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Friday, October 9, 2009

MYGOD

(From the RDB Files)


MYGOD



John 20:28 - “My God”



John 20:19 - “On the evening of that day [when the resurrected Jesus was first seen], the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’



(:20) - “When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. THEN [upon seeing this] the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.


(:21) - “Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.’


(:22) - “And when he had said this he breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.



(:23) - “‘If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’



(:24) - “Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came.

(:25) - “So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails [as the other disciples had already seen], and place my hand in his side, I will not believe.’



(:26) - “Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, ‘Peace be with you.’



(:27) - “Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and SEE my hands; and put your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.’


(:28) - “Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’

(:29) - “Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have SEEN me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.’



(:30) - “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;


(:31) - “but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” - John 20:19-31, RSV.


John 20:28 (“Thomas answered, ‘My Lord and my God [ho kurios mou kai ho Qeos mou]’”) is one of the favorite trinitarian “proofs” of the trinity doctrine. In fact, Dr. Walter Martin, the famous Trinity-defender and “cult-buster,” calls this scripture “the greatest single testimony recorded in the Scriptures” of the “Deity of Christ.” - KOTC, p. 95.

To examine it properly we should (1) discuss the context, (2) discuss the implications if “my God” was not meant to apply directly to Jesus,  (3) discuss the implications if those words were meant to be  applied directly to Jesus, (4) discuss the use of the definite article with theos ('God') in this verse, and (5) examine the evidence that Thomas was speaking about TWO different persons: Jesus ('my Lord') and God ('my God').
 
(1) Thomas had said (verse :25) that unless something happened he would “not believe.” What was it that Thomas refused to believe? Was it that he refused to believe that Jesus was equally God with the Father? There is certainly no hint of this before or after Thomas’ statement at John 20:28.

If the disciples had learned, upon seeing the resurrected Jesus, that he was God, certainly they would have indicated this! But notice, neither before nor after receiving Holy Spirit (:22) did they kneel or do any act of worship such as one would certainly do upon coming aware of being in the presence of God!

Notice that the disciples who had seen Jesus earlier did not tell Thomas that Jesus was God (:25)! This is an incredible oversight if they had really believed they had seen God! Certainly, if they had discovered that Jesus was really God when they saw him resurrected, they would have talked of nothing else!

If, on the other hand, they had already known that Jesus was God even before seeing his resurrected form, then Thomas, too, would have already known about it and certainly would not have meant: “Unless I see ... the print of nails [etc.] ... I will not believe [Jesus is God].”

No, the context of John 20:24, 25, and 29 shows that Thomas refused to believe that Jesus had been resurrected from the dead. (See footnote for John 20:8 in The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan, 1985: “John did not say what [the disciple who saw the empty tomb of Jesus] believed, but it must have been that Jesus was resurrected.” - Also see Barclay’s The Daily Study Bible Series: The Gospel of John, Revised Edition, Vol. 2, p. 267, and pp. 275, 276.)

Certainly, being resurrected from the dead does not make you God. Other persons in the Scriptures had been resurrected from the dead before (and after) Jesus, and no one, for a moment, ever suspected them of being God! In fact, being resurrected from the dead would have been used as evidence that a person was not God, since God has always been immortal and cannot die in the first place!

Furthermore, Jesus’ statements before and after Thomas’ exclamation (“my Lord and my God!”) show not only that Jesus wanted Thomas to believe that he had been resurrected to life but that he could not possibly be God!!

Jesus’ command to Thomas to literally touch his wounds and actually see his hands proves that he meant, “See, I am the same person you saw die, but now I am alive ... be believing that I have been resurrected to life” (not, “see, these wounds prove I am God ... be believing that I am God”).

Notice that the reason given for Thomas to “be believing” is that he can see Jesus’ hands and their wounds. Likewise, after Thomas says “My Lord and my God,” Jesus reaffirms that Thomas now believes (as did the other disciples after seeing - Jn.20:20) that Jesus has been resurrected (not that he is God) “because you have seen me” (:29).

Certainly Jesus wouldn’t mean, “you believe I am God because you can see me.” Instead, this is proof that Jesus, Thomas, John, and the other disciples did not believe Jesus was equally God with the Father! How? Because John himself has made it manifestly clear that “no one [no human] has ever seen God” - 1 John 4:12, RSV. (See the SF study; also OMN 3-5.)

“For the NT God is utterly invisible (Jn. 6:46; 1 Tim. 1:17; 6:16; Col. 1:15). ‘God does not become visible; He is revealed,’ ... yet the resurrection narratives especially stress that the risen Christ is visible.” - The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, p. 518, Vol. 3, Zondervan, 1986.

Therefore, since no man has ever directly seen God (who is the Father only - John 5:37, 6:46; 17:1, 3) but men have only indirectly “seen” God through representations such as visions, dreams, etc., Jesus is saying: “Believe I have been resurrected and that I am obviously not God because you see me directly (and even touch me so you can be sure I’m not a vision or an indirect representation).”

What about the rest of the context? (1) As noted before, Thomas did not bow down, worship, etc. upon learning that it was really Jesus and saying 'my lord and my god.' He could not have just discovered that he was in the presence of God and acted the way he did! (2) It’s also obvious that Jesus did not understand Thomas to be calling him equally God with the Father in heaven. But did John, in spite of the incredible contradiction of a previous statement (like 1 John 4:12 above) at John 1:18 that “no man hath seen God at any time,” somehow think that Thomas understood Jesus to be God?

Well, no other disciple of Jesus ever made a statement to him which could honestly be construed as meaning Jesus is God! So, (3) if John had, somehow, understood Thomas’ statement that way, he certainly would have provided some follow-up clarification and emphasis in his own comments.

Surely John would have shown Thomas prostrating himself before “God” and worshiping him (but he doesn’t!). So how does John summarize this incident? - “But these were written that you may believe [Believe what? That Jesus is God? Here, then, is where it should have been written if John really believed such a thing:] that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” - John 20:31, RSV. (Be sure to compare 1 John 5:5.)

Or, as the trinitarian The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan, 1985, states in a footnote for this scripture:

“This whole Gospel is written to show the truth of Jesus’ Messiahship and to present him as the Son of God, so that the readers may believe in him.”

Obviously, neither Jesus’ response, nor Thomas’ responses (before and after his statement at John 20:28), nor John’s summation of the event at 20:31 recognizes Thomas’ statement to mean that Jesus is the only true God!

So it is clear from context alone that neither Jesus, nor John, (nor Thomas) considered the statement at John 20:28 to mean that Jesus is equally God with the Father. (Remember this is the same Gospel account that also records Jesus’ last prayer to the Father at John 17:1, 3: “Father,.... This is eternal life: to know thee who alone art truly God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” - NEB. It is obvious from this scripture alone that Jesus and the writer of the Gospel of John do not believe Jesus is equally God with the Father!)

This may be, then, one of those places where the idioms of an ancient language are not completely understood by modern translators.

As the Encyclopaedia Britannica, 14th ed., vol. 13, p. 25, puts it:

"And it is not certain that even the words Thomas addressed to Jesus (Jn. 20:28) meant what they suggest in the English Version." - (Britannica article by Rev. Charles Anderson Scott, M.A., D.D. Dunn Professor of New Testament, Theological College of the Presbyterian Church of England, Cambridge.)

And John M. Creed, as Professor of Divinity at the University of Cambridge, wrote:

“‘my Lord and my God’ (Joh.xx.28) is still not quite the same as an address to Christ as being without qualification God, and it must be balanced by the words of the risen Christ himself ... (v.17): ... ‘I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and my God and your God.’” - The Divinity of Jesus Christ, J. M. Creed, p. 123.

Yes, think about that very carefully: After Jesus was resurrected, he continued to call the Father in heaven “my God”! (Even after he was fully restored to heaven and seated at the right hand of God - Rev. 3:2; 3:12.) So if we must insist, as many trinitarians do, that the single instance of Thomas’ saying “MY God” in Jesus’ presence, with all its uncertainties, means that Jesus is superior in every way to Thomas (in essence, eternity, authority, etc.), what do Jesus’ even clearer statements that the Father is his God actually mean? -

“He who conquers, ... I will write on him the name of MY God, and the name of the city of MY God, ... and my own name.” - Rev. 3:12, RSV (Compare Rev. 14:1).

You can’t have it both ways. If Thomas’ statement (“my God”) can only mean that Jesus is ultimately superior to Thomas in all respects, then Jesus’ repeated and even clearer statements that the Father is his God can only mean that the Father is ultimately superior to Jesus in all respects. If Thomas really understood that Jesus was equally God with the Father, it is certainly blasphemous for John and other inspired Bible writers to turn around and call the Father the God of the Christ! - Micah 5:4; 1 Cor. 11:3; 2 Cor. 11:31; Eph. 1:3, 17; 1 Peter 1:3; Rev. 3:12.
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Micah 5:4 - American Standard Version (ASV)

“And he [the Messiah] shall stand, and shall feed his flock in the strength of Jehovah, in the majesty of the name of Jehovah his God:”


1 Corinthians 11:3 - New American Standard Bible (NASB)

“But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.”

2 Corinthians 11:31 - New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, He who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying.”

Ephesians 1:3 - New American Standard Bible (NASB)

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,”

Ephesians 1:17 - New American Standard Bible (NASB)

“that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.”

1 Peter 1:3 - New American Standard Bible (NASB)

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,”

Revelation 3:12 - New American Standard Bible (NASB)

“He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.”


Also see Ro. 15:6; 2 Cor. 1:3; Col. 1:3; Rev. 1:6; 3:2.

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(2) To understand what may have really been intended by Thomas, let’s first examine it as if the words were not directly applied to Jesus. Notice the parallel between 1 Samuel 20:12 (where Jonathan’s words appear to be directed to David: “... Jonathan saith unto David, ‘Jehovah, God of Israel - when I search my father, about this time tomorrow ....’” - Young’s Literal Translation, cf. KJV) and John 20:28 (where Thomas’ words appear to be directed to Jesus: “Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’”).

The significant point here is that, although the scripture shows Jonathan speaking to David, it apparently literally calls him (David) “O LORD God”!! (For a straightforward literal translation see 1 Samuel 20:12 in the King James Version.) You can bet that, if modern Bible translators wanted to find “evidence” that made King David also appear to be equally God (Quadrinarians?), they would continue to translate this scripture addressed to David just as literally as they do John 20:28 to “prove” that Jesus is equally God!

Instead, we see many modern translations adding words to bring out what they believe may have been originally intended. There is absolutely no reason for this addition except the translators believe from the testimony of the rest of the Bible that David is not Jehovah God. So something else must have been intended here.

Translators from about 200 B.C. (Septuagint) until now have been guessing (and disagreeing) at exactly what was intended here. It was probably some common idiom of the time such as: “I promise you in the sight of the LORD the God of Israel” - NEB, or, as found in the ancient Septuagint: “Jonathan said unto David, ‘The Lord God of Israel knows that....’”

Robert Young, the translator of Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible, the translators of the KJV, and the translators of The Holy Scriptures, Jewish Publication Society of America (JPS), 1917, decided that it was better not to even guess and left it more literally as: “And Jonathan said unto David, ‘O LORD, God of Israel - when I have sounded....’”

A significant interpretation by the NIV is, “By the LORD God of Israel” which is an oath by Jonathan meaning, probably, “I swear by the LORD God....” (cf. Tanakh translation by JPS, 1985). Perhaps the most-used interpretation is: “Jehovah, the God of Israel, (be witness)....” - ASV (cf. NASB, RSV, AT, NKJV). The very trinitarian ETRV renders it: “Jonathan said to David, ‘I make this promise before the Lord [Jehovah], the God of Israel….’”[See end note 1]

Since the context of John 20 (indeed, the context and testimony of the entire Bible) does not confirm the trinitarian belief that the Messiah is equally God, John 20:28 could just as honestly be translated with some addition comparable to that of 1 Sam. 20:12.

So, keeping in mind the interpretations for 1 Sam. 20:12 and the context of John 20:28 (where Jesus tells Thomas to believe, Thomas answers, and his answer convinces Jesus that Thomas finally, completely believes that Jesus has actually returned from the dead), let’s use an interpretation similar to that of 1 Samuel.

(27:) “Then Jesus said to Thomas .... ‘Believe!’

(28:) “Thomas answered, ‘My Lord and my God (be witness) [that I do believe now]!’. {Or,

following the NIV example above, ‘(I swear by) my Lord and God [that I do believe]!’}.”

(29:) “Then Jesus told him, ‘You believe because you have seen me.’” - Based on the Living


Bible translation of John 20:27-29

Another interpretation is that Thomas’ words might be a doxology, or praise, such as “My Lord and my God be praised.” In that sense the words would still be aimed directly at the only true God (the Father alone). This may be similar to the abbreviated doxology at Ro. 9:5 which some trinitarians also take advantage of (see the AO study). That doxology is also without a critical verb and is abruptly joined to a description of Jesus. Literally, in Greek it reads: “the being over all god blessed into the ages amen.” Even some trinitarian translators add the necessary words and punctuation to make this a clearly separated doxology to the Father: “[Jesus was born a Jew]. May God, who rules over all, be praised for ever” - GNB.

Again, some scholars have interpreted John 20:28 as merely “an exclamation of astonishment” by Thomas. And, although a few modern trinitarians would like us to believe that such exclamations as this are really only modern idioms and were not used in ancient times, that is simply untrue. For example, Theodore, Bishop of Mopsuestia (350-428 A.D.) was “an early Christian theologian, the most eminent representative of the so-called school of Antioch. .... he was held in great respect, and took part in several synods, with a reputation for orthodoxy that was never questioned.”

This respected Bishop of Mopsuestia was a very early trinitarian and a friend of John Chrysostom and of Cyril of Alexandria. - Encyclopedia Britannica, 14th ed., Vol. 22, p. 58. This highly-respected, very early trinitarian wrote, 1600 years ago, that Thomas’ statement at John 20:28 was “an exclamation of astonishment directed to God.” - p. 535, Vol. 3, Meyer’s Commentary on the New Testament (John), 1983, Hendrickson Publ. [2]

As we know from the examples of angels, prophets, and kings, persons who represent God are sometimes addressed as God Himself. Or as the preface in Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible states: “What a SERVANT says or does is ascribed to the MASTER.” In that sense, also, the words, “My Lord and my God” could be addressed to the only true God through his servant, Jesus Christ. - “God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first ...” - Acts 3:26, RSV.

An example of this is illustrated by the footnote for Gen. 16:7 in the trinitarian NIVSB:

“... as the Lord’s personal messenger who represented him and bore his credentials, the angel could speak on behalf of (and so be identified with) the One who sent him.”

The Watchtower Society points to Judges 13:20-22 as an example of an explanation of this type. Here Manoah knowingly calls an angel “God”! - Compare Gen. 16:7, 13; Gen. 32:24, 30; Hosea 12:4; Judges 6:11-15, 20; and Ex. 3:2, 4-6, 16 with Acts 7:35. The Watchtower Society suggests that Thomas might have been using “God” in a similar sense at John 20:28. - See September 1, 1984 WT, p. 28. Also see pp. 919-920, Aid to Bible Understanding, 1971 ed.

We might well interpret Matt.16:23 similarly: Jesus “said unto Peter, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan [Satana – vocative, noun of address].’” Here Jesus, in a complete statement, clearly addresses Peter as “Satan”![3] But we know full well that Satan is someone else entirely. Therefore it would be reasonable to conclude that Jesus considered Peter to be (at this particular moment only) Satan’s servant (unwittingly, of course) and addressed that “servant” as though actually speaking to his “master”! We certainly would need much clearer (and many repeated) instances of Peter being shown as Satan himself before we could even begin to suspect that Peter was somehow a member of some mysterious Satanic Trinity in which he was absolutely equal to Satan in power, longevity of existence, authority, etc.!

It is certainly possible, then, that Thomas, upon discovering that this really was the resurrected Jesus, also realized that this, then, must be a direct representative of God. As we have seen in the “WORSHIP” study (WOR-3), the Angel of Jehovah was sometimes addressed as “God” or “Jehovah” because at that moment he was perfectly speaking and performing God’s will (e.g. Judges 13:21, 22). Some trinitarians even believe that Jesus was, at least at times, that Angel of Jehovah - pp. 39, 624, Today’s Dictionary of the Bible. Realizing this, it would not be surprising to hear Thomas address God through this perfect representative of God: “My Lord and my God!”[4]

I personally think, however, that this is a less likely explanation simply because I do not believe this expression by Thomas is an address to anyone. If Thomas had said, “You are my Lord and my God,” we might have reason for such a representational interpretation. Or if he had addressed Jesus with the intent of saying something further (e.g. “My Lord and my God, how have you returned to us?”), it could also be indicative of the above representational interpretation. But there is no indication of any intent by Thomas to follow up an “address” with anything further as is normally required of nouns of address. (cf. Matt. 27:46; Mark 15:34; Acts 1:6; 22:8; Rev. 7:14.) [5]

The very fact that the words of Thomas are not a complete statement show that it is probably the abbreviated form of a common expression or doxology (#2 above) and not a statement of identification such as “you are my lord and my god.” Whereas doxologies and other common expressions are frequently abbreviated to the point of not being complete statements (cf. Dana and Mantey, p. 149), statements of identification appear to be complete statements (certainly in the writings of John, at least), e.g., Jn 1:49, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel.” - NASB. Cf. Jn. 6:14, 69; 7:40, 41; 9:17; 11:27; 21:7. Furthermore, when using the term “Lord” (at least) in address to another person, a different form of the NT Greek word is used than the form found at John 20:28 (ho kurios mou).


 “The vocative is the case used in addressing a person .... kurie [kurie] (O Lord), Θee (O God) ... are almost the only forms found in the N.T.” - pp. 14, 15, The New Testament Greek Primer, Rev. Alfred Marshall, Zondervan, 1978 printing.


This is especially true of “Lord” and “my Lord” in both the Septuagint and the New Testament. Kurie, not kurios, is the form used when addressing someone as “Lord” or “My Lord.” (“God,” θee, however, is not so certain.)

We can see a good example of this vocative form, which is used in addressing a person as “Lord,” at 3 Kings 1:20, 21 (1 Kings 1:20, 21 in modern English Bibles) in the ancient Greek of the Septuagint: “And you, my Lord [kurie mou], O King ...” - 3 Kings 1:20, Septuagint. Then at 3 Kings 1:21 we see the same person (King David) being spoken about (but not addressed) in the same terms as Jn 20:28: “And it shall come to pass, when my Lord [ho kurios mou] the king shall sleep with his fathers .... - 3 Kings 1:21, Septuagint.

We also find Thomas himself, at Jn 14:5, addressing Jesus as “Lord” by using kurie.  And, when addressing the angel at Rev. 7:14, John himself says kurie mou (“My Lord”)![6] There are 33 uses of kurie in the Gospel of John alone. Here are a few of them: John 9:38; 11:3, 12, 21, 27, 32, 34, 39; 12:38 (from OT quote-'Jehovah' as kurie); 13:6, 9, 25, 36, 37; 14:5. (Compare these with an actual identification of the lord: “it is the lord [kurios],” John 21:7 – Also, for Colwell’s Rule fans, note the use of the article and the word order of the clause in the two clauses identifying the Lord here.)

Therefore, it is probably safe to say that when John wrote down the incident with Thomas at Jn 20:28 and used the nominative form for “My Lord” [Kurios] he was not saying that Thomas was addressing Jesus as “My Lord and my God”![7]

(3) What if the words “My Lord and my God” were meant to be applied directly to Jesus? Then, since context clearly shows that Thomas (and John) did not mean that Jesus is equally God with the Father, the word theos (“God,” “god,” or “mighty one” in NT Greek) must have been meant in its accepted secondary sense of “god” or “mighty one” - see BOWGOD study.

In the preface to Young’s Analytical Concordance (in the section entitled “Hints and Helps to Bible Interpretation”) trinitarian Young states:

“65. God - is used of any one (professedly) mighty, whether truly so or not, and is applied not only to the true God, but to ... magistrates, judges, angels, prophets, etc., e.g. Exod. 7:1 ... John 1:1; 10:33, 34, 35; 20:28 ... 2 Thess. 2:4...” – Eerdmans Publ., 1978 reprint.

Notice how this famous trinitarian has listed John 20:28 as an example of “God” (or “god”) being applied to someone other than the true God (as in the case of “judges, angels, prophets, etc.”).

Another example of this (also listed above by Dr. Young) is Exodus 7:1 where various trinitarian translators have made differing translations. Literally, the Hebrew says: “see, I made you Moses God [or ‘a god’] to Pharaoh” - NIV Interlinear Hebrew-English Old Testament, Zondervan, 1985. (The ancient Greek Septuagint reads essentially the same but, of course, uses the Greek word theos instead of the Hebrew elohim for “God” or “a god” at Ex. 7:1.)

Here, then, is how Ex. 7:1 has been translated:

1. “I have made thee a god to Pharaoh” – KJV, AT, Moffat, Lamsa. (This is a literal translation of the Bible text.)

2. “I make you AS God to Pharaoh” – RSV, NAB, ASV, and NASB. (“As” is not in the original manuscripts.)

3. “I have made you AS a god ….” – JB, NJB. (“As” has been added by the translators.)

4. “I have made you LIKE a god….” – NEB, REB. (“Like” is not in the original manuscripts.)

5. “I have made you LIKE God….” – NRSV, NIV. (“Like” has been added by translators.)

6. “I have made thee a god” - Septuagint, Bagster translation, Zondervan.

So, in spite of the confusion concerning the precise meaning of Ex. 7:1, it is clear that God is applying the title elohim (or theos in the Greek Septuagint) to Moses in a proper subordinate or secondary sense of a “mighty person.”

This is precisely the type of “proof” that trinitarians must often use to “prove” that Jesus is God! Isn’t it obvious how a sect of Jews or “Christians” who wanted to make Moses “equally God” would use this scripture? (Think how that good servant of God would feel if he knew his name were being used in such a blasphemous mannner!)

There are a number of other similar “proofs” which seem to make Moses (or David, or even all Christians) “equally God” if you are willing to ignore (or “re-interpret”) the testimony of the majority of Bible verses and just concentrate on a few dozen unclear or ambiguous verses such as Exodus 7:1. - See the TRINTYPE or DAVID study.

Understanding, then, the different meanings of the NT Greek word theos as it was used at the time of the Bible writers, we should also know that individual speakers of that language (even as in most languages today) used it in highly individual ways. Whereas one Bible writer might frequently use a word or phrase in its alternate meanings as it was commonly used at that time, another writer might seldom (or never) use it with that alternate meaning.

For instance, some Old Testament writers used the Hebrew word elohim (“God” or “god” - there was no capitalization or punctuation in the original Bible writings) exclusively for the only true God, Jehovah. Others apparently used it only for Jehovah and, occasionally, false gods. And still others used it in all its possible applications (including God’s judges, angels, prophets, etc.). - See p. 208, Today’s Dictionary of the Bible, Bethany House Publishers, 1982.

So, if we examine the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, we can see that they never use theos in its positive subordinate sense (“a god” for angels, prophets, etc.). Therefore, if one of those inspired Gospel writers were to call Jesus theos, it might honestly be considered acceptable evidence for those who want to prove that Jesus is equally God with his Father.

But of the 57 times the title theos, in all its forms (or cases), is used in the Gospel of Matthew it is always used for the only true God and is never applied to Jesus! Of the 51 times the word theos (in all forms) is used in the Gospel of Mark it is always used for the only true God and is never applied to Jesus! And of the 126 times the word theos (all forms) is used in the Gospel of Luke it is always used for the only true God and is never applied to Jesus!

But if John and the rest of the disciples present when Thomas made his statement at John 20:28 understood that statement to mean that Jesus was equally God with the Father, they must have “forgotten,” because Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the very first Gospels to be written, obviously don’t call him “God” in any sense of the word!

Think about that. These inspired Bible writers, who supplied the only Gospel accounts available to the first Christians (the Gospel of John was written much later) during the first 50 years of Christianity, completely ignore the “Jesus is equally God” idea! And yet most of Christendom today considers this trinity idea to be “the centrality of the Christian faith,” and “of primary importance,” the very “cornerstone of the Christian faith,” and “vital to its [Christendom’s] existence.” - See the KNOW study.

It is highly significant, therefore, that Matthew, Mark, and Luke, when writing those very first Gospel accounts, never used theos (in any form) with its positive subordinate meanings and never applied theos (in any form) to Jesus (which would have been essential if they had really understood Jesus as being equally God with the Father)! Since these Gospel accounts only use theos for the only true God, it should not be surprising (to any objective Bible student) that it is never used by them for Jesus.

John, however, is the only Gospel writer who used the word theos in all its meanings. It should not be surprising, then, that he is also the only Gospel writer who clearly applies the title theos directly to Jesus! John, like some of those ancient Hebrew Scripture writers of the Old Testament who used elohim in all its various meanings, used it to mean the only true God over 90% of the time. But in a very few scriptures he used it to mean “a god” in its positive, subordinate, secondary sense. A clear instance of this is found at John 10:33-36 where Jesus quotes from and comments on Psalm 82:6.

It is certainly better to use the trinitarian-translated New English Bible (NEB) here because it obviously translates theos correctly at John 10:33 (“a god”) whereas the King James Version and many other trinitarian translations do not. (See the THEON study.)

The context of John 10:33-36 (and of Psalm 82:6 which is quoted there) and NT Greek grammar show “a god” to be the correct rendering. Young’s Concise Critical Bible Commentary, p. 62, by the respected trinitarian, Dr. Robert Young, confirms this:

“‘makest thyself a god,’ not ‘God’ as in C.V. [King James Version or ‘Common Version’], otherwise the definite article would not have been omitted, as it is here, and in the next two verses, -- ‘gods .. gods,’ where the title is applied to magistrates, and others ....”

And it is further admitted that this is the meaning of Jn 10:33 by noted trinitarian NT scholar C. H. Dodd:

“making himself a god.” - The Interpretation of the Fourth Gospel, p. 205, Cambridge University Press, 1995 reprint.

The highly respected (and highly trinitarian) W. E. Vine indicates the proper rendering here:

“The word [theos] is used of Divinely appointed judges in Israel, as representing God in His authority, John 10:34” - p. 491, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words.

The highly trinitarian New International Version Study Bible, Zondervan, 1985, also admits in a footnote for Psalm 82:1,

“rulers and judges, as deputies of the heavenly King, could be given the honorific title ‘god’ (see note on 45:6)” - - - and the note on Ps. 45:6 says, “it is also possible that the [Israelite] king is addressed as ‘god.’ .... it is not unthinkable that he was called ‘god’ as a title of honor (cf. Isa. 9:6).”

So, in the NEB it reads:

“’We are not going to stone you for any good deed, but for your blasphemy. You, a mere man, claim to be a god.’ Jesus answered, ‘Is it not written in your own Law, “I said: You are gods”? Those are called gods to whom the word of God was delivered - and Scripture cannot be set aside. Then why do you charge me with blasphemy because I, consecrated and sent into the world by the Father, said, “I am God’s SON”?’”

Not only do we see John using theos in its positive alternate meaning here, but we also see Jesus clarifying it. When some of the Jews were ready to stone him because they said he was claiming to be a god (Jesus’ reply about men being called gods in the scriptures would have been nonsensical if he were replying to an accusation of being God - see the THEON study), Jesus first pointed out that God himself had called judges of Israel gods (Ps. 82:6)! Then he, in effect, denied that he ever used the word theos for himself even in its God-approved alternate meaning and said that, instead, he had merely called himself God’s Son! (It’s interesting that those judges or magistrates of Israel who were called gods by Jehovah himself were also called “SONS of the Most High” at Ps. 82:6, and Jesus was was also called “SON of the Most High God” at Mark 5:7.)

A Translator’s Handbook on the Gospel of John by trinitarians Newman and Nida reluctantly admits some of the above, but insists that it would not be “in keeping with the theology of John” and the charge of blasphemy by the Jews:

“Purely on the basis of the Greek text, therefore, it is possible to translate [John 10:33] ‘a god,’ as NEB does, rather than to translate God, as TEV and several other translations do. One might argue on the basis of both the Greek and the context, that the Jews were accusing Jesus of claiming to be ‘a god’ rather than “God.”- p. 344, United Bible Societies, 1980.

We see the same positive alternate understanding of the word theos by the first Christians for several centuries after Jesus’ death. Some used the word only for God (as did Matthew, Mark, and Luke) while others also used it in its positive subordinate sense (as did John).

St. Augustine, for example, showed this understanding of the meaning of “god.” Writing around 410 A. D. and speaking of godly men, he said: “For created gods are gods not by virtue of what is in themselves, but by a participation of the true God.” - The City of God, Book xiv, chapter 13, as quoted in On The Two Cities, pp. 60-61. (Also see Book xiv, chapter 23, where Augustine says that godly men and angels are gods!)

Also, Clement of Alexandria (circa 150 A. D. - 215 A. D.) was “one of the most learned fathers of the church.” - Encyclopedia Americana, 1957, Vol. 7, p. 87a. He is quoted as writing

“that man with whom the Logos dwells ... becomes God [or, more properly translated, ‘a god’].” And, “the Logos of God became man that from [a] man you might learn how man may become God [or ‘a god’].” - quoted in The Mystery Religions, S. Angus, p. 106, 1975 ed., Dover Publications.

This same publication adds,

“We should remind ourselves that though ‘God’ [or ‘a god’] is the rendering of theos [Greek] or deus [Latin], ‘Divine’ might better convey to our minds what these terms conveyed to the minds of men living in the Graeco-Roman world [of the first centuries A. D.], to whom they were of a more fluid nature than they have since long become in scholastic theology.” - p. 107.

Further illustrating this is the very early Christian who wrote the Epistle to Diognetus. On p. 50 of A Short History of the Early Church, by trinitarian H. R. Boer, 1976, we find:

“The Apologists [the very first Christians to really discuss Jesus' relationship to God in their writings - from beginning of persecutions to ca. 250 A. D.] presented the Christian faith to their readers with dignity and simplicity. The author of the Epistle to Diognetus, writing about 150 A.D., describes the manner in which the Father sent the Word into the world in this way: ‘Did he send him, as a man might think, on a mission of domination and fear and terror? Indeed he did not, but ... as a King sending his own son who is himself a king; he sent him as God.’”

Now trinitarian Boer himself admits that this letter was written long before the trinity doctrine had even been developed by “the Church” (see HIST study). And Boer further admits:

"Justin and the other Apologists [including, of course, the writer of the Epistle to Diognetus] therefore taught that the Son is a creature. He is a high creature, a creature powerful enough to create the world, but nevertheless, a creature. In theology this relationship of the Son to the Father is called Subordinationism. The Son is subordinate, that is, secondary to dependent upon, and caused by the Father." - p. 110, A Short History of the Early Church, Eerdmans (trinitarian), 1976.

"Before the Council of Nicaea (AD 325) all theologians viewed the Son as in one way or another subordinate to the Father." - pp. 112-113, Eerdman's Handbook to the History of Christianity (Trinitarian), 1977; and p. 114, The History of Christianity, A Lion Handbook, Lion Publishing, 1990 revised ed.

It is therefore more than a little strange that the author of this very early Christian letter would actually call Jesus “God”!

But when we examine the Greek text of this very early Christian letter, the mystery is solved. The writer of this letter has used theos without the article (“a god”) at this verse (7:4) and others. In fact, The Encyclopedia Britannica translates verse 10:6 as:

“If thou too wouldst have this faith, learn first the knowledge of the Father [see John 17:3] ... knowing Him, thou wilt love Him and imitate his goodness; and marvel not if a man can imitate God: he can if God will. By kindness to the needy, by giving them what God has given him, a man can become a god [theos without the definite article] of them that receive, an imitator of God.” - p. 395, Vol.7, 14th ed. (Also see Early Christian Writings, Staniforth, Dorset Press, p. 181 and the Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 29, Eerdmans.)

So, not only has this early Christian writer stated that a Christian who helps his neighbor “becomes a god [theos],” but at the verse in question (7:4) he clearly says about Jesus that the Father “sent him as a god [theos without the definite article].” - see The Apostolic Fathers, Lightfoot and Harmer, pp. 495, 498, Baker Book House.

Yes, when we see how this first (possibly second) century Christian used theos without the article for men (10:6), we then know that he really said at verse 7:4 (with the identical usage): “The Father sent the Word into the world in this way: .... he sent him as a god”! - Compare Jn 1:1, NWT.

Therefore, if an imperfect human can, by imitating God, be called “a god,” we should not be surprised that a much more perfect imitator of God, his servant, Jesus, should be called “a god” by the one Gospel writer who used theos in this positive subordinate sense. But whether Thomas said “My God” or “My god” and whether he directed it to Jesus or through Jesus doesn’t matter as much as the fact that neither Jesus nor John (as context clearly shows) considered it to mean that Jesus was equally God with the Father!

(4) Many trinitarians realize the importance of the definite article (“the” in English, ho in NT Greek) when it is used with theos (although they often deny its importance when they discuss John 1:1 and John 1:18).

It is very true that, when the subject form (the nominative case) of theos is being used by the Gospel writers to refer to the only true God, they use the definite article with it (see DEF study). The most important exception to this rule occurs when theos is part of a “prepositional” construction (such as “the god [theos] of this world” or “the god of me”). When that happens, then that noun may or may not take a definite article - - its use (or non-use) may be purely arbitrary and may or may not indicate that theos is denoting the one true God.

So there may be little or no significance to a subject-form (nominative) theos with or without the article if it is part of a “prepositional” construction. But, if it is not part of a “prepositional” construction and has the definite article, then all the Gospel writers (including John) were referring to the only true God (the Father), and not merely “a god”!

Knowing the ignorance of even the most basic elements of the original Bible languages by nearly all Christians today, the trinitarian “expert” sometimes correctly points out the significance of the definite article in identifying the only true God and then fails to point out the highly important exception we have just examined. He does this when he points to John 20:28 as trinitarian “evidence” because the definite article IS used with the subject form of theos in this verse. “The Lord of me and the God [or ‘god’] of me” is the literal wording.

John 20:28 has been specifically commented upon concerning this use of the definite article by C. F. D. Moule, Professor of Divinity at the University of Cambridge. He states:

“In John 20:28 ... it is to be noted that a substantive [such as ‘Lord’ or ‘God’ in this verse] in the nominative case in a vocative sense [in apparent address to someone] and followed by a possessive [‘of me’] could not be anarthrous [i.e., without the definite article] ...; the article before theos may, therefore, not be significant” - An Idiom-Book of New Testament Greek, p. 116. (Cf. p. 248, Jesus as God, Murray J. Harris, Baker Book House, 1992.)

In a similar manner we see “god” (theos, referring to Satan but having the definite article because it is part of a “prepositional” construction) at 2 Cor. 4:4 - “the god OF this world” - RSV.

That is why a distinguished trinitarian scholar when discussing 2nd century Christian Theophilus’ statement (Autolycus, Bk. 2, Ch. 24) that Adam, if he had remained faithful would have become “perfect” and would have been called “a god,” can add:

“(as Jesus was in John 20:28)”!

Yes, noted trinitarian NT scholar and Church historian (also an ordained minister of the Episcopal Church) Dr. Robert M. Grant not only admits that grammatically, contextually, and historically Jesus could have been called “a god” by Thomas at John 20:28, but he believes that this scripture actually does say that Thomas called Jesus “a god”!! - p. 171, Greek Apologists of the Second Century, The Westminster Press, 1988.

(5)

A number of trinitarians accept Sharp’s Rule which states that when a NT Greek phrase uses a single article (‘the’) before the first of two nouns connected by ‘and’ but not before the second (e.g., ‘the Lord and King), the two nouns describe only one person.

Therefore, for those who believe this rule, “The Father of me and Father of you” at John 20:17 in the NT Greek text means that Jesus is speaking of only one person in this phrase.

In addition,


“8. Insights Derived from Greek Nouns connected by the conjunction ‘and’ (kai)
By Bob Jones, Northside Bible Church, Jacksonville Florida:    “1. If BOTH the nouns connected by ‘kai’ are articular (both have the article "the"), the two nouns are SEPARATE AND DISTINCT from each other.”

 (Reference: A. T. Robertson "A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, Pub by Hodder & Stoughton, Fourth Edition, 1923, Chapter XVI)
http://www.biblefood.com/and.html


So when we look at John 20:28, we see “The Lord of me and the God of me.” If you believe the above Trinitarian-devised rule, shouldn’t we expect that the second article would not have been used by John if he were speaking of only one person (Jesus) with both titles?

This may be why some believe that Thomas was referring to two different persons here: “My Lord” (the Son, not the Father) and “My God” (the Father, not the Son). But the fact remains that this is not a complete statement so the intended meaning is uncertain. 

 
Clearly, John 20:28, one of the trinitarians’ favorite “proofs,” is not only not proof of a trinity doctrine but is not even acceptable evidence for such an idea!



* * * * *

Note: Although Watchtower Society (WTS) research and scholarship is at least the equal of (and often superior to) that of other sources, I have tried to rely most heavily on other sources in Christendom itself (preferably trinitarian) or my own independent research to provide evidence disproving the trinitarian ‘proof’ being examined in this paper. The reason is, of course, that this paper is meant to provide evidence needed by non-Witnesses, and many of them will not accept anything written by the WTS. They truly believe it is false, even dishonest. Therefore some of the information in this paper, all of which helps disprove specific trinitarian “proofs,” may be in disagreement with current WTS teachings in some specifics (especially when I have presented a number of alternates). Jehovah’s Witnesses should research the most recent WTS literature on the subject or scripture in question before using this information with others. – RDB.



.............................................................................................





NOTES



1. An interesting example of the shortening of oaths in the English language is the use of "blimey" ('blind me') by the British:

blimey expl a nice mild expletive, in terms of rudeness on a par with "wow" or "my goodness". It was originally part of the phrase "cor blimey", which was likely a contraction of "god blind me", which was in turn an abbreviated version of "may god blind me if it is not so". - http://english2american.com/dictionary/b.html

And, a good example in America would be the use of “God Bless.” A famous radio/TV/movie star for many years ended his radio show with “God bless.” More recently an ex-Governor, radio show talk host, and host of a T.V. show ended his show with “God bless.” This is really a shortened for of “May God Bless you.”

 Also the word 'bye' which came from 'goodbye.' And 'goodbye' came from a parting blessing: 'May God be with you.' (The American Hheritage Dictionary of the English Language, Dell Publ., 1973.)



2. "'Nominative of exclamation will not be used in direct address. It is a primitive use of the language where emotion overrides syntax: The emotional topic is exclaimed without any verb stated.

“'[A.T.] Robertson points out that this is "a sort of interjectional nominative," something of an emotional outburst. The keys to identifying a nominative of exclamation are: (1) the lack of a verb (though one may be implied), (2) the obvious emotion of the author, and (3) the necessity of an exclamation point in translation. Sometimes [omega] is used with the nominative.' - Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, p. 60, Zondervan, 1996.


“Wallace does not point us to John 20:28 as a Nominative of exclamation, but I think it works best here, as is viewed by others also.


" ‘And Thomas EXCLAIMED, My Master, and My God,’ 20th Century New Testament. Check out the exclamation marks in the NIV, NAB, NRSV, REB, TEV, Moffatt and Goodspeed. [See also Winer's Grammar].”


Heinz Schmitz

Reader in Textual Criticism and New Testament Greek

North Carolina



(NLT) John 20:28 "My Lord and my God!" Thomas exclaimed.

(NKJV) John 20:28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"

(NASB) John 20:28 Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"

(TEV) John 20:28 Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"

(NRSV) John 20:28 Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"

(RSV) John 20:28 Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"

(Rotherham) John 20:28 Thomas answered, and said unto him--My Lord, and my God!

(BBE) John 20:28 And Thomas said in answer, My Lord and my God!

(GodsWord) John 20:28 "Thomas responded to Jesus, "My Lord and my God!"

(Holman NT) John 20:28 Thomas responded to Him, "My Lord and my God!"

(ISV NT) John 20:28 Thomas answered him, saying "My Lord and my God!"

(Wey NT) John 20:28 "My Lord and my God!" replied Thomas.

(MKJV) John 20:28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, My Lord and my God!

(LITV) John 20:28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, My Lord and my God!

(ETRV) John 20:28 Thomas said to Jesus, "My Lord and my God!"

(WEB) John 20:28 Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"

(ISV) John 20:28 Thomas answered him, saying "My Lord and my God!"

(Weymouth) John 20:28 "My Lord and my God!" replied Thomas.

(NIV) John 20:28 Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"

(JB) John 20:28 Thomas replied, "My Lord and my God!"

(NJB) John 20:28 Thomas replied, 'My Lord and my God!'

(NAB) John 20:28 Thomas answered and said to him, "My Lord and my God!"

(NEB) John 20:28 Thomas said, 'My Lord and my God!'

(REB) John 20:28 Thomas said, 'My Lord and my God!'

(MLB) John 20:28 Thomas answered Him, "My Lord and my God!"

(LB) John 20:28 "My Lord and my God!" Thomas said.

(Beck) John 20:28 "My Lord and my God!" Thomas answered Him.

(C.B. Williams) John 20:28 Thomas answered Him, "My Lord and my God!"

(AT) John 20:28 Thomas answered him, "My Master and my God!"

(Mo) John 20:28 Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"

(Phillips) John 20:28 "My Lord and my God!" cried Thomas.

(Byington) John 20:28 Thomas answered him "My Lord and my God!"


………………………………………



Another respondent comments on the Bishop’s teaching concerning John 20:28:


"In Gospel According to John by Brown, p 1026, he quotes Theodore of Mopsuestia as expressing his belief that Thomas' remarks were addressed in praise to the Father."


I haven’t had access to Gospel According to John by Brown so will leave it for you to find and verify. I assume he is referring to The Gospel According to John, Raymond E. Brown, (New York: Doubleday, 1970), but am not certain.


..................................

Footnote in The New Testament in an Improved Version, Upon the Basis of Archbishop Newcome's New Translation: With a Corrected Text 1808:


John 20:28 "These words are usually understood as a confession. Beza says that they are an exclamation: q.d. 'My Lord! and my God!' how great is thy power! Eph. i. 19, 20. Whitby's Last Thoughts, 2d ed. p. 78." Newcome.

.................................

Theodore Beza

Encyclopædia Britannica Article

.... author, translator, educator, and theologian who assisted and later succeeded John Calvin as a leader of the Protestant Reformation centred at Geneva. - http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9079014/Theodore-Beza



3. Or Jesus was speaking directly to Peter all right (as the scripture literally says) but actually directing his words to another person who was not visibly present but who could still hear him, nevertheless. This would be parallel to the interpretation of Jn 20:28 that Thomas was speaking to Jesus but actually directing his words to another person who was not visibly present but who could hear him, nevertheless.



4. This is apparently the view of respected NT scholar Ernst Haenchen. He shows that he doesn’t believe that John ever intended to say that Jesus was actually God by saying: “ In fact, ... for the Evangelist [the writer of the Gospel of John], only the Father was “God” (ho theos; cf. 17:3) - p. 109. And, “But [John] does not call Jesus ‘God;’ the apparent exception in 20:28 is to be explained differently.” - p. 121, John 1, Fortress Press, 1984.

His explanation, as I understand it, is that Jesus perfectly showed what the Father is like. Therefore, seeing the risen Jesus was, in effect, seeing God (who is the Father alone). So, Thomas is saying that he believes now that he is truly seeing the resurrected Jesus (who is the only person who perfectly represents the Father) by saying “My Lord and my God.” Or, in other words, “I believe you are Jesus who died and was resurrected. Therefore, I also believe what you told us when you said ‘He who has seen me has seen the Father.’ I am, therefore, now seeing what my Lord and my God is like.”

Famed trinitarian Bible scholar and New Testament translator Dr. William Barclay in his Daily Study Bible Series: The Gospel of John (volumes 1 and 2), Westminster Press, 1975, says something similar: “When John said ‘the Word was God’ he was not saying that Jesus was identical with God; he was saying ... that in him we perfectly see what God is like.” - p. 39, Vol. 1.

He further clarifies this understanding on pp. 143-144, 161-162, of Vol. 2:

“An ambassador does not go out as a private individual armed with only his own personal qualities and qualifications. He goes out with all the honour and glory of his country upon him. To listen to him is to listen to his country; to honour him is to honour the country he represents; to welcome him is to welcome the ruler who sent him out.” - pp. 143-144.

“ ‘He who has seen me has seen the Father.’ Jesus is the revelation of God ....”

“Jesus goes on to say something else. One thing no Jew would ever lose was the grip of sheer loneliness of God. The Jews were unswerving monotheists [they believed God is one single person, the Father alone, Jehovah]. The danger of the Christian faith is that we may set up Jesus as a kind of secondary God. But Jesus himself insists that the things he said and the things he did did not come from his own initiative or his own power or his own knowledge but from God. His words were God’s voice speaking to men; His deeds were God’s power flowing through him to men. He was the channel by which God came to men.” - pp. 161-162.

So we could apply “God” to Jesus in this representational sense if we wished.



5.

I have been asked about Ps. 35:23. It has been said that Thomas was quoting from this verse when he spoke in John 20:28.

Ps. 34 in Septuagint (or Ps. 35 in most English Bibles)

Τῷ Δαυΐδ. - ΔΙΚΑΣΟΝ, Κύριε, τοὺς ἀδικοῦντάς με, πολέμησον τοὺς πολεμοῦντάς με. 2 ἐπιλαβοῦ ὅπλου καὶ θυρεοῦ καὶ ἀνάστηθι εἰς τὴν βοήθειάν μου, 3 ἔκχεον ῥομφαίαν καὶ σύγκλεισον ἐξ ἐναντίας τῶν καταδιωκόντων με· εἶπον τῇ ψυχῇ μου· Σωτηρία σού εἰμι ἐγώ. 4 αἰσχυνθήτωσαν καὶ ἐντραπήτωσαν οἱ ζητοῦντες τὴν ψυχήν μου, ἀποστραφήτωσαν εἰς τὰ ὀπίσω καὶ καταισχυνθήτωσαν οἱ λογιζόμενοί μοι κακά. 5 γενηθήτωσαν ὡσεὶ χνοῦς κατὰ πρόσωπον ἀνέμου, καὶ ἄγγελος Κυρίου ἐκθλίβων αὐτούς· 6 γενηθήτω ὁδὸς αὐτῶν σκότος καὶ ὀλίσθημα, καὶ ἄγγελος Κυρίου καταδιώκων αὐτούς· 7 ὅτι δωρεὰν ἔκρυψάν μοι διαφθορὰν παγίδος αὐτῶν, μάτην ὠνείδισαν τὴν ψυχήν μου. 8 ἐλθέτω αὐτῷ παγίς, ἣν οὐ γινώσκει, καὶ θήρα, ἣν ἔκρυψε, συλλαβέτω αὐτόν, καὶ ἐν τῇ παγίδι πεσεῖται ἐν αὐτῇ. 9 δὲ ψυχή μου ἀγαλλιάσεται ἐπὶ τῷ Κυρίῳ, τερφθήσεται ἐπὶ τῷ σωτηρίῳ αὐτοῦ. 10 πάντα τὰ ὀστᾶ μου ἐροῦσι· Κύριε, τίς ὅμοιός σοι; ρυόμενος πτωχὸν ἐκ χειρὸς στερεωτέρων αὐτοῦ καὶ πτωχὸν καὶ πένητα ἀπὸ τῶν διαρπαζόντων αὐτόν. 11 ἀναστάντες μοι μάρτυρες ἄδικοι, οὐκ ἐγίνωσκον, ἐπηρώτων με. 12 ἀνταπεδίδοσάν μοι πονηρὰ ἀντὶ ἀγαθῶν καὶ ἀτεκνίαν τῇ ψυχῇ μου. 13 ἐγὼ δὲ ἐν τῷ αὐτοὺς παρενοχλεῖν μοι ἐνεδυόμην σάκκον καὶ ἐταπείνουν ἐν νηστείᾳ τὴν ψυχήν μου, καὶ προσευχή μου εἰς κόλπον μου ἀποστραφήσεται. 14 ὡς πλησίον, ὡς ἀδελφῷ ἡμετέρῳ οὕτως εὐηρέστουν· ὡς πενθῶν καὶ σκυθρωπάζων, οὕτως ἐταπεινούμην. 15 καὶ κατ᾿ ἐμοῦ εὐφράνθησαν καὶ συνήχθησαν, συνήχθησαν ἐπ᾿ ἐμὲ μάστιγες, καὶ οὐκ ἔγνων, διεσχίσθησαν καὶ οὐ κατενύγησαν. 16 ἐπείρασάν με, ἐξεμυκτήρισάν με μυκτηρισμῷ, ἔβρυξαν ἐπἐμὲ τοὺς ὀδόντας αὐτῶν. 17 Κύριε, πότε ἐπόψῃ; ἀποκατάστησον τὴν ψυχήν μου ἀπὸ τῆς κακουργίας αὐτῶν, ἀπὸ λεόντων τὴν μονογενῆ μου. 18 ἐξομολογήσομαί σοι ἐν ἐκκλησίᾳ πολλῇ, ἐν λαῷ βαρεῖ αἰνέσω σε. 19 μὴ ἐπιχαρείησάν μοι οἱ ἐχθραίνοντές μοι ἀδίκως, οἱ μισοῦντες με δωρεὰν καὶ διανεύοντες ὀφθαλμοῖς. 20 ὅτι ἐμοὶ μὲν εἰρηνικὰ ἐλάλουν καὶ ἐπ᾿ ὀργὴν δόλους διελογίζοντο. 21 καὶ ἐπλάτυναν ἐπ᾿ ἐμὲ τὸ στόμα αὐτῶν, εἶπαν· εὖγε, εὖγε, εἶδον οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ ἡμῶν. 22 εἶδες, Κύριε, μὴ παρασιωπήσῃς, Κύριε, μὴ ἀποστῇς ἀπ᾿ ἐμοῦ· 23 ἐξεγέρθητι, Κύριε, καὶ πρόσχες τῇ κρίσει μου, Θεός μου καὶ Κύριός μου, εἰς τὴν δίκην μου. 24 κρῖνόν με, Κύριε, κατὰ τὴν δικαιοσύνην σου, Κύριε Θεός μου, καὶ μὴ ἐπιχαρείησάν μοι. 25 μὴ εἴποισαν ἐν καρδίαις αὐτῶν· εὖγε, εὖγε τῇ ψυχῇ ἡμῶν· μηδὲ εἴποιεν· Κατεπίομεν αὐτόν. 26 αἰσχυνθείησαν καὶ ἐντραπείησαν ἅμα οἱ ἐπιχαίροντες τοῖς κακοῖς μου, ἐνδυσάσθωσαν αἰσχύνην καὶ ἐντροπὴν οἱ μεγαλοῤῥημονοῦντες ἐπ᾿ ἐμέ. 27 ἀγαλλιάσθωσαν καὶ εὐφρανθήτωσαν οἱ θέλοντες τὴν δικαιοσύνην μου καὶ εἰπάτωσαν διαπαντός· μεγαλυνθήτω Κύριος, οἱ θέλοντες τὴν εἰρήνην τοῦ δούλου αὐτοῦ. 28 καὶ γλῶσσά μου μελετήσει τὴν δικαιοσύνην σου, ὅλην τὴν ἡμέραν τὸν ἔπαινόν σου.

Kurie is found in verses 1, 10, 17, 22 (twice), 23, 24 (twice). So all other 8 times in this Psalm when “lord”is clearly in address, kurie (vocative) is used. Notice that in verse 24 we even see this phrase: Κύριε Θεός μου.

The phrase in verse 23 which also appears to be in address is Θεός μου καὶ Κύριός μου. It appears to be in address because it is apparently attached to a statement (as nouns of address are). But since all other uses of “Lord” in address in this Psalm use kurie, a translator might decide that this phrase is not used in address at all.

I suppose one might opine that when two or more nouns are used in address, the case of the first one determines how both will be written. If so, since theos (‘god’) in the nominative case is used first in the phrase in verse, kurios (‘Lord’) in the nominative case is to be used as the second.

However, look again at the nouns of address in verse 24: Κύριε Θεός μου. Yes, kurie is used properly here in the vocative case, but the second noun in address is used in the nominative case.

So the phrase used in John 20:28 ( κύριος μου καὶ θεός μου) is not only not a quote of Ps. 35:23 ( Θεός μου καὶ Κύριός μου), but in John the lead noun is kurios which, if in address, should have been kurie while the second noun could well be theos as in Ps. 35:24. But this is not what Thomas said. 



6.  So, when addressing a person as “Lord” or “my Lord,” kurie  was always used - see the KURIE study. But some trinitarian scholars who refuse to give up this scripture as one of their best “proofs” say that we have to accept the nominative form of “Lord” (kurios) as an alternate form used as a noun of address (vocative) in John.

For example, the noted (and highly trinitarian) NT Greek scholar Dr. A. T. Robertson insists that “My Lord and my God” of Jn 20:28 must be understood as nouns of address in order for this verse to be interpreted as a trinitarian statement as he wants. (Moule and Harris have also been noted above as adopting this “vocative” understanding.)

He tried to find some authority for claiming that “My Lord and my God” (especially “My Lord [ho kurios mou]”) must be interpreted as nouns of address (vocative case nouns) even though they are actually nominative case nouns (nouns used as subjects, predicate nouns, and their appositives). However, he has managed to find only two examples in the entire NT in his attempt to back up this interpretation.

It is true that for some nouns the nominative form can be used as a vocative. But in the cases of kurios (translated “Lord,” “master,” and “sir”) and didaskalos (“teacher,” “instructor”) the true vocative forms (kurie and didaskale) are probably always used by the NT writers when actually intended as nouns of address - see the KURIE study.

Nevertheless, Robertson points to Jn 13:13 and Rev. 4:11 (the only such “examples” he could find in the entire NT).

Most Bibles say at John 13:13, “You call me teacher [ho didaskalos] and Lord [ho kurios] and rightly so for that is what I am.” - RSV, KJV, NIV, NASB, ASV, JB, NEB, LB, AT, Mo, CBW, MLB, Beck, Lattimore, Barclay (John, Vol. 2, p. 139). Or, in other words, “You say that I am your teacher and your master, and you’re right. That’s what I am.” The sense of such a rendering is actually that of a predicate noun (nominative) or direct object (accusative), but not a noun of address (vocative).

Nevertheless, Robertson insists that this is an example of the nominative case kurios being used as a noun of address. (But compare other uses of “call me [him, her]” such as Mt 22:43, 45; Mk 12:37; Lk 20:44; 1 Pet. 3:6. - none uses a noun of address. Also notice that all uses of “Satan” used in address are the vocative Satana whereas the nominative Satanas is used at Rev. 12:9 - “serpent who is called the Devil and Satan [Satanas]”. See examination of Matt. 16:23 in text above and in endnote 2.)

For further evidence of this, “teacher” [didaskalos in all its forms] is used 51 times in the NT. It is clearly, indisputably used as a noun of address for a total of 31 times and always in the vocative form (didaskale).

Yes, all 6 times it is used as a noun of address in Matthew (Mt 8:19; 12:38; 19:16; 22:16; 22:24; and 22:36), it is always in its vocative form: didaskale ! All 10 times that Mark uses “teacher” as a noun of address (Mk 4:38; 9:17; 9:38; 10:17; 10:20; 10:35; 12:14; 12:19; 12:32; and 13:1), it is always in its vocative form: didaskale ! All 12 times that Luke uses “teacher” as a noun of address (Lk 3:12; 7:40; 9:38; 10:25; 11:45; 12:13; 18:18; 19:39; 20:21; 20:28; 20:39; and 21:7), it is always in its vocative form: didaskale ! And all 3 times that John clearly uses “teacher” as a noun of address (Jn 1:38; 8:4; and 20:16), it is always in its vocative form: didaskale ! (The only possible exception is Jn 13:13.)

So for certain trinitarians to say that it is used as a noun of address in the nominative form (didaskalos) one time only in the entire New Testament at John 13:13 (where the interpretation of a noun of address is disputable anyway) is highly improbable at best!

And when we add the further evidence that “Lord” (kurios) is also always used in the vocative form [kurie] when it is clearly intended as a noun of address in the NT, we have really clinched the case.

After searching through the NT (using an online search and the trinitarian New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible) to find all the places in the New Testament where kurios and kurie are clearly used as nouns of address, I found a total of 119 such instances (which include translations of “Lord,” ‘sir,” and “master”) in modern texts and 120 in the Received Text. All of them use kurie! The only places kurios is sometimes translated in a way that it appears it could be a noun of address are found at John 13:13 and Rev. 4:11. (See above for examination of John 13:13.)

We find that the Gospel of John itself uses kurie 33 times: every time “Lord” (or “sir”) is clearly meant as a noun of address (John 4:11, 15, 19, 49; 5:7; 6:34, 68; 8:11; 9:36, 38; 11:3, 12, 21, 27, 32, 34, 39; 12:21, 38; 13:6, 9, 25, 36, 37; 14:5, 8, 22; 20:15; 21:15, 16, 17, 20, 21) the only possible exception seems to be John 13:13 (examined above for use of “teacher”) which uses kurios.

The only other possible exception (Rev. 4:11) outside the all-important (for the purpose of this study) Gospel of John also does not clearly intend its use of kurios as a noun of address. It probably uses it, in fact, as an appositive (which in this case would have to be the nominative case kurios).* - see RSV; NASB; ASV; AB; World English Bible; MLV, ERV, The Bible in Living English, and Rotherham’s translation for examples of appositive use.


[[Rev. 4:11 also uses kurie in the Received Text, and, therefore, is properly used as noun of address there and is so translated in KJV; NKJV; MKJV; Young’s; RVR; Interlinear Bible; Third Millennium Bible; Webster’s Bible Translation – also, apparently, the Living Bible.


It is also used as a predicate noun in a complete clause in the Jerusalem Bible (‘You are our Lord and our God,”) – which also seems an honest rendering).]]


The very best evidence, then, is that kurie was always used when “Lord” or “My Lord” was intended as a noun of address!

So, again, there is not even one valid, certain example in the entire New Testament to back up the trinitarian assertion that the nominative kurios in John 20:28 should be understood as a vocative. But there are many straightforward, indisputable examples (120 of them in the Received text; 119 in the newer texts) to show that kurios at John 20:28 was not intended as a noun of address signifying identification.

Again:

Out of 120 uses of Kurios/kurie clearly used in address in the entire NT, we find that 119 are kurie!


The only one that seems to use kurios in address is at Rev. 4:11. However, kurios at Rev. 4:11 can be interpreted in at least three ways: noun of address, appositive, or predicate noun (and the Received Text uses kurie here also - 120 out of 120!).

........................................................

(CEV) Rev. 4:11 "Our Lord [kurios] and God,[vocative] you are worthy to receive glory, honor, and power. You created all things, and by your decision they are and were created." - CEV.

(KJV) Rev. 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord,[kurie in Received Text] to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.


(NASB) Revelation 4:11 "Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, [appositives for 'You'] to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created."


(RSV) Revelation 4:11 "Worthy art thou, our Lord and God, [appositives for 'thou'] to receive glory and honor and power, for thou didst create all things, and by thy will they existed and were created."


(ASV) Revelation 4:11 Worthy art thou, our Lord and our God, [appositives for "thou"] to receive the glory and the honor and the power: for thou didst create all things, and because of thy will they were, and were created.


(Modern Language Version) Revelation 4:11 Worthy are you, our Lord and our God, [appositives for 'you']


(World English Bible) Revelation 4:11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, [appositives for 'you']


(AB) Revelation 4:11  Worthy are You, our Lord and God, [appositive for "You"]...


English Revised Version Worthy art thou, our Lord and our God, [appositive for "thou"]...


Twentieth Century New Testament 'Worthy art thou, our Lord and God, [appositive for "thou"] ...'


(The New Testament - A New Translation in Plain English, Charles K. Williams) Worthy art Thou, our Lord and God, [appositive for "Thou"]...


(Jerusalem Bible) Revelation 4:11 "You are our Lord and our God," [Predicate nouns!]


...............................................................

Even if you should refuse to accept that the scholars who translated NASB, RSV, ASV, MLV, WEB, etc. have actually rendered "our Lord and our God" as appositives instead of nouns of address, you cannot honestly deny that the scholars who translated the Jerusalem Bible have rendered them as predicate nouns (not nouns of address)!! 


This is not a clear, undisputed passage and, therefore, is not acceptable evidence.   Coupled with the above translations by a number of noted scholars is the fact that there are about 120 clear uses of the vocative kurie as a noun of address but nowhere is kurios (nominative case) clearly used as a noun of address!

.........................................................

It is reasonable to conclude that all uses of "Lord" (and its alternate meanings) used in address in the NT are in the vocative form (kurie). And, therefore, the use of kurios mou at John 20:28 was not intended to be used in address.



----------------------------------------------------------------

* An appositive is a noun which follows and further identifies another noun. For example: “I saw Jim, the mailman, eat my letter.” “The mailman” is an appositive since it follows “Jim” and further identifies him. In NT Greek the appositive is normally in the same form as the noun it identifies. For example, in Jn 17:3 we see: “eternal life means to know you, the only true God” - GNB. Here the word “you” is in the accusative case in the NT Greek. Therefore, the word “God,” which is the appositive for “you,” must also be in the accusative case: “theon”. And when we examine John 13:14, we find: “I, your Lord and Teacher, have just washed your feet.” - GNB. Here the word “I” is in the nominative case (“ego”) since it is the subject. Therefore, the words “Lord” and “Teacher,” which are the appositives for “I” in this sentence, must also be in the nominative case: kurios and didaskalos. And, again, at Rev. 4:11 we see “Worthy art thou, our Lord and God, to receive glory ...” - RSV. Here “thou” is in the nominative case and, therefore, “Lord” and “God” as appositives of “thou” are also in the nominative case: kurios and theos.




7. Some trinitarian apologists insist that “My God” here in John 20:28 is a noun of address. They point out that most of the time in the NT when God is being addressed the vocative is not used. Instead they say the nominative is used (as found in John 20:28).

For example Daniel B. Wallace writes in his Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, p. 58, Zondervan, 1996:

“V. Nominative for Vocative (Nominative of Address) .... 2. Articular ....

John 20:28

.. εἶπεν αὐτῷ·......   ὁ κύριος μου καὶ ὁ θεός μου
...said to him, ................  ‘My Lord and my God!’


In all but two instances in the NT (both in the same verse, Matt 27:46),

God is addressed with the nom[inative], most likely due to Semitic influence.”


Wallace is a strong trinitarian and usually does not hesitate to bend over backwards to make a scripture appear to support the trinity. So no one should be surprised by this statement. But in listing this verse as an example of a nominative theos and a nominative kurios being used as vocatives or nouns of address is very poor indeed.

The two parts of the statement must be considered as being used in the same manner. That is, if “My God” is being used by John (and Thomas) as a noun of address, then “my Lord” in the same statement must be considered to be a noun of address also (and Wallace agrees - note the bold print for kurios and ‘Lord’ also). And yet, as we saw in my footnote above, “My Lord” is not being used as a noun of address! Therefore, “My God” is also not being used here as a noun of address! The whole phrase is not being used in address in spite of the fact that most trinitarians want it to be and insist that it is.

23 comments:

Noble-Minded One said...

Thank you for posting this article. I just wanted to point out a few things I have seen in the Scriptures, and ask you a few questions:

In Luke and Matthew, after Jesus has been resurrected, His disciples DO bow down and worship Him:

Luke 24:50-52 (ESV): Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy

Matthew 28:16-17 (ESV): Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.

So, wouldn't that be consistent with the disciples believing that Jesus is God? This would be in agreement with Thomas' statement that Jesus is "The God of me," would it not?

In addition, the Bible clearly says that Thomas was speaking TO Jesus when he said "My Lord and my God!"

The New World Translation clearly shows this:

John 20:28 (NWT): In answer Thomas said to him: “My Lord and my God!”

"In ANSWER Thomas said TO HIM."

So, the Apostle John left absolutely no doubt or wiggle room as to WHOM Thomas was addressing.

Elijah said...

Please read the article “Worship (as used in Scripture)” found on the right sideboard here.

I think you may have not read the MYGOD article carefully or completely enough. There are a number of reasons to doubt that Thomas was addressing Jesus as being “My God and my Lord.” Specific to your last point is the information found in section (2) of the MYGOD study. Since the Comment section here is not intended for discussion, you may discuss further with me at http://jwsandscripture.yuku.com/

Noble-Minded One said...

Thank you for your reply. I apologize and didn't realize this area was not intended for discussion. I will visit the other website you told me about.

I do want to thank you again for posting these articles. I like meeting people who do deep study and thinking on the Scriptures. It's hard to find people now days who are truly passionate about studying God's Word.

Thank you!

Elijah said...

Thank you for your comment. I believe I saw your name on the 'Reasoning' site, but was disappointed that you didn't comment. Hope you talk to us there.

nick said...

Noble-Minded One, If you get a chance check out how "proskuneo" is used in the LXX (Greek Septuagint. You might be surprised. I think it will really help you get the sense of how "proskuneo" often only understood as worship is used. Hope it helps.

Nick Batchelor

Matt13weedhacker said...

Just a little point about the Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus (Greek: Πρὸς Διόγνητον Ἐπιστολή) that you quote from above.

1.) The (ORIGINAL) Epistle existed only in a single 13th Century MSS. Unfortunately it was destroyed in a war in 1870. Two other MSS survived but they were only copies based upon this one. It was originally ascribed to Justin Martyr in the original MSS. It was described as "...very old..." by one scholar who viewed the original and because of this comment was taken for a second century writing by many. But this cannot be verrified for certain, because the origional no longer exists. It could be a psuedo work pretending to be a second century writing, like many, many others and written much later. Many scholars agree that it is (NOT) a (GENUINE) second or third century work.

2.) There is a textual variant in the quotation you site above. Some texts have (theos) "god" or "a god" others don't:

[ΕΠΙΣΤΟΛΗ ΠΡΟΣ ΔΙΟΓΝΗΤΟΝ: VII.iii]: "...ἆρά γε, ὡς σώζων ἔπεμψεν, ὡς πείθων, οὐ βιαζόμενος· βία γὰρ οὐ πρόσεστι τῷ ὡς ἀγαπῶν, οὐ κρίνων. πέμψει γὰρ αὐτὸν κρίνοντα· καὶ τίς αὐτοῦ τὴν παρουσίαν ὑπουσίαν ὑποστήσεται..." - (THE APOSTOLIC FATHERS THE EPISTLE OF DIONETUS Chapter 7:3; Loeb Classical Library First published 1913.)

As you can see (θεός) is knowhere to be seen in the Loeb Edition.

Compare this with:

[ΕΠΙΣΤΟΛΗ ΠΡΟΣ ΔΙΟΓΝΗΤΟΝ 7:4] "...οὐ μὲν οὖν· ἀλλ ̓ ἐν ἐπιεικείᾳ καὶ πραύτητι ὡς βασιλεὺς πέμπων υἱὸν βασιλέα ἔπεμψεν, ὡς θεὸν ἔπεμψεν, ὡς ἄνθρωπον πρὸς ἀνθρώπους ἔπεμψεν, ὡς σώζων ἔπεμψεν, ὡς πείθων, οὐ βιαζόμενος· βία γὰρ οὐ πρόσεστι τῷ θεῷ. 5 ἔπεμψεν ὡς καλῶν, οὐ διώκων· ἔπεμψεν ὡς ἀγαπῶν, οὐ κρίνων..." - (Meecham, H.G. The Epistle to Diognetus: The Greek Text with Introduction, Translation and Notes. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1949.)

But (theon) or (θεὸν) which is (theos) or (θεός) is in the accusative case, is in the Meecham Edition.

So this reading is not certain.

3. An interesting fact is outside of the very suspect and heavily edited Ignation Epistles no so-called Apostolic Father or Early Post-Biblical Christian writer calls Jesus "God" or "a god" without qualification until you hit Justin Martyr 150-160 C.E. In other words (ALL-GENUINE) Post-Biblical Christian writings before 150-160 C.E.

PROTO-TRINITY: The Development of the Doctrine of the Trinity in the First and Second Christian Centuries , By THOMAS EDMUND GASTON (2007 ) Page 91/92: "...Other texts from the (sub-)apostolic period are far more conservative. Jesus is never called θεός in any of the following texts: The Didache, [Papias fragments] The Epistle of Barnabus, First Clement, The Shepherd of Hermas, Polycarp to the Philippians, The Apology of Aristides or The Epistle to Diognetus. Ignatius’ use of θεός is the exception, not the rule. It is not until Justin Martyr that we find a writer unreservedly call Jesus θεός and he is quite precise that by the use of this title he does not mean Jesus is God (in a Trinitarian sense)..."

PDF of the full article can be downloaded from the following:

rdtwot.files.wordpress.com/.../gaston_proto-trinity-the-development-of-the-doctrine-of-the-trinity-in-the-first-and-second-christian-centuries.pdf

Definitely worth reading. I don't agree with everything he says, but its well researched and honest.

Anonymous said...

Now the appositive is not always in the same case as the noun it identifies i would have to get the examples for you , but heres one if you look aT REV 4:11 in the texus receptus and the newer scripts it uses kurie (vocative)yet "you are" in the greek "Axios EI" is in the Nomintive even in the newer manuscripts so if that "rule" was valid would then not kurious (nomintive) be used even in the newer manuscripts like the texus receptus? would it not also be used in the Sinaiticus which uses kurie vocative since its an appositive to a nomintive "you"?

Looking forward to hearing your response

thank you.

Elijah said...

A.T. Robertson when examining the NT use of appositives says in his comprehensive NT Grammar: “But in general the two substantives are in the same case, and with the subject, of course, in the nominative.” - p. 399, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament.

So the use of ‘kurios’ in modern NT Greek texts follows this general rule as applied to appositives.

Codex Sinaiticus does not use ‘kurie,’ but uses ‘kurios’ at Rev. 4:11 - http://codexsinaiticus.org/en/manuscript.aspx?=Submit Query&book=59&chapter=4&lid=en&side=r&verse=11&zoomSlider=0


The UBS text does not even have a single doubt expressed for its use of ‘kurios’ at Rev. 4:11. (Normally ANY degree of doubt is expressed by the letters ‘A’ to ‘D.’)

The Nestle’s Greek New Testament text (21st edition) uses ‘kurios’ here.

The Westcott and Hort text uses ‘kurios’ here.

Since the TR uses much newer manuscripts than those mentioned here, I trust the others much more than an admittedly poorer text (which still uses the spurious 1 Jn 5:7, which was added to the Greek TR because of a single SIXTEENTH century manuscript, for example).

It appears, then, that later manuscripts changed ‘kurios’ to ‘kurie’ because they interpreted it as a noun of address, when it seems that originally it was not considered as a noun of address, but an appositive or a predicate noun as stated in the MYGOD study.

Elijah said...

Anonymous commented (I seem to have lost it):

Intresting, I will continue to dive deeper into the Codex Sinaiticus because i see the exact opposite. in the literal greek it reads somthing like "Lord, our Lord and our God" greek "Kurie, Kurious kai theos" Thus the Codex Sinaiticus does use the kurious nomintive as you said due to an opposition to kurie. So the KEY! or gold nugget to understadinmg how the statement in Revelation 4:11 was to be taken is how they start the verse off in the Codex Sinaiticus that is "KURIE" vocataive, it then follows with a nominitive [due to opposition] however its clear that the Codex Sinaiticus understood revelation 4:11 as
an address to God almighty. Thus Codex Sinaiticus backs the newer scripts such as the texus receptus and receivesd when they were using kurious in the vocative kurie. So we really need to look at the whole verse particularlty the opening statement Kurie, as such right from the strart its clear the Codex Sinaiticus had an address in mind just as the texus receptus. Would love to hear your thoughts! Take care,


…………………….

My reply:

Yes, the Received text uses “kurie” at Rev. 4:11: “Worthy are you Lord [“kurie”] to receive the glory and ….” So all examples of address to the Lord in John’s writings are “kurie” in the Received Text.

The Nestle’s Greek New Testament Text (my copy is the 21st edition) has: “Worthy are you the Lord [“kurios”] and the God of us to receive ….” Here “kurios” appears to be the appositive of the nominative “you.”

The Westcott and Hort text (1881 rev.) is identical to the Nestle text quoted above.

The Byzantine / Majority Text (1995) : “Worthy are you the Lord [“kurios”] and the God of us the holy to receive ….”

So except for the Received Text which uses “kurie” alone as a noun of address, the major NT texts use “kurios” as an apparent appositive for the nominative “you” (without the use of the introductory “kurie” found in some manuscripts).

Nevertheless, upon re-examination of Sinaiticus, I see that it reads: “Worthy are you Lord [“kurie” (abbrev.)] the Lord [“kurios” (abbrev.)] and God of us to receive….”

Here we see the noun of address is the vocative “kurie” and the appositive for it is the nominative “kurios.” This is perfectly in line with the NT Greek grammar for appositives of vocatives.

So in this ancient manuscript we see John addressing someone as “Lord” by using the vocative “kurie” (as he does everywhere else in his writings).

The conclusion is that some manuscripts at Rev. 4:11 use “kurie” as the noun of address, and others do not use “kurie” at all but instead use “you” as the noun of address and “kurios” as the appositive for it.

In either case it still is true that John ALWAYS used the vocative “kurie” as the noun of address and never used “kurios” for that purpose. This means that John 20:28 does not have Thomas ADDRESSING Jesus as “Lord.”

Anonymous said...

I see, I think now youve noticed something I noticed in the codex sintatics and that is that john most likely really did have an address in mind in rev 4:11. Thus he was addressing God this evidence is seen in the vocative kurie but the ubs, na27 and all the other ancient high quality maniucripts have kurious in apposiiton to a you. This is why i belive we have a rare case in the Ubs4 , na27 and a few other high quality ancient manicripts where we have kurious being used in an address thats all iam saying. most cases kurie is used in the address. however in revelation 4;11 the newer manicripts like the received text ect are being backed up by the Sinaiticus, then this most likely tells us that the orginal meaning in rev 4:11 was a vocative it was to be a noun of address would you not agree???

talk to you soon

Elijah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elijah said...

The "Majority Text" is a statistical construct that does not correspond exactly to any known manuscript. It is arrived at by comparing all known manuscripts with one another and deriving from them the readings that are more numerous than any others.

The texts compiled by Nestle-Aland; Westcott and Hort; and the United Bible Societies (UBS), unlike the Majority Text, are based on the earliest manuscripts still in existence.

And, yet, the UBS; Westcott and Hort; and the Nestle-Aland texts all agree that “Worthy are you the Lord [“kurios”] and the God of us the holy to receive ….” is the proper reading for Rev. 4:11.

So there must be more early evidence than Sinaiticus alone to make these scholars all agree.

[Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible: “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory honour, and power,.... The Alexandrian copy [[Manuscript A]], and some others, the Complutensian edition, the Vulgate Latin version, and all the Oriental ones, read, ‘thou art worthy, O Lord, and our God, to receive’….”]


But, again, it makes little difference to the understanding of John 20:28. The translation of Sinaiticus has God being addressed by the vocative “kurie” which is followed by the nominative appositive “kurios.”

NT Greek grammar tells us that when a vocative is used in address (“kurie” in this case) and is followed with an appositive (“kurios” in this case), the appositive will be in the nominative case (“kurios”). This is exactly what the Sinaiticus does.

The others have God being addressed by the (understood) nominative “you” followed with the appositive use of the nominative “kurios.”

I don’t have the access to all the manuscripts these scholars have, so I cannot make a decision concerning which is probably original.


In either case, my observation that John (and, in fact, all NT writers) ALWAYS uses the vocative “kurie” when addressing a person as “Lord” still stands.

Anonymous said...

An appositive is a noun which follows and further identifies another noun.

The question that i had about this is that from the kjv which runs off the received text it says "worthy are you the lord and god" now Lord is kurie (sir) in the voctive so was also "you" in the vocative as well?

Elijah said...

Elijah: No,The KJV says: "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory...." "Thou" is understood from the verb used and is used in the KJV as the subject (nominative case).

"Lord" in this verse is not an appositive (as it is in the other texts), but a noun of address (vocative) and is found in the Received text as 'kurie' (unlike the other texts).

Anonymous said...

I see,

Now 'my Lord and my God' in John
20.28. Do you see these nominatives as an exclamation?

Anonymous said...

My apologies ive re-read the article it seems you take the Nominitives (Lord and God) in John 20:28 as either a doxology or an exclamation, but iam guessing your not as dogmatic as to which one.

yahoel said...

Revelation has too many syntacticul oddities (e.g. Rev. 1:4, also note hO AMHN in Revelation 3:14 [AMHN is nueter]) too make firm comparison with threst of the NT

Anonymous said...

Θεὲ πατέρων καὶ κύριε τοῦ ἐλέους - Wisdom of Solomon 9:1.

Note the vocative form of theos w/ possesive

yahoel said...

In his latest book Robert Bowman (Putting Jesus in his Place, note 22 on pg. 330) claims "the vocative Thee for "God" is very rare (occuring in the LXX only in Judg. 16:28; 21:3; 2 Kings [2 Sam. MT] 7:25; Ezek. 4:14; and in the New Testament only in Matt. 27:46) and is *never modified by mou (my) or any other pronoun*" [star in lieu of underlining]

Which is clearly wrong b/c Matt. 27:46, the very text he cites, uses "mou" with a vocatival form of QEOS twice (Greek: QEE MOU QEE MOU), exactly as he claims it doesn't. (According to my edition of NA27 there are no textual variants there.)

In any case in the 11Q Melch (as in the Dead Sea Scroll) calls "Melchizedek" (most scholars beleive Melchizedek was being used as another name for Michael the Archangel) "your God" [Geza Vermes' translation says "your ELOHIM," others, "your divine being"] three times, one of which is an interpretation of Isa. 52:7, "Your God Reigns" as about Melchizedek/Michael.

Timitrius said...

I personally lean toward the understanding that "My Lord and My God!" is an exclamatory doxology, much like saying "hallelujah!" or "praise the Lord!" when he saw the resurrected Christ. The only problem I have is that I'm not sure if we can harmonise this with the fact that the verse says that Thomas "answered him" (Jesus) and said "to HIM" (Jesus). Does it make sense for Thomas to make a doxology about the Father TO Jesus? What do you think? Are there any examples in the Bible of this construction?

Elijah said...

Since Thomas’ declaration acted as an answer to Jesus’ statement that he should believe, it seems reasonable to me. Furthermore, Jesus himself showed by his answer (John 20:29) that he understood Thomas’ statement as an admission to him that Thomas now believed that Jesus had been resurrected.

I don't know if there are more examples of this construction in scripture or not.

Timitrius said...

Another question I have is with regard to Matt. 16:23. Some commentators argue that in this verse Jesus was not actually calling Peter "Satan", but was using the word "satan" in it's literal meaning, i.e. "tempter". In other words, it would not be "Get behind me Satan!" but "Get behind me tempter!"*. How would you respond to this, the myriad translations that do capitalise "Satan" notwithstanding?

*For example, the expression "Physician, heal youself!" is not addressed to a person called "Physician", but is referring to a person's role. Likewise, according to the above reasoning, Jesus was not using the name of the Devil, but was simply saying that Peter was being a "tempter", that he was being a "satan".

tigger2 said...

According to the New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible Satan(as) is used 36 times in the NT. Every one of them is translated as ‘Satan’ in KJV and NASB. Is there any translation which uses satana(s) in a different way?