Some have tried to use the plural "nails" in Jn 20:25 as evidence that Jesus was hung on a cross. Yet to do this they must completely ignore all logical alternatives and more importantly they must ignore the explicit statements of Scripture.
First, the Bible explicitly states that Jesus was hung on a STAUROS or XYLON. According to Greek dictionaries these words denote a stake or pole:
Vines Expository Dictionary says: "STAUROS....denotes, primarily, an upright pale or stake. ...originally to be distinguished from the ecclesiastical form of a two beamed cross...By the middle of the 3rd cent. A.D. the churches had either DEPARTED FROM, OR HAD TRAVESTIED, certain doctrines of the Christian faith...pagans were permitted largely to retain their pagan signs and symbols."
So, using the plural "nails" to claim that Jesus was hung on a cross would be to contradict the explicit teaching of the bible. Teaching that he was hung on a cross is absolutely unbiblical.
Also, Witnesses are not dogmatic about how many nails were used in the arms. In fact, there is actually archeological evidence that four nails could have been used, two in the hands placed on both sides of a stake and two similarly in the feet. This was pointed out in a WT article: w87 8/15 (The archaeological evidence was of an leg bone with one nail stuck *sideways* into the ankle. Israel Exploration Journal 1985, v. 35, pgs 22-7). Historical facts show that the Romans often put individuals to death on posts having no crossbars.
Thomas' use of the plural "nails" does not have to be understood as a precise description indicating that each of Jesus' hands was pierced by a separate nail. Luke 24:39 suggests that Christ's feet also were nailed. Since Thomas made no mention of nail prints in Jesus' feet, his use of the plural "nail's" could have been a general reference to multiple nails used in impaling Jesus. So, grammatically the plural "nails" could have meant a nail through each hand, or might have simply included both nail prints in ‘his hands and his feet.'
Claiming that two nails in the arms MUST mean crucifixion on a cross is to illogically force our favored interpretation while ignoring the evidence for other conclusions. This is a fallacious form of reasoning and eisogesis.
So, Thomas' statement cannot be used to show the Jesus was executed upon a cross since it is just as reasonable to believe Christ was impaled to a stake with a separate nail in each arm.
What is the most important thing for Christians is how the Cross was introduced into Christianity. Notice the above quote from Vine's Dictionary says that the cross was adopted after the church had "either DEPARTED FROM, OR HAD TRAVESTIED, certain doctrines of the Christian faith...pagans were permitted largely to retain their pagan signs and symbols."
The cross had been used in paganism for centuries. The adoption of the cross into Christianity can be traced directly to the Emperor Constantine three hundred years after Christ. Constantine was still a Sun-God worshiper when he saw a vision of a cross which he adopted as his victory sign.
So the use of the cross was a corruption of true Christianity. This is proven by solid evidence from history and archaeology:
Two hundred years after Christ Minucius Felix revealed the attitude that early Christians had toward the cross: "Crosses, moreover, we neither worship nor wish for. You, indeed, who consecrate gods of wood, adore wooden crosses perhaps as parts of your gods. . . . Your victorious trophies not only imitate the appearance of a simple cross, but also that of a man affixed to it." (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, v. 4, p. 191)
Notice, that this early church father said that Christians did not have crosses and never thought of having one. Only pagans at that time used it.
The apostate Christianity that arose several hundred years after Christ decided to adopt the pagan symbol for the god Tammuz and use it for worship in their religion. When the Bible was translated into modern languages the mistranslation of "cross" was inserted because of Roman Catholic tradition.
Should Christians venerate such a symbol as pagans have in the past? The Scriptures are clear as to what True worshipers are to do with sacred objects from false religion. I does NOT say: "Adopt them and change their meaning"!
2 Cor.6:14-18: "What agreement can we have with idols? That is why the Lord has said, ‘Leave them; separate yourselves from them; DON'T TOUCH THEIR FILTHY THINGS."–NLT (Cf. De.12:30,31; Ex.20:4,5; 1Cor.10:14; Ex.20:4,5.)
God does not tolerate mixing of idolatrous practices with true worship, as is illustrated by his condemnation of calf worship, even though the Israelites said they were still worshiping the True God. (Ex 32:3-10)