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Archive for May 22nd, 2014

Paul1_001

  • Was God” (θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος; literal translation is “God was the Word”)
    • Recap of grammar background (predicate nominative, comes first before the subject nominative)
      • θεὸς (“God”).  The predicate is “God.”
      • ὁ λόγος appears in each of the three clauses (subject of this clause is “The Word”) is the subject (also in the nominative): the Word (3x).
      • Between the predicate nominative and the subject is a linking verb (“was”).
      • Predicate usually follows the linking verb.  You see that in the English translation.  In the Greek, the predicate comes first.  WHY?  Because…
      • There is special emphasis when the predicate nominative is first.  The fact that God is first in the sentence emphasizes that the Word is God in nature, essence, and attributes.
      • Also, since there is no definite article (“the”) before “God” it does show that the Word is not the same person as the Father, but the Word is equal in essenceattributes, quality, & nature to the Father.
      • Moreover, the structure of the third clause, “theos en ho logos” (θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος), demands that it is translated as “the Word was God.”
        • That is corroborated by the fact that “the Word” is preceded by an article; thereby making it a subject (that is why our English translations shows the Word being “the Word”…being translated first).  This prevents Sabellianism (Modalism) whereby God the Father is perceived to be the Word.  The Word (second person of the Trinity) is not the Father and the Father is not the Word.
        • Verses in the Book of John that describes Jesus Christ as being the same as God the Father in essence and nature, but different in person-hood (John 8:56-59 (cf. Exo. 3:13-14); 10:28-33; 14:6-11; 1 John 5:20; (also John 8:23; 3:12-13; 5:17-18).  This complements the third clause in John 1:1 (“The Word was God”). Jn 20:28, “Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
      • And ἦν (ēn), the imperfect ([stresses continual existence from the past time] of εἰμί), which is a linking verb, appears three times in verse 1.
        • In the beginning was the Word,
        • And the Word was with God,
        • And God was the Word [literal translation, but a good translation would be the other way around]
        • Saying that he was “a god” undermines the imperfect tense (“was”).  That fact that the tense of the verb is in the imperfect tense indicates that Jesus was not “a god” but was God who existed before time and the God that was never created.  The Word cannot be created because He is eternal.  That is why we believe in the pre-existence of Christ.
      • Secondly, λόγος is coordinated with God; thus it is distinguishable that the Son is a different person from the Father (see Heb. 1:8-9).  Three persons, but one God.
      • Although θεὸς is anarthrous (has no article), it does not mean one should translate θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος  (theos ēn ho logos) “the Word was a god,” as the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New World Translation suggests.  It is evident in many occasions that when John uses θεὸς without an article (John 1:6, 12, 13, 18), it is in reference to God the Father (thus, still definite). If the Jehovah’s Witness want to translate as “a god” whenever they see θεὸς as anarthrous, then they should translate those verses that has to do with God in John 1:6, 12, 13, 18 as they would with John 1:1.
      •  You could still have a definite predicate noun in this construction, placed before the verb, to be anarthrous (that is, to have no article) (D.A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 117).  Therefore, contextually, God is still definite.
        • Please see New World Translation on the following verses:
          • John 1:6, “There came a man who was sent as a representative of God; his name was John.”
          • John 1:12, “However, to all who did receive him, he gave authority to become God’s children.”
          • John 1:13, “And they were born, not from blood or from a fleshly will or from man’s will, but from God.”
          • John 1:18, “No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is at the Father’s side is the one who has explained Him.”
        • Please see the UBS (4th edition) Greek translation of the above verses and pay attention θεοῦ which is anarthrous (without a definite article before θεοῦ).  The JW is not consistent because they did not translate θεοῦ (God) as “a god” as they did with John 1:1 (“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.”).  They are applying bad translation principles.
          • John 1:6, Ἐγένετο ἄνθρωπος, ἀπεσταλμένος παρὰ θεοῦ, ὄνομα αὐτῷ Ἰωάννης·
          • John 1:12, ὅσοι δὲ ἔλαβον αὐτόν, ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς ἐξουσίαν τέκνα θεοῦ γενέσθαι, τοῖς πιστεύουσιν εἰς τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ,
          • John 1:13, οἳ οὐκ ἐξ αἱμάτων οὐδὲ ἐκ θελήματος σαρκὸς οὐδὲ ἐκ θελήματος ἀνδρὸς ἀλλʼ ἐκ θεοῦ ἐγεννήθησαν.
          • John 1:18, θεὸν οὐδεὶς ἑώρακεν πώποτε· μονογενὴς θεὸς ὁ ὢν εἰς τὸν κόλπον τοῦ πατρὸς ἐκεῖνος ἐξηγήσατο
        • Implications
          • Clearly you see the inconsistencies and contradictions of the New World Translation regarding the word θεὸς (Theos) when it is anarthrous.  Context can not be ignored  here.  Clearly John is referring to more than one person.  The other person who is the Word is not a god, but God.
          • In John 1:1, the Apostle John wants to distinguish the Father from the Son.  He is not separating them ontologically in the area of deity because we see the Trinity as one God (Deuteronomy 6:4; cf. 1 Corinthians 8:5-6).  But he is separating them ontologically in terms of persons (three different persons, but one God).
          • And clearly John is not saying that Jesus is a god because that would violate Scripture’s understanding of the role of God as creator and the One who is our only object of worship.  No one can be worshipped, but God alone.  We are monotheists (Trinity).
  • In other words, if Jesus was a god, then He cannot be worshipped nor can He be the agent of creation.  The main role of worship and creation is limited only to God.  No angel nor “a god” (which does not exist) can be worshipped or have the power to create.
    • Glory:
      • Isaiah 42:8, “I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images.”
    • Worship:
      • Acts 10:25-26, “When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, and fell at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter raised him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am just a man.”
      • Revelation 19:9-10, “Then he *said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he *said to me, “These are true words of God.” 10 Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he *said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
      • Revelation 5
      • Matthew 2:2; John 9:38; John 8:24; Luke 5:12 (‘worship’ is proskuneo)
      • Luke 5:8, But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!”
      • Hebrews 1:6, “And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, “AND LET ALL THE  ANGELS OF GOD WORSHIP HIM.”
    • Even in His incarnation, He did not cease to be God
      • Even though He emptied Himself  (Philippians 2:7; Mark 13:32) by becoming the suffering Servant, the bond-servant (slave); and choosing not to exercise some of His independent attributes, He was still fully God.
      • (Philippians 2:7; Mark 13:32) by becoming the suffering Servant, the bond-servant (slave); and choosing not to exercise some of His independent attributes, He was still fully God.
      • Amazing Grace!
  • Quote: Benjamin B. Warfield said:

‘And the Word was with God.’  The language is pregnant. It is not merely coexistence with God that is asserted, as of two beings standing side by side, united in local relation, or even in a common conception. What is suggested is an active relation of intercourse. The distinct personality of the Word is therefore not obscurely intimated. From all eternity the Word has been with God as a fellow: He who in the very beginning already ‘was,’ ‘was’ also in communion with God. Though He was thus in some sense a second along with God, He was nevertheless not a separate being from God: ‘And the Word was’ –still the eternal ‘was’ –‘God.’ In some sense distinguishable from God, He was in an equally true sense identical with God. There is but one eternal God; this eternal God, the Word is; in whatever sense we may distinguish Him from the God whom He is ‘with,’ He is yet not another than this God, but Himself is this God. The predicate ‘God’ occupies the position of emphasis in this great declaration, and is so placed in the sentence as to be thrown up in sharp contrast with the phrase ‘with God,’ as if to prevent inadequate inferences as to the nature of the Word being drawn even momentarily from that phrase. John would have us realize that what the Word was in eternity was not merely God’s coeternal fellow, but the eternal God’s self” (Benjamin Breckenridge Warfield, The Person and Work of Christ, 53).

  • Quote: James White said:

The Beloved Apostle walks a tight line here. By the simple ommission of the article (“the”, or in Greek, ho) before the word for God in the last phrase, John avoids teaching Sabellianism[1], while by placing the word where it is in the clause, he defeats another heresy, Arianism, which denies the true Deity of the Lord Jesus. A person who accepts the inspiration of the Scriptures can not help but be thrilled at this passage” (http://vintage.aomin.org/JOHN1_1.html).

  • Quote:  The bonafide Greek scholar AT Robertson says this about the last clause in John 1:1:

And the Word was God (kai theos en ho logos). By exact and careful language John denied Sabellianism by not saying ho theos en ho logos. That would mean that all of God was expressed in ho logos and the terms would be interchangeable, each having the article. The subject is made plain by the article (ho logos) and the predicate without it (theos) just as in John 4:24 pneuma ho theos can only mean “God is spirit,” not ‘spirit is God.’  So in 1 John 4:16 ho theos agape estin can only mean ‘God is love,’ not ‘love is God’ as a so-called Christian scientist would confusedly say. For the article with the predicate see Robertson, Grammar, pp. 767f. So in John 1:14 ho Logos sarx egeneto, ‘the Word became flesh,’ not ‘the flesh became Word.’  Luther argues that here John disposes of Arianism also because the Logos was eternally God, fellowship of the Father and Son, what Origen called the Eternal Generation of the Son (each necessary to the other). Thus in the Trinity we see personal fellowship on an equality” ( A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, vol. 5, 4-5).

  • Quote: F.F. Bruce on NWT:

It is nowhere more sadly true than in the acquisition of Greek that ‘a little learning is a dangerous thing.’ The uses of the Greek article, the functions of Greek prepositions, and the fine distinctions between Greek tenses are confidently expounded in public at times by men who find considerable difficulty in using these parts of speech accurately in their native tongue….Those people who emphasize that the true rendering of the last clause of John 1:1 is ‘the word was a god,’  prove nothing thereby save their ignorance of Greek grammar” ( F. F. Bruce, The Books and the Parchments, 60-61).

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