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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

John 1:1c Primer - For Grammatical Rules That Supposedly "Prove" the Trinity

(From the RDB Files)

John 1:1 Primer

For Grammatical Rules "Proving" the Trinity

John 1:1c - English translation: "The Word was God [or 'a god']."
- NT Greek: θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος
---------------"god was the word."

The NT Greek word for "God" and "god" is theos (θεὸς). In the writings of the Gospel writers (including John) when an unmodified theos (the form used for subjects and predicate nouns) is accompanied by the article, "the" ( [pronounced ho] in Greek), and has no added phrases (e.g., "the god of this world"), then it always refers to the only true God. - See DEF study. 

But Jn 1:1c has an unmodified "theos" without the article. Therefore, even some trinitarian scholars are forced to admit that this passage may be literally translated as "the Word was a god"!
This includes W. E. Vine (An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words); 
Dr. C. H. Dodd (director of the New English Bible project); 
Murray J. Harris (Jesus as God); 
Dr. Robert Young (Young's Concise Critical Bible Commentary); Rev. J. W. Wenham, The Elements of New Testament Greek.

Of course, being trinitarians, they often insist that the correct interpretation of such a literal translation must be, somehow, trinitarian.

The usual trinitarian interpretation for John 1:1c ("the Word was God") is based on the fact that an unmodified theos is used as a predicate noun (predicate nominative) without a definite article (anarthrous) and comes before the verb in the original New Testament (NT) Greek. When you find an anarthrous predicate noun in that position, some trinitarians will say, it is to be interpreted differently ("qualitative" or "definite": i.e., as though it actually had the definite article with it) from a predicate noun which normally comes after the verb. 

Although such a "reversed" word order is extremely rare in English, it is common in NT Greek because word order within a sentence has little significance in NT Greek! 

In fact, one of the first things a beginning student of NT Greek learns is that word order has very little, if any, significance as far as the meaning is concerned. For example, respected NT Greek authorities, Dr. Alfred Marshall and Prof. J. Gresham Machen tell us in their NT Greek primers that, unlike English, NT Greek does not use word order to convey meanings but instead uses the individual endings on each word (inflections).

"The English translation must be determined by observing the [Greek word] endings, not by observing the [word] order." - p. 27, New Testament Greek For Beginners, Machen, The Macmillan Co. (Cf., pp. 7, 22, New Testament Greek Primer, Marshall, Zondervan) 

And in a later example illustrating predicate nouns Prof. Machen gave this example: “ho apostolos anthropos estin [word-for-word translation: ‘the apostle man is’],” and he translated that sentence (which has an anarthrous predicate noun preceding the verb as in John 1:1c) as “the apostle is a man.” - p. 50, New Testament Greek For Beginners, The Macmillan Company, 1951.

And In Exercise 8 (p.44) of the Rev. Dr. Alfred Marshall’s New Testament Greek Primer, the noted trinitarian scholar asks us to translate phoneus esti into English. (Notice that the predicate noun [phoneus, ‘murderer’] precedes the verb [esti, ‘he is’].) The answer is given on p. 153 where Dr. Marshall translates it as “He is a murderer.” – Zondervan Publishing House, 1962.

And Prof. N. Clayton Croy on p. 35 of his A Primer of Biblical Greek translates prophetes estin ho anthropos (literally, “prophet is the man”) as “The man is a prophet.” - Eerdmans Publ. Co., 1999.   (Emphasis, as usual, is mine.)

In Learn New Testament Greek by John H. Dobson we find on p. 64 two interesting Greek clauses and their translations by Dobson: the clauses are: (1) prophetes estin and (2) prophetes en. In both of these the predicate noun (prophetes) comes before the verb (‘he is’ and ‘he was’).

Here is how Dobson has translated these two clauses: “He is a prophet.” And “He was a prophet.” – Baker Book House, 1989.

Also see p. 148, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament, where trinitarians Dana and Mantey translate an example they admit is parallel to John 1:1c as “And the place was a market,” The Macmillan Company.

We also find trinitarian NT scholars B. M. Newman and Eugene A Nida using a similar example to describe the usage at John 1:1c - “John Smith is a teacher.” - p. 9, A Translator’s Handbook on The Gospel of John, United Bible Societies, 1980. (They want it to be understood in a trinitarian “Qualitative” manner, however.)

And noted trinitarian NT scholar, A.T. Robertson, when analyzing John 18:37b where the predicate noun “king” comes before the verb [“you say that king am I”], prefers this translation: “Yes, because I am a king.” - p. 294, Vol. 5, Word Pictures in the New Testament

However, if truth means anything to us, instead of rejecting the trinitarian-devised John 1:1 rules strictly on the basis of the wishful interpretations of these NT Greek authorities, it would be much fairer and more certain to examine all the usages of a predicate noun found before its verb in John's writings that are as close to the example of John 1:1 as we can find

Before we examine all of John's uses of the predicate noun before its verb, we may need to review some basic grammar: We are dealing exclusively with nouns as found in John 1:1c. That is, a word which is a person, place, or thing and which can be used with both an indefinite article ("a" or "an" - in English only. Greek has no indefinite article) and a definite article ("the") and which can be properly changed into a recognizably plural form (these are sometimes called "count nouns."): 

"WORD": "a word"/"the word"/"words;" - 

"GOD": "a god"/"the god"/"gods;" - 

"HOUSE": "a house"/"the house"/"houses;" etc. 

So we can see that words like "pretty," "holy," or "true" cannot normally be made plural ("trues") and do not use articles ("a pretty," "a true") and are, therefore, not nouns as found at John 1:1c and cannot be used as proper examples in an attempt to prove or disprove a rule for John 1:1c. 

Also, this noun, to be a proper example (equivalent to John 1:1c), must be without additional phrases joined to it: "a man of the world," "a house of bricks," etc. For a detailed examination of the improper examples, or exceptions) see the DEF and QUAL studies. 

Most important exceptions are nominative nouns with attributive genitive nouns or prepositions.:

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&M Grammar.

In section VIII, ‘The Absence of the Article,’ Professor Robertson quotes Gildersleeve and 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. - A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, A. T. Robertson.

“(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. - 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).” - Blass & Debrunner, p. 133, 135, University of Chicago Press, 1961.

“#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.

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.

To be most certain, we need such proper examples to have a subject (a noun which is "doing" the verb) coming after the verb and a predicate noun (a noun as described above which is the same thing as the subject) which has no article coming before the verb in the NT Greek exactly as found in John 1:1c.

To find such examples we need a Greek-English New Testament Interlinear Bible (available in any "Christian" book store or from any Jehovah's Witness). Then we search through all of John's writings to find all the predicate nouns which come before the verb (and meet the above requirements) in the NT Greek. Since we are concerned about John's use (or non-use) of grammatical rules in order to determine the intended meaning of John 1:1c, we must use only examples from John's writings as proper evidence. (For others see DEF and SEPTGOD studies.)

The easiest way to do this is to carefully read through all the full-English portion in an interlinear Bible and find all the verbs which could take a predicate noun ("is," "are," "am," "was," "were," "be," "become," "became"). Then determine if a noun (as described in our requirements above) comes after that verb in the English. If it does, and if it is "equal to" the subject, we have found a predicate noun, e.g., "the bird was an eagle." In English, then, the noun "bird" comes before and is "doing" the verb "was" and is therefore the subject. The noun "eagle," in English, comes after the verb "was" and is the same thing as the subject and is therefore a predicate noun (p.n.). 

Then, after finding a proper predicate noun (p.n.), we must look at the NT Greek text (which has the equivalent English word written above each Greek word) and see if the predicate noun we found in the English translation on the other page actually comes before the verb in the original Greek. If it comes before the verb and if it is anarthrous (that is, without the definite article, "the") and meets the other requirements above, then we may have found a proper example to compare with John 1:1c. 

In the following list if the p.n. has no article, it has "an." (anarthrous) written before it. "Art." means the article "the" is with it (articular). Improper examples have "prep.," "poss. pronoun" (possessive pronoun modifier), "abstract," "numeral," etc. written after them. 

"Prep." indicates that the p.n. has a phrase joined to it (prepositional). "Abstract #": the p.n. is abstract and/or an indeterminate amount (a 'non-count' noun - see DEF 14-15). "No subject" means the subject is clearly understood, but only by the verb form used. "Participle" means the subject is not present and is only imperfectly identified by a participle ("having," "sleeping," etc.).

All Verses by John Where the Predicate Noun Precedes Its Verb

an. Jn 1:1 (verse under study)
an. John 1:12 - prep.
an. Jn 1:14 - plural (amount)
art. Jn 1:21
an. Jn 1:49 (b) - prep.
an. Jn 2:9 - accusative, not p.n
an. Jn 3:6 (a) - plural (amount)
an. Jn 3:6 (b) - abstract #
an. Jn 3:29 - participle

-an. Jn 4:9 (a)
an. Jn 4:9 (b) (adj.?)

#an. Jn 4:19
an. Jn 4:24 - abstr. # - NO VERB
an. Jn 5:27 - prep.
art. Jn 6:51 (b) - prep.
an. Jn 6:63 - abstract

-an. Jn 6:70
an. Jn 8:31 - prep.
an. Jn 8:33 - prep.
an. Jn 8:34 - prep.
an. Jn 8:37 - prep.
an. Jn 8:39 - prep.
an. Jn 8:42 - prep.
-an. Jn 8:44 (a)
an. Jn 8:44 (b) - no subject

#an. Jn 8:48
an. Jn 8:54 (a) - abstract
an. Jn 8:54 (b) - prep.
an. Jn 9:5 - prep
an. Jn 9:8 (a) - no subject
an. Jn 9:17 - no subject

-an. Jn 9:24
an. Jn 9:25 - no subject
an. Jn 9:27 - prep.
an. Jn 9:28 (a) - prep.

-an. Jn 10:1
an. Jn 10:2 - prep.
an. Jn 10:8 - plural
an. Jn 10:13 - no subject
art. Jn 10:21 - prep.

-an. Jn 10:33
an. Jn 10:34 - plural
an. Jn 10:36 - prep.
an. Jn 11:49 - prep.
an. Jn 11:51 - prep.
an. Jn 12:6 - prep
an. Jn 12:36 - prep.
an. Jn 12:50 - abstract
an. Jn 13:35 - (poss. pronoun)
art. Jn 15:1 (b)
an. Jn 15:14 - prep.
an. Jn 17:17 - abstract
an. Jn 18:26 - prep.

-an. Jn 18:35

#an. Jn 18:37 (a)
?an. Jn 18:37 (b) - no subject (except in TR and 1991 Byzantine text)
an. Jn 19:21 -
art. Jn 20:15
art. Jn 21:7 (a)
art. Jn 21:7 (b)
an. 1 Jn 1:5 (b) - abstract #
an. 1 Jn 2:2 - prep.
an. 1 Jn 2:4 - participle
an. 1 Jn 3:2 - prep.
an. 1 Jn 3:15 - participle
an. 1 Jn 4:8 - abstract
an. 1 Jn 4:16 - abstract
an. 1 Jn 4:20 - no subject
an. 1 Jn 5:17 - abstract
art. 2 Jn :6 (b)
an. Rev. 1:20 (a) - prep.
an. Rev. 1:20 (b) - numeral
an. Rev. 2:9 - accusative, not p.n.
an. Rev. 3:9 - accusative, not p.n.
an. Rev. 13:18 - prep.
an. Rev. 14:4 - no subject/plural
an. Rev. 17:9 - numeral
an. Rev. 17:10 - numeral
an. Rev. 17:11 - numeral
an. Rev. 17:12 - numeral
an. Rev. 17:14 - prep.
an. Rev. 17:15 - plural
an. Rev. 18:7 - no subject
art. Rev. 19:8 - prep.
art. Rev. 19:9 - prep.
an. Rev. 19:10 (a) - prep.
art. Rev. 20:14 - numeral
an. Rev. 21:3 - prep.
an. Rev. 21:22 - prep.
art. Rev. 21:23 - prep. - NO VERB
an. Rev. 22:9 - prep.


90 total (excluding John 1:1c) 

The 3 (or 4 if we use the Received Text or the 1991 Byzantine text) closest examples to Jn 1:1c have the anarthrous predicate noun before the verb and the subject after the verb. These 3 proper examples are shown above with a numeral sign (#) before them. And they also exclude personal names, abstract nouns, numerals, prepositional constructions (prep.), "time/season" nouns, clauses in which the subject is missing [but clearly understood by the verb], clauses in which the subject is only uncertainly "represented" by a participle ["having," "stealing," "hating," etc.], plurals [especially plural/amount: 'blood,' 'wine,' 'flesh,' 'fat,' 'honey,' etc.]. These are proper exceptions to the rule. They must not be included among examples where the rule is being properly used.[1] 

Here, then, are ALL the proper examples (truly comparable to Jn 1:1c) from the writings of John (W and H text)[2]  for an honest examination of "Colwell's Rule" (or any related rules, including Harner's "qualitative" rule, concerning the simple, unmodified anarthrous predicate noun coming before the verb): 

H,W  1. John 4:19 - ("a prophet") - all Bible translations
H,W  2. John 8:48 - ("a Samaritan") - all translations
H,W  3. John 18:37 (a) - ("a king") - all
[H,W 4. John 18:37 (b) - ("a king") - from the Received Text (TR) and the 1991 Byzantine text]

H: Also found in Harner's list of "Colwell Constructions"
W: Also found in Wallace's list of "Colwell Constructions"

These are all indefinite nouns. All modern trinitarian Bible translations I have examined render them as indefinite!

If we wish to supply more examples, we must include some which are less perfect than these three (or four). The best we can do is to include ALL those constructions (Westcott and Hort text) which comply with the other qualifications above but which, unlike Jn 1:1c, have the subject noun before the verb also. Since trinitarian scholars themselves include such examples, they should not object if we also include ALL such examples. 

When we add those constructions to our list, we have: 

H.....1. John 4:9 (a) - indefinite ("a Jew") - all translations
H,W...2. John 4:19 - indefinite ("a prophet") - all
H,W...3. John 6:70[3] - indefinite ("a devil"/"a slanderer") - all
H,W...4. John 8:44 (a) - indefinite ("a mankiller/murderer") - al
H,W...5. John 8:48 - indefinite ("a Samaritan") - all
H,W...6. John 9:24 - indefinite ("a sinner") - all
H,W...7. John 10:1[4] - indefinite ("a thief and a plunderer") - all
H,W...8. John 10:33 - indefinite ("a man") - all
H,W...9. John 18:35 - indefinite ("a Jew") - all
H,W...10. John 18:37 (a) - indefinite ("a king") - all
[H,W..11. John 18:37 (b)[5] - indefinite ("a king") - Received Text and 1991 Byzantine text]
These are all indefinite nouns (not definite[6], not "qualitative"). All trinitarian Bible translations I have examined render them as indefinite! We should have enough examples to satisfy the most critical (but honest) scholar now. (And I wouldn't strongly resist the use of the "no subject" examples above which clearly intend the subject as being a pronoun included with the verb, e.g., "[he] is," which would then bring our total of ALL proper examples to nearly 20.)[7]

These would include:

H,W 12. Jn 8:44 (b) - indefinite (“a liar”) - all

H,W 13. Jn 9:8 (a) - indefinite (“a beggar”) - all

H,W 14. Jn 9:17 - indefinite (“a prophet”) - all

H,W 15. Jn 9:25 - indefinite (“a sinner”) - all

H,W 16. Jn 10:13 - indefinite (“a hireling/hired hand”) - all

H,W 17. Jn 12:6 - indefinite (“a thief”) - all

        18. 1 Jn 4:20 - indefinite (“a liar”) - all 

And, possibly,

H,W  19. 1 John 2:4 - liar (he) is.

So when all the proper (those most closely equivalent to the actual usage found at John 1:1c) examples found in John's writings are examined in various trinitarian Bibles (KJV, NASB, RSV, NIV, etc.), we find they are always translated with indefinite concrete nouns such as "you are a prophet" (Jn 4:19) which perfectly corresponds with a rendering of John 1:1c as "The Word was a god"! 

Such a rendering is not only a grammatical probability (perhaps a certainty) as we have seen above, but it is not such a surprising concept as many modern members of Christendom might think. Other righteous persons and faithful angels have been called "gods" or "a god" by the inspired Bible writers - see the DEF (sections 13-19); TRUE (f.n. #1); and BOWGOD studies. 

It is only in lands whose people are ignorant of the NT Greek language that trinitarians can convince them that the original NT Greek of Jn 1:1c means "the Word was God"! I have been told that in Greece itself the trinitarian churches carefully avoid using Jn 1:1c as evidence for the trinity doctrine or as proof of the "Deity" of Christ because the people there would scorn such an obvious misuse of their language. Even if this is incorrect, the most knowledgeable of the early Christian Greek-speaking scholars, Origen (died 254 A.D.), tells us that John 1:1c actually means "the Word was a god"! - See DEF f.n. #1.

We also find in very early Coptic language translations of John 1:1c that it is rendered “and the Word was a god.” -

In fact, even certain trinitarian scholars have correctly admitted that those very first readers for whom John wrote his Gospel were already aware of the 'Logos' concept even before John wrote to them. This was the concept of famed Jewish scholar and writer, Philo. In this best-known Jewish concept of the Logos of that time, the Word ("Logos") was "the Son of God" and "with God" and "a god" in his own right, but that he was certainly not God nor equal to the one true God! (See the QUAL and LOGOS studies.) 

The fact that John provided no further explanation of the Word proves that he intended the Logos concept that his readers already knew: "The Word was a god."!

And, of course, John himself recorded the following prayer by Jesus: "Father, .... This is eternal life: to know thee who ALONE art truly God..." - John 17:1, 3, New English Bible.



1. There are many rules (and their exceptions) found in all languages. For example, a well-known rule in the English language is that the pronoun “I” is used for subjects and the pronoun “me” is used for objects.

So, to use familiar examples with subject and direct object: “I saw the boy.” And “The boy saw me.”

But what about this?: “It was me.” Most of us use this kind of wording, but it is incorrect, because we are not familiar with an apparent exception. That is: when we are using a predicate noun after its verb, we must use subject pronouns. Since “was” in the sentence is a verb of “being” which makes the following pronoun ‘the same as’ the subject (actually, a predicate noun), a ‘subject’ pronoun must be used: It was I.”  


Most native-English speakers are aware of the difference between the singular past tense verb “was” (“I was,” “She was,” etc.) and the plural past tense verb “were” (“They were,” “We were,” etc.)

So what if an English grammar expert decided to further his religious or philosophical beliefs by writing the following in a journal or textbook:

“Whenever a singular noun or pronoun is used as the subject and is followed by a plural verb, it means that the subject is a multiple-person being [or something similar].”  Then out of the thousands of examples where the singular noun or pronoun agrees with a singular verb, this expert purposely chooses the following as 'proof' examples: "If I were a king...." or "He wished he were a cowboy."

Of course there are enough English grammar experts and textbooks available to us today to prove this is a purposely false ‘rule.’

But imagine if English were an old, poorly understood language and some future language expert were outlining its grammar and syntax for speakers of his language of the future. Not knowing the exceptions that we grew up with today, and wanting this to be true, many of these future people would believe this man’s ‘rule.’

This might even be convincing to a number of English-speaking people today who never learned (or ignored) the exception to the general rule of verb agreement: the subjunctive mood in English ("If I were a king," "He wishes he were somewhere else."  Look up in an on-line search). But imagine how convincing it might be if this scholar were teaching future non-English speaking people who had no access to the common understanding of the English of today!

The rule of verb agreement is merely determined by a rule and its proper exceptions which have nothing to do with a “plural oneness.”

If you don’t know the exceptions, you don’t know the rule!

2. 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. 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 even later) manuscripts (used for the Received Text), 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)!

And the John 1:1c parallel of "king am I" at John 18:37 is found in p66, p90 (150-200A.D.), and p52 (100-125 A.D.)!  The earliest complete "letter uncial" 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.

Not only did the earliest Christian writers, like Origen, not understand John 1:1c as intending that the Word was God, but even as late as 325 A.D. (when Constantine forced the beginning of the official 'trinity doctrine' on his subjects at the Council of Nicea), trinity-pusher Athanasius and fellow trinitarians did not use this scripture as evidence for Jesus being God.

3. John 6:70 - "out of you one devil is" - NT Greek text. - "... one of you is a devil" - RSV.

"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.

"#Joh 6:70 'One of you is a devil'. … diabolical, or under the influence of the evil one." - People's New Testament Notes.

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 translated 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, or is under the Devil's influence, but he is not equally the Devil with Satan himself! No reasonable person would accept this as evidence for some mysterious 'Satanity'! This is precisely the same as the use of 'god' (theos) at John 1:1c !!!

Also examine John 4:24 (no verb!) If word order and verb placement is really so important for understanding predicate nouns, how could John possibly leave the verb out in such a case?

4. "That one thief is and plunderer." The problem here is that Jesus uses 'thief' before the verb and 'plunderer' after the verb. Do we really think he intended us to understand the thief to be a 'qualitative' p.n. ('thiefish,' 'having all the qualities of thiefdom') and also "a plunderer"? "That one has all the qualities of thieves and is a plunderer"?

5. The ancient manscripts for the second use of 'king' in John 18:37 (18:37b) are without punctuation and could just as easily be understood to say "a king am I" in the NT Greek. In fact it seems that this is the correct understanding here to be more parallel with the first half of the verse. This would mean that it truly is a fourth proper example (or 10th in the second list of proper examples) as indicated in the Received Text (translated by the KJV, NKJV, MKJV, and others following the KJV traditions) and in the 1991 Byzantine text).

6. For those who believe that constructions like that of John 1:1c (where the predicate noun comes before its verb) mean the predicate noun has an understood definite article: why would there be any such constructions actually using the definite article (if it is really understood anyway)?

John 1:21 - definite article used
John 15:1(b) - definite article used
John 20:15 - definite article used
2 John :6 (b) - definite article used

7. Colwell and Harner use this type of construction in their JBL articles. And Daniel B. Wallace uses it also in his Grammar. Wallace and Harner, in fact, list these proper examples which I have listed in the Gospel of John: John 8:44b; 9:8, 17, 25; 10:13; 12:6. I have also listed 1 Jn 4:20 and Rev. 18:7 in this ‘understood subject’ category. Adding these Colwell/Harner/Wallace-approved constructions to our list of ALL proper examples in John's writings would leave us with:

1. John 4:9 (a) - indefinite (“a Jew”)

2. John 4:19 - indefinite (“a prophet”)

3. John 6:70 - indefinite (“a devil”/“a slanderer”)

4. John 8:48 - indefinite (“a Samaritan”)

5. John 9:24 - indefinite (“a sinner”) - all

6. John 10:1 - indefinite (“a thief and a robber”)

7. John 10:33 - indefinite (“a man”) -

8. John 18:35 - indefinite (“a Jew”) -

9. John 18:37 (a) - indefinite (“a king”) -

10. John 18:37 (b) - indefinite (“a king”) - in TR and 1991 Byzantine text

11. John 8:44(b) - (“a liar”)

12. John 9:8 - (“a beggar”)

13. John 9:17 - (“a prophet”)

14. John 9:25 - (“a sinner”)

15. John 10:13 - (“a hireling/hired man”)

16. John 12:6 - (“a thief”)

17. 1 John 4:20 - (“a liar”)

18. Revelation 18:7- (“a widow”)

For more concerning John 1:1, see:

John 1:1 - Links to Information (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses Category)


Anonymous said...


Heres a few Coptic trans of John 1:1:

1911 “... and [a] God was the Word” (George William Horner, The Coptic Version of the New Testament in the Southern Dialect [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1911-1924]).

2003: "In the beginning existed the Word, and the Word existed with God,
and the Word was a God." Lance Jenott's (Princeton U.) Coptic translation of John 1:1
< >

2006: "The Word was a god" Dr. Ariel Shisha-Halevy,Coptic scholar and grammarain at Hebrew University in Israel personal corespondance [Source]

More to come!

Anonymous said...


2006: "The Word was godly" Dr. Ariel Shisha-Halevy,Coptic scholar and grammarain at Hebrew University in Israel personal corespondance [Source]

2006: "The Word was divine" Dr. Ariel Shisha-Halevy, Coptic scholar and grammarain at Hebrew University in Israel personal corespondance [Source]

2006: Thursday, November 16. As Coptic grammarain Ariel Shisha-Halevy has said, the Coptic text of John 1:1c admits to only two categories of English translation: "the Word was a god" or "the Word was divine," or similar. Under no circumstances does the Coptic text say "the Word was God," and there is no justification for translating it that way in English. [Source]

More to come!

Anonymous said...


2006: 1. “In the beginning the Word existed. The Word existed in the presence of God, and the Word was a divine being.” A Contemporary English Translation of Coptic John 1:1-18 ©Copyright 2006

2007: "a-god is the-Word" (Yale University's Coptic grammarian Dr. Bentley Layton, Coptic in 20 Lessons: Introduction to Sahidic Coptic With Exercises & Vocabularies (Peeters Leuven, 2007) Page 7, Coptic John 1:1c literally as: auw ne. u.noute pe p.Saje And past tense marker- "a-god is the-Word" [Source]

2007: "and the Word was divine." Coptic ou.noute pe could signal adjectively "he is divine." (Yale University's Coptic grammarian Dr. Bentley Layton, Coptic in 20 Lessons: Introduction to Sahidic Coptic With Exercises & Vocabularies (Peeters Leuven, 2007) Page 34 [Source]

More to come!

Anonymous said...


2008: "In the beginning existed the Word, and the Word existed with the God, and a god was the Word." ( The Watchtower, November 1st, Interlinear translation from 3rd Century Sahadic Coptic [ Native Egyption language ] text; P. Chester Beatty - 813 )

2008: "the Word was like God," Coptic researcher J. Warren Wells of the Sahidica Project. Mr. Wells has 30 years in Greek studies and 20 years of Coptic study [Source]

2008: "a god was the Word." Coptic researcher J. Warren Wells of the Sahidica Project Mr. Wells has 30 years in Greek studies and 20 years of Coptic study, and Wells has confirmed positively in personal correspondence that the Coptic version of John 1:1c literally does say, "a god was the Word." [Source]

My main computers down, there is more. Boharic says "a god" as well. More to come! But at a later date.

Anonymous said...

The literal SENSE of John 1:1(c) in Greek is:

"...the Word was with/toward the (definite/absolute) (G)od, and a (indefinite/qualative)(g)od was the Word."

John uses the DEFINITE article THREE TIMES before you hit John 1:1 part(c).

The words of NT Gk Grammarian A.T.Robinson should be wringing in every trinitarian translators ears "...the article is NEVER MEANINGLESS in Greek!"

It should not, therefore, be meaningless in an English TRANSLATION of the Greek!


Anonymous said...


Ultra literal Greek: "In beginning was [1]the Word, and [2]the Word was with/toward [3]the (G)od, and (g)od was [4]the Word."

Note no INDEFINITE or DEFINITE articles added in the English! But do notice how John uses the DEFINITE article 4x in the Greek at John 1:1. But NOT with (theos) in part(c). We should be asking ourselves WHY NOT?

Compare this with the Latin (VULGATE)translation of the GREEK: "In principio erat Verbum et Verbum erat apud Deum et Deus erat Verbum."

We should be asking WHERE have all the DEFINITE ARTICLES gone?

ULTRA LITERAL trans into English: "In beginning was Word and Word was with God and God was Word"

To be continued!


Anonymous said...


Notice how the English translation of the Greek was very literal, but, made NO SENSE in John 1:1(a): "In beginning..."

Also the literal translation of the Latin does not make any SENSE unless both DEFINITE or INDEFINITE articles are added to the English.

Literally THOUSANDS of times the English translator of the Greek NT has to ADD either an indefinite article or definite article.


Anonymous said...

IF we follow the trinitarian reasoning in John 1:1, that the article is MEANINGLESS in Greek, then the translation should be:

"In beginning was Word and Word was with God and Word was god/God"


If CAPIALIZATION is MEANINGLESS in John 1:1 it should be translated:


2. "in beginning was word and word was with god and god was word"


Anonymous said...


The Hebrew NT has: "...the Word was with (ha) Elohim and (e)lohim was the Word."

If the Hebrew (elohim) is as the trinitarians claim, a PLURAL indicator of a trinity, not just a plural of majesty, then John 1:1(c) Hebrew New Testament raises a MAJOR PROBLEM for them!

Translated into English it would be:

"...the Word was with (the) (G)od(s) and (g)od(s) was the Word."

"god(S) was the Word"?

EQUALS POLYTHEISM (poly) = Gk., "many" (theism) = "god(s)"

Sabellius had a legitimate question to ask the trinitarians:

"How MANY god(s) do we worship (ONE) god or (THREE)"?

This question is still relevant today for the trinitarians:

"How many GOD(S) do (YOU) worship"?


Anonymous said...


Translate (FROM) English (INTO) Greek trinitarian versions of John 1:1:

1. "In [the]=added beginning was the Word, and the Word was with (G)od and (G)od was the Word."

2. "In [the]=added beginning was the Word, and the Word was with [1.](G)od and the Word was [2.](G)od."

Notice the suttle process of EQUALIZATION taking place in the English here, which is absent in the Greek. Capitalization of "(G)od" and "(G)od"!

To be continued!


Anonymous said...


The previous comment continued:This would require in Greek:

OPTION 1(a): Ἐν [ὁ] ἀρχὴν ὴν ὁ Λόγος, καὶ ὁ Λόγος ὴν πρὸς τὸν Θεὸν καὶ ὁ Θεός ὴν ὁ Λόγος

OPTION 1(b): Ἐν [ὁ] ἀρχὴν ὴν ὁ Λόγος, καὶ ὁ Λόγος ὴν πρὸς τὸν Θεὸν καὶ ὁ Λόγος ὴν ὁ Θεός

OPTION 1(c): Ἐν [ὁ] ἀρχὴν ὴν ὁ Λόγος, καὶ ὁ Λόγος ὴν πρὸς ὁ Θεός καὶ ὁ Λόγος ὴν ὁ Θεός

OPTION 2(a): Ἐν [ὁ] ἀρχὴν ὴν ὁ Λόγος, καὶ ὁ Λόγος ὴν πρὸς Θεὸν καὶ Θεός ὴν ὁ Λόγος

OPTION 2(b): Ἐν [ὁ] ἀρχὴν ὴν ὁ Λόγος, καὶ ὁ Λόγος ὴν πρὸς Θεὸν καὶ ὁ Λόγος ὴν Θεός

OPTION 2(c): Ἐν [ὁ] ἀρχὴν ὴν ὁ Λόγος, καὶ ὁ Λόγος ὴν πρὸς Θεός καὶ ὁ Λόγος ὴν Θεός

To be continued!

Anonymous said...

Matt13weedhacker Continued:

Notice the ADDITION of the DEFINITE ARTICLE required in options 1 & 2 (a-b) to level the playing feild or EQUALISE the two "(G)od(S)"

Notice the SUBTRACTION required in options 1 & 2 (c) to EQUALISE the two "(G)od(S)"

John wrote NONE of the SIX options above that would show (TWO) not three EQUAL "God(S)" WITH EACH OTHER!

Yet trinitarian versions of John 1:1 still try to hide the CLEAR DIFFERENCE in the Greek between (ὁ Θεός) = the (definitive/absolute) "(G)od" and the (indefinite/qualatively) "(g)od" (θεός).

The PURELY ENGLISH READER NEEDS TO KNOW there (IS) a difference in the Greek, as the NWT shows.

Anonymous said...


Is "...a god" the only official rendering of John 1:1 by Jehovah's Wittnesses?


The NWT is a multi-translation with its footnote apparatus and appendixes. The NWT translation of John 1:1nis primarily EDUCATIONAL in its rendering of John 1:1. It tells the PURELY ENGLISH READER there is a difference in the underlying Greek text.

There are at least SEVEN differen't versions of John 1:1 by the New World Translation Committee over the years.

To be continued!

Anonymous said...


1. 1950: "Originally the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god." New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures With References, Rendered from the Origional Languages by the New World Bible Translation Commitee - A.D. 1950.

2. 1950: "In ( At ) a beginning the Logos was, and the Logos was with the God, and the Logos was a god." [Alternate rendering based on footnote] New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures With References, Rendered from the Origional Languages by the New World Bible Translation Commitee - A.D. 1950.

3. 1969: “In beginning was the Word, and the Word was toward the God, and god was the Word.” [Literal rendering] The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, Rendered from the Origional Languages by the New World Bible Translation Commitee.

Anonymous said...


3. 1984: "In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god." New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures With References, Rendered from the Origional Languages by the New World Bible Translation Commitee - [Revised 1984].

4. 1984: ["In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, (we'.lohim')] and god [was the Word."] [Alternate rendering based on footnote (J17,18 Hebrew)] New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures With References, Rendered from the Origional Languages by the New World Bible Translation Commitee - Revised 1984.

5. 1984: ["In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was] divine." [Alternate rendering based on Appendix 6A, Page 1579] New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures With References, Rendered from the Origional Languages by the New World Bible Translation Commitee - Revised 1984.

Anonymous said...


7. 1984: ["In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was] godlike." [Alternate rendering based on Appendix 6A, Page 1579] New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures With References, Rendered from the Origional Languages by the New World Bible Translation Commitee - Revised 1984.

2008: "In the beginning existed the Word, and the Word existed with the God, and a god was the Word." ( The Watchtower, November 1st, Interlinear translation from Sahadic Coptic [ Native Egyption language ] text; P. Chester Beatty - 813 )

Ok! 8 versions of John 1:1. I lost count.

Anonymous said...



To summarize:

1. "a (g)od" = (indefinite)
2. "(g)od" with a small (g) = (literal)
3. "divine" = (qualative)
4. "godlike" = (qualative/paraphrase)

I'd say the NWT Translation Committee has all it's bases covered wouldn't you?

So next time brothers a trinitarian has a go at the NWT don't forget to mention the other renderings. With all these renderings they have no leg to stand on!

Cheer's guy's! "Have plenty to do in the work of the Lord."