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Friday, January 17, 2014

Colwell's JBL article

(For an in-depth examination and refutation of "Colwell's Rule" see the 'Definite John 1:1c' study on this blog.)

Journal of Biblical Literature [Vol. 52, 1933.]:
E. C. Colwell

University of Chicago

Although Walter Bauer cautiously asserts that hard and fast rules for the use of the article in Hellenistic Greek are an impossibility,[1] the grammarians have formulated many rules for which they claim various degrees of reliability. This is true of the use of the article with predicate nominatives, the use with which this study is concerned.

The discussion in A. T. Robertson’s mammoth grammar[2] may be regarded as representative since it is built upon the opinion of other grammarians and quotes largely from them. He emphasizes most strongly the two following rules: (1) predicate nouns tend to omit the article; (2) predicate nouns occur with the article in convertible propositions.

Professor Torrey goes further and claims that in some New Testament passages the article is omitted because of the anarthrous construct state in the Semitic original. He has claimed that six nouns in John are without the article for this reason.[3] Three of his anarthrous nouns (in John 1 49; 5 27; 9 5) [Jn 1:49; 5:27; 9:5] are predicate nominatives, and in each of these cases the predicate noun precedes the verb.

It was a study of these passages, especially John 1 49, that suggested the rule which is advocated in this study. In this verse Nathanael ascribes to Jesus two titles; in one of them he uses the article, in the other he does not: σὺ εἶ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, σὺ βασιλεὺς εἶ τοῦ Ἰσραήλ [su ei ho huios tou theou. su basileus ei tou Israel: ‘you are the son of the god. you king are of the Israel.’]. What reason is there for this difference? When the passage is scrutinized, it appears at once that the variable quantum is not definiteness but word-order. “King of Israel” in this context is as definite as “Son of God.” It seems probable that the article [ho] is used with “Son of God” because it follows the verb, and is not used with “King of Israel” because it precedes the verb. If this can be established generally in the New Testament, it will of course involve only those sentences in which the copula is expressed. And for such sentences the rule may be stated briefly as follows: A definite predicate nominative has the article when it follows the verb; it does not have the article when it precedes the verb. Of course, this can be claimed as a rule only after it has been shown to describe the usage of the Greek New Testament as a whole or in large part.

An important part of this demonstration is found in those passages in which a phrase is used now with the article and now without it. In John 19 21 the title “King of the Jews” is used of Jesus both with and without the article: μὴ γράφε· βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων, ἀλλὅτι ἐκεῖνος εἶπεν· βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων εἰμί [Me graphe ho basileus ton Ioudaion, all hoti ekeinos eipen Basileus ton Ioudaion eimi: ‘not be writing the king of the jews, but that that (one) said king of the jews I am.’]. It is plain that the Jews are objecting to the superscription because it may be read as a statement of fact; they want it changed so that the readers will know that this title is only a claim made by Jesus. But in each case the title itself remains the same; the article does not occur in the second instance because the predicate precedes the verb. In half a dozen New Testament passages,[4] the same phrase appears with the article after the verb. And in Matt. 27 42, where the title “King of Israel” is applied to Jesus, this appears without the article and before the verb.

The words “Son of God” appear approximately thirteen times as a predicate with the article,[5] in each of the thirteen passages they follow the verb. These words also appear ten times as predicate nominatives without the article; in nine of these passages they precede the verb,[6] and in the tenth (Matt. 27 43) it may be significant that θεοῦ precedes the verb.

The title “Son of Man” appears twice in the New Testament as a predicate nominative: once with the article (Matt. 13 37) and once without the article (John 5 27). In the Matthean passage, where it has the article, it follows the verb. In the Johannine passage, where it lacks the article, it precedes the verb.

This variation in the use of the article frequently occurs with the same phrase in the same gospel. In John 8 12 Jesus says, ἐγὼ εἰμι τὸ φῶς τοῦ κόσμου; [Ego eimi to phos tou kosmou: ‘I am the light of the world’]; in John 9 5 he says, φῶς εἰμι τοῦ κόσμοῦ [phos eimi tou kosmou: ‘light I am of the world]. A similar variation occurs in Matt. 12 48 and 50, where Jesus uses the words “my mother” with the article after the verb and without the article before the verb.[7]

One of the most impressive examples of the correlation between word-order and use of the article occurs in Matt. 13 37-39, the explanation of the parable of the tares: σπείρωνἐστὶν υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, 38 δὲ ἀγρός ἐστιν κόσμος. … οὗτοι εἰσιν οἱ υἱοὶ τῆς βασιλείας· τὰ δὲ ζιζάνια εἰσιν οἱ υἱοὶ τοῦ πονηροῦ, 39 δὲ ἐχθρὸςἐστιν διάβολος, δὲ θερισμὸς συντέλεια αἰῶνος ἐστιν, οἱ δὲ θερισταὶ ἄγγελοι εἰσιν. [ho speiron...estin ho huios tou anthropou. ho de agros estin ho kosmos. ... houtoi eisin hoi huioi tes basileias. ta de zizania eisin hoi huioi tou ponerou, ho de echthros... estin ho diabolos. ho de therismos sunteleia aionos estin, hoi de theristai aggeloi eisin: ‘the (man) sowing the fine seed is the son of the man; the but field is the world. ... these are the sons of the kingdom the but weeds are the sons of the wicked (one), the but enemy ... is the devil. the but harvest conclusion of age is, the but harvesters angels are’]. Here in a series of seven clauses the predicate nouns follow the verb and take the article five times; while in the last two clauses equally definite predicate nouns precede the verb and do not have the article. [But see RSV, NIV, ASV, NASB, NEB, JB, and AT, esp. for translation of “non-prepositional” aggeloi “angels.” - RDB]

That Matthew changed from one word-order to the other in a definite attempt to secure variety of style is suggested by another series of clauses similar to the one discussed above: Matt 23 8-10, εἷς γὰρ ἐστιν ὑμῶν διδάσκαλοςεἷς γάρ ἐστιν ὑμῶν πατὴρ οὐράνιοςὅτι καθηγητὴς ὑμῶν ἐστιν εἷς Χριστός [heis gar estin humon ho didaskalos... heis gar estin humon ho pater ho ouranios ... hoti kathegetes humon estin heis ho Christos: ‘one for is of you the teacher ... one for is of you the father the heavenly... because leader of you is one the christ.’]. Here he twice puts the predicate after the verb with the article, but the third time places it before the verb without the article. In neither of these Matthean passages can it be claimed that the predicates which close the series are less definite or concrete than those which precede; nor are the final clauses of the series less convertible than the others.

Further proof of the significant relation between word-order and the use of the article with predicate nouns is easily obtained from the very grammarians who are unaware of its existence. For the examples which they offer of predicate nouns with the article or of predicate nouns without the article fall into the categories established by this rule almost without exception. Thus in Robertson’s list (pp. 768-769) of forty-one predicates in the New Testament which have the article, there are thirty-eight which follow the verb. Again Robertson lists (p.794) the constructions in which the article is omitted. One of these constructions is the predicate nominative, and in both of his examples of anarthrous predicate nominatives the predicate precedes the verb. Blass-Debrunner[8] lists eighteen predicate nouns that take the article, and every one of them follows the verb. No one will be so unkind as to insinuate that these lists were compiled to support a theory of which the compilers had never heard. Robertson and Debrunner were merely looking for examples of predicate nouns with the article; it is significant that they found them after the verb.

Further support for the claim that there is a connection between word-order and use of the article can be found in the nature of the variants which occur in the MSS of the New Testament. That the MSS vary greatly in adding and omitting the article, every scholar who has done any work in textual criticism is aware. Such a simple omission or addition would of itself prove little for the theory advocated here, but when the omission or addition of the article is accompanied by a change of word-order, we have evidence that the relation between word-order and the use of the article was as real to the scribes who copied the MSS as it was to the original authors.

In the course of this study I noted three passages in which the article is used by one group of MSS and omitted by another group with a change in word-order. In each of these passages Westcott and Hort’s Heavenly Twins (Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus) disagree; yet both of them support the rule stated in this paper. That is to say, their variation is from one to the other of the alternatives described in this rule. The MSS differ as follows:

        B [4th century]                                                             א [4th century]

σὺ βασιλεὺς εἶ τοῦ Ἰσραήλ             (1) John 1 49                     σὺ εἶ βασιλεὺς τοῦ Ἰσραήλ

                  [of Israel]                                                                       [of Israel]

καθηγητὴς ὑμῶν ἐστιν εἷς             (2) Matt. 23 10                 εἷς γάρ ὑμῶν καθηγητὴς

            [of you]                                                                                                 [of you]

εἷς θεὸςἐστιν                                 (3) Jas. 2 19                                εἷς ἐστιν θεὸς
[one]                                                                                                              [one]

It is interesting that B each time has the predicate before the verb without the article, while א [aleph] each time has the predicate after the verb with the article.[9] Further study will doubtless multiply examples of this sort, but these are enough to indicate that the scribes felt that a definite predicate noun did not need the article before the verb and did need it after the verb.

The predicate noun is used in the New Testament with the article 254 times in sentences in which the verb is expressed. It follows the verb 239 times, and precedes the verb 15 times. Predicate nouns which are indubitably definite appear without the article in sentences in which the verb occurs 139 times. 99 times the predicate precedes the verb, and it follows the verb 40 times.[10]

These totals include predicates in relative clauses. But the word-order in relative clauses seems to be so definitely fixed as to justify the exclusion of such clauses from this study. Ten definite predicates appeared with the article [11] in relative clauses, all after the verb. Sixteen definite predicates are used without the article in relative clauses, two before the verb (with the relative in the genitive) and fourteen after the verb (with the relative in the nominative). Thus only two out of twenty-six predicates precede in relative clauses.

If the predicates which occur in relative clauses are subtracted, the totals are as follows:

I. Definite Predicate Nouns with Article.............. 244

A. After Verb ................................................... 229 (94%)

B. Before Verb ................................................ 15 (6%)

II. Definite Predicate Nouns without the Article ...123

A. After Verb .................................................... 26 (21%)

B. Before Verb ................................................. 97 (79%)

The close relation between word-order and the use of the article in these cases can be shown by a different grouping of the same figures:

I. Definite Predicates after the Verb ................ 255

A. With the Article .................................... 229 (90%)

B. Without the Article ................................ 26 (10%)

II. Definite Predicates before the Verb ............ 112

A. With the Article ..................................... 15 (13%)

B. Without the Article ................................ 97 (87%)

It is obvious that the significance of these figures rests upon the accuracy with which definite predicate nouns without the article have been identified. There are bound to be mistakes in the list of definite predicate nouns without the article; but an attempt has been made to exclude all nouns as to whose definiteness there could be any doubt.[12] This means, of course, that “qualitative” [abstract?] nouns have been omitted, since all such nouns (and their total in the New Testament is small) are not definite. An inspection of some of the definite predicate nouns without the article will demonstrate that they are definite even though they lack the article.

None of the predicates in the following passages has the article in the original, and each of them precedes the verb. In Hebrews 9 15 it is claimed that Jesus is (the) mediator of a new covenant; in I Timothy 6 10 the love of money is identified as (the) root of all evil; in John 10 2 the one who enters by the door is (the) shepherd of the sheep; in Matt. 5 35 Jerusalem is (the) city of the Great King;[13] in Mark 2 28 the Son of Man is also (the) lord of the Sabbath; in I Cor. 4 4 Paul says, “It is (the) Lord who must examine me;” in Rev. 21 22 it is said of the New Jerusalem that God is (the) temple in it, etc. etc. This is a fair sample of what lies behind the statistics given above.

The rule that it is the exception that proves the rule finds no exception here. The exceptions to the rule that definite predicate nouns before the verb omit the article are about 15 in number.[14] Half of them are scattered around in Luke, John, II Peter, and Revelation; and in five of these passages there is serious manuscript evidence for the omission of the article according to the rule. The other half of these exceptions (7) are grouped in I and II Corinthians; and there is no significant manuscript evidence for variation here. Five of the seven put the predicate not only before the verb, but also before the subject; e.g., I Cor. 9:1 οὐ τὸ ἔργον μου ὑμεῖς ἐστε ἐν κυρίῳ [ou to ergon mou humeis este en kurio: ‘not the work of me you are in lord?’]. Thus the order in these five Corinthian passages is predicate-subject-verb. This is obviously a stylism temporarily affected by the Apostle to the Gentiles, possibly for the sake of greater emphasis. Aside from these five passages, Paul’s exceptions do not loom up as especially significant.

The other class of exceptions - the omission of the article after the verb - contains more examples.[15] Approximately twenty-six definite predicate nouns omit the article after the verb.[16] Two of these are quotations from the Septuagint; five are adjectives used as substantives; but the remainder have no common characteristics. In I Cor. 12 27 and I Thess. 4 3 the textual evidence gives some basis for reading these passages according to the rule, but elsewhere the MSS are practically unanimous for the exception. The large number of exceptions in Romans is the most notable feature in the list.

I have made a hurried sampling of Greek usage outside the New Testament, with results that vary somewhat and yet on the whole support the figures quoted for the New Testament. In Genesis,[17] chapters 1-41, about fifty-eight definite predicate nouns were counted: forty-five support the rule (4 20; 12 12; etc.); thirteen are exceptions. Eleven of the exceptions are after the verb without the article (e.g., 9 18). In Genesis 9 19 the same sort of manuscript variation as was noted for the New Testament occurs: Codex Alexandrinus reads the predicate after the verb with the article and the Cotton Genesis MS reads it before the verb without the article.

In the Didache there are six definite predicate nouns used with a verb, and all of them support the rule.[18] One comes before and five after the verb. In P. Oxy III four support the rule, and there is one exception. In the Discourses of Epictetus IV. i-iv (about 50 pp. of Schenkl’s text) out of seventeen examples fourteen support the rule and three do not.[19] In all of these sources the percentage of support for the rule is about the same: of the predicate nouns with the article about 90% follow the verb; of the definite predicate nouns without the article about 80% precede the verb.

These dead figures have certain vital implications in at least three fields of New Testament study: grammar, text, and translation or interpretation. The New Testament grammars of the future, when they say that predicate nouns regularly omit the article, will point out that this is not the case in sentences in which the verb occurs, for in such sentences two-thirds of the definite predicate nouns have the article. Nor can this use of the article with predicate nouns be attributed to the presence of a large number of participles as predicate nominatives; for of the 244 predicates with the article only 61 are participles.

The following rules may be tentatively formulated to describe the use of the article with definite predicate nouns in sentences in which the verb occurs. (1) Definite predicate nouns here regularly take the article. (2) The exceptions are for the most part due to a change of word-order: (a) Definite predicate nouns which follow the verb (this is the usual order) usually take the article; (b) Definite predicate nouns which precede the verb usually lack the article; (c) Proper names regularly lack the article in the predicate; (d) Predicate nominatives in relative clauses regularly follow the verb whether or not they have the article.

In the field of textual criticism the rule here advocated has an equally definite contribution to make. It shows in certain specific cases what the probabilities are as to the author’s use or non-use of the article. A fine example of this is II Peter 1 17, cited as an exception to the rule since Westcott and Hort follow Codex Vaticanus [B] in reading the predicate with the article before the verb: υἱός μου ἀγαπητός μου οὗτος ἐστιν [Ho huios mou ho agapetos mou houtos estin: ‘the son of me the beloved of me this is.’] The evidence given in this study as to the extreme rarity of this construction in the New Testament reinforces Tischendorf’s judgement that the variant read by practically all the rest of the MSS is to be preferred. They read the predicate after the verb with the article, οὗτος ἐστιν υἱός μου ἀγαπητός μου, [houtos estin ho huios mou ho agapetos mou: ‘this is the son of me the beloved of me.’], the usual Greek construction.

But it is in the realm of translation and interpretation that the data presented here have their most valuable application. They show that a predicate nominative which precedes the verb cannot be translated as an indefinite or a “qualitative” noun solely because of the absence of the article; if the context suggests that the predicate is definite, it should be translated as a definite noun in spite of the absence of the article. In the case of a predicate noun which follows the verb the reverse is true; the absence of the article in this position is a much more reliable indication that the noun is indefinite. Loosely speaking, this study may be said to have increased the definiteness of a predicate noun before the verb without the article, and to have decreased the definiteness of a predicate noun after the verb without the article.

The opening verse of John’s Gospel contains one of the many passages where this rule suggests the translation of a predicate as a definite noun. καὶ θεὸς ἦν λόγος [kai theos en ho logos] looks much more like “And the Word was God” than “And the Word was divine” when viewed with reference to this rule. The absence of the article does not make the predicate indefinite or qualitative when it precedes the verb; it is indefinite in this position only when the context demands it. The context makes no such demand in the Gospel of John, for this statement cannot be regarded as strange in the prologue of the gospel which reaches its climax in the confession of Thomas.[20]

The passages in which υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ [huios tou theou: ‘son of the god’] appear have often occasioned debate: Is the word “son” definite or indefinite? It is certainly significant that when used without the article these words regularly precede the verb. Nor can it be claimed that the phrase is “qualitative” or indefinite. In John 10 36 Jesus says of himself, υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ εἰμι; [huios tou theou eimi: ‘son of the god I am.’]. This is translated as “the son of God” by Goodspeed, Moffatt, the Authorized Version, the American Revised Version, Weymouth, etc. In Matt. 14 33 the disciples exclaim ἀληθῶς θεοῦ υἱὸς εἶ [Alethos theou huios ei: ‘truly of god son you are.’]. This likewise is definite, and is so rendered in the translations listed above. But in Matt. 27 54 (equals Mark 15 39), Goodspeed and Moffatt translate as indefinite an almost exactly parallel phrase: ἀληθῶς θεοῦ υἱὸς ἦν οὗτος. [Alethos theou huios en houtos: ‘truly of god son was this.’]. The evidence given in this paper as to the use of the article with the predicate nouns strengthens the probability that the centurion recognized Jesus as the Son of God (so Weymouth and the older English translations), rather than as a son of God.

[[ There are a number of problems with "Colwell's Rule."  Probably the greatest of these problems is the use of "prepositional" constructions. - see HARNER: JBL 'Qualitative' Article Refuted from beginning page down to [3] (indicator for end note #3).]]


1. Griechisch-deutsches Worterbuch zum Neuen Testament, GieBen, 1928, s.v.o.

2. Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research,3 New York,

1919, p. 767f. I regret that I did not have access to the 4th edition, 1923, but the material

used is unchanged in the first three editions.
3. C.C. Torrey, “The Aramaic Origin of the Fourth Gospel,” Harvard Theological Review

XVI, 1923, p. 323f. I have attempted to make a general answer in The Greek of the

Fourth Gospel, Chicago, 1931, p. 78f.
4. Matt. 27 11,37; Mark 15 2; Luke 23 3,37; John 18 33.

5. Matt. 16 16; 26 63; Mark 3 11; 15 39; Luke 4 41; 22 70; John 1 39,49; 11 27; 20 31; Acts 9 20;

I John 4 15; 5 5.

6. Matt. 4 3,6; 14 33; 27 40,54; Luke 4 3,9; Mark 15 39; John 10 36.

7. A similar variation occurs in Matt. 18 1 and 4.

8. A. Debrunner, Friedrich Blass’ Grammatik des neutestamentlichen Griechisch,6

Gottingen, 1931, p. 156.

9. Tischendorf’s attestation: with B (1) AL 1.33 (2) DGL 1.33. 124. 26ev 48ev xscr (3) 69.ascr

cscr; with ! [aleph] (1) the great majority of MSS (2) GDQP unc8 al pler (3) A 68.

10. The Greek text used was that of Westcott and Hort. No claim of absolute accuracy is

advanced for these totals, nor is there any need for absolute accuracy, as no

significance is, or can be attached to a definite mathematical proportion.
11. The distribution is interesting: Col. 3, Eph. 2, Rev. 5.

12. The least definite nouns included are found in a group of about ten phrases such as

“(the) seed of Abraham,” e.g., John 8 33. Practically all such expressions as θεὸς ἀγάπη ἐστίν

[ho theos agape estin: ‘the god love is’] have been excluded from this study [abstract predicate

nouns - RDB]; 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.

13. The Septuagint of Psalm 47 3 reads πόλις τοῦ βασιλέως τοῦ μεγάλου [he polis tou

basileos tou megalou: ‘the city of the king of the great’] without a verb.
14. Luke 4 41; John 1 21; 6 51; 15 1; II Peter 1 17; Rom. 4 13; I Cor. 9 1,2; 11 3,25; II Cor. 1 12; 3

2,17; Rev. 19 8; 20 14.

15. Proper Names regularly omit the article in the predicate when after the verb; they are

not included here. For relative clauses, cf. p.7.
16. Matt. 20 16; Mark 4 32; 9 35; 12 28; Luke 20 33; 22 24; John 4 18; 18 13,37; Acts 10 36; Rom. 4 11,18; 7 13; 8 16,29; 11 6; I Cor. 12 27; 16 15; II Cor. 5 21; 6 16; Gal. 4 31; I Thess. 4 3; I Peter 5 12; Heb. 11 1

17. Swete’s text was used, and the evidence of the variants given in his brief apparatus is

18. The text used was Kirsopp Lake’s edition of the Apostolic Fathers in the Loeb Classical

Library, iv. 7, 14; vi. 3; xiii. 3; xiv. 3; xv. 2.
19. After verb with article: IV i. 42, 62, 63, 114, 132, 158, 166; iii. 12; iv. 44; after verb

without article: IV i. 118; before verb without article: IV i. 60, 71, 73, 94, 158; before

verb with article; IV iv. 22, 48.
20. John 20 28.


For an in-depth examination and refutation of "Colwell's Rule" see the 'Definite John 1:1c' study on this blog.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

David and the 'Holy' Quadrinity

(Originally posted on 9-5-09)
NOTE: A follow-up to the early Trintype study, the following is my attempt at showing how terribly poor trinitarian evidence actually is. My tongue-in-cheek "proofs" of a "Quadrinity" are certainly as good as most trinitarian "evidence." Although I believe it would be in general agreement with what I have written, The Watchtower Society does not specifically teach nor endorse (nor, as far as I know, is even aware of) any of the following. - RDB.


(From the RDB Files)

Bible translations are greatly influenced by the background, traditions, associations, and desires of the translators themselves. The original manuscripts of the Bible were written in a language which is no longer perfectly understood. Most Greek and Hebrew words had more than one meaning. (Some had a lot of different meanings.) The writing was entirely without capitalization or punctuation of any kind. The words were often abbreviated (especially in the OT Hebrew manuscripts) and usually one word ran into another with no spacing in between.    (Like this:


[cf. John 1:1], except, of course, it was also in a different language that isn't completely understood today.)

So the modern Bible translator adds all punctuation as he sees fit. He capitalizes as he sees fit. He chooses the particular meaning for each word as he sees fit. He even adds words to bring out the meaning for modern readers as he sees fit. Obviously his own prejudices and values greatly color the translation he produces. If he is a trinitarian (as 99% are) or if he is translating a Bible for a trinitarian audience (as 99% are), it would be very strange if he did not capitalize, punctuate, choose word meanings, and add words that bring out a trinitarian interpretation.

For example, some trinitarian translators are so convinced (or are at least are producing a translation for an audience that is so convinced) that Jesus is Jehovah God that they translate Jehovah's statement at Exodus 3:14 as "the one who is called I AM [Jehovah God] has sent me..." and Jesus' statement at John 8:58 as "Before Abraham was born, 'I Am'." - Good News Bible.

They have chosen the meaning of "I am" at Ex. 3:14 in spite of the fact that it is an unlikely interpretation of the actual Hebrew (and Septuagint Greek) words used - (see the I AM study, "Exodus 3:14" sections). They have done this to back up their (or their readers') desires for a trinitarian interpretation for this passage (Jehovah is the "I Am" and Jesus is the "I Am" so they are both the same God) and to stick with the KJV tradition.

Some other trinitarian translators, however, are not willing to stretch honesty quite so thin in their attempts to back up their pre-conceived belief in a trinity. Trinitarian Dr. James Moffatt ("probably the greatest biblical scholar of our day"), for example, translated Ex. 3:14 as "I-will-be has sent you to them" and Jn 8:58 as "I have existed before Abraham was born." - See the I AM study.

To help show the truth-altering effect of the pre-conceived beliefs of many Bible translators I offer the following example. I will "prove" (using many of the very same techniques used by trinitarian translators and interpreters to "prove" that Jesus is equally God) that King David (who was born 1000 years before Jesus) is equally Christ and equally Jehovah God (just as trinitarians say Jesus is). Yes, we will "prove" David is the fourth person of the trinity (Quadrinity)!

Such techniques work better the more highly-regarded the person is by the original inspired Bible writers and the more writing they have devoted to that person. Since King David is reasonably high in both categories (though not nearly as high as Jesus), we can expect to find a number of places where the language and idioms of the Bible writers are not completely clear to us today and a number of other places where the translator can choose a word definition that backs his interpretation (and ignore all the other meanings). Such places can be capitalized, punctuated, and "interpreted" in such a way that the translation will appear to modern readers to prove that David is the Christ (Messiah) and even God Himself!

I have chosen King David because there are enough words written about him in the scriptures (I could have just as well chosen Moses, Solomon, the Apostles, or a few others - see TRINTYPE study) to allow a few typical trinitarian-style "proofs" to be found.

* * * * * *

'Quadrinarian' proof that David is equally God

First, David is equally Christ with Jesus himself: Luke 9:20 tells us that Peter declared Jesus to be "The Christ [christon] of God." But 2 Samuel 23:1 also declares David to be "The Christ [christon in the Septuagint] of God"! Yes, Jesus and David are the one "Christ of God." Since the Christ is also God, as trinitarians know, then David, too, is God!

Second, God Himself calls Jesus "My Servant" [literally "the servant of me"] - Matt. 12:18; cf. Acts 3:13, RSV. He also calls David "My Servant" [literally "the servant of me"] - 2 Kings 19:34; Ps. 89:3. The person God calls "My Servant" is well-known to Bible scholars as The Messiah ("Christ" in the Greek translations),e.g., Is. 53:11 - see New Bible Dictionary (2nd ed.), p. 1093, Tyndale House Publ . Therefore David is equally Christ (and, therefore, also equally God).

Third, David claims the exclusive title of Christ (and God) by declaring himself to be the great "I Am" [Ego Eimi] at 2 Kings 15:26, Septuagint (2 Sam.15:26 in English Bibles) which when translated literally says: "Behold! I AM." (idou Ego Eimi). This is the very same exclusive title of God, as trinitarians well know, that Jesus claimed for himself at John 8:58: "Before Abraham was born, I Am [Ego Eimi]." David is Christ and God!

Fourth, David is actually addressed as Jehovah God!

1 Sam. 20:12 actually, literally says in all the ancient Hebrew manuscripts: "Then Jonathan said to David: 'Jehovah God of Israel, I will certainly sound out my father....'" (Compare KJV and JPS). Most Bible translators who are not Quadrinarians actually add to the inspired word of God at this verse to make it say: "By the LORD God of Israel" (NIV) or "I promise you in the sight of the LORD the God of Israel" (NEB) or "Jehovah, the God of Israel, be witness" (ASV, cf. NASB, RSV). But these translations are distorting and actually adding to the inspired word of God which clearly calls David "Jehovah God"!

Fifth, In 2 Sam. 14:20-22 we find David called "My Lord" - the title for Jesus and Jehovah. (cf. Acts 2:34; Jn 20:28; Ps. 8:1).

Sixth , also in this same highly significant passage David is being declared omniscient or all-knowing (which trinitarians well know is one of the exclusive, untransferrable qualities of God alone) - 2 Sam 14:20.

Seventh, 1 Kings 1:43 - "Jonathan answered Adonijah, 'No, for our lord king David has made Solomon king.'" - NRSV.

2 Chronicles 1:8 - "And Solomon said to God, 'Thou hast shown great and steadfast love to David my father, and hast made me king in his stead.'"

Eighth, and, again, to show the absolute equality of Jehovah God and King David we find David the King receiving equal worship with Jehovah God at 1 Chron. 29:20. Yes, the actual Hebrew of the original God-inspired scriptures says: "so the entire assembly praised Jehovah, the God of their fathers: they bowed low and worshiped [shachah] Jehovah AND THE KING." - cf. KJV.

The word 'worshiped' (shachah) used here is exactly the same word as used at 2 Chron. 7:3 (see The NIV Interlinear Hebrew-English Old Testament, Zondervan, 1982). The praise of Jehovah included worship [shachah] of God and David! There is no separation of the two found here. They are inseparably bonded together in the very same expression of faith ("Jehovah and the king") and adoringly bathed in the same single united act of worship which recognizes and celebrates their one essence!

We also find David being worshiped at 2 Sam. 14:22. The Israelite Joab (whose name means 'Jehovah is the Father') actually worshiped David. The word used in the ancient Hebrew scriptures is shachah - the very same word translated "worship" at 2 Sam. 12:20 and 15:32 - see Strong's Concordance. This is also the same word used at 1 Kings 1:31 where the inspired word of God tells us that Bathsheba also worshiped David! - see Strong's.

Ninth, the King's throne in Israel was known as "the throne of Jehovah" - 1 Chron. 29:23. This very same throne was called (and continues to be called through the ages) "the throne of David." - Jer. 17:25. David is Jehovah God. Even at the end time when the Messiah sits down on Jehovah's throne, that very throne is called (not Jesus' throne, but) the throne of David! - Is. 9:7. The eternal throne of Jehovah is at the same time the eternal throne of David! David is Jehovah God.

Tenth, another, similar proof is that "the Son of God," Jesus, is also called "the Son of David"! (Luke 4:41; 18:38) The one Father of Jesus has both the title "God" and the name "David"! David is God!

Eleventh, we find 1 Chron. 29:29 literally saying that David is "THE FIRST AND THE LAST"! Strong's Concordance shows that the same Hebrew words used to identify Jehovah as the "First and Last" at Is. 44:6 are also used here to describe David. As trinitarians know, this is one of the prime identifiers for God (Is. 44:6) and also for Jesus as being equal to God (Rev. 1:17). So when we see David also called the "First and Last" (cf. Young's; LITV; KJV; NKJV; ASV; NAB; JPS 1917), we know absolutely that he is one of the Persons of the Holy Christhead and, therefore, also one of the Persons of the Holy Godhead!

And, Twelfth, in a final and conclusive confirmation we have proof of a Quadrinity (Jehovah, Jesus, Holy Spirit, and David):

Whereas the number three is never used in Scripture in any way that could reasonably be construed as proper evidence for a trinity (see the IMAGE study, note #8), the number four is clearly given in scripture as evidence of the Holy Quadrinity.

Some examples are listed in the trinitarian New Bible Dictionary (NBD):

"Four ... is one of the symbols of completion in the Bible." [So the complete identity of God will not be perfected until the four (complete) persons are known. - RDB.] "The divine name Yahweh has four letters in Heb. (YHWH)." - p. 845, second ed., Tyndale House Publ., 1984.

What could be more clear as to the four-person composition of God than the evidence found in the composition of his very own personal name? And what could be plainer than the evidence of David's place as the fourth member of this Quadrinity as shown by the four letters of his name (DWYD) in Hebrew. The very first letter of this significant name is the fourth letter of the Hebrew alphabet; the very last letter is the fourth letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

Thus, the "First and the Last" (see #11 above) of the composition of his name show his place in the composition of the four-fold God!]

"There were four rivers flowing out of the garden of Eden (Gn 2:10)." - NBD.

The living waters, the source of life flowing from God's Paradise is four. And God Himself is the source of life and the fountain of living waters (Jer. 2:13; 17:13).

"in his vision of the glory of God, Ezekiel saw four living creatures (ch. 1), and with these we may compare the four living creatures of Rev. 4:6." - NBD.

Yes, in the first chapter of Ezekiel we find a vision of God. And in this vision the single unitary God is represented by the one person who is seated on the throne at the top of the vision. But that is merely the upper part of the vision and is the part which represents the "Oneness" of God. The other half of the vision (the very foundation or structure of that "One" God) is composed strictly of four: The four "Living Beings" (NASB) upholding or composing that solitary God not only have four wings but each one also has four faces: a man's, an eagle's, a bull's, and a lion's.

Therefore we have a single person (symbolic of the oneness of the only true God) supported by four persons (symbolic of the four persons within that one Godhead). There can be no other reasonable explanation (since we discarded the "ridiculous" concept that God is a single person over 1600 years ago with the establishment of the trinity doctrine)!

Furthermore, each of the "Living Beings" (representative of the "Living God") in himself further symbolizes the Holy Quadrinity since each is described as having four faces. Yes, each person is represented with four faces. There is nothing more representative of a four-in-one God than a "Living Being" with four faces! Christendom itself in its 1600-year effort to symbolically represent a three-in-one God has frequently used a three-faced person (although there is absolutely no scriptural support for doing so).

Notice that these four faces of God are (1) an Eagle, (2) a Lion, (3) a Bull, and (4) a Man.

An Eagle represents the Person of the Father, Jehovah: Deut. 32:11, 12.

A Lion, of course can only represent Jesus: Rev. 5:5.

A Bull is figurative of power in the Holy Scriptures. ("Among an agricultural people [Israel] there could be no more natural symbol of strength and vital energy than the young bull." - p. 342, Vol. 1, A Dictionary of the Bible, Hastings, Hendrickson Publ.) And the Holy Spirit is most often represented as power or vital energy - p. 269, The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1976; pp. 1136, 1137, 1139, New Bible Dictionary, Tyndale House, 1984; p. 344, An Encyclopedia of Religion, Ferm (ed.), 1945 ed. (Also see the BOWHS study). Therefore the Bull is obviously the Holy Spirit.

But who is the fourth "Living Being" composing the one Godhead? Well, the information in the first part of this paper proves it is David. He alone (of the four) has been represented throughout the Holy Scriptures as a man! So the fourth face (that of a man) can only represent David! (You cannot actually disprove this "proof," and it is certainly as good as the very best trinitarian "proof" of this kind!)

Oh there are a few instances of a word being repeated three times (used for emphasis as it is sometimes even today: "mine, mine, mine!") or some other such usage that, by a great stretch of wishful imagination, somehow indicates to the believer that God is three-in-one (see the MINOR study, "Holy, Holy, Holy"). However, none are as clear and pointed as the following four fold declarations.

A.   The word "Hallelujah" (and its Greek form "Alleluia") is a common OT Biblical praise of God and literally means "Praise Ye Jehovah" (pp. 29, 276, Today's Dictionary of the Bible, Bethany House Publ., 1982). This exclusive praise was always directed to Jehovah God only. So, when we find a single person seated on God's throne in Rev. 19:4, we need some other indication as to the "composition" of that "multiple" God (just as we did with the single person sitting on God's throne in Ezekiel's vision - see the "Four Living Beings" above).

The needed information is supplied when the exclusive four-syllabled praise ("Hallelujah") is deliberately stated four times in this very significant passage (Rev. 19:4-6) in the last book of Scripture. It is used nowhere else in the NT. But here in a book significantly called Revelation this common praise of Jehovah (only) of the OT is appropriately used in a significant fourfold way that clearly helps clear up the "Mystery" of the identification of the single True God!

B. Four times in his psalm of praise to God (Ps. 86) he (David) "confesses His name" (Jehovah). Obviously this also represents a four-fold Jehovah!

So, if you accept these trinitarian-type "proofs," the multiple-in-one God we must worship in truth is not three but four. Only Quadrinarians know the one true God (and eternal life)!

There is also the historical statement made by the very homes the Israelites built and lived within. Yes from about 1200 B.C. until the Babylonian destruction and exile, the Israelites built four-room houses. They could have built one-room houses signifying their living within the protection of a one-person God. Or they could have built three-room houses to figuratively show a trinity. But, no, the pre-dominant building, by far, which Israelites chose to cover and protect themselves was the four-room building.

For a different slant on trinitarian 'evidence' examine Redefinition (REDEF) 

* * * * * *

Obviously I have not been able in a few hours on my own to produce as much "evidence" as thousands (at least) of trinitarian scholars have managed to create in thousands of years. And even though David is not as important a person (certainly not as much extravagant praise, symbolism, figurative language, and glorifying for him as for the Christ) and didn't have as many words written about him in the scriptures (less opportunity for coincidental title/description confusion and misunderstood usages/definitions, etc.) as we find for Jesus, I have still found a significant number of "proofs" and certainly could find many more.

Isn't it obvious from the testimony of the Jewish people throughout history that they never (and still don't) believed David was either the Messiah or God? Isn't that the reason the Scriptures don't (and don't need to) tell us outright that "David is not God Almighty"? There would have been absolutely no reason for such a statement until such time that "Quadrinarians" would have begun developing their new doctrine! The same thing holds true for the trinity doctrine which is not stated anywhere in scripture!

Is it really proper to assume (no matter how much we might want to believe such a thing) that the bits of evidence we can patch together to indicate David is part of a four-in-one God are a revelation from God to us at this later date? That we somehow have a better grasp on the Holy Spirit than did Moses, Isaiah, John, Paul, and even Jesus himself?

What we must keep in mind is that "wondrous mysteries" and marvelous "deep things" of all kinds can be "found" by anyone looking for them if they are allowed to use improper evidence. If we truly believe the entire Bible is God's word to us, we must make a great effort to use the entire Bible (not be "Cafeteria Christians") in determining an essential truth.

We must take into consideration the background of those who wrote the scriptures and those whom they were writing for at that time and place to understand their writing to the best of our ability. We must analyze other early writings of the Jews and of those who wrote about them (not as inspired scripture, but as insight into how that scripture should be understood). We must investigate the grammar and word definitions of NT Greek as used by those first Christians. And, above all, we must not use a type of reasoning (or "evidence") that can be used to "prove" nearly anything. Such reasoning has led to the myriad different faiths (divisions - hairetikos) so strongly condemned in the Bible. The one Faith cannot stand divided (Matt. 12:25) anymore than the one Lord, and the one God and Father of all (Eph. 4:5, 6) can stand divided. Speculation is great fun, but the essential truths that lead to eternal life must not be determined by it.

This means that we must not accept the King David/Quadrinity evidence or anything like it, whether we "believe it in our hearts" or not. The thousands of sects (both in Christendom and other religions) which contradict each other's "Truths" simply cannot all have the essential truths any more than they can be called the "one Faith," but they all have the strong belief "in their hearts," and most use this very same improper type of "evidence" to convince others and to help retain the faith they have.

Real evidence to counteract this counterfeit type evidence can also be illustrated with the King David/Quadrinity example. Even if all the fudge factors used by trinitarians (e.g. "God" and "Jehovah" sometimes means all three persons in the "Godhead," and sometimes only one of them, etc.; "In this scripture David is being spoken of in his role as a man, but in that scripture he is in his role of God"; etc.) are used by "Quadrinitarians," we have enough real evidence to convince any unbiased, objective jury. (The fudge factors, of course, make it impossible to absolutely prove the Quadrinity is false. Most objective, well-informed juries would reject such reasoning anyway and discard the "fudge factors, but even if they didn't, the preponderance of real, concrete, proper evidence should prevail.)

We know that God's people never believed anything like it for thousands of years. The Jews who revered David never considered him God. The first Christians never considered him God. The Jews never believed in a multiple-oneness god of any kind (we can't even find that they were even aware of the similar three-in-one concept found in some early pagan religions - see the ISRAEL study). The Holy-Spirit-guided first Christians never believed in a multiple god of any kind (see the CREEDS study). Again, it appears that the very concept may have been unknown to them during the first century. This evidence from all the scriptures and all the writings of all the Jews and all the writings of very first Christians and all the writings about the Christians by their non-Christian contemporaries is overwhelming when compared to the type of evidence (no matter what the quantity of it) of the Quadrinitarians!

A proper analysis of the entire Bible shows there are alternate understandings to all the Quadrinitarian "evidence." These alternate understandings are more in line with the teaching of the entire Bible, Jewish and first Christian teachings, and Bible language, usage, and customs of the time and people involved. (Some of these alternate understandings do not appear to fit the scriptures quite as well - or be quite as pleasing/fascinating to the modern reader - but they, nevertheless, are not only possible interpretations but are, by far, the most probable interpretations.) There is no other way to disprove this doctrine which I just made up. Only adhering to proper evidence will assure proper understanding. Without it chaos, false doctrines, and division (hairetikos) triumph. Although we can't absolutely prove it to the satisfaction of those who accept "Quadrinity"-type evidence, David is still clearly not equally God.

It is exactly the same with the trinity doctrine.  Throughout the history of the Jews and Judaism (which included first century Christians) one person alone was known as God: Jehovah, the Father (see the ISRAEL study). God was never 'God the Son,' 'the Messiah,' 'the Only-begotten,' etc. The Father alone was called Jehovah, a singular personal name. Anyone known as 'son of God' or 'son of man' was never considered to be God!

* * * * * *

Like scriptural "proof" for the Godhood of Jesus and the Holy Spirit the above "evidence" for the Godhood of David is frequently based in factual statements. It's the interpretation of those statements (and the ignoring of other important facts that would help find the proper interpretation) that erects the biggest barrier to truth.

I have, like many trinitarians, taken partial truths (and carefully avoided telling certain very important facts) to construct a "Quadrinity" doctrine of my own. I have (in most cases) told the truth, but not the whole truth. And then I have built a false doctrine on the base of those partial truths (with the help of a few outright lies also).

If I had seen the above "evidence" before I had made a careful extensive study of such methods, I might have been very impressed. And if I had grown up with such a belief (or fallen in with those I liked and respected who had such a belief), I probably would have swallowed it all hook, line, and sinker.

But I now know how this kind of deception works and can explain how each one of these David = Christ and David = God "proofs" is either clearly wrong or at least incredibly unlikely when compared with all the other honest interpretations (the whole truth) coupled with the overwhelming evidence of the rest of scripture (and other early evidence) concerning David.

But even if a person didn't have the opportunity to check out these "proofs," he should still be secure in the truth of God's word. After all, even if I and others like me translated most of the Bibles available today favoring the "Quadrinity," sincere God-seekers could still find the truth. The overwhelming, clear, often-repeated statement of the rest of the Bible about exactly who the God of the universe is and exactly who the Messiah is and exactly who King David was would still overwhelm the false message given by the places where I had interpreted and translated the above scriptures as evidence for a "Quadrinity"!

Even in trinitarian translations we find many clear statements of who God is. For example, John 17:1, 3 in the trinitarian New English Bible (jointly produced by England's Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Anglican Churches) is translated "Father,.... This is eternal life: to know thee who alone art truly God."

1 Cor. 8:6 tells us: "for us there is just one God, the Father who is the source of all things" - AT (see TC study).

1 Cor. 11:3 says: "the head of every man is Christ, the head of a woman is her husband, and the head of Christ is God." - RSV.

Gal. 3:20 in the highly trinitarian The Amplified Bible (Zondervan) says: "There can be no mediator with just one person. Yet God is [only] one PERSON." - (Bracketed word, "[only]", is in The Amplified Bible.)

Eph 1:17 - "I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom" - NIV.

Eph 4:5, 6 - "There is but one ... God and Father of all" - AT.

And, of course, there are hundreds of scriptures saying Jehovah alone is God. (e.g. "I am Jehovah and there is no one else. I alone am God." - Is. 45:6, Living Bible. And, "Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea let them be put to shame and perish: That men may know that thou whose name alone is Jehovah, art the most high over all the earth." - Ps. 83:17-18, KJV, and "until they learn that you alone, Jehovah, are the God above all gods in supreme charge of all the earth." - Ps. 83:18, Living Bible. Jehovah is the Father (Is. 64:8). but not the Messiah ("Jehovah saith unto my Lord [the heavenly resurrected Jesus], Sit thou at my right hand" - Ps 110:1, ASV, cf. Acts 2:34-36. And Micah 5:4, speaking of the Christ, says "And he [Jesus] shall stand, and shall feed his flock in the strength of Jehovah, in the majesty of the name of Jehovah his God." - ASV.).

And the testimony of many ancient writers, historians, official records, etc. all testify to the truth that the faithful Jews never considered God to be more than one person, the Father, Jehovah. And, of course, they never considered Jehovah to be more than one person. Even unfaithful Israelites who sometimes honored more than one god never considered Jehovah to be more than one God! This is the testimony of all who wrote of the Jews and their God, including all ancient Jewish writers (including the inspired Bible writers) themselves! See the ISRAEL study.

This very same truth is witnessed to by the very first Christians (1st and second centuries) and those ancient writers who wrote about them! See the CREEDS study. The burden of proof of a "trinity" falls squarely on the shoulders of those who insist that it is the truth that must be believed in by all Christians. The fact that it has come to dominate all Christendom since the late 4th century (because of the power and insistence of the pagan Roman Emperors in 325 A.D. and 381 A.D. - see HIST study) and, is therefore promoted in nearly all churches, Bible translations, study books, etc., does not make it part of the true worship Christians must have. Jn 4:24; 17:3.

We should also expect that the God who inspired the Bible in the first place might even send someone to our door who could provide a Bible properly translated to show the essential truths (John 17:3) and someone who would be able and willing to expose and explain that truth to us.

Of course the final requirement for the seeker of truth is for him to allow the whole truth to be heard. God does not force his truth but wants those who are willing to seek it. - Proverbs 2:3-5.

(An RDB File)