Revisiting John 1:1

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The fact that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man, also known as the hypostatic union, is both a tremendous mystery and a precious truth. It would be a tragedy for anyone to miss out on understanding what the Bible says about Jesus Christ—his person, nature, and work. Not only would they miss out on understanding some of the greatest, soul-satisfying truths there are, but they would be forced to believe in a lessor, different Jesus. This different Jesus is really no Jesus at all. If a person has faith in a different Jesus, then they have substituted the real savior for a cheap knockoff and substituted salvation for a prettier version of condemnation. The stakes could not be higher. The purpose of this post is to reclaim the significance of the deity of Jesus Christ from the clutches of bad translations that lead people to a different Jesus. One such translation brazenly attempts to posit their false Jesus right in the translation itself. This post will show that the New World Translation has incorrectly translated the phrase, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος, and will demonstrate that Jesus is fully God through a biblical-theological interpretation of the Scriptures as well as an appropriate grammatical understanding of John 1:1. This post will also examine the New World translator’s translation methodology to show that their translation of John 1:1 is not based upon the teaching of the Scriptures nor on grammatical considerations but on their own presupposition that Jesus cannot be fully God.

Defining the Translation Problem

For our purposes, the relevant translation problem in the New World Translation is found in John 1:1. The most recent edition of the New World Translation is available for free online, which allows us to access its contents easily. In addition, there is a free study version available that makes the Watchtower Society’s views on John 1:1 evident. The phrase that contains the translation problem in John 1:1 is, “and the word was a god” (John 1:1c, NWT). To justify this translation, the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Study Edition) indicates that “In the first and third occurrences, the·osʹ [sic] is preceded by the definite article in Greek; in the second occurrence, there is no article.”[1] What this means, according to the anonymous editor(s), is that “the absence of the article in this grammatical construction makes the·osʹ [sic] qualitative in meaning and describes a characteristic of ‘the Word.’”[2] For the Watchtower Society, then, the translation is justified based on a qualitative Greek construction which, to them, means that they need to supply the translation with an indefinite article. The resulting understanding is that Jesus is a lesser, created being who is still divine and through whom God the Father created all other created beings.[3] To clarify how Jesus can be a created being and still be divine, the anonymous commentator argues that Jesus’s divinity is similar to the shared divine nature that other believers experience. Referring to oneself as θεός doesn’t indicate absolute divinity as Jesus indicated in John 10:34. Furthermore, Jesus is never referred to as “Almighty God,” which means the Bible never designates him as an absolute deity.[4] 


Initial Response

The commentator correctly notes that the occurrence of θεός in John 1:1c is anarthrous. However, it is peculiar that the commentator suggested that the anarthrous θεός was qualitative. The reason for this is that the translation did not render θεός as qualitative but rather as indefinite. Either the commentator is not aware of what the qualitative construction is, or the commentator is attempting to hijack the terminology that evangelical scholars use and appropriate that terminology for their own use. The result of the latter would be an attempt to blur the lines between what evangelical Christians say and what Jehovah’s Witnesses say about John 1:1c. Either way, the mistake is clearly present. The fact that John 1:1c is qualitative is not in dispute. However, attempting to define the qualitative construction as an indefinite construction is a category error in Greek scholarship. Noted Greek scholar Daniel Wallace explains what the qualitative construction is and how it impacts the understanding of John 1:1c.

The idea of a qualitative θεός here is that the Word had all the attributes and qualities that “the God” (of 1:1b) had. In other words, he shared the essence of the Father, though they differed in person. The construction the evangelist chose to express this idea was the most concise way he could have stated that the Word was God and yet was distinct from the Father.[5]

The qualitative construction does not indicate that John 1:1c is indefinite. Nor does it indicate that Jesus Christ is a lesser created being. Grammatically, it points us to the orthodox, Trinitarian understanding of John 1:1c, that Jesus Christ is fully God yet distinct from the use of θεός in John 1:1b. The overall context of John’s Gospel also precludes the use of an indefinite construction here in John 1:1c. “According to Dixon’s Study, if θεὸς were indefinite in John 1:1, it would be the only anarthrous pre-verbal [predicate nominative] in John’s Gospel to be so.”[6] Based on both the grammar of John 1:1c and the fact that John more consistently uses the qualitative or definite constructions, the likelihood that John was attempting to indicate that Jesus Christ was “a god” is extremely low. The evidence just does not support the conclusion that John was using an indefinite construction.

One possible argument in favor of the Watchtower Society’s translation is the fact that there are Bohairic and Sahidic Coptic translations that translate John 1:1c with an indefinite article.[7] The Sahidic Coptic translation was created in the late second century.[8] The Bohairic translation, however, was very late. There is no evidence of a Bohairic translation before the ninth century.[9] As such, the Bohairic version does not have immediate relevance to the argument that the indefinite article should be there. All that the Bohairic translation indicates is that there was a late version that reflected a problem in Christology. It does not indicate to us that the earliest understanding of John 1:1c outside of the original Koine Greek text was an indefinite construction.

It is important to provide a response to the presence of the indefinite article in the Sahidic Coptic translation because this translation can be dated to the second century. First, while it is a good argument, the fact that the Sahidic translation has an indefinite article does not on its own necessitate that John 1:1c is indefinite. We are talking about a translation, after all. At the very best, the indefinite article in the Sahidic translation only proves that there were some very early on in church history who viewed John 1:1c as indefinite. However, is it really the case that the indefinite article of John 1:1c in the Coptic translation proves an indefinite construction? When we examine the phrase, ⲚⲈⲨⲚⲞⲨⲦⲈ ⲠⲈ ⲠϢⲀϪⲈ, in light of Coptic scholarship, we find that the indefinite article ⲞⲨ does not cause the construction to be indefinite in this particular instance.[10] Coptic Greek scholar Bentley Layton points out that the indefinite article in Coptic Greek “does not exactly correspond to English usage!”[11] One common way in which the Coptic indefinite article is used is when it refers to someone or something “unknown to the listener but known to the speaker, as at the beginning of a story.”[12] On this basis, the Coptic translators would simply be employing a literary device for how someone is introduced to the audience and quite possibly not asserting something ontological about the Word. Another reason for the use of the indefinite article is to differentiate between two instances of the same word. ⲚⲞⲨⲦⲈ (God) was used before with the definite article and communicated a particular idea that is different than that of ⲚⲞⲨⲦⲈ in John 1:1c, showing that the second usage is not used in the same way as the previous, definite instance.

How, then, is the ⲚⲞⲨⲦⲈ that is used in John 1:1c different from the definite form in John 1:1b? Bentley Layton explains that the indefinite article is “One that speaks of an entity by its quality but without explicitly naming (denoting) the particular entity to which it refers…. Descriptive predicates are [indefinite] or [definite] article phrases of either a gendered common noun or a genderless common noun. They are usually introduced by [ou-] or [hen-] (rarely by the definite article)...” (emphasis added).[13] Layton is saying here that the construction in the Coptic translation is known as a descriptive predicate, which indicates the quality of the noun. Another way of putting this is that the Sahidic translation uses the indefinite article qualitatively and communicates the exact same thing that the qualitative construction does in Koine Greek. By qualitative, we mean that it is a  “noun [which] places the stress on quality, nature, or essence.”[14] The focus of a qualitative noun is on describing the noun’s essence or nature. In the context of John 1:1, the nature of the Word is divine. However, the Scriptures do not conceive of numerous divine categories. The Word can only be said to be divine in nature if it is the nature of the one true God (1 John 5:20). Thus, not only does the Sahidic Coptic not give credibility to the Watchtower’s position, this second-century document undermines its credibility.

Inconsistencies in the Watchtower Society’s Translation Methodology

The Watchtower Society has further problems demonstrating that John 1:1c should be indefinite because they inconsistently apply their own translational methodology. They assert that because the first instance of θεός in John 1:1b is definite, then the second instance must be indefinite. It is this very methodology that they do not consistently employ when it comes to anarthrous instances of θεός. Robert Countess identifies numerous places where this inconsistency exists. After examining all the occurrences of either the articular θεός or the anarthrous θεός in the New World Translation, Countess concludes,

Throughout the New Testament the arthrous Θεός far exceeds the anarthrous, and of 282 occurrences of the anarthrous Θεός NWT sixteen times has either "a god, god, gods, or godly." The translators were, therefore only 6% faithful to their canons enunciated in the appendix to John 1:1—i.e. Θεός = a god and ό Θεός = God. On the other hand they were 94% unfaithful.[15]

One probable reason why the New World Translation does not consistently employ the Watch Tower Society’s methodology is the fact that John 1:1c is a crucial passage to mistranslate in order to undermine how it has been almost universally translated throughout church history.[16] Both the translation and the underlying theology of the passage have been traditionally understood to point to the Deity of Jesus Christ. In order to be consistent with their presupposition that Jesus cannot be fully God, the Watchtower Society would need John 1:1c to say something different. There is no grammatical reason for their translation. In fact, the grammar indicates the exact opposite of what they purport it to say. Countess’s survey shows that the grammar is not on the side of the Watchtower Society, and this is further evidenced by the fact that they do not use it consistently throughout the New Testament.

Countess goes on to detail how the inconsistency exists even in just the first eighteen verses of John’s first chapter. He states, “The Greek word for ‘God’ occurs eight times, in verses 1, 2, 6, 12, 13, 18, and has the article but two times, verses 1 and 2. Yet NWT reads ‘God’ six times. Of these, four are anarthrous and two arthrous. And in verse 18 NWT reads ‘the...god’ where there is no article in Greek. Such examples can be adduced in great abundance throughout NWT.”[17] 

A possible counterpoint to the above assertions from Countess is that Countess was not examining the latest 2013 edition of the New World Translation. His analysis could be criticized on that front and new a new study would need to be undertaken in order to see how much Countess’s analysis is still valid. At a cursory glance, it does not appear that the NWT updated any of these instances where Countess notes the discrepancies. In reality, the Watch Tower Society had plenty of opportunities to render Countess’ arguments null and void, applying their translational methodology consistently in their updated version.

Not only has the Watch Tower Society failed to be consistent in their own translational methodology when it comes to θεός but the issue is greatly compounded if we applied their methodology to other divine nouns. The Greek word κυρίος is often employed in the New Testament without a definite article in reference to God and to Jesus Christ specifically. A fact that is not lost on the Septuagint (LXX) translation of the Old Testament, which fairly consistently renders יְהוָה—which is anarthrous in the Hebrew Scriptures—as κυρίος without the article.

One such instance in the New Testament is important to highlight here. This instance is found in  Revelation 1:8. The reason for highlighting this occurrence of κυρίος is because the Watch Tower Society, as noted earlier, believes that Jesus Christ is never identified as Almighty God, let alone identified as Jehovah. Revelation 1:8 is about Jesus Christ and not only refers to Jesus as the Almighty but the Watch Tower Society translates κυρίος as “Jehovah” (Rev. 1:8, NWT). The term κυρίος here clearly refers to Jesus Christ as the context makes clear in Revelation 1:7 compared with Revelation 1:4-5. Jesus Christ is the one who is and who was, and who is coming. Revelation 1:8 indicates that this one is the one who is Jehovah, the Almighty. It cannot be stressed enough that the Watch Tower Translation committee acknowledges that κυρίος refers to Yahweh.[18] Κυρίος is, in fact, anarthrous here in Revelation 1:8. In no uncertain terms, the divine reference is anarthrous, and the context makes it clear that it refers to Jesus.

The full phrase of Revelation 1:8 is κυρίος ὁ θεός. This means that this is another instance in the New Testament where Jesus is referred to as θεός with the definite article.[19] The reason why it is important to highlight the full phrase is that the full phrase is a common way the LXX translates the Hebrew phrase יְהוָה אֶלֹהִים. This is true very early on in the Hebrew Scriptures, first appearing in Genesis 2:8. The meaning of κυρίος ὁ θεός is Yahweh Elohim for the New Testament writers. Every place in the LXX where יְהוָה אֶלֹהִים is translated as κυρίος ὁ θεός, κυρίος is anarthrous. In fact, every occurrence of יְהוָה in the Masoretic Text is also anarthrous. This means that the most important word for the Watch Tower Society, the word that their religion is based on, i.e. the “Jehovah’s Witnesses,” יְהוָה, never has a definite article with it.[20] Furthermore, the very Greek phrase that was used to translate יְהוָה אֶלֹהִים in the Old Testament, κυρίος ὁ θεός, is applied to Jesus Christ in the New Testament. And where it is applied to Jesus Christ in the New Testament, such as in Revelation 1:8, it explicitly calls Jesus the Almighty God.

The Watch Tower Society is unable to demonstrate from the grammar or from their own translational methodology that Jesus Christ is a lesser, created being through whom the Father created all other things. Appeals to the Sahidic translation also fall short because the indefinite article in the Coptic does not indicate an indefinite translation. Having established this, it is important to turn our attention to other places in Scripture that highlight the full deity of Jesus Christ. Garret Kenney provides a helpful conclusion to this section when he says, “One is left with a qualitative understanding, suggesting that the Father and the Son share the same divine nature.”[21] 

Biblical-Theological Proofs for the Full Deity of Jesus

It is not possible in the present post to articulate a full biblical-theology of the deity of Christ. For the purposes of this post, we will relegate our biblical-theological treatment to John 1:1 and trace those themes throughout Scripture, recognizing that there are many instances that may not be included in this examination. Confining our study to John 1:1 is also pertinent, for doing so will help to inform our rebuttal of the Watch Tower Society’s claims on John 1:1.

Many commentators have noticed that the phrase “in the beginning” in John 1:1a draws the reader’s attention back to Genesis.[22] The Watch Tower Society also sees this as a reference to creation, however, they indicate that this means that the Word, Jesus, was the first act of creation.[23] This interpretation, however, is not supported by John 1:1. Archibald Robinson explains, “Three times in this sentence John uses this imperfect of εἰμι [eimi] ‘to be’ which conveys no idea of origin for God or for the Logos, simply continuous existence.”[24] The difficulty for the Watch Tower Society is that the Word was there at the beginning. We have already established that the Word is eternal by virtue of the Word being fully God. Thus, the beginning that John has in mind is not the beginning of the creation of the Logos but of the timeframe of creation when the Logos was actively creating (Heb. 1:10). It is significant that in the New Testament the Word is described as the Creator and as continually existing at the time of creation as well as that God was speaking during the same timeframe. Augustine puts it quite simply, “If ‘He spoke and they were made,’ it was by the Word that they were made.”[25] Contrary to the Watch Tower Society’s view, the existence of the Logos at creation proves that the Logos was not created and was, in fact, the one actively creating. Again, Robinson comments, “One recalls in the Genesis account how God spoke and it was done. The full power of creative activity is thus claimed for Jesus on par with the Father.”[26] Clearly, John 1:1a reminds us of Genesis 1:1 and establishes the deity of the Word by showing us that the Word was in the beginning. Combined with John 1:3, John 1:1 does not indicate that the Word was creating all other created things but was creating everything since he is the creator.

John 1:1b is also rooted in the Old Testament. Though the terminology might not be immediately obvious, the fact that the Word was with God is a concept that has clear Old Testament support. The Greek phrase, πρὸς τὸν θεόν, is a very common way of describing the relationship between God’s earthly representative and God Himself. This type of relationship is unique when compared to the way God related to others. A clear example of this is found in Exodus 24:2 καὶ ἐγγιεῖ Μωυσῆς μόνος πρὸς τὸν θεόν.”[27] This passage states that Moses alone was to draw near to God. The idea was that Moses stood in a special relationship with God over and against the rest of Israel. John 1:1b shows that the Word stands in a special relationship to God, but the Word does so, having already been existing in the beginning. The special type of relationship that the Word has with God is unique from the relationship that we, as the people and creatures of God, have with him.

We have dealt extensively with John 1:1c in the previous sections, however, the fact that the Word is identified with God also shares a rich pedigree with the Old Testament. Though many have thought that the word Λογός is derived from pagan sources,[28] John is actually drawing from the Old Testament. What John has in mind is not the λογός of Greek philosophy or Gnosticism but the דָבָר־יְהוָה of the Old Testament. There are too many passages of Scripture that are outside the scope of this post to examine them all; however, it is appropriate to note those passages where the terminology is used and where the terminology connects the Word with the Lord.

The first clearest instance which דָבָר appears to be personified and identified with the Lord is Psalm 33:4. It states, “For the word of the Lord is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness” (Psalm 33:4, ESV). It might be tempting to see this passage as referring to the Lord himself and that all his work is faithfully done. However, the subject is the word, ὁ λόγος τοῦ κυρίου. This translates דְּבַר־יְהוָ֑ה, where the pronominal suffix on מַ֝עֲשֵׂ֗הוּ agrees with דְּבַר in person, gender, and number. It’s possible that the pronoun refers to the Lord, but the text is ambiguous enough that it could point to the “word.” Furthermore, Psalm 33:6 explicitly indicates that all of creation was made, בִּדְבַ֣ר יְ֭הוָה, by the Word of the Lord. Therefore, it is possible to identify the Word personified by the use of the pronoun “his,” indicating that he is responsible for creating heaven and all the hosts in it. The fact that he creates the entire host of heaven also precludes Jesus from being created since Jesus is the word who created all these heavenly beings.

Not only do we find דָבַר־יְהוָה identified as a person who is recognized as the Creator

Himself, we also see the specific activities of the Psalmists directed toward the Word. The Word of the Lord is singled out and identified as the object of praise in Psalm 56:10.

The next instances of the personification of the λογός in the Old Testament can be found in the prophets. Hosea 1:2 has a close parallel with John 1:1. “Ἀρχὴ λόγου κυρίου πρὸς Ωσηε” (Hosea 1:2 LXX1) or literally, “in the beginning the Word of the Lord was with Hosea.” The text then continues to indicate that the Lord himself spoke to Hosea. Micah 1:1 introduces a common expression in the prophets where the word of the Lord can be said to “come to” the prophet. This type of language is peculiar, considering the fact that the Old Testament also describes God speaking to His people. When God wanted Moses to go to Pharaoh, he spoke to Moses (Ex. 4:28; 20:1). Exodus typically does not describe the word of the Lord coming to Moses but rather God speaking to Moses (Ex. 33:17, 34:27). This is because Moses was God’s direct representative and functioned the way the word of the Lord functioned for the prophets. God told Moses that He would make Moses אֶלֹהִים to Pharoah (Ex. 7:1). In this way, God speaks to Moses, but in the case of the prophets, the mediator between them and God is the word of the Lord, who is identified with the Lord Himself. Moses is given a special and unique position with the Lord. God proclaimed that He would speak with Moses “face to face” (Num. 12:8). It is in this way that Moses more specifically typifies Jesus Christ. The difference between Christ and Moses is not that Jesus Christ occupies a unique relationship with the Father, but that Jesus Christ is uniquely אֶלֹהִים to the people of God in that Jesus is God.

In other places in the Old Testament, we see a similar phenomenon happening with the messenger or the angel of the Lord. In many passages of the Old Testament, the angel of the Lord is clearly identified as such, clearly is the speaker in such contexts, and in the texts where he appears and speaks, the text then switches from the angel of the Lord as the speaker to the Lord himself. The angel of the Lord is not a personification of the Lord in the sense that the word of the Lord is, but the main point of this excursus should be lost. The Old Testament furnishes us with evidence of places where a particular figure or concept is identified and then subsequently, apparently, identified with the Lord himself or at least the Lord’s divine activity.

The word of the Lord in the Old Testament is further personified in the way in which the word comes to prophets. As mentioned before, in the case of Moses, the word is not simply spoken to the prophets. There are numerous instances in the Old Testament where the Word is said to “come” to the prophets and is speaking to them. We lack the capacity to present every passage where the phrase “the word of the Lord came to…” is used, but several instances will suffice to demonstrate that this formula personifies the word and identifies the word with the Lord.

Zephaniah 1:1 is one such instance where the word is personal but also identified with the Lord. This verse states that the word of the Lord came to Zephaniah. Later, in verse 5, it's actually the word of the Lord that is identified as the antagonist against the nation of the Cherethites. Haggai 1:12 is also useful for identifying that after the message of the Lord is communicated through the prophet, it becomes the “words” of the prophet. In other words, when communicated through the prophet, the message of the Lord takes on the plural form. This is important to note because the introductory phrase “the word of the Lord” is singular. Clearly, there is more than just one word that the Lord communicates. The singular usage helps to convey the fact that the word is a term that is often used to personify the message of the Lord and give a clear indication of the Old Testament background for Christ as the word of the Lord, the λογός when the context makes it clear and when the singular form is used.

Zechariah 12:1 describes the contents of this chapter as not simply the oracle of the Lord but the oracle of the word of the Lord. The following phrase is taken up as a declaration of the Lord Himself. This is also true in Malachi 1:1, which introduces the message of the book of Malachi as the oracle. The message of Malachi is the oracle, not directly of the Lord, but the oracle of the word of the Lord, highlighting the fact that the term דְבַר is used in ways more conducive to personification than not. And not just simply personification, but personification to the extent that the דְבַר is more so identified as an actual person who can also be identified with the Lord himself.

Perhaps no clearer expression of the personification of the Word of the Lord and the identification of the Word with the Lord can be found than in Isaiah 2:1. Here, the Word is not described as coming to Isaiah, but rather the Word is someone who Isaiah saw. There is a discrepancy between the Hebrew text and the Septuagint here. The Septuagint apparently tried to smooth out the reading by replacing חזה (to see) with γίνομαι (be, become, happen). Γίνομαι is the word that is normally employed to say that the “word of the Lord came.” It is clear that the LXX translators thought that the idea of Isaiah seeing a word that is not common to the prophetic formula, sounded peculiar. Such smoothing over attempts reflects the fact that the translators saw something that is out of the ordinary and sought to correct it to what readers of the Old Testament were more accustomed to. חזה does contain the semantic domain that accounts for invisible words. Isaiah as a prophet after Moses would have been in the typical position: the Word should have “come to him.” If the text intended to communicate the fact that the Isaiah experienced the word with his sense, the sense of hearing would be more appropriate if the word was an ordinary message communicated orally. At any rate, it is clear that the LXX missed the significance of the word “saw” in this context.[29] Isaiah saw the Word because the Word is a person. This harmonizes nicely with what Isaiah says in Isaiah 6 and the fact that John explicitly identifies the person that Isaiah saw on the throne as Jesus Christ, even though the Isaiah 6 reference does not identify him explicitly any more than the word דָּבָר does (John 12:41). Isaiah most likely forms the backdrop of much of what John understands about the deity of Christ. This is not surprising, considering John uses Isaiah 17.9 % of the time, which is more than any other Old Testament book with the exception of the Psalms.[30] 

There are several scholars who also recognize the significance of the phrase, “the word of the Lord” in the Old Testament. James R. White indicates, “The ‘Word of the Lord’ came to have deep significance to the Jewish people… Jewish theologians and thinkers would see in such phrases as ‘word of the Lord’ and in the ‘wisdom of God’ references to a personal rather than an abstract concept.”[31] William Smith and Henry Wace agree, “There are several passages in the Old Testament where the Word of God, or the Word of the Lord, seems almost represented as a person….  In the centuries immediately succeeding the Advent, the Israelites were led to personify this Word as they personified the Wisdom of God.”[32] This interpretation is certainly not a novel one as it can be found as early as Origen, who states,

We must enquire how this Word came to Hosea, and how it came also to Isaiah the son of Amos, and again to Jeremiah concerning the drought; the comparison may enable us to find out how the Word was with God. The generality will simply look at what the prophets said, as if that were the Word of the Lord or the Word, that came to them. May it not be, however, that as we say that this person comes to that, so the Son, the Word, of whom we are now theologizing, came to Hosea, sent to him by the Father.[33]   

In his work Compendium of Christian Theology, William Pope also picks up on the significance of the fact that the word of the Lord is personified in the Old Testament and is also equated with the Lord. He states, “Reserving the fuller treatment of this for its own place, we need only to indicate that the future Christ is the Lord’s Anointed, or Messiah; (Ps. 2:2) the Minister of God: Behold My Servant, whom I uphold. (Isa. 42:1) The Word of the Lord (1 Sam. 3:21) in Samuel’s days is the eternal Wisdom, (Prov. 8:30, 31) God Himself and yet distinct.”[34]

John 1:1c, therefore, enjoys a rich background in the Old Testament. John communicated far more than simply that Jesus Christ is the Word who is also God. John roots his understanding in the Old Testament, particularly in Isaiah. All three phrases in John 1:1 have their own embedded Biblical Theology, the depths of which can certainly be mined in greater detail than they have been here.

Concluding Remarks

In this post, we examined the claims of the Watch Tower Society concerning the translation of John 1:1. Not only did their claims fall short of an accurate understanding of both the Koine Greek text and the Coptic Greek, but their translational methodology did not meet any reasonable standard of consistency. John 1:1 affirms the full deity of Jesus Christ. This was demonstrated from the grammar as well as from a careful look at the Biblical Theological background for the theology that John presented. The reason for looking at these issues has to do with carefully ascertaining whether we have the correct Jesus. Having the right Jesus is crucial to maintaining the integrity of the message of the Gospel and to ensure that we preach the right message unto salvation.


[1] Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of New York, New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Study Edition) (Matthew Through Acts), 326nC.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament 

(Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 269.

[6] Ibid., 267.

[7] New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Study Edition), 326nC

[8] J. Warren Wells, Sahidica: The New Testament according to the Sahidic Coptic Text (Logos Bible

Software, 2006).

[9]  Bart D. Ehrman and Michael W. Holmes, The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research: Essays on the Status Quaestionis (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1995), 136.

[10] The indefinite article contracts from ⲞⲨ to simply Ⲩ after an “e” class or “a” class vowel.

[11] Bently Layton, Coptic in 20 Lessons, 16

[12] Ibid., 15

[13] Bently Layton, A Coptic Grammar, 227  

[14] Wallace, 244.


[16] Ibid., 154.

[17] Ibid. 160.

[18] New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures: Study Edition, 704.

[19] C.f. John 20:28.

[20] These statistics are based on searches in both Logos Bible Software and Accordance Bible Software.

[21] Kenney, John 1:1 as Prooftext Trinitarian or Unitarian?, 23.

[22] George R. Beasley-Murray, John, vol. 36 of Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1999), 10.

[23] New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures: Study Edition., 326nC

[24] A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1933), Jn 1:1.

[25] Augustine of Hippo, “Lectures or Tractates on the Gospel according to St. John,” in St. Augustin:

Homilies on the Gospel of John, Homilies on the First Epistle of John, Soliloquies, ed. Philip Schaff, trans. John Gibb and James Innes, vol. 7 of A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, First Series (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1888), 8.

[26] Robinson, The Divinity of Christ In the Gospel of John, 40.

[27] John William Wevers, ed., Exodus, vol. II, 1 of Vetus Testamentum Graecum. Auctoritate Academiae Scientiarum Gottingensis Editum (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1991), Ex 24:2.

[28] William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, Exposition of the Gospel According to John, vol. 1 of New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953–2001), 68–69.

[29] Richard R. Ottley, ed., The Book of Isaiah according to the Septuagint (Codex Alexandrinus) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1906), 111.

[30] He equally cites Psalms 17.9 % percent of the time. Both books are by for more cited/alluded to/summarized in John more than any other book of the Old Testament. The closest third contender is Exodus coming in at only 6.3% usage.

[31] James R. White, The Forgotten Trinity (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 1998), 50.

[32]  Charles Anthony Swainson, “Logos, the Word,” A Dictionary of Christian Biography, Literature, Sects and Doctrines (London: John Murray, 1877–1887) 735.

[33] Origen, “Origen’s Commentary on the Gospel of John,” in The Gospel of Peter, the Diatessaron of Tatian, the Apocalypse of Peter, the Visio Pauli, the Apocalypses of the Virgil and Sedrach, the Testament of Abraham, the Acts of Xanthippe and Polyxena, the Narrative of Zosimus, the Apology of Aristides, the Epistles of Clement (Complete Text), Origen’s Commentary on John, Books I-X, and Commentary on Matthew, Books I, II, and X-XIV, ed. and trans. Allan Menzies, vol. 9 of The Ante-Nicene Fathers (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1897), 322.

[34] William Burt Pope, A Compendium of Christian Theology: Being Analytical Outlines of a Course of Theological Study, Biblical, Dogmatic, Historical, Volumes 1-3 (London: Beveridge and Co., 1879), 125.


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