- 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&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&H, UBS text, Nestle text)
Mark 2:7 -- art.
Mk 10:9 -- art.
Mk 10:18 -- art.
Mk 12:26 -- art. (2 occurrences)
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&H, UBS, Received Text) - Appositive
an. Lk 20:38 ---- "a God of..."
You can see that (except for 3 examples) Matthew, Mark, and Luke always (33 times) used the article ("the") with theos when 'God' was intended.
And the three exceptions were all "prepositional" (or, most often, modified by a genitive noun): "God of ...."
Luke also wrote Acts wherein we find he always uses the article with its 59 uses of the nominative theos for God - even in the 9 "prepositional" (or genitive-modified) instances!
So Matthew, Mark, and Luke used the article (the word "the") every time (92 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 50 such uses of theos by John (17 in the Gospel of John). 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 has "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.
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 47 uses of theos for the only true God (all those apparently not applied to Jesus), 45 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 (or more precisely a prepositional 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 "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" ('prepositional') 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 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 59 uses of the nominative theos for God - even in the 9 "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 note 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.
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