A Reaction to the Article
"John 1:1c - English translation: 'The Word was a god.' "


Prologue

The article to which I am responding came to me without reference information. I do not know who the author is. Repeatedly calling it "the article" is awkward and confusing, especially since I am dealing with Greek and English articles. To help clarity and understanding I choose to call it the "John Prologue Article" which this paper refers to simply as "JPA." It is customary to refer to the author of an article when quoting. Without author information I also use "JPA" to refer to the author. I do not know the gender of the author. Calling the author "it" is confusing, so I picked a gender: female. For example, I might say something like, "JPA says Origen supports her view. In doing so she misunderstands Origen."

JPA was sent to me as coming from a Jehovah's Witness group, so I at times make reference to the Witnesses in my response.

The New Testament was written in a dialect of Greek called "Koine." I use the terms "Greek" and "Koine" to refer to the language of the New Testament.

When writing Greek I use Unicode Greek (using the Microsoft Windows language facility). This avoids having to refer to a specific font. The Microsoft Unicode Greek is oriented toward modern Greek so it is not easy to produce the Koine accents and breathing marks. For this reason they are not included. I believe this is not a problem since most of the Koine is referenced. The proper accenting and breathing of unreferenced Koine should obvious to those who know enough to care.

JPA's level of scholarship swings wildly. One the one hand she writes about subjects normally only discussed in advanced language and seminary classes. On the other hand she talks as if instructing young believers. To answer all of JPA's arguments I must refer to somewhat advanced Greek and linguistic concepts. I understand that non-seminarians and non-Greek scholars may also be interested. With this in mind I try to explain grammatical concepts as much as possible. I also give some sort of English for every Greek term I use.

English Scripture references are taken from the New International Version. Greek searches were done using BibleWorks software. Greek text used in this paper is from BibleWorks and the Unbound Bible (unbound.biola.edu). In both cases I believe it is the same or very close to the current United Bible Societies text.

Overview

Rules are often good, but we also often create too many rules. Our life is more than rules. I am married. One of the "rules" of marriage is that I'm faithful to my wife. I make it a rule to wear my ring as much as possible. I provide for myself and my family. These are all good things, but they are not the entire marriage. It is not just a business partnership. It's a relationship. My wife doesn't want me to just follow the rules. She wants to be involved in my life. And I want to be in hers.

Likewise with my (now grown) children. I want them to follow my rules, to be morally upright and to treat their mother and myself well. But that's not what I really want. I want a relationship. To talk and learn how they are feeling. To share my feelings.

God wants the same of us. He loves us. He wants a relationship with us. It's actually mind-blowing -- the God of Creation wants to know us and let us know him. Like any good relationship there are rules. But the rules are not the relationship. I have heard it said that religion is our attempt to keep God at arm's length. We go to church and pay our tithe so God will stay off our back for another week. If we're really spiritual we attend church many times a week and even work for the church so God will be happy with our efforts. All the time what God really wants is to get to know us and us to know him. For us to read his word, not to prove a theological point, but to understand him as a person. He would have us pray, not as a religious rite or as a way to get stuff done, but to share ourselves with him.

Why do I say this and why do I bring it up here? I believe we religious people often forget this. It is relevant here because language is like this. It is more than just a bunch of rules. We cannot just memorize 500 rules and know Greek (or any other language). I have been a part of a group that translates Bibles around the world, trying to reach people who speak the thousands of unwritten languages. I've been told that they regularly get letters offering to help. The offer is often something like "If you'll just send me a dictionary for a language, I can help translate." Such letters show a tremendous misunderstanding. Part of it is that no dictionary exists for unwritten languages. However, the bigger mis-comprehension is that translation is as simple as matching words between languages. The words don't have a one-to-one match. It's just as simplistic to expect some sort of one-to-one grammatical match, or to be able to reduce the grammar of a language to simple rules.

I speak English. I know what to say not because I studied and know all the rules (although I have done a lot of that). I know what to say because I've spoken it for the better part of 50 years. I know what sounds right and what doesn't. I can tell when someone is not a native speaker of English. Even if they have a very good command of the language, they get little things wrong. Some of those things I can explain the rule for. Some I cannot.

One of the hardest things for non-native speakers of English to understand is the use of the article, especially the definite article. I can hear when they get it wrong. I cannot provide a rule for them in most cases. They just need to hear it enough and learn when to use the article and when not. There are no simple rules. As far as I know, there are no rules that fully cover the usage of articles in the English language.

None of us is a native speaker of Koine Greek. We make rules to help us learn and understand what the language is saying. But we should be careful with the rules. Those of us who have studied realize that the Greek article, like the English article, is very hard to understand. We need to read lots of Greek to get a feel for it. We need to do a lot of study, to look at a lot of evidence.

I wrote many words above just to make this point, but I believe it was worth it. It's not that I know the right rules and Jehovah's Witnesses (or any other group) have the wrong rules. Neither is the opposite true. What is true is that we need to approach the use of the language scientifically. Gather lots of evidence. Make hypotheses. Change our mind when proved wrong. Be open to new ways of thinking. With this mindset we can all slowly arrive at the truth, rather than just argue to prove our preconceived theology.

Arguments Presented By JPA.

Methodology

JPA raises a couple of good points. However the methods she uses are often bad. If, as I write above, our goal is to come to a mutual understanding of the truth, we must use honest scholarship. We cannot use false methods and hope to make progress. Here are the methodological problems I see in JPA.
  1. It makes statements with no support for them.
  2. It attributes ideas to people without adequate references.
  3. It uses references to support ideas that the text referenced to disagrees with.
  4. It promotes using English translations to do Greek grammatical analysis.

Problems 1-3 deal with fair arguing practices. I point out the specifics of these flaws when I comment on JPA's argument below.

Problem 4 is a problem in how to study and analyze Greek. It seems to be included in JPA as a way to show the reader how to learn about Greek, rather than as part of the logical structure of the argument. For this reason I do not address it in my comments on the argument. I comment here.

Looking at English translations can be helpful. After all, most translations were done by smart people who knew Greek. We should pay attention to what they think. However, that should not be the primary way of looking at Greek. In fact, such an approach has a serious problem. Instead of learning Greek as Greek, the tendency is to learn how to put Greek into English. The two are not the same. We are not trying to learn translation rules (as I talk about above), we are trying to learn how a Greek writer expresses what she means. We must do our analysis in Greek to really learn what the Greek is saying.

Trinitarianism

JPA often uses "trinitarian" and related terms. Strictly speaking the doctrine of the trinity is outside of the scope of this paper and JPA. The doctrine of the trinity asserts that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are all God. John 1:1 only speaks to the divinity of the Son. That said, I accept JPA's usage of "trinitarian." as one who believe Jesus is God. Jesus' divinity is much more discussed than that of the Holy Spirit. For example, Nettelhorst and McWilliams write an excellent paper on the doctrine of the Trinity (http://www.theology.edu/apologetics/trinity.htm). It spends the majority of its time discussing Jesus' divinity and answering critics' (especially Jehovah's Witnesses) objections.

The Argument

I found JPA confusing, especially with the comments about how to study using English translations interspersed among the arguments. For this reason I restate JPA's arguments more clearly, ignoring the explanations of how to study. This also provides a clear statement of what I understand JPA to say and allows others to point out my flaws and misunderstandings of JPA. JPA divides much of her paper into sections using capital letter A through S. However, she often uses multiple sections for a single argument and she adds arguments that are not under any lettered section. It reforming JPA's arguments I tried, where possible, to link my points to the lettered sections of JPA.

  1. (JPA A-C) θεος (god) used "alone" in the nominative singular always means "a god." Alone means without the following:
    • added phrases (usually prepositional in meaning, like "god of israel,"  "the god of me," or "god to you"),
    • numerals ("one God"),
    • appositives,
    • abstract nouns,
    • personal names, etc.
  2. (D,E,G,H,J-N) To parallel John 1:1 requires "a single non-abstract, unmodified, singular predicate noun without a definite article coming before the verb and a single non-abstract, unmodified noun (or pronoun) used as a subject coming after the verb." All such constructions in John's Gospel show an indefinite meaning. These are the only such constructions.
    • John 4:19 - indefinite ("a prophet") - all Bibles.
    • John 8:48 - indefinite ("a Samaritan") - all Bibles.
    • John 18:37 (a) - indefinite ("a king") - all Bibles.
    • John 18:37 (b) - indefinite ("a king") - Received Text only
  3. (F) Dana and Mantey (p. 148) gives a parallel to John 1:1 which translates "the place was a market."
  4. (I) Various grammar books agree that the noun must be without additional phases.
    • A.T. Robertson, pp. 780-781.
    • Moule, p. 175
    • Dana and Mantey, p. 137
  5. (O,P) Many early Christians support this reading and call other holy people "gods."
    • Athanasius
    • Augustine
    • Origen ("Origen's Commentary on John," Book I, ch. 42 - Bk II, ch.3.)
  6. (Q,R) Philo views "logos" as "the Son of God," "with God" and "a god." but not the true God.
  7. (S) In John 17:1,3 Jesus says ""Father,.... This is eternal life: to know thee who alone art truly God..."
  8. Compare the usage of θεος (god) with the usage of ανθρωπος (man).
  9. Trinitarians have invented Colwell's Rule and the rule that when the predicate nominative comes before the verb it is qualitative. If these rules truly hold ανθρωπος in the these constructions should not be translated "a man."

Comments and Answers to The Argument

1. (JPA A-C) θεος (god) used "alone" in the nominative singular always means "a god."

English has a definite and indefinite article. Greek has only one article. It is usually thought of as a definite article but this is not strictly true. As with any language the Greek article must be understood in the context of the Greek language (see, for example, Mounce, Basics of Biblical Greek, Chapter 6). The Greek word θεος (god) in John 1:1c does not have the article. The technical term for this is anarthrous. All of JPA's grammatical argument are centered around this fact.

Nominative is a Greek case normally used as a subject. It can also be used as a predicate with the "to be" verb (copula) and some similar verbs. This is called a predicate nominative, often abbreviated PN (Basics of Biblical Greek, Chapters 6 and 8). Θεος (god) in John 1:1c is a PN.

JPA is saying that whenever θεος (god) is in the nominative case, is singular and does not have and article ("alone") it always means "a god." Her statement is made without support. It is also wrong. I searched for all anarthrous and unmodified uses of θεος (god) in the nominative singular. The only such use I found in the Gospel of John is in John 1:1c. That is not much of a data set! Looking at the rest of the NT I found:
  • 2 Corinthians 5:19 οτι θεος ην εν Χριστω -- "that God was in Christ..."
  • Galatians 6:7 θεος ου μυκτηριζεται -- "God cannot be mocked.
  • Philippians 2:13 θεος γαρ εστιν ο ενεργων -- "For it is God who works..."
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:5 θεος μαρτυς -- "God is witness"
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:4 οτι εστιν θεος -- literally "that I am God." In context it is translated "proclaiming himself to be God."
  • Hebrews 3:4 ο δε παντα κατασκευασας θεος -- "God is the builder of everything"

I never see it translated "a god." 2 Thessalonians 2:4 is interesting because it is very similar to John 1:1. At first glance it might seem possible to translate it as "a god." However, the passage is talking about the "man of lawlessness" who sets himself above God. This could only mean he thinks he is God, not a god.

2. (D,E,G,H,J-N) To parallel John 1:1 requires "a single non-abstract, unmodified, singular predicate noun without a definite article coming before the verb and a single non-abstract, unmodified noun (or pronoun) used as a subject coming after the verb." All such constructions in John's Gospel show an indefinite meaning.

Here JPA claims that many restrictions are necessary for another passage to parallel John 1:1c. The problem is that it is not at all clear why these particular restrictions are necessary. It is also not clear why there should not be others.

The proper study of grammar is very scientific. Linguists look at a lot of passage and try to see trends. When they think they see a trend they make a hypothesis. Then they try to exhaustively look at all the relevant and clear passages to see if their hypothesis is correct. If it is it can used as a rule to understand passages which are not as clear.

A major source of disagreement is that grammarians are only human and it is difficult to find all the relevant passages. Modern computer aids have helped somewhat in this. Another problem is that it is not always clear exactly what is important.

Therefore, when JPA lists these exact restrictions are necessary she must provide plenty of textual evidence to support her claim. She provides none. She does provide passages that match her restrictions, but that does not prove her initial claim that those are the only passages that are relevant.

We could ask "Why only the Gospel of John?" Yes, it is best to look at the same writing when doing comparative analysis. However, when data is limited it is good to look at other writings by the same author, the rest of the New Testament and at times non-biblical Koine. It is clear from JPA's three or four examples that the data is very limited and so we would want to look at other Koine examples. Another question might be, "Why does the subject need to be a non-abstract, unmodified noun (or pronoun)?" We would need passages show why this conditions makes a difference. We could even ask, "Why not restrict the subject to having the article?" The subject of John 1:1c has the article. Why is it OK to ignore this but make so many other restrictions?

JPA also mentions a difference between types of words. She says "god" falls into the same category as "word" and "house." For each word in her first category you can make them plural and use articles ("a god, the God, gods, a word, the word, words, a house, the house, houses") She then says other words, like "pretty," "holy" and "true" are not like that. At this point JPA is very unclear and to me shows a complete lack of grammar knowledge. All the words in her first category are nouns. All the words in her second are adjectives. Nouns and adjectives do not compare -- they fulfill different grammatical functions. Furthermore even JPA's basic statement is wrong. There are times in English when we can use an article with an adjective. One of my favorite Clint Eastwood movies is titled "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly." If I use JPA's words I would say "The Pretty, the Holy and the True" (but it would be a very different movie!). This usage treats an adjective as a noun -- the noun is only known from context (I've seen the movie so I know the title refers to a good man, a bad man and an ugly man. Without knowing the context of the title, which is the movie it could refer to women, or children, or cats or even computer programs.). In English using adjectives as if they are nouns is rare. In Greek it happens often. All first year Greek students should learn this (for example, Basics of Biblical Greek, Chapter 9, especially pp. 64-66).

One of JPA's conditions is that the nouns be non-abstract, so perhaps she was trying to distinguish concrete nouns (house, cat, dog) from abstract nouns (beauty, holiness and truth). The trouble with doing this is that such distinctions sometimes break down. Λογος (word) in Greek can be both abstract and concrete. "God" in both English and Greek can be both as well. Worse, "a god" and "God" have a different meaning as I explain under Argument 8 below.

JPA uses the phase "indefinite meaning." I want to clarify what she is saying. When a noun is used it can have three types of meaning: indefinite, definite and qualitative. When a noun is used indefinitely it refer to one member of a class (Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, p. 244) "A man spoke to an assembly."  means some male member of the human race spoke to some assembly. Nouns used definitely lay the stress on individual identity (Wallace, p. 245). "President Bush spoke to Congress." identifies both the man and the assembly. Nouns used qualitatively stress quality, nature or essence (Wallace, p. 244). "God is love." stresses that God has the quality of love. JPA's "indefinite meaning" statement takes John 1:1c to mean that the Word (λογος) is just a member of a class of gods. Some trinitarians believe θεος (god) is definite -- the word is the one true God. Some trinitarians, myself included, believe θεος (god) in John 1:1c is qualitative -- the Word has the essence of God. Every quality true of God is also true of the Word.

Notice that the core of the disagreement over John 1:1c is the meaning of the passage, not the translation. The translation often closely follows from the meaning, but the two are not identical. I believe John 1:1c is qualitative. It could be translated "the Word was divine." This can be confusing, especially with the modern use of divine to refer to something really good ("That chocolate was simply divine.") Saying "the Word has all the essence and qualities of God" is wordy and strays from the Greek. Simple saying "the Word was God" does not distinguish from the definite meaning. You can see that one meaning can does not dictate a single translation. (I prefer the traditional "the Word was God" and don't mind explaining the subtleties if someone is really interested.

JPA provides three sample verses that meet her restrictions. (They could be called four examples because JPA cites two passages from John 18:37.) JPA's restriction statement correctly deals with the meaning of the passage. However, when she deals with her examples all she does is use translations to prove her point. Let's examine each JPA example verse for its meaning.
  • John 4:19 προφητης ει συ "You are a prophet." Wallace calls this the "most likely candidate" for an indefinite, pre-verbal predicate nominative (PN). This probably is indefinite as JPA asserts.
  • John 8:48 Σαμαριτης ει συ "You are a Samaritan" This could be indefinite but is more probably qualitative. The Jews were focused on showing Jesus was evil. They would be looking at the attributes of a Samaritan, not whether Jesus was physically a member of the Samaritan race (which he wasn't). When the focus is on the attributes or qualities conveyed by the noun it should be taken as qualitative, not indefinite.
  • John 18:37 βασιλευς ει συ ... βασιλευς ειμι "You are a king ... I am a king" The charge brought to Pilate against Jesus was that he called himself the King of the Jews (Luke 23:2). Pilate knew this as shown by his question in verse 33 "Are you the King of the Jews?" and the inscription he put on the cross (John 19:19-22). Pilate is not asking Jesus whether he is some indefinite king. He is asking about whether he is King of the Jews. This would be a definite usage because of the context. Jesus is answering in kind so his answer is also definite -- though I suspect he is saying he is king of much more than the physical Jewish province Pilate was worried about.

So, of JPA's three (or four) examples, one is indefinite, one is qualitative and one (or two) are definite. This is not good support for her position. Her use of translation as proof instead of the meaning obscures the data.

JPA also misses some relevant verses. In addition to the verses JPA lists I also found these.
  • John 5:10 σαββατον εστιν -- "It is the Sabbath"
  • John 6:63 πνευμα εστιν και ζωη εστιν -- "He is spirit and he is life."
  • John 19:31 παρασκευει ην -- "It was the day of preparation."
  • John 20:14 Ιησοθς εστιν -- "It was Jesus"

John 5:10 and John 19:31 are both not indefinite. I would take John 5:10 as qualitative (since they are focused on the quality of the day -- Jesus violated the day of rest). I would take John 19:31 as definite -- they are looking at a particular day of the passover week. Clearly neither is indefinite. They are also both translated with the English definite article, contrary to JPA's assertion.


It could be argued that John 6:63 uses abstract nouns "spirit" and "life" and so does not meet JPA's restrictions. However, I could also argue the same about θεος (god) in John 1:1c, which would mean even John 1:1c does not meet JPA's restrictions. Assuming θεος (god) is non-abstract in John 1:1c begs the question. That is the Jehovah Witness position is that θεος (god) should be non-abstract "a god" One of the other positions is that θεος (god) in John 1:1c is qualitative and thus abstract, indicating a quality. In this case it would be exactly like John 6:63.


In John 20:14 the noun is a name so JPA might argue that it is not similar to John 1:1c. However, to state it is different than John 1:1 requires proof. To just state the restriction again begs the question. If John 1:1c has a definite meaning then θεος (god) would have a name like quality. Θεος (god) would be used in the same way Jehovah Witnesses use "Jehovah."

3. (F) Dana & Mantey (p. 148) gives a parallel to John 1:1 which translates "the place was a market"

JPA does not specify what Dana and Mantey's parallel is. It turns out the parallel is not from the Bible. From page 148 of Dana & Mantey we find out that the reference is from Xenophon's Anabasis, 1:4:6. Thus far JPA has strongly insisted on only using examples from the Gospel of John. She does not what us to even use other writings of John or other Gospel, let alone the rest of the New Testament or other Koine sources. Now she sites an example that is not even Koine but classical Greek! Classical Greek is much more formal Greek that was used by most of the famous Greek writers. It was used many centuries before Christ and was considered elegant and formal, much as we often revere King James English. The word koine means "common." Koine was the common trade language in the time of Jesus. Classical Greek and Koine can have many similarities but often do not compare.

Nevertheless, lets look at Dana and Mantey's comparison. They say the parallel of Xenophon's Anabasis, 1:4:6 with John 1:1c is that "The article points out the subject." This is the main point, not the lack of article in the predicate. Furthermore, they continue. "Neither was the place the only market, nor was the word all of God, as it would mean if the article were also used with θεος (god). As it stands the other persons of the Trinity may be implied in θεος (god)." Dana and Mantey do not compare Xenophon's passage to show that John 1:1c should be translated "a god." JPA should not quote them as agreeing with her argument.

4. (I) Various grammar books agree that the noun must be without additional phases.

JPA claims three grammar books support her view that a PN noun must be without additional phrases to be a parallel to John 1:1c. One of these is "C. F. D. Moule, A Grammar of New Testament Greek, 2nd ed., Cambridge University Press." I am not familiar with this book. I searched the Library of Congress, Amazon and The Master's Semimany Library (where I received my M. Div) and could not find it. The closest I could find for Moule was: Moule, C. F. D. (Charles Francis Digby), An Idiom Book of New Testament Greek. Cambridge [Eng] University Press, 1953 (Library of Congress Control No. 53013295). I also found a grammar by Moulton: Moulton, James Hope, A Grammar of New Testament Greek. Edinburgh : T. & T. Clark, 1906- (LC Control No. 07013420). I cannot speak to this apparently non-existent book.

A second book JPA cites is Dana and Mantey, p. 137. JPA does not indicate a specific quote on page 137. Perhaps JPA she is thinking of this: "The use of prepositions, possessive and demonstrative pronouns, and the genitive case also tends to make a word definite. At such times, even if the article is not used, the object is already distinctly indicated." First, Dana and Mantey do not exclude the dative and accusative nor apposition as JPA does. So JPA is being too restrictive. For example, John 10:33 uses anarthrous θεον (god, accusative singular form) to refer to God. (JPA cites John 10:33 regarding ανθρωπος (man) and I comment on it under Argument 8 below.) Second, JPA ignores the immediately preceding quote of A. T. Robertson "Whenever the article occurs the object is certainly definite. When it is not used the object may or may not be." JPA also ignores the statement in Section i "It does more than mark 'the object as one definitely conceived' (W. 105), for a substantive in Greek is definite without the article." These do not speak directly to Argument 4, but they do indicate that Dana and Mantey and Robertson think that Greek nouns can be definite even without the article.

The third book JPA cites has long been held as the standard of Koine grammars: Robertson, A. T., A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research. I don't have easy access to the print version of the book, but have read the relevant passages before. A good article on the web (http://www.aomin.org/JOHN1_1.html) has an extended passage about what A. T. Robertson writes. It agrees with what I know of Robertson so I reproduce that passage here.

I begin with the most quoted scholar on this subject, Dr. A. T. Robertson:

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, pp. 4-5.

As Robertson made reference to his voluminous Grammar in the above quotation, I will include it in its entirety:

The word with the article is then the subject, whatever the order may be. So in Jo. 1:1, theos an ho logos, the subject is perfectly clear. Cf. ho logos sarx egeneto (Jo. 1:14). It is true that ho theos an ho logos (convertible terms) would have been Sabellianism. See also ho theos agape estin (1 Jo.4:16). "God" and "love" are not convertible terms any more than "God" and "Logos" or "Logos" and "flesh." Cf. also hoi theristai angeloi eisin (Mt. 13:39), ho logos ho sos alatheia estin (Jo. 17:17), ho nomos hamartia; (Ro. 7:7). The absence of the article here is on purpose and essential to the true idea. (A. T. Robertson, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1934) p. 767-768.)

Note that Robertson translates the phrase, "the Word was God." His argument is summed up well in the following passage:

A word should be said concerning the use and non-use of the article in John 1:1, where a narrow path is safely followed by the author. "The Word was God." It both God and Word were articular, they would be coextensive and equally distributed and so interchangeable. But the separate personality of the Logos is affirmed by the construction used and Sabellianism is denied. If God were articular and Logos non-articular, the affirmation would be that God was Logos, but not that the Logos was God. As it is, John asserts that in the Pre-incarnate state the Logos was God, though the Father was greater than the Son (John 14:28). The Logos became flesh (1:14), and not the Father. But the Incarnate Logos was really "God only Begotten in the bosom of the Father" (1:18 correct text). (A. T. Robertson, The Minister and His Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1977) pp. 67-68.)


In light of Dr. Robertson's comments, it is indeed unbelievable that some will quote from the above section and try to intimate that Robertson felt that Jesus was less than the Father because he quoted John 14:28. A quick look at his comments on John 14:28 in Word Pictures in the New Testament, volume 5, page 256 refutes this idea.

To recap, Robertson says that 1) the translation of the phrase theos en ho logos is "the Word was God." 2) That the anarthrous theos is required for the meaning. If the article were present, this would teach Sabellianism, as then theos and logos would be convertible terms. 3) That the article before logos serves to point out the subject of the clause.

 


Many years ago I was at a fast food place with my then young family. A Jehovah's Witness walked up and began a discussion. When he ran into trouble his friend came over. The friend said that A. T. Robertson writes that John 1:1 needs the article to make the Word equal to God. That disturbed me so I went to my school library and looked up A. T. Robertson's grammar book. I found the same thing as what I've quoted above. John is not saying the Word is exactly equal to God, that they are interchangeable. That would be Modallism or Sabellianism, which says that God took on different modes at different times: 1) The Father in the Old Testament; 2) The Son while Jesus was alive; and 3) The Holy Spirit after Jesus died. God does not change modes. He always is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Having the article before θεος (God) would be very wrong.

My research really opened my eyes. First, I was impressed at how easily people can not only twist Scripture but also twist what others say about Scripture. Second, my understanding of Koine, Christian theology and the brilliance of what John wrote grew dramatically. It suddenly became clear to me why John could not include the article before θεος (god). The presence of the article would not be the trinitarian position! John had to leave the article out! He had no other choice. I believe that if you understand this one fact about Koine and John 1:1 you will know that it is impossible to translate John 1:1c as "the Word was a god." Personally I'm still amused at the irony of me receiving one of my deepest insights into the deity of Christ because of a conversation with a Jehovah's Witness.

Finally, I have only dealt with the grammars referred to by JPA. Nettelhorst and McWilliams give a comprehensive list of quotes from various grammarians, many that are abused by Jehovah's Witnesses. It is worth reading just to see the weight of support for the traditional interpretation and how their words can be twisted.

5. ( O,P) Many early Christians support this reading and call other holy people "gods."

JPA claims that many early Christian writings, including Athanasius and Augustine, call "Other righteous persons and faithful angels" "gods" or "a god." However, JPA does not give a single reference for this claim. I thus ignore the argument.

JPA also claims that Origen translates John 1:1c as "the Word was a god." She cites "Origen's Commentary on John," Book I, Chapter 42 and Book II, Chapter 3. I don't have a written copy of Origen's works. I looked it up online and found this site: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/origen.html.

In Book I, chapter 42 I did not find anything about John 1:1c meaning "the Word was a god." I did find this passage near the end of the chapter: "We must observe, then, that the Logos is in the beginning, that is, in wisdom, always. Its being in wisdom, which is called the beginning, does not prevent it from being with God and from being God, and it is not simply with God, but is in the beginning, in wisdom, with God." Sounds to me like Origen is saying the Logos always existed and is God.

In Book II, Chapter 2 Origen has an extended discussion on the nature of the Word (Logos) as God. It is not too long so I quote the entire chapter here. I highlighted some significant passages.

"We next notice John's use of the article in these sentences. He does not write without care in this respect, nor is he unfamiliar with the niceties of the Greek tongue. In some cases he uses the article, and in some he omits it. He adds the article to the Logos, but to the name of God he adds it sometimes only. He uses the article, when the name of God refers to the uncreated cause of all things, and omits it when the Logos is named God. Does the same difference which we observe between God with the article and God without it prevail also between the Logos with it and without it? We must enquire into this. As the God who is over all is God with the article not without it, so "the Logos" is the source of that reason (Logos) which dwells in every reasonable creature; the reason which is in each creature is not, like the former called par excellence The Logos. Now there are many who are sincerely concerned about religion, and who fall here into great perplexity. They are afraid that they may be proclaiming two Gods, and their fear drives them into doctrines which are false and wicked. Either they deny that the Son has a distinct nature of His own besides that of the Father, and make Him whom they call the Son to be God all but the name, or they deny the divinity of the Son, giving Him a separate existence of His own, and making His sphere of essence fall outside that of the Father, so that they are separable from each other. To such persons we have to say that God on the one hand is Very God (Autotheos, God of Himself); and so the Saviour says in His prayer to the Father, "That they may know Thee the only true God; "but that all beyond the Very God is made God by participation in His divinity, and is not to be called simply God (with the article), but rather God (without article). And thus the first-born of all creation, who is the first to be with God, and to attract to Himself divinity, is a being of more exalted rank than the other gods beside Him, of whom God is the God, as it is written, "The God of gods, the Lord, hath spoken and called the earth." It was by the offices of the first-born that they became gods, for He drew from God in generous measure that they should be made gods, and He communicated it to them according to His own bounty. The true God, then, is "The God," and those who are formed after Him are gods, images, as it were, of Him the prototype. But the archetypal image, again, of all these images is the Word of God, who was in the beginning, and who by being with God is at all times God, not possessing that of Himself, but by His being with the Father, and not continuing to be God, if we should think of this, except by remaining always in uninterrupted contemplation of the depths of the Father."

OK, I'll admit I'm a bit confused by everything Origen is saying. He says that fear drives some into false doctrine so that they "deny the divinity of the Son." He then talks about the first-born as having "other gods beside him" which sound like he sees Jesus as one of many gods. However, right after that he affirms that the Word "is at all times God." Confusing but Origen repeatedly calls the Word God.

In Book II, Chapter 3 Origen seems to be defending his just stated belief in other gods. Chapter 3 begins "Now it is possible that some may dislike what we have said representing the Father as the one true God, but admitting other beings besides the true God, who have become gods by having a share of God." He again seems to affirm that the Logos is God: "Each fills the place of a fountain--the Father is the fountain of divinity, the Son of reason. As, then, there are many gods, but to us there is but one God the Father, and many Lords, but to us there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, so there are many Lgoi, but we, for our part, pray that that one Lgos; may be with us who was in the beginning and was with God, God the Logos."

Later in Chapter 3 Origen says this "And, again, there was the Logos with the article and the Logos without the article, corresponding to God absolutely and a god; and the Logoi in two ranks." Perhaps this is what JPA is referring to. I don't know since JPA does not give a specific reference, only the entire chapter. Again I am not sure what Origen means by this. It is clear to me that even in this statement he talks of the Logos corresponding to God absolutely.

I agree that Origen brings in the idea of many lesser gods. He also at times seems to say that God without the article is a lesser god. Nonetheless he clearly affirms that the Logos is God many times. I would not cite Origen as a strong supporter of the trinitarian position. However, I also do not see any way to say he supports the "a god" translation.

Once again I have only dealt with the writings JPA references. Nettelhorst and McWilliams give a long list of quotes from early Christians showing what they thought of the trinity and the deity of Christ.

6. (Q,R) Philo views λογος (word) as "the Son of God," "with God" and "a god." but not the true God.

JPA claims that many that Jewish people in the time of Christ viewed λογος (word, transliterated "logos") as "the Son of God," "with God" and "a god" but not the true God. She says the writings of Philo support this. I do not know Philo so I can't comment in from personal knowledge. JPA gives no reference so again there is no way I can specifically respond to her argument.

As part of this argument JPA asserts "The fact that John provided no further explanation of the Word ('Logos') proves that he intended the Logos concept that his readers were already familiar with." First of all, it is not true that John "provided no further explanation of the Word." Just a verse away John 1:3 says "All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being." John 1:3 says that the Word is the creator of everything. From Genesis 1 we know that God is the one creator of everything. To a Jew and anyone else who believes Genesis, this means that the Word is God.

Even if John had not provided a nearby explanation, JPA's is wrong when she asserts that John "intended the Logos concept that his readers were already familiar with.". It is common for writers to begin with a general assertion and then provide details later. Let's try JPA's assertion for Genesis 1. The Israelites of Moses' time were coming out of Egypt. They would have held an Egyptian view of God (or gods). Egyptians had no central God, only a bunch of regional gods. When Moses went up Mount Sinai most of the Israelites were happy to worship a calf. They obviously held completely false views of God. Yet Genesis 1:1 just introduces God without explanation: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." So by JPA's logic the writer of Genesis intends his readers to think that God is a calf! Of course this is ridiculous. The rest of Genesis and the Pentateuch describe who God really is. Likewise John makes a general introduction and spends the rest of the book explaining and illustrating.

I did try to find some data on Philo by searching the internet. I found an article on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philo's_view_of_God). Under the "Logos" section it says "Philo considers these divine powers in their totality also, treating them as a single independent being, which he designates 'Logos'." The Wikipedia article also says Philo drew from Heraclitus, Stoicism and Plato. Regarding the relation of the Logos to God he believed "The Logos is a kind of shadow cast by God, having the outlines but not the blinding light of the Divine Being." When JPA makes its "no further explanation" assertion it implies John agrees with Philo that Logos is the divine shadow and holds the totality of divine power. Is this really the Jehovah Witness position? That would be new to me. Does the rest of the Gospel of John and the rest of the New Testament affirm this position? No they do not.

For what it's worth, I believe John deliberately chose λογος (word) to confront both his Jewish and Hellenistic readers and challenge their philosophies. He, like Jesus, chose provocative words, words designed to surprise his readers and shake up their beliefs. Apparently it worked -- Jesus was crucified, John was exiled and Christians were often persecuted and misunderstood.

7. (S) In John 17:1,3 Jesus says ""Father,.... This is eternal life: to know thee who alone art truly God..."

JPA's throws in a quote from John 17:1,3: "Father, ... This is eternal life: to know thee who alone art truly God...". She says this shows that Jesus is not God. I assume JPA's argument is this:
  1. Jesus says that the Father alone is God.
  2. Therefore nobody else is God.
  3. Therefore Jesus is not God.

This, strictly speaking, is not an argument about John 1:1c, the subject of JPA. Nonetheless, it is an interesting assertion and deserves an answer.

First, refer back to my overview that Jesus did not come to bring a religion but a relationship with God. Relationships are not simple formulas or rules. They are messy. We cannot easily define all the boundaries. Our lives have fuzzy edges and things difficult and even impossible to understand. Jesus present things that do not follow simple rules and are hard to understand. The whole reason for trinitarian theology is to try to understand something that is very confusing.

That said I can show several places where John presents Jesus as God.
  • John 1:18 "No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known." Jesus is speaking and calling himself God. This verse is also interesting because the first "God" uses an anarthrous θεον (god) to refer to the one true God.
  • John 8:58 "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" Here Jesus uses the Greek εγω ειμι. In doing so he quotes the name God gives himself in Exodus 3:14. From about 250 BC to 150 BC Jewish scholars in Alexandria, Egypt produced a Greek translation of the Old Testament. It is called the Septuagint (often abbreviated LXX, "septuagint" is Latin meaning "seventy," and it is so named because tradition is that seventy scholars worked on it). The Septuagint was in common use in at the time of Jesus. The Septuagint uses the exact phrase Jesus uses, εγω ειμι, in Exodus 3:14 when God says "I AM." The Jews understood what Jesus meant as we see by their reaction in verse 59: "At this, they picked up stones to stone him."
  • John 10:28-33 " 'I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one.' Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, 'I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?' 'We are not stoning you for any of these,' replied the Jews, 'but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.' " Jesus in this passage refers to himself as one with the Father while also referring to the Father as separate from himself. How can this be? I'm not sure but clearly Jesus sees himself as God yet different from the Father. As I mention under Argument 4, anarthous θεον (god) is used for God at the end of the passage.
  • John 20:28-29 "Thomas said to him, 'My Lord and my God!' Then Jesus told him, 'Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.' " Thomas calls Jesus God. Jesus does not correct him but instead states that Thomas believes and blesses those who believe like Thomas but without seeing. We can only assume that Jesus approves of Thomas and us believing he is God.

How do we reconcile John 17:1,3 with Jesus repeatedly making himself equal with God? I'm not sure. I'm not even sure the trinitarian formula is completely correct. I am sure Jesus claims to be God. It is very clear. I'm still trying to understand the details.

8. Compare the usage of θεος (god) with the usage of ανθρωπος (man).

JPA compares the usage of θεος (god) with ανθρωπος (man) to show how the article affects the meaning of θεος (god). JPA states that when used with the article ανθρωπος (man) means a certain, definite "man." Without the article it means "a man." She cites John 1:6, John 3:4, John 3:27, John 7:23, John 7:46, John  9:16, John 10:33, and John 16:21. I agree that JPA captures the normal translation of ανθρωπος (man) with and without the article. I'll only bring up John 10:33 briefly at the end of this section.

However, JPA make a subtle mistake. She is trying to make a Greek-to-English translation rule. As I say above, we don't translate by making a bunch of Greek-to-English rules. What we do is first decide the Greek meaning. Then we decide how to best express that meaning in English.

The semantics of "man" in both English and Greek are simpler than the semantics of "god." This is because the word "god" can refer to the one supreme being "God" or it can refer to just a bunch of very powerful beings "gods." Saying "Eric is a man" or "Eric is man" carry much the same meaning. Saying "Eric is a god" or "Eric is God" carry very different meanings. We cannot simply compare the forms and patterns of usage of "man" with "god.". It does not work. JPA's formal comparison of ανθρωπος (man) and θεος (god) is invalid.

This can be confusing, so let me illustrate the semantics of "man." When I say "Eric is a man." I can mean several things. I can mean any of the following:
  1. "Eric is human (and not an animal)."
  2. "Eric is human (and not God)."
  3. "Eric is human (he fails like all humans)."
  4. "Eric is male (not female)."
  5. "Eric is strong, rugged and works all day (a manly man)."

I picked all of these because they all have a qualitative meaning. Yet they come from a statement "Eric is a man" which has the indefinite article! When I say "Eric is a god" I completely lose the quality of divinity. That is, "Eric is a god" makes absolutely no statement about "Eric" being the one and only God. "Eric is a man," on the other hand, directly implies that "Eric is man."

Finally, even for ανθρωπος (man) the simple translation rule "Greek article means definite article in English, no Greek article means indefinite article in English" does not always work. Let's look at usages of ανθρωπος (man) in the Gospel of John which do not follow this rule.
  • John 2:25  αυτος γαρ εγινωσκεν τι ην εν τω ανθρωπω "for he knew what was in a man" Notice that here ανθρωπω (man) has the article (τω) yet the English translation uses the indefinite article.
  • John 5:34 εγω δε ου παρα ανθρωπου την μαρτυριαν λαμβανω "Not that I accept human testimony" By JPA's rules this is a definite construction (ανθρωπου [man] is genitive and it has a preposition παρα [from]). Nonetheless it is translated qualitatively.
  • John 7:51 μη ο νομος ημων κρινει τον ανθρωπον "Does our law condemn anyone" or more literally "Our Law does not judge a man." ανθρωπον (man) has the article (τον) yet it is translated indefinitely as "anyone" or "a man" because it has a qualitative meaning and that is the correct way to express the qualitative meaning in English in this context.
  • John 8:40 νυν δε ζητειτε με αποκτειναι ανθρωπον ος την αληθειαν υμιν λελαληκα ην ηκουσα παρα του θεου "As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God." Here the anarthous ανθρωπον refers to a specific man (Jesus). The English translation reflects the lack of article "a man." Strictly speaking this follows the simple rule, but the meaning is far from indefinite.
  • John 10:33 απεκριθησαν αυτω οι ιουδαιοι περι καλου εργου ου λιθαζομεν σε αλλα περι βλασφημιας και οτι συ ανθρωπος ων ποιεις σεαυτον θεον "We are not stoning you for any of these," replied the Jews, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God." I couldn't resist this one, especially since it is one of JPA's examples. Ανθρωπος (man) is translated "a man" as JPA says and it does follow the simple rule. However, notice that θεον (god) does not have the article but refers to the one true God! Also notice that the Jews realize that Jesus is claiming to be God. What I couldn't resist is the irony of JPA missing the obvious evidence for Jesus' godhood just to make a grammatical point.

9. Trinitarians have invented Colwell's Rule and the rule that when the predicate nominative comes before the verb it is qualitative. If these rules truly hold instances of it should not be translated "a man."

JPA brings up Colwell's Rule and a rule about qualitative PNs that grammarians such as Wallace use. These ideas are usually introduced in second year Greek. To discuss them I need to use references that will probably be hard to understand for anyone who has not studied Greek or at least linguistics. I'll do my best, but this section will be hard if you are not familiar with Koine.

Trinitarians did not invent Colwell's rule just to prove their point. There is good evidence for it, as Wallace explains (pp. 256-266). However, The rule does not apply to John 1:1 so I concede that Colwell's Rule should not be used to prove that θεος (god) in John 1:1c is definite. I'll also acknowledge that many have wrongly applied Colwell's Rule to John 1:1. Wallace does a good job of explaining why Colwell's Rule does not apply (Wallace pp. 266-270). It is a logic problem, not a grammar problem. Wallace (p. 260) quotes a study by Dixon (Paul Stephen Dixon, "The Significance of of the Anarthrous Predicate Nominative in John." Th.M. thesis, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1975). Dixon points out that Colwell's rule is the converse of what is needed for it to apply to John 1:1c.

JPA also says the "qualitative rule" is made up. JPA does not specify what this rule is. Wallace (p. 262) gives a good statement of a "qualitative rule" so I'll refer to it here "An anarthrous pre-verbal PN is normally qualitative, sometimes definite, and only rarely indefinite." Wallace illustrates the rule on p. 263 with a chart. The chart shows the three possible meanings of a PN: definite, qualitative and indefinite. "Qualitative" is shown as being between definite and indefinite with meanings that are at times close to one end or the other and at time in the middle. Pre-verbal PNs usually fall in the definite-qualitative range of meanings.

This rule is not just made up. Wallace has a good discussion of the use of PNs when he discusses Colwell's Rule. On page 259 Wallace points out that Harner did a study of anarthrous pre-verbal PN constructions. Harner found that about 80% of Colwell's constructions involved qualitative nouns and only 20% indefinite (Philip B. Harner, "Qualitative Anarthrous Predicate Nouns: Mark 15:39 and John 1:1," Journal of Biblical Literature 92 (1973) p. 76. The essay is pp. 75-87). In other words, Harner did an empirical study to determine usage. JPA can of course disagree and cite contrary evidence. But it is being dishonest or badly informed when it claims the rule is made up, since Wallace provides plenty of evidence.

From the Greek perspective it makes perfect sense that putting the predicate before the verb makes it more definite. In English we use word order to determine grammatical usage. "The boy hit the ball." and "The ball hit the boy." mean two different things. The difference is due solely to the word order. In the first sentence "The boy" is the subject because it is first, while "the ball" is the object. In the second sentence this is reversed: "The ball" is the subject while "the boy" is the object. Greek does not do this. Greek determines grammatical function primarily by changing the ends of words. (Grammarians call these changes case endings.) What word order can be used for in Greek is emphasis. To a Greek speaker moving the predicate before the verb tends to emphasize it. This emphasis tends to make it more definite. Thus it's no surprise that when the PN is before the verb it is almost never indefinite.

Wallace (pp. 263-264) gives many examples of definite and qualitative anarthrous pre-verbal PNs. I repeat the ones he explains here as examples.

Definite:
  • Matthew 27:42 βασιλευς Ισραηλ εστιν "He is the king of Israel."
  • John 1:49 συ βασιλευς ει του Ισραηλ "You are the king of Israel."
  • 1 Corinthians 1:18 δυναμις θεου εστιν "is the power of God."
  • Hebrews 1:10 εργα των χειρων σου εισιν οι ουρανοι "The heavens are the works of your hands."

Qualitative:
  • John 1:14 ο λογος σαρξ εγενετο "The word became flesh."
  • John 5:10 σαββατον εστιν "It is Sabbath." (I also found this when I answered Argument 2 above.)
  • 1 John 4:8 ο θεος αγαπη εστιν "God is love."
  • Philippians 2:13 θεος εστιν ο ενεργων "The one who works is God."

Some Biblical Evidence that Jesus of Nazareth is God.

This paper is primarily an answer to specific arguments given by JPA. Just showing JPA, or anyone else, wrong does not prove that Jesus is God. I have presented many positive arguments for the divinity of Christ already in this paper . Here I want to summarize some of the positive arguments -- both those I've presented and others. Christians did not just make up the idea of Jesus' divinity. They drew it from the Bible. I hope this section gives a good feel why Jesus being God is a necessary belief for those of us who believe the Bible..

John 1:1 says Jesus is God.

The Koine of John 1:1 is clear. It says the Word (Jesus) is God. There are several reasons for this:
  • Using the article in front of θεος (god) would be wrong.
  • Putting θεος (god) before the verb emphasizes it and makes it more definite. The expected meaning would be qualitative or definite.
  • Predicates before the verb almost never have an indefinite meaning.
  • The phrase "In the beginning was the Word" points to the eternal existence of the Word. This is a clear parallel with Genesis 1:1.
  • John 1:3 and 1:18 clarify any doubt about the meaning of John 1:1c.

Jesus declares himself to be God.

There are many places in the gospels where we see Jesus proclaiming himself as God or talking about himself as if he were God. Some of these are in John and were used under Argument 7 above, but I'll repeat them here for easy reference.
  • Matthew 12:8 "For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."
  • Matthew 13:41 "The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil."
  • Mark 2:5 "When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, 'Son, your sins are forgiven.' "
  • John 1:18: "No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known."
  • John 8:58: "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!"
  • John 10:28-33: " 'I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one.' Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, 'I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?' 'We are not stoning you for any of these,' replied the Jews, 'but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.' "
  • John 14:7-9 " 'If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.' Philip said, 'Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.' Jesus answered: 'Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, "Show us the Father"?'"
  • John 20:28-29:"Thomas said to him, 'My Lord and my God!' Then Jesus told him, 'Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.' "

Other places in the Bible say Jesus is God.
  • Isaiah 40:3-4. "A voice of one calling: "In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God." Compare with Matthew 11:10 "This is the one about whom it is written: 'I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.' "
  • Malachi 3:1: " 'See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,' says the LORD Almighty."
  • Colossians 1:15-20 "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross."
  • Colossians 2:9 "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, ..."
  • Philippians 2:5-11 "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
  • Hebrews 1:3-12 "The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. For to which of the angels did God ever say, 'You are my Son; today I have become your Father'? Or again, 'I will be his Father, and he will be my Son'? And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, 'Let all God's angels worship him.' In speaking of the angels he says, 'He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire.' But about the Son he says, 'Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.' He also says, 'In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.' "
  • Hebrews 2:1-3 "We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him."

I used two websites to help find some of the above verses: http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/probe/docs/deityofx.html and http://www.letusreason.org/Trin21.htm. Both websites are worth reading. Nettelhorst and McWilliams also give a very good discussion of the scriptural evidence for the divinity of Christ and the trinity.

Conclusion

JPA raises many technical points that may sound convincing at first glance. However, JPA is riddled with errors. She incorrectly reduces Greek grammar to a set of translation rules. She makes unsupported claims both about Greek grammar and what church fathers say. She uses references to support something contrary to what the reference is actually saying and even quotes a book that doesn't exist. She uses Greek grammar references as if she had deep Koine knowledge yet at other times shows gross ignorance of Greek or even of basic linguistics.

The Greek construction in John 1:1c is properly translated "The Word was God." The grammar and context make this clear. Translating the phrase "The Word was a god" has no support in Koine grammar. Not only does John 1:1 clearly proclaim Jesus as God, there are many other places in the Bible that do the same.