Wednesday, May 25, 2011

John 1:1c Four Words, Perfectly ordered, perfectly chosen.



One of the motivations spurring me onwards in the study of Koine Greek was a friend and Co-Worker.  Let's just call him JW for this post. (Jehovah Witness)    Certainly not my main or only motivation but one of them was his challenge to me that the phrase found in John 1:1c is only correctly translated in the New World Translation as "and the word was a god."    His contention is that the greek phrase:  "kai theos en ho logos" lacks the definite article "ho" in front of the word theos.   In other words without the "the" in front of "God" in the original language you must supply the indefinite article "a."

Even without an understanding of the Greek New Testament JW could easily be answered.   Jesus prayed that  Father would restore the glory he had with him before the world was.  Yet in the OT we read that God will not share his glory with another.  Thomas fell down and worshipped the resurrected Jesus Christ crying my Lord and my GOD.   God is the creator of all things, Jesus declared to be the creator.  I and the Father are one. You have seen the Father you have seen me.  Before Abraham was I AM.   Jesus is the high priest in Hebrews who is without beginning of days or end of life. God calls him God in Hebrews chapter 1. Demons acknowledge his deity.  The JW position is ridiculous.  They do greatly err not knowing the scriptures nor the power of GOD.

In John 1:1 c, God has given us four words so precise and in such perfect order as to at the same time destroy both arianism and sabellianism, and then uphold and reveal Trinitarian truth and then finally to gloriously proclaim the deity of Jesus Christ.

Theos -GOD
En - was

Ho - the

Logos - word

Literally in this order and word for word: "God was the word."

Had the word order been changed to "ho logos en theos" the JW could perhaps be justified in saying the best translation is "The word was a god."   We learned this in first year Greek.   Without the "ho" the beginning student would be required to supply the indefinite article "a or an."  So as JW said "theos" should be "a god" unless there is more to the story, and there is.  As with all serious studies, you don't learn everything you need to know in the first year.
So the word order, "ho logos en theos" supports arianism, the denial of the deity of Jesus Christ.  But that is not the word order we find in John 1:1c.

What if the "ho" would have been supplied as the JW insists is necessary in order to show the deity of Jesus Christ as follows:

"Ho theos en ho logos."   Translated literally as "The God was the word."  But this teaches sabellianism, the denial of the trinitarian doctrine of three distinct persons in the ONE Godhead.  Sabellianism asserts that sometimes God is manifest as the Father and sometimes the Son and sometimes the Spirit.  Maybe in progressive order but always asserting that The Father is the Son and the Son is the Spirit and the Spirit the Father.  Sabellianism teaches that these are not three separate persons within the one Godhead but just different modes of appearing. "Ho theos en ho logos," teaches sabellianism because in Greek it says All that THE GOD is so also is THE SON.  Everything about THE GOD is also about THE SON. THE GOD THE FATHER AND THE GOD THE WORD ARE ONE AND THE SAME no distinction of personhood allowed.  But no "ho" in front of "theos" is found in John 1:1c for holy scriptures do not teach us Sabellianism.

Divinly Inspired and beautifully arranged these four words destroy arianism and sabellianism and declare plainly the full deity of the eternal Word, Jesus Christ.

Theos en ho logos,  we identify the subject of the clause as logos because this word does have the definite article "ho" proceeding, so "ho logos", the word, is the subject of the clause.   "Theos", God,  without the article but coming first in the clause for emphasis and according to good greek grammar asserting something about the quality or essence of ho logos, the word.   We have therefore plainly and correctly translated:  "THE WORD WAS GOD."  In very essence the word, Jesus Christ, was and is God.

FOUR WORDS perfectly chosen, perfectly arranged and ordered, and beautifully breathtaking,  amazing divine verbal plenary inspiration!

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