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Sunday, September 27, 2009

DEF - Part 4 (End Notes)

The "Definite" John 1:1 (page 4 of 4)   
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We have been told by one born and raised in Greece (a teacher who actually taught the Greek language in Greece itself) that the trinitarian Church in Greece does not even attempt to use John 1:1c as evidence for the trinity doctrine or for proving the Deity of Christ. This scripture is so clear to the Greeks (who know and use the modern form of the language found in the original text of John 1:1c) that this Church simply cannot get away with pretending that John 1:1c really means "The Word was God"! The Greek people would laugh at them! She said that only churches in NON-Greek-speaking countries could get away with such an interpretation of John 1:1c. I haven't seen this elsewhere, so we must take it as anecdotal or hearsay.

More important than the witness of modern-day Greek grammarians, however, is the witness of the most knowledgeable Greek grammarian of all Christian scholars from a time when men knew NT Greek the best. Yes, from before the time of Christ up until about 300 A. D. the Koine Greek used in the earliest New Testament manuscripts was the common language of the Mediterranean world.

koine:... A common Greek speech, gradually developing and replacing local dialects throughout the eastern Mediterranean from the time of Alexander. The Koine is found in literary works ... of the period, the Septuagint and NT writings, papyri, inscriptions, and ostraca. .... The period is roughly from 330 B. C. to 330 A. D. - p. 421, An Encyclopedia of Religion, Vergilius Ferm (ed.), 1945.

Origen (185-254 A. D.) was "probably the most accomplished Biblical scholar produced by the early Church" (Universal Standard Encyclopedia) and "the greatest scholar and most prolific author of the early church. ... not only a profound thinker but also deeply spiritual and a loyal churchman." (The History of Christianity, a Lion Book).

"Origen, the greatest and most influential Christian thinker of his age" - p. 89, A History of the Christian Church, 4th ed., Williston Walker, Scribners, 1985.

"The character of Origen is singularly pure and noble; for his moral qualities are as remarkable as his intellectual gifts." - p. 229, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. IV, Eerdmans.

Origen's Commentary on John is "the first great work of Christian interpretation." Origen was certainly the most knowledgeable about NT (koine) Greek of any scholar. He studied it from early childhood and even taught it professionally from his teens onward - and this was during a time when it was a living language and, of course, well understood! - The Ante-Nicene Fathers, pp. 291-294, vol. X, Eerdmans Publ., 1990 printing.

Origen distinguishes between those who are called "god" and He who is called "God" by the use of the definite article ("the") being used with theos to mean "God" and by the definite article not being used with theos to mean "god" in the NT Greek. He further teaches that God "made first in honour some race of reasonable beings; this I consider to be those who are called gods [angels], and .... [finally he made] the last reasonable race, ... man." - p. 315, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. X., Eerdmans.

In speaking about the Word of John 1:1, Origen tells us in his "Commentary on John" that the Son is the highest of angels! He says: "as he is the Word He is the Messenger [literally the ἄγγελος, the angel ] of Great Counsel" (p. 320) and that "His name is called Angel of Great Counsel" (p. 315); "there are certain creatures, rational and divine, which are called powers [angels]; and of these Christ was the highest and best" (p. 321); and he (like all early Christian writers who refer to this scripture) teaches that Jesus was the personified Wisdom of Prov. 8:22-30[%] who was created by the Father (pp. 303, 306, 307, 317). - The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. X.

Origen continued in his "Commentary on John" by actually discussing the grammar of John 1:1. He wrote:

"We next notice John's use of the article ['the' or ho in the Greek in this case] in these sentences. He does not write without care in this respect, nor is he unfamiliar with the niceties of the Greek tongue. [Origen, himself, as noted, was an expert in this language and even taught it as a professional. So if anyone would ever have been aware of any special grammatical 'rules' or effects for John 1:1c, it would certainly have been Origen!] In some cases he uses the article ['the' in English or ho in NT Greek] and in some he omits it. He adds the article to the Logos [ho logos or 'the Word'], but to [theos: 'god' or 'God'] he adds it sometimes only. He uses the article [ho] when [theos] refers to the uncreated cause of all things, and omits it when the Logos [Word] is named [theos]. .... the God who is over all is God with the article [ho theos] not without it [theos]­. .... and so the Saviour says in his prayer to the Father, 'That they may know thee the only true God [Jn 17:1, 3];' but that all beyond the Very God [ho theos] is made [theos] by participation in His divinity, and is not to be called simply God (with the article [ho theos]), but rather [theos] (without the article). And thus the first-born of all creation [Jesus, Col. 1:15], who is the first to be with God, and to attract to himself divinity, is a being of more exalted rank than the other gods [angels] beside him, of whom God [ho theos, the Father only] is the God [Rev. 3:2, 12; 2 Cor. 11:31; Eph. 1:3, 17, etc.], as it is written, 'the God of gods...' [Ps. 49:1, Septuagint; Ps. 136:2; Deut. 10:17]­. .... The true God [the Father alone, Jn 17:1, 3], then, is ['the god,' ho theos], and those who are formed after him are gods, images, as it were, of Him the prototype." - The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. X, p. 323, "Origen's Commentary on the Gospel of John", Book 2, part 2, Eerdmans, 1990 printing

Obviously the most knowledgeable scholar of all concerning the New Testament language knew of no "rule" which could make Jn 1:1c say that "the Word was God." In fact, although they did not use capital letters to distinguish proper names or significant nouns as we do today, Origen himself is clearly saying that the proper understanding of Jn 1:1c is "the Word was (definitely not God, but) a god"!!!

As a further explanation of this understanding he refers to this again when discussing "a prophet" and "the Prophet":

"And still more weighty is it that the Savior said to those who considered John to be a prophet, 'But what went ye out to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.' The words, Yea, I say unto you, manifestly affirm that John is a prophet, and that is nowhere denied afterwards. If, then, he is said by the Savior to be not only a prophet but "more than a prophet," how is it that when the priests and levites come and ask him, 'Art thou the Prophet?' he answers No! On this we must remark that it is not the same thing to say, 'Art thou the Prophet?' and 'Art thou a prophet?' The distinction between the two expressions has already been observed, when we asked what was the difference between [the god and a god], and between [the logos and a logos]." - ANF, vol. 10 (p. 358).


[%]- The very trinitarian The Ante-Nicene Fathers tells us: "Prov. viii 22-25. This is one of the favourite Messianic quotations of the [early Church] Fathers, and is considered as the base of the first chapter of St. John's Gospel." - ANF 1:488, f.n. #10, Eerdmans, 1993 printing.


Another approach using very early writings:

An Early Coptic Translation and John 1:1c
Prepared by Solomon Landers
January, 2006

[slightly modified to be readable on this blog]

Sahidic Coptic John Transliteration

1:1a Hn tehoueite nefshoop nci pshaje

1:1b Auw pshaje nefshoop nnahrm pnoute

1:1c auw neunoute pe psaje

In harmony with Jesus' command to them, the early Christians eagerly spread the message of the good news of Jehovah's Kingdom far and wide. They made translations of the koine Greek Gospels into several languages. By about the year 200, the earliest of these were found in Syriac, Coptic, and Latin.{1} Coptic was the language spoken by Christians in Egypt, in the Sahidic dialect, until replaced by the Fayyumic and the Bohairic dialects in Coptic church liturgy in the 11th century C.E.

Coptic itself was the last stage of the Egyptian language spoken since the time of the Pharaohs. Under the influence of the widespread use of koine Greek, the Coptic language came to be written, not in hieroglyphs or the cursive Egyptian script called Demotic, but in Greek letters supplemented by seven characters derived from hieroglyphs. Coptic is a Hamito-Semitic language, meaning that it shares elements of both Hamitic (north African) languages and Semitic languages like Hebrew, Aramaic, and Arabic.

Much was made of it in the scholarly world when an apocryphal gospel written in Coptic, titled the "Gospel of Thomas," was discovered in Egypt near Nag Hammadi in December 1945. Yet, after an initial welcome, the scholarly world has been strangely silent about an earlier and more significant find, the Sahidic Coptic translation of the canonical Gospel of John, which may date from about the late 2nd century C.E.{2} This manuscript was introduced to the English-speaking world in 1911 through the work of [Reverend] George William Horner. Today, it is difficult even to find copies of Horner's translation of the Coptic canonical Gospel of John. It has been largely relegated to dusty library shelves, whereas copies of the "Gospel of Thomas" (in English with Coptic text) line the lighted shelves of popular bookstores.

In the book, The Text of the New Testament (Eerdmans, 1987), Kurt and Barbara Aland, editors of critical Greek New Testament texts, state:

"The Coptic New Testament is among the primary resources for the history of the New Testament text. Important as the Latin and Syriac versions may be, it is of far greater importance to know precisely how the text developed in Egypt." (Page 200, emphasis added)

The Sahidic Coptic text of the Gospel of John has been found to be in the Alexandrian text tradition of the well-regarded Codex Vaticanus (B) (Vatican 1209), one of the best of the early extant Greek New Testament manuscripts. Coptic John also shows affinities to the Greek Papyrus Bodmer XIV (p75) of the late 2nd/3rd century.{3} Concerning the Alexandrian text tradition, Dr. Bruce Metzger states that it "is usually considered to be the best text and the most faithful in preserving the original."{4}

Therefore, it is all the more strange that insights of the Sahidic Coptic text of John 1:1 are largely ignored by popular Bible translators. Might that be because the Sahidic Coptic Gospel of John translates John 1:1c in a way that is unpopular in Christendom? The Sahidic text renders John 1:1c as auw neunoute pe pshaje, clearly meaning literally "and was a god the Word." [\ , \\ ] Unlike koine Greek, Sahidic Coptic has both the definite article, p, and the indefinite article, u. The Coptic text of John 1:1b identifies the first mention of noute as pnoute, "the god," i.e., God. This corresponds to the koine Greek text, wherein theos, "god," has the definite article ho- at John 1:1b, i.e., "the Word was with [the] God."

The koine Greek text indicates the indefiniteness of the word theos in its second mention (John 1:1c), "god," by omitting the definite article before it, because koine Greek had no indefinite article. But Coptic does have an indefinite article, and the text employs the indefinite article at John 1:1c. This makes it clear that in reading the original Greek text, the ancient Coptic translators understood it to say specifically that "the Word was a god."

The early Coptic Christians had a good understanding of both Greek and their own language, and their translation of John's koine Greek here is very precise and accurate. Because they actually employed the indefinite article before the word "god," noute, the Sahidic Coptic translation of John 1:1c is more precise than the translation found in the Latin Vulgate, since Latin has neither a definite nor an indefinite article. Ancient Coptic translations made after the Sahidic, in the Bohairic dialect, also employ the indefinite article before the Coptic word for "god."

The Coptic word neunoute (ne-u-noute) is made up of three parts: ne, a verbal prefix denoting imperfect (past) tense, i.e., "was [being],"; u, the Coptic indefinite article, denoting "a,"; and noute, the Coptic word for "god." Grammarians state that the word noute, "god," takes the definite article when it refers to the One God, whereas without the definite article it refers to other gods. But in Coptic John 1:1c the word noute is not simply anarthrous, lacking any article at all. Here the indefinite article is specifically employed. Thus, whereas some scholars impute ambiguity to the Greek of John 1:1c, this early Coptic translation can be rendered accurately as "the Word was a god." This is the careful way those 2nd century Coptic translators understood it. The Coptic expression for "was a god," ne-u-noute pe, is the same Coptic construction as found at John 18:40, where it says of Barabbas that he ne-u-soone pe, "was a robber," accurately rendering the Greek original, en de ho barabbas lestes, wherein the word for "robber" lestes, is anarthrous: "a robber." No English version renders this, "Barabbas was Robber." Likewise, John 1:1c should not be rendered to say, "the Word was God," whether the text is Greek or Coptic, but "the Word was a god." In Horner's 1911 English translation from the Coptic, he gives this translation: "In the beginning was being the word, and the word was being with God, and a God was the word."

It may be noted that the earliest Coptic translation was likely made before Trinitarianism gained a foothold in the churches of the 4th century. That may be one reason why the Coptic translators saw no need to violate the sense of John's Greek by translating it "the Word was God." In a way, then, the ancient Sahidic Coptic translation of John 1:1c was the New World Translation of that day, faithfully and accurately rendering the Greek text.

That very point may give some indication as to why the Sahidic Coptic translation of John 1:1c is largely kept under wraps in academic religious circles today. Most new English translations continue to translate this verse to say "the Word was God." But the Coptic text provides clear evidence "from very ancient times" that the New World Translation is correct in rendering John 1:1c as "the Word was a god."

Footnotes for above

1. Aland, p. 68

2. George William Horner, The Coptic version of the New Testament in the southern dialect, otherwise called Sahidic and Thebaic, 1911, pp. 398, 399

3. Aland, p. 91

4. Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, 2nd edition, United Bible Societies, 1994, page 5

Other References:

Egyptian Grammar, 3rd edition, by Sir Alan Gardiner (Griffith Institute, 1957)

The Gospel of Thomas: The Hidden Sayings of Jesus, (with Coptic text) by Marvin Meyer (Harper Collins, 1992)


\ The translation of the Sahidic Coptic version of John 1:1c into English can be diagrammed as:

auw neunoute pe psaje

auw ne-u-noute pe pshaje

auw = "and"

ne = verbal prefix denoting past tense, i.e., "was (being)"

u = Coptic indefinite article, "a"

noute = "god"

pe = Coptic particle meaning "is" or "this one is"

p = Coptic definite article, "the"

shaje = "word"

Literally the Coptic says, "and - was being- a god - is- the -Word." Or more smoothly in literal English, "and the Word was a god."

\\ The text of the Coptic Bohairic version also has the indefinite article before the word for "god," at John 1:1c, i.e., "a god":

Sahidic: neunoute

Bohairic: ne ounout


2  Young (and Barclay in the quotation following Young's above) is perfectly aware that "a God" makes little sense. There was no capitalization in the original manuscript nor in the copies that followed for centuries thereafter. We, today, capitalize "god" when we wish to denote the only true creator of everything. Therefore "God" is not a "class" at all but a single individual, and, as we will see, was identified by using the definite article ('the') with 'god.' Therefore, there cannot be "a God," but, instead, the Bible writers using theos without the article would intend the indefinite meaning "a god."

The reason they are compelled to admit that it is the literal translation is that most often a nominative case noun (used as a subject or predicate noun), when it is without the article ('the') in the original language, and is a "non-prepositional" count noun ('man,' 'lamb,' 'house,' 'prophet,' 'sinner,' 'god,' etc.), will be translated properly into English with the indefinite article ('a,' or 'an').

For example, all the uses of the nominative "man" (anthropos) as found in John's Gospel which are used as described above:

John 1:6; 3:1; 3:4; 3:27; 5:5; 7:23 [UBS text (3rd ed.) and Received Text]; 7:46; 9:16; 10:33; 16:21 All are properly translated as "a man"!

Some other examples from the Gospel of John are: 2:1 ('a marriage'); 4:44 ('a prophet'); 5:2 ('a pool'); 6:9 ('a lad'); 6:70 ('a devil'); 8:44a ('a murderer'); 8:44b ('a liar'); 9:24 ('a sinner'); 10:1 ('a thief and a robber'); 11:38 ('a stone'); etc.

3  This is similar to the word "angel" which, in Biblical Hebrew and Greek meant "messenger." It was used for the heavenly spirit messengers of God, and the very same word was used for fleshly humans acting as messengers!

4   In addition to the greatest NT scholar of the first centuries A.D. (Origen), we should add the words of Hippolytus, "the most important 3rd century [he lived from about 170 A.D. - 236 A.D.] theologian of the Roman Church" (p. 652, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, F. L. Cross, Oxford University Press, 1990 reprint), who wrote, showing his understanding of the word "god" in relation to men and the Word [Logos]:

"The Creator did not wish to make him [man] a god, and failed in His aim; nor an angel, -be not deceived,- but a man. For if He had willed to make thee a god, He could have done so. Thou hast the example of the Logos." - Book X, Ch. XXIX, 'The Refutation of all Heresies' by Hippolytus as translated in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, p. 151, vol. 5, Eerdmans.  In other words, Hippolytus, who is even considered by some to have contributed to the development of the trinity doctrine in Christendom, also considered the Logos (the Word) to be "a god."

5.  Before we begin to investigate John's use of theos (which, after all, is the real point in question), let's look at the rest of the Gospel writers: Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Here are all the uses of theos (in its nominative form) in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke as found in the Westcott and Hort text (W and H).

- If the definite article ("the") is used with theos in the original manuscripts, "art." has been written after the verse number. If the definite article is not there, "an." (for "anarthrous") has been written before the verse number:

Matthew 1:23 -art.
Mt 3:9 -- art.
Mt 6:8 -- art. (W and H text, Nestle text; theos not found here in UBS text or Received Text)
Mt 6:30 -- art.
Mt 15:4 -- art.
Mt 19:6 -- art.
Mt 22:32 -- art. (4 occurrences) "the God of...." (W and H, UBS text, Nestle text)

Mark 2:7 -- art.
Mk 10:9 -- art.
Mk 10:18 -- art.
Mk 12:26 -- art.
Mk 12:26 - art. (the God of...)
an. Mk 12:26 ---- (2 occurrences) "God of...."
an. Mk 12:27 ---- "a God of..."
Mk 12:29 -- art. "the God of..."
Mk 13:19 -- art.
Mk 15:34 -- art. "the God of me" (2 occurrences)

Luke 1:32 -- art.
Lk 1:68 -- art. "The God of..."
Lk 3:8 -- art.
Lk 5:21 -- art.
Lk 7:16 -- art.
Lk 8:39 -- art.
Lk 12:20 -- art.
Lk 12:24 -- art.
Lk 12:28 -- art.
Lk 16:15 -- art.
Lk 18:7 -- art.
Lk 18:11 -- art.
Lk 18:13 -- art.
Lk 18:19 -- art. (W and H, UBS, Received Text) - Appositive[10]
an. Lk 20:38 ---- "a God of..."

You can see that (except for 4 exceptions) Matthew, Mark, and Luke always (33 times) used the article ("the") with theos when 'God' was intended.

And the four exceptions were all "prepositional" (or, most often, modified by a genitive noun): "God of ...."

Luke also wrote the book of Acts wherein we find he always uses the article with its 63 uses of the nominative theos for God - even in the 9 "prepositional" (or genitive-modified) instances!

So (except for 4 ‘prepositional’ uses) Matthew, Mark, and Luke used the article ("the") every time (96 times) with theos when it intended "God."

But most important to a study of John's use of the article with theos to indicate God, here are all his uses of the nominative theos:

There are 51 such uses of theos by John (18 in the Gospel of John,  13 in First John,  20 in Revelation).  Here is the list of every theos (nominative case) used by John.  If it has the definite article, “art.” has been written after the verse number.  If it does not have the definite article, “an.” (for “anarthrous”) has been written before the verse number.  If it appears to be applied to Jesus, “Jesus” has been written after the verse number.

an. John 1:1c - - - Jesus
an. Jn 1:18 - - - - Jesus (W and H, Nestle, UBS - [Received Text and Byzantine Text have "Son"])*
Jn 3:2 art.
Jn 3:16 art.
Jn 3:17 art.
Jn 3:33 art.
Jn 3:34 art.
Jn 4:24 art.
Jn 6:27 art.
Jn 8:42 art.
an. Jn 8:54 - - -"God of you"
Jn 9:29 art.
Jn 9:31 art.
Jn 11:22 art.
Jn 13:31 art.
Jn 13:32 art.  (2 occurrences)
Jn 20:28 art. Jesus (?) "God of me" - see 'My God' study paper


1 John 1:5 art.
1 Jn 3:20 art.
1 Jn 4:8 art.
1 Jn 4:9 art.
1 Jn 4:11 art.
1 Jn 4:12 art.
1 Jn 4:15 art.
1 Jn 4:16 art. (3 occurrences)
1 Jn 5:10 art.
1 Jn 5:11 art.
1 Jn 5:20 art.

Rev. 1:1 art.
Rev. 1:8 art.
Rev. 4:8 art.
Rev. 4:11 art. "the God of us"
Rev. 7:17 art.
Rev. 11:17 art.
Rev. 15:3 art.
Rev. 16:7 art.
Rev. 17:17 art.
Rev. 18:5 art.
Rev. 18:8 art.
Rev. 18:20 art.
Rev. 19:6 art. "the God of us"
Rev. 21:3 art.
an. Rev. 21:7 ---- "God to him" (modified by a dative - "prepositional")
Rev. 21:22 art.
Rev. 22:5 art.
Rev. 22:6 art. "the God of the spirits"
Rev. 22:18 art.
Rev. 22:19 art.

We can see that out of at least 48 uses of theos for the only true God (all those apparently not applied to Jesus), 46 of them have the definite article. And the only two exceptions are, again, "prepositional" (modified by a dative and a genitive).

So, again, John always uses the article with theos in proper examples to denote "God"! And he has used theos without the article to denote the Son (John 1:1, John 1:18) - 'a god.'

Nouns used as subjects or predicate nouns (i.e. the nominative case), if they are part of a possessive phrase (e.g. "the God of me," "the God of Israel," etc., meaning "my God," "Israel's God," etc.), may or may not take the article. The use of the article under those conditions appears to be purely arbitrary and is used at random with little or no significance. A good example of this is found at 2 Cor. 4:4 - "the god OF this age [or system]...".

Of all the 37 uses of "theos" (nominative case) by Matthew, Mark, and Luke can you guess which ones are used with "prepositional phrases"? That's right! The 4 anarthrous "exceptions" are all used with "prepositional phrases"!

Mark 12:26 says literally: "the God said, 'I [am] the God of Abraham and God OF Isaac and God OF Jacob.' " But the parallel account at Matthew 22:32 says literally: "I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob." Even though Mark didn't use the definite article with theos in the last half of this verse, it made no difference to the meaning because of the uncertainty of meaning inherent in such "possessive" usages. Matthew did use the article in the parallel account, but its use under those circumstances was unnecessary. (It was Matthew's custom to ALWAYS use the article with theos when referring to the true God regardless of grammatical options, but, obviously, Mark and Luke sometimes took advantage of the "possessive" article uncertainty to ignore the usually required article for "God.")

This is further shown at the continuation of these parallel accounts.

Matt. 22:32 says literally: "not he is the God of dead". But the parallel account at Mark 12:27 says literally: "not he is God of dead". And the parallel account at Luke 20:38 says literally: "God not he is of dead". Notice that Both Mark and Luke do not use the definite article, but most trinitarian Bible translators consider them just as definite as the parallel verse in Matthew which does use the definite article - NIV, TEV, ASV, NAB, NASB, CBW, Beck, The Amplified Bible. (But due to the article inconsistency with "possessive" constructions, we can also find indefinite translations of these verses: "a God" - KJV, Mo, NWT; and "He is not God of the dead" - NEB, JB, ASV, Phillips.)

You can also see that "God" in Mark 12:27 is a predicate noun which comes after its verb, whereas "God" in Luke 20:38 is a predicate noun which comes before its verb. But since both are frequently translated "the God," we can easily see that it is not because of word position, but because of the "possessive" (prepositional) constructions, which these verses have in common, that they are so translated.

So we see that if we exclude all the nouns used with "possessive" phrases (in which there is little or no significance for the definite article - see Appendix for further examination of this characteristic of "possessive" phrases), we then find that Matthew, Mark, and Luke always (in all 25 instances) use the definite article with the nominative form for theos when they mean the only true God!

     And if we include in our total for all the writings of the 3 synoptic Gospel writers all the writings of Gospel writer Luke (Acts was also written by Luke), we find the definite article is still always used with the non-“possessive” nominative theos (in all 74 instances) when the only true God is the subject!  Yes, Acts always uses the article with its 63 uses of the nominative theos for God - even in the 11 “possessive” (or prepositional) instances!

But it doesn't matter what language rules may be used by others. What really matters is: What rules are being used by this writer? For example, one of the many rules of standard English tells that one must use the subject form pronoun as a predicate noun. I.e., one should say, "It is I;" "It is he;" etc. And yet many Americans say (and write), "It's me;" "It's him;" etc. So we must always carefully examine the rules that the writer in question uses in order to understand what meaning he really intended!

We can also see in John's writings that of the 3 uses of theos that appear to be applied to Jesus (obviously Jn 1:1c and Jn 1:18 are applied to him; Jn 20:28 is not so certain and is modified by a prepositional modifier anyway- see MY GOD study), two of them (Jn 1:1c and 1:18) do not have the article. But if the article before theos indicates that the only true God is being spoken of, and if the absence of the article before "theos" usually indicates "god" or "a god" is being spoken of, how do we explain John 8:54 (absence of article even though applied to God), John 20:28 (article present even though, possibly, applied to Jesus), and Rev. 21:7 (article absent even though applied to God)?

Again we need to examine these "exceptions" as we did those of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Remember that nouns in the nominative case, if they are used in a possessive (or any prepositional) construction (such as "God of me," "God of Israel," etc.- meaning "my God," "Israel's God," etc.), may or may not use the article with little or no effect on the actual meaning.

Of all the 50 uses of theos (nominative case) by John can you guess which ones are with "possessive" phrases? That's right! John 8:54 says literally: "you are saying that God of you is." John 20:28 says literally: "the Lord of me and the God [or 'god'] of me." Revelation 21:7 says literally: “I shall be to him God and he will be to me son.”

That the last scripture (Rev. 21:7) should be considered in the same way as "of him" (i.e., the use of the article is basically without meaning in this case) is shown not only by its "possessive" meaning ("his God" and "my son" - see most Bibles) but by the actual usage in this very scripture. (Remember, too, that in reality it is nouns with prepositional constructions that have the article ambiguity, and we have a prepositional construction here: "God to him.")

We can see that God (the God) is speaking here at Rev. 21:7. "The" should normally be here to indicate "God" and not "god," but in this case it is not. If anyone should say that the grammar used indicates that it should be understood to be there, you should point out that the very same grammar is used in the following words of the same verse - "he will be to me son." If the article must be understood to be with "God" in this verse, it must also be understood to be with "son." This would make "anyone" who overcomes "the Son of God." But we know "the Son of God" is exclusively Jesus. Therefore, the intended meaning of article usage (or non-usage) in this verse must be determined only by context as in other possessive (actually, prepositional) phrases.
There are only 3 other places in John's writings where theos is part of a "possessive" phrase: Rev. 4:11, Rev. 19:6, and Rev. 22:6. These, however, do take the definite article. So sometimes John uses the article with a "possessive" phrase and sometimes he doesn't. Which is exactly what we would expect when the use of the article is purely arbitrary in such circumstances!

So we find that if we exclude all the "possessive" constructions (only 6 for theos in all of John's writings) as we should, then all of the remaining 44 instances of theos follow the rule (theos with article = "God," and theos without article = "god").
Yes, 42 of these 44 proper examples of article usage with the nominative "theos" refer to the only true God, and all 42 of them use the article! Can you guess which of the 44 are the only 2 which do not use the article (and, therefore, should properly be translated "god")? That's right, the only 2 which obviously refer to Jesus: John 1:1 and John 1:18!

In fact, there is a total of 117 places in ALL of the writings of the 4 Gospel writers where the nominative theos in non-"possessive" form is applied to the only true God. EVERY ONE OF THEM HAS THE DEFINITE ARTICLE! The only 2 places in all of these inspired scriptures where theos in non-"possessive" phrases is clearly not applied to the only true God (John 1:1c and John 1:18* [see footnote below] which apply to the Son of God) also just "happen" to be the only 2 places that do not have the definite article! So, in all 119 of the non-"possessive" uses of theos by the Gospel writers the presence of the definite article always determines the only true God!
* Note: John 1:18 is a disputed scripture. Trinitarian scholars and translators themselves are strongly divided as to whether the original writing here was an anarthrous or articular “only-begotten son (huios)” or an anarthrous or articular “only-begotten theos.”

If it were an articular “only-begotten theos,” then, perhaps, we could render it as “The only-begotten God.” (although the modifier “only-begotten” would preclude it being the eternal God who had no beginning). If, however, John did intend to write “only-begotten god,” to agree with the opening of his Prologue (“the Word was a god”), how would he write it in the NT Greek? The answer can only be an anarthrous “only-begotten theos”! 
 The texts I have used for this study (Westcott and Hort; United Bible Societies; and Nestle) use that very phrase for John 1:18: an anarthrous “only-begotten theos.” That is why I have listed John 1:18 in the list of John’s uses of the nominative theos. However, it must be noted that so many Trinitarian scholars and translators have decided that “the only-begotten son,” was the original writing that I cannot be absolutely certain as to whether I should list John 1:18 as being one of John’s uses of theos! As I said, it is a disputed scripture and maybe I should have omitted it.

6.  Those many trinity-defenders who attempt to change the natural rendering of John 1:1c into "the god" ("God") because of some imaginary word order "rule," should closely examine the word order of the following: Mark 12:37, "how of him is he son?" has the very same intended meaning as Matt. 22:45, "how son of him is he?" And Mark 12:27 says (in the NT Greek word order), "not he is god of dead," while the very same thing is worded at Luke 20:38, "god not he is of dead." And Matt. 3:11 has "he you will baptize in spirit holy," whereas Mark 1:8 says the same thing in this order, "he but will baptize you spirit holy."

Why, even a single scripture shows the impropriety of the "word-order" approach for this scripture: John 10:1 has this word order, "that (one) thief is and robber" [the first predicate noun is before the verb and the second is after the verb!]. This is always translated as, "that one [or 'he'] is a thief and a robber." It is never rendered, "that one is the Thief and a robber. And it is never "qualitatively" rendered as "that one has the full essence of thiefness and is a robber."

Furthermore, if word order in relation to the verb (as in the trinitarian 'rules' to make Jn 1:1c say "God" rather than the grammatically accurate 'a god'), why would John ever use such a clause without a verb? Examine Jn 4:24 which has given translators so much trouble: there is no verb to tell us if this might be a definite, indefinite, or "qualitative" 'spirit.' If John had really been aware of such a rule, he surely would have used a verb here!

The word-order scheme designed to give a trinitarian twist to John 1:1c is rarely, if ever, used in translation of any other scripture, not even by recognized trinitarian translators!

7.  Personal names such as "Jesus," "Abraham," "Mary," etc. should not be included as they may take a definite article in NT Greek or not according to the whim of the writer and yet in English are always translated without the definite article.

Wallace, Harner, and Colwell all properly exclude them as examples for their rules. It is obvious that this is also a proper exception because proper names take the definite article with such irregularity that no rule (including Colwell's and Sharp's "Rules") which is based on article usage (or non-usage) can properly use them.

Great irregularity of article usage with proper names has also been noted by most other recognized NT Greek scholars: "with proper names. Here the article is used or not at the will of the writer." - A. T. Robertson, Grammar, p. 791.

Here are some examples from the NT Greek text in the first chapters of the Gospel of John:

1:45 - _Philip found the Nathanael
1:46 - _Nathanael said to him
1:47 - Jesus saw the Nathanael
1:48 - _Nathanael said to him
1:48 - _Jesus answered
1:49 - _Nathanael answered
1:50 - _Jesus said
2:2 - The Jesus and the disciples
2:4 - The Jesus said
2:7 - The Jesus said
2:11 - The Jesus did this as the beginning
2:17 - The Jesus went up
2:19 _Jesus answered
2:24 - But _Jesus himself
3:3 - _Jesus answered
3:4 - The Nicodemus
3:5 - The Jesus answered
3:9 - _Nicodemus answered
3:10 - _Jesus answered
3:14 - _Moses lifted up
3:22 - The Jesus and the disciples
3:23 - The John
3:24 - _John had not yet been thrown
4:7 - The Jesus said to her
4:10 - _Jesus answered and said

8.   Actually, this applies to such nouns used with any "prepositional" phrase, whether "possessive" or not (but at least 90% are "possessives," and this is an easier concept to teach to those who are unfamiliar with language studies).

This "possessive" irregular usage of the definite article includes constructions where a noun is connected to a NT Greek genitive (e.g., "house of me" - "of me" is a genitive noun in NT Greek).

As Dana and Mantey tell us, "The use of prepositions, possessive ... pronouns, and the genitive case also tend to make a word definite. At such times, even if the article is not used, the object is already distinctly indicated." - p. 137, D and M Grammar.

This particular exception to regular article usage is so important in a proper examination of John 1:1c (or any other scripture which depends on the use or nonuse of the article for a proper interpretation) that I have included the following lengthy examination for those who need more evidence:

Ambiguous Article Usage Accompanies Nouns With "Prepositional" Constructions

It is well known by NT Greek scholars that there are certain things which may cause the use (or non-use) of the definite article to be so ambiguous and arbitrary as to make it nearly meaningless in those cases. Some of these include the use of abstract nouns (see study on "The 'Qualitative' John 1:1c" - QUAL), the use of numerals, the use of proper names, etc. These, of course, must be eliminated from any proper list that attempts to provide evidence for (or against) any grammatical rule which concerns the use (or non-use) of the definite article.

For example, most, if not all, NT Greek scholars would certainly agree that proper (personal) names (e.g., "John," "Mary," "Paul," etc.) in NT Greek may or may not take the definite article. It would, therefore, be extremely inappropriate to use examples containing proper names in an attempt to prove, for example, that a predicate noun is definite when it comes before the verb. You can see that the person attempting this "proof" could easily select some examples of a proper name used as a predicate noun coming after the verb which have the definite article (and ignore those without the article). He could also find some examples of a proper name used as a predicate noun coming before the verb which do not have the article (and ignore those which do have the article).

By selecting the ones which help "prove" his "rule," this person could easily convince others who are unfamiliar with NT Greek or unfamiliar with the ambiguous article usage found with proper names.

It is certainly not surprising, then, that most, if not all, NT Greek scholars do not use examples with proper names when they are attempting to prove Colwell's Rule (or its related "rules"). Even Colwell himself recognized this important fact. In a footnote to his article which attempted to establish "Colwell's Rule" he stated, "Proper names, also, have been excluded [as examples] because they regularly lack the article whether they appear before or after the verb" - p. 17. Of course, unlike English, proper names in NT Greek also are often found with the article with no apparent significance (compare John 6:3 and 6:5).

What may be surprising, however, is that all those trinitarians who attempt to prove those "John 1:1c trinitarian rules" use examples of predicate nouns with "prepositional" constructions (usually "possessive") - e.g., "the house of me," "servant of God," "son to me," etc. In fact, all the trinitarian defenses of John 1:1c grammatical "rules" that I have examined use such "prepositional" constructions almost exclusively! (I am considering here NT Greek usages that are normally translated into English as possessive or prepositional constructions. Mostly they're nouns modified by a genitive.)

This is certainly no more proper than using personal names because of the irregular, ambiguous use of the definite article with predicate nouns (and subjects) with "prepositional" (frequently "possessive") constructions.

In section VIII, 'The Absence of the Article,' Professor Robertson tells us, "prepositional phrases and other formulae may dispense with the article" - p. 790. And "(b) with genitives. We have seen that the substantive may still be definite if anarthrous, though not necessarily so." - p. 791. And "3. Repetition of Article with Genitive - The genitive may follow the other substantive with a repeated article .... 4. The Article Only with Genitive - cf. 'authority and permission of the chief priests' (Ac. 26:12) ... 5. Article Absent with Both - .... The context must decide whether the phrase is definite or not." - p. 780

And, finally, this highly respected trinitarian New Testament Greek authority tells us about prepositional constructions: "In examples like this (cf. ... Mt. 27:54) ONLY THE CONTEXT CAN DECIDE [whether the anarthrous noun is definite or indefinite]. Sometimes the matter is wholly doubtful.... [Please note that the example Robertson has given (Matt. 27:54) has the anarthrous predicate noun coming before the verb as in Colwell's Rule!] In Jo. 5:27 ['son of man'] may be either 'the son of man' or 'a son of man.' " - p. 781.

Robertson says this in spite of the fact that John 5:27 also has an anarthrous predicate noun preceding its verb!! It’s ‘prepositional’ and, therefore, the use of the article is ambiguous! Most Bibles have ‘the Son of Man’ at Jn 5:27, which I agree with because of context and the frequency of ‘prepositional’ PNs before the verb being definite. However, see the AB (text and footnote), AT (text), and the NASB footnote. - A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, A. T. Robertson.

Look at the following Trinitarian Bibles and commentaries concerning these scriptures: Matt. 27:54 and John 5:27:

Matt. 27:54

The New American Standard Bible:
"Truly this was the F607 Son of God!"

F607  Or a son of God or a son of a god

NASB (NT, 1963, as published in The Four Translation New Testament)

“Truly this was a son of God!”


"Surely he was the Son F120 of God!"

F120  Or a son


Truly this was the Son R129 of God!"

F129  Or a son


"Truly this man was God's Son!" F216
F216 Or [a son of God]


“Truly this was the Son[f] of God

[f] Or a son



“In truth this was a son of God.”



“This man was certainly a son of God!”



“Truly this man was a son of God.”(a)

(a) “Or the Son of God.”



“This must have been a son of God.”


J.B. Phillips NT:

“Indeed he was a son of God!”


The Bible in Basic English

“Truly this was a son of God”


An American Translation (AT)
“He surely must have been a son of God!”


The Adam Clarke Commentary:

“It is not likely that this centurion had any knowledge of the expectation of the Jews relative to the Messiah, and did not use the words in this sense. A son of God, as the Romans used the term, would signify no more than a very eminent or Divine person; a hero.”


Barnes' Notes on the New Testament:

“In the original it is, ‘A son of a god;’ an expression perfectly suitable to a polytheist, who believed in the existence of many gods.”


People’s New Testament:

“54. The centurion. The Roman officer in charge of the execution. Truly this was the Son of God. Rather, "a son of a god." He was a heathen soldier, believing in many gods, and the scenes of the cross had convinced him that Jesus was more than man.”


A.T. Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament:

“There is no article with God or Son in the Greek so that means ‘God’s Son,’ either ‘the Son of God’ or ‘a Son of God.’ There is no way to tell.”


The Expositor’s Greek Testament:

“In the centurion’s mouth the words would mean … a hero, an extraordinary man.”


John 5:27

NASB footnote:

“27 Or, a son of man”
Amplified Bible

“27And He has given Him authority and granted Him power to execute (exercise, practice) judgment because He is a Son of man [very man].”


An American Translation

“…because he is a son of man.”


Robertson’s Word Pictures in the NT

“Because he is the Son of man
oti uiov antrwpou estin).

Rather, ‘because he is a son of man’ (note absence of articles and so not as the Messiah), because the judge of men must partake of human nature himself (Westcott). Bernard insists that John is here giving his own reflections rather than the words of Jesus and uses uiov antrwpou in the same sense as o uiov tou antrwpou (always in the Gospels used by Jesus of himself). But that in my opinion is a wrong view since we have here ostensibly certainly the words of Jesus himself. So in Revelation 1:13; 14:14 uion antrwpou means ‘a son of man.’ ”


Coffman Commentaries
Verse 27
“And he gave him authority to execute judgment, because he is a Son of man.”

Barnes Notes
Because he is the Son of man. The phrase Son of man here seems to be used in the sense of "because he is a man," or because he has human nature. The term is one which Jesus often gives to himself, to show his union with man and his interest in man. See Barnes "
Matthew 8:19,20". It is to be remarked here that the word son has not the article before it in the original: "Because he is a Son of man"--that is, because he is a man.”


The Expositor’s Greek Testament, p. 741, Vol. 1

“The words must be rendered ‘because He is a son of man,’ that is, a man.”



C. F. D. Moule says: "9. Finally, note that the use or non-use of the article may, in some cases, be due to the influence of Semitic idiom rather than deliberate desire to modify the sense. A noun in the construct case [similar to a noun modified by a genitive in NT Greek, e.g., 'man of God'] in Hebrew is never allowed to carry the article, and this may sometimes be sufficient to explain an anarthrous noun in a Greek equivalent phrase: aggelos kuriou might be a Hebraism for the angel of the Lord; so doxa kuriou." - p. 117, An Idiom Book of New Testament Greek, Cambridge University Press, 1990 printing.

J. H. Moulton tells us: "the matter [of identifying an anarthrous 'spirit'] is complicated threefold by the question of the non-use of the art[icle] with proper nouns, and in prepositional expressions ..., and even (in Biblical Greek through influence of the Heb. construct state) before a genitive. In none of these situations need the lack of the art[icle] indicate any indefiniteness of reference" - p. 175. And, "(d) Absence of Article before a noun Which Governs a genitive. .... In Heb. a noun may be in the construct state or have a suffix attached to it, and in either case it would be anarthrous. This influenced the LXX [Septuagint] and, in turn, the NT writers in varying degrees. Thus aggelos kuriou ['angel of lord'] is not 'an angel' but 'the angel', doxa laou sou is 'the glory'." - pp. 179-180, A Grammar of New Testament Greek, vol. III, J. H. Moulton, 1963.

  “The article … is sometimes missing, especially after prepositions … and with a genitive which depends on an anarthrous noun (especially a predicate noun): Mt 27:43.” - Blass & Debrunner, A Greek Grammar of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, p. 133, University of Chicago Press, 1961. -   Also see p. 67, Intermediate New Testament Greek, Young, Broadman and Holman Publ., 1994.
Henry Alford wrote concerning Titus 2:13 in his The Greek Testament, “It [‘saviour’] is joined with [hmwn, ‘of us’ (genitive)], which is an additional reason why it may spare the article: see Luke 1:78; Ro. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:3” - p. 420, The Greek Testament, by Henry Alford.   “#1146. A substantive followed by an attributive genitive and forming with it a compound idea, usually omits the article.” - Smyth’s A Greek Grammar for Colleges.  
Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, p. 734, Zondervan, 1996.
“….(2) definiteness is not expressed only by the article but may [not always] also be indicated by an accompanying genitive or possessive pronoun; …(4) Biblical Greek sometimes reflects the Semitic idiom in which the noun in the construct state [comparable to ‘angel of Lord’], even if definite, is anarthrous … and (5) there is a tendency for nouns to be anarthrous that are used in familiar or stereotyped expressions that may date from the prearticular age of Greek - expressions such as idiomatic prepositional phrases.” - p. 304, Jesus as God, Murray J. Harris, Baker Book House, 1992. (Emphasis added)      Since John 1:1c does not have its predicate noun with a "prepositional" construction anyway, it is necessarily a part of proper research to select parallel examples (i.e., without "prepositional" constructions) in any attempt to show a similar effect as claimed for John 1:1c.

But, in spite of this, for the benefit of those who are still insistent upon using examples with "prepositional" constructions as evidence, you should simply examine the many inconsistencies of article usage found with such constructions. Some of these inconsistencies are examined in the following pages.

We have already examined the Gospel writers' use of the word theos ("God/god"). We discovered that all 4 Gospel writers used the article ("the") with theos when they were speaking of the only true God. And the only apparent exceptions to this rule occurred when they used theos with "prepositional" constructions.
We found that the Gospel writers used theos for the only true God 84 times. Only 6 of those 84 times did they omit the definite article and each one of those 6 occurred when theos was used with a "prepositional" construction!

It is noteworthy that these Bible writers used theos with "prepositional" constructions only 18 times altogether. So, they always (all 66 times) used theos with a definite article when speaking of the Almighty God if it was not with a "prepositional" construction, but they used theos without the article 1/3 of the time (6 out of 18) when it was with a "prepositional" construction! (This information is examined in detail in the main text of this study paper.) This evidence is clear and strong enough to prove, by itself, that the NT Gospel writers' intentions cannot be determined from article usage with nouns modified by "prepositional" constructions. The article usage (or non-usage) is irregular and ambiguous with such constructions.

We can also see the irregularity of article usage with such "prepositional" constructions by comparing how they are translated in various trinitarian Bibles:

John 1:13 (WITHOUT article in NT Greek) is translated "the will of..." in the ASV, RSV, and NASB translations. But it is "a will of..." in Young's.
John 1:23 (WITHOUT article): "the voice of..." - RSV, ASV, NIV, TEV. But "a voice of..." - NASB, NEB, JB, LB.
John 3:10 (WITH the definite article): "the teacher of..." - ASV, NASB, Young's, Beck. But "a teacher of..." - RSV, JB, NIV, TEV, MLB, Moffatt.
Another clear example of translations showing the irregularity of 'preposition/genitive'- modified p.n. - John 8:34:

πᾶς ποιῶν τὴν ἁμαρτίαν δοῦλος ἐστιν τῆς ἁμαρτίας.
everyone the doing the sin slave is of the sin
'Slave' (doulos) is anarthrous, but it is modified by the genitive ('of the sin') which makes doulos EITHER indefinite OR definite. (I have found that such constructions are usually, but not always, definite.) Even if you don't believe the many trinitarian NT Greek grammarians who admit the exception for preposition/genitive examples, here is further evidence:
Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. - KJV.
Everyone who sins is a slave to sin. - NIV.
Everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. - NASB.

Everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. - ESV.
Every one that committeth sin is the bondservant of sin. - ASV.
Everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. - NRSV.
Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. - KJ21.
Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. - HCSB.

Everyone who commits sin is the bondservant of sin. - WEB
Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. - CSB.

It should be apparent that this construction (preposition/genitive modified anarthrous nominative) is properly listed as an improper example for considering the anarthrous noun to be definite or indefinite.

And there are many more such examples in the rest of John's Gospel! (Of course there are also many other instances where most Bible writers are able to agree on the significance of article usage - or non-usage - with "prepositional" constructions, but that agreement is attained only from context and obviously not from the actual use - or non-use - of the article!)

We can also discover that of the 31 anarthrous (without the article) "prepositional" predicate nouns coming before the verb that are found in the writings of John (see listing at beginning of this Appendix) the King James Version translates 14 as definite, none as indefinite, and 17 as ambiguous (capable of either definite OR indefinite interpretation: "his son;" "my servant;" etc.).

But in those very same 31 "prepositional" verses in the RSV, for example, there are only 7 definite and 9 indefinite. And in the same verses in the TEV there are 10 definite and 5 indefinite! In many of these verses, in fact, the King James Version translates one way, and the RSV or TEV translates it in another. We even see, at John 8:33, the KJV rendering the anarthrous "prepositional" predicate noun ambiguously, the RSV as an indefinite plural, and the TEV as a definite plural! (Also compare Jn 1:12.) And the more Bible translations we look at the more disparity we find among the various translations of "prepositional" constructions.

More importantly, when we look at John's use of the article with "prepositional" constructions, we see the same problem. Of the 14 times John uses the article with a pre-copulative (before the verb) predicate noun (see first part of this Appendix) 9 are in non-"prepositional" constructions, and they are nearly always translated as definite by all trinitarian Bible translators. (I'm not certain if John 17:17 has the definite article with the predicate noun or not. However, it is an abstract noun anyway).

But, of the 5 articular (with the article) "prepositional" constructions, only 2 are consistently translated as definite (Jn 10:21 and Rev. 19:8). The other three are most often translated as indefinite nouns or in the ambiguous "possessive" form ("his," "their," "John's," etc.). So, John 6:51, for example, is always translated "my flesh" (ambiguous). Revelation 19:9 is translated "are true words of..." (indefinite plural) just as frequently as it is translated "are the true words of..." (definite plural) or "God's true words" (ambiguous). And Revelation 21:23 is translated "a lighted torch for..." once and "the lamp of..." once, with all the other translations using the ambiguous "its lamp." So, again, we find that pre-copulative predicate nouns in "prepositional" constructions frequently cannot be positively identified as either definite or indefinite whether they have the definite article or not!
In fact, when we examine all the 65 (disregarding the 11 abstract nouns) anarthrous pre-copulative predicate nouns in this list of John's writings (see above), we see that 31 of them are in "prepositional" constructions. And we find that in nearly every one of these "prepositional" constructions (30/31 or 97 per cent) some of the 16 trinitarian Bible translations I have examined have translated it as indefinite and some as definite or with the ambiguous possessive form! Only in John 9:5 (where context makes it clear) do all these trinitarian translations agree that the anarthrous "prepositional" construction should be understood to be definite (3 per cent).

This is in strong contrast to the translations of proper, non-"prepositional" construction examples, as we have seen. Remember, all of all those proper non-"prepositional" pre-copulative examples were translated as indefinite!

So we can see that, among other things, there is an extreme inconsistency among translations of nouns found in "prepositional" "Colwell constructions" versus a highly consistent rendering among translations of non-"prepositional" "Colwell constructions"! Therefore, trinitarian translators themselves show that "prepositional" constructions cannot be used to determine whether the Gospel writer intended a definite or indefinite meaning for the noun in question. Obviously, then, such "prepositional" constructions cannot be used as evidence for a rule that depends on article usage (including Colwell's Rule, the General Rule, the "Qualitative" Rule, Sharp's Rule, etc.)!!
Trinitarians themselves should have great difficulty with Colwell's Rule if they insist on using "prepositional" constructions: 1 John 3:2 (compare John 1:12), for example, tells us "children of God we are" (also Romans 8:14 -"Sons of God they are" and Gal. 3:26 - "Sons of God you are"). "We" here, then, (according to the misapplied Colwell's Rule) must be absolutely equal (in the highest sense) to others who are the Children of God (or the Sons of God). Therefore these men and women "must be" absolutely equal not only to the heavenly angels who are also called "the sons of God" but even to "the Son of God"! And, carrying it one step further, since, they say, the Son of God is God, then these human "children of God" "must be" ABSOLUTELY EQUAL TO GOD!

In all honesty, however, even if Colwell's Rule really worked, it couldn't properly be applied here because 1 John 3:2 (and Ro. 8:14 and Gal. 3:26) uses a "prepositional" construction!

Article uncertainty for "prepositional" constructions may be further illustrated by the phrase "the word of God." Matthew and Paul obviously had identical meanings in mind for this phrase in the following scriptures. There are no "qualitative," figurative, abstract, etc. considerations here. Just the clearly understood literal, concrete statement: "The word of God."

And yet, notice how this same clear statement may be written in NT Greek with various uses (and non-uses) of the definite article simply because of the "prepositional" construction involved:
Matt. 15:6 - "the word of the God" is translated: "the word of God."
1 Thess. 2:13 (a) - "_word of the God" is translated: "the word of God."

1 Thess. 2:13 (b) - "_word of _God" is translated: "the word of God."

Another interesting phrase in John's writing is "the high priest." Notice at John 11:49 that the anarthrous predicate noun "high priest" comes before the verb as required by Colwell's Rule: "Caiaphas, _high priest being of the year." And, sure enough, many translations supply the definite article: ""Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year" - KJV. But, we also find the anarthrous predicate noun "high priest" coming after the verb at John 18:13: "Caiaphas, who was _high priest of the year." And it is still translated: "Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year" - KJV.

It is obvious from studying the above two scriptures that article significance is not determined by the position of the predicate noun in the sentence. So, why did the translators not make both verses indefinite ("a high priest") instead of definite ("the high priest")? Well, grammatically, they certainly could have since "prepositional" constructions such as these may go either way. But the context of the Gospel of John convinces many that it should be definite: John 18:15, 18:16, 18:19 (nominative case), 18:22, 18:24, and 18:26 all use the definite article with "high priest" and they are not in "prepositional" constructions in those verses!
Another example may be found at Revelation 21:7. This scripture reads in the original NT Greek: "I shall be to him _God and he will be to me _son." This is understood to mean "I shall be (the) God of him (or 'to him')." There is no doubt that "the God" is intended here, but, since it comes after the verb, it is not "Colwell's Rule" which makes "the" understood! Grammatically, "the" may or may not have been intended since it is with a "prepositional" construction. It was context alone (the true God is speaking) which decided which interpretation was required.

Now let's examine the second half of that scripture. One might suspect that since the first half required an understood "the" for the predicate noun (even though it came after the verb) that the second half would also. But that is not the case. Article usage with "prepositional" constructions is unpredictable! Although the second half of this very same statement by God is in exactly the same construction, it is not to be considered definite!

As we all know, the only one who is to be understood (in the most definite sense) as "the Son of God" is Jesus. There is no doubt that "son" in this scripture is indefinite and must be considered "a son" not "the son": "and he will be a son to me." There is only one way to account for such a clear-cut "discrepancy" in article usage in this verse: "prepositional" construction article ambiguity!

We are especially concerned with nouns that are definite in the sense of being unique, one-of-a-kind such as: "the Bible," "the Messiah," "the Law," and, of course, for an examination of John 1:1, "the God." We should not be misdirected, in this case, by the very limited "definite" sense found in most "prepositional" (usually "possessive") constructions (see Dana and Mantey quote at beginning of this note above). For example, in NT Greek - "your slave" is written "the slave of you" or " _slave of you." Even if it is written "the slave of you," it is not considered definite in the unique, one-of-a-kind sense. There very well may be (and usually are) others in that same category ("slaves of you").

For example, "the slave" of God at Rev. 1:1 is John. But "the slave of God" at Rev. 15:13 is MOSES ! In both cases the word "slave" has the definite article. But since it is with a "prepositional" construction ("the slave of God"), the "definiteness" of the statement is so severely limited that we know there can be (and are) many others in this same category: other "slaves of God - see Rev. 1:1. Because of this, the same meaning may be conveyed by omitting" the definite article. Thus, Paul may be described as "a slave of God" (Titus 1:1) and James may be described as "a slave of God" (James 1:1), and, because they are both with "prepositional" constructions, the usage is just as "definite" (or indefinite) as that of Rev. 1:1 and Rev. 15:3 even though they don't actually have the definite article! Notice that Revelation 19:10 (a) in spite of "Colwell's Rule" is translated "I am a fellow slave of you..." (TEV, NIV, RSV) even though the NT Greek says: "_fellow slave of you I am and of the brothers of you."

So, with "prepositional" constructions there is often no real difference between the noun with a definite article and the noun without one. The description "Moses, the slave of God" is definite only in the respect that that particular "slave" (one of many) has been identified and is being spoken of here. The meaning is virtually identical to the description "James, a slave of God," and either could be properly interpreted with or without the definite article!

And, for a final example of "prepositional" article irregularity, we can look at Ecclesiastes 3:21. In the KJV translation of the Hebrew it says: "Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?"
However, in the literal Greek of the Septuagint Version, it says: "Who has seen _spirit of _sons of the man...? and the spirit of the beast...?"
Notice that the original Greek of the Septuagint at Eccl. 3:21 has no article before "spirit of sons of man" but does have the article before "spirit of the beast." And yet the two are parallel! That is, the context shows that both should be understood to have similar meanings in spite of the irregularity of the article usage. That is why the Septuagint translation published by Zondervan (Brenton translation) translates this verse from the ancient Greek into English as: "who has seen the spirit of the sons of man, whether it goes upward? and the spirit of the beast, whether it goes downward to the earth?"
So even the Greek of Ecclesiastes 3:21 in the ancient Septuagint shows the lack of significance for article usage with "prepositional" constructions.

Again we should be reminded that the article (whether actually present or merely understood) in these circumstances (with "prepositional" constructions) does not make the noun definite in the same absolute sense as when it is with theos ("God") or pneuma ("Spirit") in non-"prepositional" constructions. In this latter case it makes the noun definite in the highest, one-of-a-kind sense of the word: "the only true God" and "the Holy Spirit."
Therefore, even though the article is with "spirit" in the second half of this verse in Eccl. 3:21, we don't imagine "the spirit of the beast" is the same as "the Spirit" (designation for the Holy Spirit - Acts 8:18; 8:29; Ro. 8:16; 8:26; 1 Cor. 2:10; 1 John 5:6) simply because we know it is with a "prepositional" construction ("of the beast"). Nor would we insist that "the god of this world" (2 Cor. 4:4 - RSV) has to be the only true God because it has the definite article. Since it is in a "prepositional" construction, it can mean either the true God OR someone else (as it does here) despite article usage.

This fact of article irregularity (which may be even more pronounced in so-called "Colwell" prepositional constructions - See HARNER f.n. #3) found with "prepositional" constructions explains such apparently odd usages as the lack of the article for "the Son of God" at Matt. 27:54; Mark 15:39; Jn 10:36; and Jn 19:7 as contrasted with the "normal" article usage as found at Luke 4:41; Luke 22:70; and Jn 1:49. As we have seen, however, this does not hold true for proper examples without "prepositional" constructions (including Colwell Constructions).

The examples of irregular article usage and ambiguous meanings for nouns with "prepositional" constructions are so numerous that you would have little difficulty in finding many more of your own. There is no reason not to exclude such examples as evidence for John 1:1c and, as we have seen, many reasons for excluding them.

9.   Let's take the first of these, Jn 5:10 ('sabbath it is') as representative. Although strong trinitarian Daniel B. Wallace is a "Qualitarian" (one who promotes a trinitarian translation of Jn 1:1 by claiming it is "Qualitative" and therefore theos there indicates the full extent of God's qualities - making Jesus God, but separate from the Father - see the QUAL or HARNER studies), he still admits for John 5:10 -

"Although this could be translated 'it is the Sabbath' or, a bit less naturally, 'a Sabbath,' .... [it is better interpreted, according to Wallace, as] a qualitative noun." - p. 264, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, Zondervan Publ., 1996.

Although the "Qualitative" interpretation is provably nonsense (see the QUAL or HARNER study papers)[11], the point is that it could be either definite or indefinite because it is a 'time/season' noun. We really don't know which was intended, and that is why I exclude them from being proper examples. However, note that all the following respected trinitarian translations render John 5:9 as "a sabbath" - NRSV; NIV; NAB ('70); NAB ('91); REB; NEB; KJIIV; GNB; CEV; ISV NT; MKJV; LITV; Wey NT; Young; and Beck (NT). Since John 5:10 is essentially a repetition of the same situation in 5:9, it is likely that this, too should be understood as "a sabbath."
 10.  Appositives are another probable source of ambiguous article usage in NT Greek. We not only see its probable effect here (Luke 18:19, Nestle text), but even more clearly when we examine all the nominative case uses of "the Devil." "The Devil" is used 15 times in the W&H text of the NT to identify that one-of-a-kind most evil person, Satan. In only 3 cases is this nominative case "the Devil" without the definite article. And all 3 are appositives (1 Pet. 5:8; Rev. 12:9; 20:2).

In John's Gospel he uses the nominative case "Christ" 16 times to identify the one-of-a-kind person, Jesus. All but 2 of them use the definite article. The only 2 which do not use the article are appositives! (Jn 1:41; 4:25). (Compare all nominative "Christ" uses in the Gospel of Luke - see the CHRIST study.)
Even Colwell and Harner note some exceptions in their JBL articles:COLWELL:
"Practically all such expressions as [ho theos agape estin: 'the god love is'] have been excluded from this study [abstract predicate nouns]; their inclusion would greatly increase the total for predicate nouns without the article before the verb. Proper names, also, have been excluded because they regularly lack the article whether they appear before or after the verb." - Collwell in his JBL article.

"Proper Names regularly omit the article in the predicate when after the verb; they are not included here." - Colwell.


"We may begin by referring to the two general principles concerning predicate nouns that are usually accepted as axiomatic in NT study. The first is that a predicate noun in Greek is anarthrous when it indicates the category or class of which the subject is a particular example. Thus when Mark, for instance, writes, [he de gune en Hellenis: 'the but woman was Greek'] (7:26), he means that this particular woman was a Greek although other women would also belong to this category." - Harner in his JBL article.
Notes - 6. [Exceptions] "Thus in 6:44 and 10:8 the predicate noun is modified by a numeral. In 12:27 the predicate is theos, which, like kyrios, often comes close to being a personal name and as such may omit the article; [It omits the article simply because theos is in a PREPOSITIONAL construction. - RDB] cf. Blass-Debrunner-Funk, A Greek Grammar, 254, 260; Moulton-Turner, Syntax, pp. 165-66, 174. Note also the v. 1, ho before theos in [Aleph]CL al. In 15:16, 22 the predicate noun occurs in a relative clause explaining the meaning of an arthrous noun [which is also the equivalent of an appositive], and Mark evidently thought it unnecessary to repeat the article." - from Harner's JBL article. [Exceptions: numeral modified - personal name - relative clause explaining a definite noun - appositives]

11.  Harris, for example, tells us about Jn 1:1c: "the presence of the article with both nouns identifies the proposition as convertible, true in both directions. If John had written this or ['the word was the God'], he would be either identifying the Logos with the [theos] of verse 1b ('the Word was this [theos], anaphoric [ho]), or affirming that no [theos] existed apart from the Logos." - Jesus as God, Murray J. Harris, Baker Book House, 1992.

So Harris, like a number of other trinitarians (mostly 'Qualitarians') insists that 'the god' (ho theos) could not grammatically be used as a predicate noun at Jn 1:1c to identify the Son because the article (ho) in such a case must mean that he, alone, is God in entirety or the only one who can be identified by the term. But we see in many places in the NT individuals identified with predicate nouns having the definite article, and they are not considered the only person who can be so identified (e.g., Jn 1:21; 5:35; 20:15).

Jn 1:21 - John was asked if he were the prophet. The people certainly weren't asking if he were the only person who could properly use the title "prophet" or if he were the entire "Prophethood" by himself! (They were asking, however, if he were the only person who could rightfully use the title "the Prophet" in its highest sense, the unique, ultimate prophet that Moses had prophesied.)

Jn 5:35 -  Jesus said that John is the shining lamp. He did not mean that no one else could be called a shining lamp. He did not mean that John alone is the entire “Lamphood”!

Jn 20:15 - Mary did not think this person she believed to be a total stranger was the only person who could use the title "gardener" and she certainly didn't think he was the entire "Gardenerhood" by himself!
It is true, however, that when we intend the unique, ultimate one in a category (whether the god, the prophet, the devil, etc.), we do use the definite article (see Moulton and Robertson quotes on pp. 15, 16 above). Therefore, "the god" is the unique, ultimate God (whether one person or three) and "the prophet" is the unique, ultimate Prophet (Jesus alone) and "the devil" is the unique, ultimate Devil (Satan alone), etc.
The Father alone is God! That is why the Father (alone) is frequently identified as "the god" (e.g., Jn 3:16, 17; 6:27; Acts 2:32 [cf. Gal. 1:1]; Acts 3:26; 5:30, 31; 1 Cor. 11:3; etc.) and Jesus, Holy Spirit, etc. are not!
The Father (alone) is identified as the true God at Jn 17:3.

The Father (alone) is even identified as the true God by use of the predicate noun theos with the article at 1 John 5:20, in spite of the trinitarian argument by Harris (and many others) above! "This (one) is the true god." Trinitarians admit (see any commentary - e.g., NIVSB f.n.) that this refers to either the Son or the Father. (But if it were really the Son, it would be the only such use in the entire Bible of the god" for the Son!) Some trinitarian scholars will even (reluctantly) admit that it means the Father alone (see the MINOR study). And, of course, a proper study of context (and the parallel use of the term by John at Jn 17:1, 3) show that the Father is meant here. But in any case, whether the Son or the Father, it is still one person only being called the God by John by means of the predicate noun theos with the article!
The trinitarians are right when they say that "the god" is to be used only for the entire Godhead. However, that "Godhead" is the Father (Jehovah - Is. 63:16; 64:8), the head of the heaven-resurrected Jesus (1 Cor. 11:3) alone!

12.  The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, vol. XIII, No. 4, Oct. 1951, stated: "Grammar alone cannot prove how the predicate in this verse [John 1:1c] should be translated, whether 'God' or 'a god'." But see note #1 above.

13.  A number of trinitarian apologists, and even some trinitarian NT grammar scholars of note, tell us that predicate nouns were intentionally not given definite articles (even when the predicate noun was meant to be definite) by the original inspired Bible writers so that they can be differentiated from the subject (which will have a definite article). This is partly true and largely false.

The part which is true is this: Yes, predicate nouns often do not have the definite article with them. This is true in English as well as in NT Greek. It is true, not by design, but because of the natural tendency to identify a thing or person as a member of a class or kind. In other words, when we identify something, most often we do so with a predicate noun that is indefinite simply because that is the normal method of identification!
An indefinite noun usually indicates what class or kind an individual belongs to. It is much more frequent, for example, to say "the woman is a nurse," or "the cat is an animal" (identifying that particular person or thing as a member of a certain class or kind: from the specific to the general) than to say "a woman is the nurse" or "a nurse is the woman"! (We could even find, at times, where both nouns are indefinite similar to these: “a man is a mammal,” “a tree is a plant,” etc.)But nevertheless at times it is necessary to use a definite article with the predicate noun: "The man in the corner is the President." We have seen an important example of this at John 1:21.
The false part of the common trinitarian statement concerning this fact is that this natural use of the indefinite predicate noun was intended to distinguish the subject from the predicate noun. The suggestion being, of course, that even if the predicate noun was meant to be definite, the NT writer was forced to eliminate the definite article with it to follow the "rule" that the subject takes the article and the predicate noun does not. This is simply false! And so easily discovered that one has to have serious doubts about the integrity of any "reputable" scholar who says such a thing.

Although John 1:21 is certainly the most significant evidence of the absolute falsity of such a statement, we can find many others, including John 6:14; 7:40; 10:9, 11; 11:25; 15:1; 15:5; 20:15; 1 John 2:22; 3:4; 5:6; Revelation 17:18. Examine any interlinear New Testament. For example Jesus at John 15:1 says in the literal Greek: "The Father of me the farmer is." Obviously John, at least, wasn't aware of any such "rule" and used the definite article with the predicate noun whenever he really wanted it understood as definite! - (Also see the SEPTGOD study paper.)

14.  All Examples of a participial phrase used by John as a subject in an otherwise proper example of a construction parallel to Jn 1:1c:

(1) Jn 3:29 - “The having the bride bridegroom is” [literal NT Greek]. Here the complete subject is “the having the bride” which must be understood as “the man (or ‘person,’ ‘one,’ etc.) having the bride.” So the subject here is not a single, unmodified noun (as in Jn 1:1c), but a modifying participial phrase with the actual simple subject [‘man,’ ‘person,’ etc.] actually missing and uncertain!

  [“Bridegroom” in this example is most often translated “the bridegroom.” This is probably because of the use of the article with 'bride.' (Notice, though, that 'the man' in John 9:24 is 'a sinner.') However, the eminent trinitarian scholar Dr. Alfred Marshall has, instead, translated John 3:29 literally as “a bridegroom” in his The Zondervan Parallel New Testament in Greek and English, Zondervan Bible Publishers, 1980 (also see the interlinear portion of The Emphatic Diaglott, “a bridegroom”; Young and Rotherham have “is bridegroom”). This is significant because Dr. Marshall in his interlinear does not use the indefinite article (“a”) with anarthrous nouns unless he considers them indefinite (e.g., John 4:19). For example, he inserts “[the]” before “beginning” at Jn 1:1, 2 and before “will” at Jn 1:13 even though they are anarthrous. So when he inserts “a” before “bridegroom” at Jn 3:29, he is saying it should be rendered as an indefinite noun!]

(2) 1 Jn 2:4 - “The saying [participle] that I have known him and not observing [participle] the commandments of him liar is.” The participial phrases, then, take the place of a noun (or nouns) as the subject: “The saying that I have known him and not observing his commandments” and has to be understood as “The [‘man’ or ‘person,’ ‘one,’ etc.] who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not observe his commandments is a liar.” The subject is actually missing and is even somewhat uncertain.

(3) 1 Jn 3:15a - “Every the (ho) [‘man,’ or ‘brother,’ etc. must be understood] hating [participle] the brother of him murderer is.” The participial phrase, then, including an understood noun serves as a subject: “Every the hating his brother is a murderer”!

I believe John 3:29 may be mistranslated in most Bibles. It seems probable to me that the anarthrous ‘bridegroom’ here is to be understood as ‘a bridegroom.’ (However, the effect of an “abbreviated” or “shorthand” subject could also allow for an “abbreviated” predicate noun. That is, since the subject had the noun left out, the predicate noun could have the article left out also - see Paul’s use of “abbreviated” statements in the MARTIN study. In that case “the bridegroom would be correct, but not because of word order.) The facts that the only other comparable examples in John’s writings are properly translated with indefinite predicate nouns (“a liar;” “a murderer”) in all Bibles and that the eminent trinitarian NT Greek scholar Dr. Marshall renders “a bridegroom” at Jn 3:29 (as does The Emphatic Diaglott, interlinear section) make this understanding a distinct probability. But, even so, it is not truly comparable to Jn 1:1c and probably should be excluded as a proper example on that ground alone.

15.  A correspondent asked me about the earliest manuscripts and also asked: "Do we know if the original writers understood, or used, the proper rules of composition?" My response:

It really doesn't matter. In the investigation of John 1:1c, for example, I am interested in the grammar, syntax and usage of John only (see note 17 below). If the original writer did not fully understand the "rules," it does not matter since I am looking for parallel usages by him to see what he intended by them.

I am not talking about the 1000 year old (and later) manuscripts (used for the TR), nor even manuscripts made 500 years after the originals. I am speaking of those made from about 50 years after the original and up to about 300 years after the original. And yes, even the 4th century manuscripts were still in the NT (Koine) Greek, as a comparison with the older papyri show.

Copies of the NT Greek (Koine) manuscripts were copied to follow the original. The copyists of the first three or four centuries, at least, were made by those who understood the language. And the copies thereafter, when copied with the care we should expect for such work, should have also retained the grammar and syntax of the original in most cases.

Origen, 185-254 A.D., not only had access to extremely early manuscripts (possibly even originals), but actually spoke the NT Greek language and even taught it professionally.

He wrote a "Commentary on John" in which he quotes the Greek of John 1:1 (and more) just as we have it in all early manuscripts still existing today. And, moreover, he tells us in this same Commentary that the language of John 1:1 shows Jesus to be a god, not God (as the parallel constructions by John in a proper study also prove)!
The papyrus manuscript of ca. 150 A.D. (p66) shows the syntax of John 1:1c, and other parallel examples I have used, to be as we have it in our modern texts.
The papyrus manuscript of ca. 175 A.D. (p75), "the best of all the early Christian scribes" agrees.
The earliest complete "letter uncials" manuscripts of the 4th and 5th centuries show the same.
If an error has been made in John 1:1c (or any of its parallels in John's writings), it is very strange that it hasn't shown up in any of these very early manuscripts! The evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the text we have of John's writings matching the original (at least in the places which parallel his usage at John 1:1c)! And that is all we need for an examination of this important scripture.

16.  John 6:70 - - - "One who sins belongs to the devil, like Cain (1 Jn 3:8, 12); or he is a devil himself, like Judas, the betrayer (Jn 6:70). .... Jesus' enemies are called children [and sons] of the devil, i.e. those who share his nature and behaviour (Jn 8:44) [Acts 13:10; 1 Jn 3:10]." - p. 472, vol. 3, The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 1986, Zondervan.

So a man who is from [literally "out of," ek] the Devil (1 Jn 3:8), and is a 'son of the Devil' (Acts 13:10), and who is "with the Devil (whether physically or figuratively) may also be called "a devil" (Jn 6:70)! So Judas, for example, could be described in NT terms: "Judas was with ho diabolos [the Devil], and diabolos was Judas." And no matter how anyone wants to interpret it, it would be incredibly wrong to insist (as many trinitarians do about Jn 1:1c) that this meant Judas was literally, equally the Devil himself! Whether you translate it literally ("Judas was with the Devil, and Judas was a devil") or 'qualitatively' ("Judas was with the Devil, and Judas had the "nature" of the Devil"), it would mean essentially the same thing: Judas simply shared to some degree some (or one) of the qualities of the Devil, but he is not equally the Devil with Satan himself!

Although trinitarian-translated Bibles at John 6:70 disagree, trinitarian scholar Daniel B. Wallace tries to solve this difficulty by saying that Jesus is actually calling Judas “THE Devil” here, but not in a literal sense. Think about that. Even with this unusual interpretation, we find that calling Judas “the Devil” in a figurative sense means that Jesus is comparing Judas to Satan in some non-literal sense. He is not really calling Judas the actual Devil, but is referring to some quality of Satan that Judas exhibits to some degree. If that were really the case (although not supported by most trinitarian scholars), then the parallel John 1:1c would merely show the Word exhibiting some quality of God to some degree.

No reasonable person would accept any of this as evidence for some mysterious ‘Satanity’ where Judas is equally The Devil with Satan!

So why do so many trinitarians accept the very same unreasonable ‘evidence’ as proof that the Word was equally God at John 1:1c?

17.  Obviously, since we want to know what John intended at John 1:1c, we must examine only the writings of John. Every Bible writer used his own style, syntax, and understanding of grammar:

"In the English translations of the Gospels, Mark's errors in grammar are not evident, because they have been corrected upon translation. However, according to Biblical scholars the Argument from Grammar for the priority of Mark is very strong. Based on the text, the grammar in Matthew and Luke is better than in Mark, and if Mark had access to either of the other gospels, it is inconceivable that Mark would change to a lower quality of grammar. In some verses, colloquialisms are found that are not contained in the other gospels. This would lead one to conclude Mark was first, because he would not have added these statements to the other gospels, but this is only evident in the original languages. Also scholars have suggested that these same types of statements have been found in Peter's writings." - by James P. Dawson -
"The doctrine of election is analogous to that of inspiration. God has inspired the very words of scripture (2 Tim 3:16), yet his modus operandi was not verbal dictation. Isaiah was the Shakespeare of his day; Amos was the Mark Twain. Both had widely divergent vocabularies and styles of writing, yet what each wrote was inspired by God. Luke's style of writing and Greek syntax is quite different from John's, yet both penned the Word of God. We read in 2 Peter 1:20-21 that no prophet originated his own prophecies, but was borne along by the Holy Spirit: "1:20 Above all, you do well if you recognize this: no prophecy of Scripture ever comes about by the prophet's own imagination, 1:21 for no prophecy was ever borne of human impulse; rather, men carried along by the Holy Spirit spoke from God" (NET Bible).

"Thus, we are presented with a mystery: Each biblical writer wrote the very words of God, yet each exercised his own personality and will in the process. The message originated with God, yet the process involved human volition. The miracle of inspiration, as Lewis Sperry Chafer long ago noted, is that God did not violate anyone's personality, yet what was written was exactly what he wanted to say." - Daniel B. Wallace , Th.M., Ph.D. -

"5. Inerrancy Allows For Variety Of Writing Styles
Inerrancy allows each biblical author to use his own unique style, grammar, and vocabulary. For example, Luke is written in very good Greek while John's gospel is composed in rather elementary Greek. Paul writes with a lot of emotion while Matthew gets straight to the point. Inerrancy allows for these differing styles." -
"Within the New Testament books the style of Greek varies, as you would expect from different writers. Luke's (tradition has it that he was a doctor) is educated Greek, as is Paul's. The Greek of Revelation is so bad, however, that it looks like the French homework of someone who might be advised to choose another subject if they wanted to pass an examination." - Taken from: About the Bible: Questions anyone might ask about its origins, nature, and purpose, Terence Copley, Bible Society, England, 1990. -

18.  (For an examination of the peculiarities in article usage by the Apostle Paul see the MARTIN study.)

Since Jn 1:1c is the only place in all the NT where an anarthrous theos as a predicate noun comes before its verb, some trinitarians feel free to claim that there is no parallel with Jn 1:1c anywhere in scripture and, presumably, we may feel free to make up our own (trinitarian) rules about it. As we have seen, however, there are grammatical parallels in NT grammar (e.g., Jn 4:19), but it is true that none of the NT parallels actually use theos. So for the benefit of those who use this feeble approach, I have found some parallel constructions to Jn 1:1c in the ancient Greek translation of the OT, the Septuagint.

This has some danger, however, since it is well known that the many translators of the Septuagint had greatly varying degrees of knowledge of the Greek language (and apparently varying degrees of respect for accuracy).
Yes, some of the Septuagint translators were (because of poor knowledge of the Greek itself and/or because of excessive devotion to the exact literal wording of the Hebrew original) guilty of rendering the Greek into a virtual word-for-word transfer from the Hebrew text. This, of course, prevents us from discovering any knowledge of the Greek grammar itself in the works of such translators.
The Septuagint, too, uses the definite article to identify the only true God. For example, in Genesis the "non-prepositional" nominative case theos (as found at Jn 1:1c) is used 177 times and 175 of them use the definite article to denote the Most High God. The only 2 apparent exceptions I have found are Gen. 21:33 and 31:50. But Gen. 21:33 may have an understood verb (e.g., "[who is] God eternal"). If this is so, then this may well be a "shorthand" or abbreviated form which some Bible writers used. This "shorthand" was used at times (especially when using "customary" phrases), and when it was used, it frequently left out verbs and definite articles that are then "understood" to be there - see the MARTIN study ("Paul's Use of the Anarthrous Theos"). However, "God eternal" in this scripture is obviously an appositive. Appositives often have irregular article usage and frequently drop the article even when the noun is definite.[10]

Gen. 31:50, the only other apparent exception to the rule that the article with theos identifies the only true God in Genesis, is clearly an instance of the abbreviated "shorthand" discussed above. The verb ("is") is missing and must be understood: "God [is] witness between me and you." This is also a well known customary phrase that is often abbreviated in NT and OT. Therefore, the article is to be understood.

So there are really no unexplained exceptions in all 175 instances in Genesis to the rule that "the god" (ho theos) identifies the Most High God! Obviously the Septuagint translator of Genesis used the article with the non-prepositional, nominative case theos to identify God! However, unfortunately, the writer of Genesis in the Septuagint did not use the anarthrous theos as a predicate noun preceding its verb. I did find such usages in Judges and 3 Kings (1 Kings in most English Bibles).
Now, since I wish to examine scriptures in Judges and 3 Kings which are comparable to Jn 1:1c, let's see if the Septuagint translators of those books also used the article, "the" (ho), with theos to identify the only true God (as did the writer of Genesis).

Here are all the uses of the non-prepositional nominative case theos found in:

1:7 ho theos (subject)
3:28 kurios [Jehovah] ho theos (subj.)
4:23 ho theos (subj.)
6:31 theos (an. p.n. precedes verb)
6:40 ho theos (subj.)
7:14 ho theos (subj.)
9:7 ho theos (subj.)
9:23 ho theos (subj.)
9:56 ho theos (subj.)
9:57 ho theos (subj.)
15:19 ho theos (subj.)
16:23 ho theos (subj.)
18:10 ho theos (subj.)

3 Kings

1:47 ho theos (subj.)
2:23 ho theos (subj.)

5:5 ho theos (subj.)
5:7 ho theos (subj.)

8:23 theos (anarthrous subj.)

8:27 ho theos (subj.

8:60 (a) ho theos (subj.)

8:60 (b) theos (an. p.n./n.v.)

11:10 ho theos (subj.)

18:21 ho theos (p.n.)

18:24 (a) ho theos (subj.)

18:24 (b)theos (an. p.n./n.v.)

18:27 theos (an. p.n.) precedes verb

18:37 ho theos (p.n.)

18:39 (a) ho theos (p.n./n.v.)

18:39 (b) ho theos (p.n./n.v.)

19:2 ho theos (subj.)

21:10 ho theos (subj.)

The only uses of theos without the article are Judges 6:31; 3 Kings 8:23, 60(b); 18:24(b), and 27. All the others (26 out of 31) use the definite article and are used to denote the only true God!

The only use of theos without the article in Judges is used to denote "a god" (Judges 6:31) as translated by trinitarian scholars and translators themselves! - see The Septuagint Version , Zondervan, 1970. (And every one of the 16 trinitarian Bibles I have examined, including KJV, ASV, NIV, RSV, NRSV, NASB, etc. agrees with this rendering.) So the Septuagint translator of Judges clearly used the definite article with theos to denote the Most High God (and "a god" was indicated, according to all trinitarian renderings, by the OMISSION of the article)!

3 Kings 8:23 can (and probably does) intend "god" - see 1 Kings 8:23 in NJB, Mo, Beck, LB, GNB, NEB, and Tanakh (JPS). 3 Kings 8:60(b) and 18:24(b) both refer to the only true God, all right, but both are without a verb and are probably, therefore, in the "shorthand" mentioned above which often causes the article to be understood. (They both have the article in the original Hebrew.) And 3 Kings 18:27 very plainly denotes "a god" as most (if not all) Bible translations make clear (and it is without the article in the original Hebrew).

So, again, the Septuagint writers of Judges and 3 Kings always used the article with the non-prepositional nominative case theos (sometimes, rarely, with an understood article: "shorthand" or appositives) when referring to "God" and did not use the article with theos when referring to "a god"! This is exactly the case with the writer of John 1:1 in his Gospel, Letters, and Revelation.

So for those who say there are no parallels to John 1:1c (in spite of John 4:19) to be found in the scriptures: Judges 6:31 (by a Septuagint writer who always uses the article for "God" and not for "a god") says literally "if theos ('god') he is..." This is an instance of the predicate noun theos without an article coming before its verb just as in Jn 1:1c! And it is universally understood to mean "a god" by trinitarian scholars and translators themselves!!! And, obviously, so is Jn 1:1c!

And, for those who say Jesus cannot be called ho theos because using the definite article (ho) with theos that way would make him the entire Godhead, notice that Jehovah, the Father alone is called ho theos as a predicate noun in 3 Kings 18:21 - "If is [Jehovah] ho theos, follow him." This is translated, "If Jehovah is God [ho theos], follow him."

Also notice 3 Kings 18:39 - "truly [Jehovah] ho theos; he ho theos." This means "Truly Jehovah IS God; he IS God!" - see ASV, KJIIV, LB, JB, NJB. (Of course we see the same thing in the NT. E.g., Jn 6:27 - "The Father, God himself, has set his seal" - JB, where the Father alone is called God, ho theos in the actual NT Greek.) Not only is Jehovah being called ho theos as a predicate noun here, but, notice, there are no verbs. IF there were truly any validity to the trinitarian assertion that the meaning for the predicate noun which precedes its verb is greatly different from the one which follows its verb, the writer of 3 Kings would never have left the verb out in this verse! Since there really is no such differentiation in the Bible Greek, it was not necessary to use the verbs. Whether before or after the understood verb, we see the predicate noun ho theos applied to the Father alone here. This can be done simply because the Father (Jehovah) alone IS the entire "Godhead"! He, alone, is the God (ho theos)! Jesus (or kings or judges or angels, etc.) are not ho theos even though they may be called theos ("a god") in their own right (see the BOWGOD study).

Especially note the constructions of 3 Kings 18:27 and Judges 6:31. 3 Kings 18:27 has a predicate noun (theos) which is without the article and which precedes its verb (as in John 1:1c). And it clearly means "he is a god"! The trinitarian-devised grammatical "rules" to make "a god" mean "God" ("the god") are absolutely wrong as far as the writer of 3 Kings is concerned! The writer of Judges also confirms that judgment. At Judges 6:31 he has written "if theos he is." This is translated "if he is a god" by trinitarian translators and scholars! Again, this is a predicate noun without the article which precedes its verb (as in John 1:1c). The trinitarian-concocted grammatical "rules" to make "a god" mean "God" ("the god") are clearly wrong as far as the writer of Judges is concerned as verified by most trinitarian translators themselves!

One possible problem with the grammar and syntax of the Septuagint is the claim that its writers were sometimes so literal in translating the Hebrew into Greek that they would merely change the Hebrew words into Greek and retain the original Hebrew word order, article usage, etc. of the original Hebrew. And, of course, any grammatical rules applied to NT Greek would probably not also apply to OT Hebrew. Therefore, an anarthrous OT Hebrew predicate noun before its verb would not be significant. And a literal translation into Greek which retained that Hebrew word order would not have the same significance as something that had been originally written in the Greek, following Greek grammar and syntax rules! However, this does not seem to be the case with the use of the article with "God" in Judges and 3 Kings.

There were a number of translators who wrote the Septuagint (tradition claims that at least 70 expert Jewish scholars were involved). It is not surprising, therefore, to find (as in the NT itself) that there are a number of different styles found in the various books of the Septuagint. Some books are much more literally translated than others.

So when I noticed the significance of the Greek grammar of Judges 6:31 and 3 Kings 18:21-37, I had to determine if the word order and article usage of these scriptures had been affected by a too literal translation of the original Hebrew by the Septuagint writers of Judges and 3 Kings.

First I examined the use of the article with the non-prepositional nominative case theos (as also found in Jn 1:1c) in these two Bible books. I found that the Septuagint translators (of Judges and 3 Kings) had not been influenced by the use (or non-use) of the article with "God" in the original Hebrew. In more than half of the verses listed above for Judges and 3 Kings the use or non-use of the article was different in the Greek Septuagint from the original Hebrew.

Then, looking at word order, I found that Judges 6:31 in the Hebrew was "if god he" with NO verb. So the Septuagint writer was free to put the verb wherever he wanted or leave it out entirely. And he chose to put that verb after the predicate noun ("If theos he is") to mean "a god" according to trinitarian scholars! They obviously do not believe it means "if he is God" or "if he is completely filled with the qualities" of God or any other trinitarian interpretation frequently misapplied to the parallel Jn 1:1!

And also at 3 Kings 18:27 we can see that the Hebrew was "for god he" with no verb. So this Septuagint writer was also free to put the verb wherever he wanted. And he, too, chose to put that verb after the predicate noun ("for theos he is") to mean "a god"! It does not mean "for he is God" or "for he possesses all the qualities" of God (nor does it verify any other trinitarian-concocted "rule" for the parallel Jn 1:1c)! Here, then we have two clear examples of the anarthrous theos coming before its verb and plainly meaning (even according to trinitarian scholars) "a god"! The rules invented by some modern trinitarians to "explain" that Jn 1:1c means "the Word was God" are completely false!

We know that Jehovah is the only personal name of the Father (Is. 63:16; Is. 64:8; Deut. 32:6; Ps. 89:26, 27 [cf. Heb. 1:5 and Ps. 2:7] in ASV, KJIIV, Young's, and other Bibles which properly use "Jehovah").

Jehovah is never called "the Son;" "the Messiah;" "the Firstborn;" "the Only Begotten;" etc. because he is an entirely different person (the Father).

We never see the Father WITH Jehovah (nor the Father WITH God) simply because the Father IS Jehovah. However we frequently see the Son, the Messiah, WITH Jehovah (and WITH God), because the Son is NOT Jehovah (nor God) but a different person (Ps. 110:1 [compare Acts 2:33-36 and Eph. 1:17, 20]; Micah 5:4; Ps. 2:1, 2 [compare Acts 4:25-27]; Ps. 2:7 [compare Acts 13:33; Heb. 5:5]; Is. 53:10 [Christian scholars recognize that all of Is. 53 refers to the Messiah]).

Therefore, knowing that Jehovah is the Father only, we must (if we are to know God at all) carefully examine a number of significant scriptures:

2 Kings 19:15, 19 “O Jehovah, the God of Israel,... thou art the God, even thou alone .... that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou Jehovah art God alone.” - ASV. “God” is ho theos (“the god”) here in 4 Kings 19:15,19 of the Septuagint.

Ps. 86:1, 10 “...O Jehovah,...You alone are God.” - KJIIV. “God” is ho theos in the Septuagint (Ps. 85:10).

Is. 37:16, 20 - “O Jehovah, ... thou art the God, even thou alone” - ASV. The Septuagint reads: “O Lord [Jehovah] of Hosts, ...thou alone art the God [ho theos] of every kingdom of the world .... thou art God [ho theos] alone.”

Is. 45:18, 21 - “For thus says Jehovah .... I am God, and none else (is).” - KJIIV. “I am the god [ho theos]” in the Septuagint - Is. 45:21, 22.

Jer. 10:10 - “But Jehovah is the True God; he is the living God” - ASV

John 17:1, 3 - “Father, ... this is everlasting life, that they may know you, the only true God” - KJIIV

1 Thess. 1:9, 10 - “to serve the living and true God; and to wait for his Son from heaven” - KJV.

We find, then, that Jehovah alone, who is the Father alone is God alone!

Jehovah is called (and calls himself) the God. This is written as "I am ho theos." Even many trinitarian Bible scholars (the 'Qualitarians' at least) admit this statement in Bible Greek would mean this person alone is the entire "Godhead"! (That is why they insist that Jn 1:1c cannot mean 'the Word is the god'! The definite article with theos, they say, would mean that the Word is the entire "Godhead" by himself!)

So when we find Jehovah, the Father only, consistently and repeatedly described as 'he is the god (ho theos)'[Note below] and we find grammatical constructions parallel to Jn 1:1c ('god was the word') with the anarthrous ('without the article') predicate noun (theos) coming before its verb and clearly meaning 'a god', then we can understand the identification of the only true God (Jehovah) and the one he sent forth, Jesus Christ. "Father, .... This is eternal life that they may know you, the ONLY true God, and Jesus Christ whom you sent forth." - John 17:1, 3.

Yes, the entire "Godhead" is the Father (Jehovah) alone! It does not include the Son (1 Cor. 11:3; John 17:1, 3; 1 Cor. 8:6) in some mysterious "trinity"!
And even in the NT we find the definite article used with the non-prepositional nominative case 'God' (theos) to describe the Father! - E.g., John 3:16, 17; 6:27; Acts 2:32; 3:26; 5:30, 31; 13:30, 33; Ro. 1:9; 1 Cor. 1:9; 11:3.