesus' response is undeniable--he has yet to ascend to his Father, his God. Now, we are talking about the resurrected Jesus, so if he were God, this would have been the time to say so. Here is the word-for-word Greek-to-English rendering.

At John 20:31, John tells his readers why he recounted all the things Jesus did. Was it so that his readers would believe that Jesus was God or that Jesus was the Son of God? He pointedly indicates that it was that Jesus was the (preeminent) Son of God.

I wanted to keep this post only about the gospel of John because that is the main focus of those who believe in the trinity. However, one key scripture that no trinitarian has ever been able to answer is recorded at 1 Corinthians 15:28. In this verse (context here), Paul is talking about after the millennial reign of Christ is over. So he is in heaven and been ruling for some time. Paul plainly writes that Christ turns over the kingdom to God for the purpose of God being all things to all people? How could Jesus "hand over" the kingdom to God and make himself subject to God if Jesus himself is God? How would you answer it?

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