Does John 1:1 prove God is a trinity?

A Text That Teaches the Trinity?

One example of a Bible verse that is often misused is John 1:1. In the King James Version, that verse reads: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God [Greek, ton the‧on′], and the Word was God [the‧os′].” This verse contains two forms of the Greek noun the‧os′ (god). The first is preceded by ton (the), a form of the Greek definite article, and in this case the word the‧on′ refers to Almighty God. In the second instance, however, the‧os′ has no definite article. Was the article mistakenly left out?

The Gospel of John was written in Koine, or common Greek, which has specific rules regarding the use of the definite article. Bible scholar A. T. Robertson recognizes that if both subject and predicate have articles, “both are definite, treated as identical, one and the same, and interchangeable.” Robertson considers as an example Matthew 13:38, which reads: “The field [Greek, ho a‧gros′] is the world [Greek, ho ko′smos].” The grammar enables us to understand that the world is also the field.

What, though, if the subject has a definite article but the predicate does not, as in John 1:1? Citing that verse as an example, scholar James Allen Hewett emphasizes: “In such a construction the subject and predicate are not the same, equal, identical, or anything of the sort.”

To illustrate, Hewett uses 1 John 1:5, which says: “God is light.” In Greek, “God” is ho the‧os′ and therefore has a definite article. But phos for “light” is not preceded by any article. Hewett points out: “One can always . . . say of God He is characterized by light; one cannot always say of light that it is God.” Similar examples are found at John 4:24, “God is a Spirit,” and at 1 John 4:16, “God is love.” In both of these verses, the subjects have definite articles but the predicates, “Spirit” and “love,” do not. So the subjects and predicates are not interchangeable. These verses cannot mean that “Spirit is God” or “love is God.”

Identity of “the Word”?

Many Greek scholars and Bible translators acknowledge that John 1:1 highlights, not the identity, but a quality of “the Word.” Says Bible translator William Barclay: “Because [the apostle John] has no definite article in front of theos it becomes a description . . . John is not here identifying the Word with God. To put it very simply, he does not say that Jesus was God.” Scholar Jason David BeDuhn likewise says: “In Greek, if you leave off the article from theos in a sentence like the one in John 1:1c, then your readers will assume you mean ‘a god.’ . . . Its absence makes theos quite different than the definite ho theos, as different as ‘a god’ is from ‘God’ in English.” BeDuhn adds: “In John 1:1, the Word is not the one-and-only God, but is a god, or divine being.” Or to put it in the words of Joseph Henry Thayer, a scholar who worked on the American Standard Version: “The Logos [or, Word] was divine, not the divine Being himself.”

Most people do not know Biblical Greek. So how can you know what the apostle John really meant? Think of this example: A schoolteacher explains a subject to his students. Afterward, the students differ on how to understand the explanation. How can the students resolve the matter? They could ask the teacher for more information. No doubt, learning additional facts would help them to understand the subject better. Similarly, to grasp the meaning of John 1:1, you can look in the Gospel of John for more information on Jesus’ position. Learning additional facts on this subject will help you to draw the right conclusion.

For instance, consider what John further writes in chapter 1, verse 18: “No man has seen [Almighty] God at any time.” However, humans have seen Jesus, the Son, for John says: “The Word [Jesus] was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory.” (John 1:14, KJ) How, then, could the Son be part of Almighty God? John also states that the Word was “with God.” But how can an individual be with someone and at the same time be that person? Moreover, as recorded at John 17:3, Jesus makes a clear distinction between himself and his heavenly Father. He calls his Father “the only true God.” And toward the end of his Gospel, John sums up matters by saying: “These have been written down that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God.” (John 20:31) Notice that Jesus is called, not God, but the Son of God. This additional information provided in the Gospel of John shows how John 1:1 should be understood. Jesus, the Word, is “a god” in the sense that he has a high position but is not the same as Almighty God.

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  • Mindy
    Lv 6
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    No, not even in the very slightest little bit.

    What John 1:1 DOES prove is the Word's (Jesus') divinity, his divine nature with / alongside THE almighty God.

    I keep saying it and will continue saying it, Colossians 1:15 and Hebrews 1:3 greatly explains what is meant at John 1:1-3, 14, 18.

    Colossians 1:15 and Hebrews 1:3 reveals that rather than being God THE almighty himself, what Jesus truly is IS THE IMAGE of THE Almighty God, THE REFLECTION of THE Almighty God and THE EXACT REPRESENTATION of God THE Almighty's VERY BEING itself.

    It truly is as easy and comprehensible to understand as the pic in the following link:

    http://bit.ly/etMCcZ

    Understanding THIS HIGHLY IMPORTANT TRUTH unlocks THE TRUTH and ACCURATE UNDERSTANDING regarding MANY, MANY, MANY other scriptures such as:

    # 1)

    Matthew 1:23:

    "Look! The virgin will become pregnant and will give birth to a son, and they will call his name Im·man′u·el,” which means, when translated, “WITH US IS GOD.” "

    (Caps mine)

    # 2)

    John 1:14:

    "No man has seen God AT ANY TIME...."

    (Caps mine)

    # 3)

    John 14:8-10:

    "Philip said to him: “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”

    Jesus said to him: “Have I been with YOU men so long a time, and yet, Philip, you have not come to know me? HE THAT HAS SEEN ME HAS SEEN THE FATHER [ALSO]. How is it you say, ‘Show us the Father’?"

    # 4)

    John 7:16:

    "Jesus, in turn, answered them and said: “What I teach IS NOT MINE, BUT BELONGS TO HIM THAT SENT ME."

    (Caps mine)

    # 5)

    John 12:49, 50:

    "because I have not spoken OUT OF MY OWN IMPULSE, but the Father himself who sent me has given me A COMMANDMENT AS TO WHAT TO TELL AND WHAT TO SPEAK. Also, I know that his commandment means everlasting life. Therefore the things I speak, JUST AS THE FATHER HAS TOLD ME [THEM], SO I SPEAK [THEM].” "

    (Caps mine)

    # 6)

    John 10:30, 17:11; 1 Corinthians 1:10 :

    "I and the Father ARE ONE.....

    Also, I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world and I am coming to you. Holy Father, watch over them on account of your own name which you have given me, in order that THEY MAY BE ONE JUST AS WE ARE.....

    Now I exhort YOU, brothers, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that YOU should all SPEAK IN AGREEMENT, and that there SHOULD NOT BE DIVISIONS AMONG YOU, but that YOU may be FITLY UNITED IN THE SAME MIND and in THE SAME LINE OF THOUGHT."

    (Caps mine)

    # 7)

    Philippians 2:5-8 (Amplified Bible):

    "Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:]

    Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did not ]think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained,

    But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being.

    And after He had appeared in human form, He abased and humbled Himself [still further] and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross! "

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=philip...

    Etc... etc... etc.

    Again, Colossians 1:15 and Hebrews 1:3 explains and reveals the accurate understanding of ALL of the above scriptures and helps a person to EASILY come to the accurate knowledge of the FACT that "the Word" was not THE Almighty God whom he was WITH, but rather, "the Word was God" in that "the Word" was divine, a very powerful mighty one who like God was also a Spirit Being and "the Word" stripped himself of all privileges and rightful dignity he had as a powerful mighty Spirit Being alongside THE God, so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that "the Word" became like men and was born A PERFECT HUMAN BEING. THAT'S THE TRUTH.

    The Word himself was not God THE Almighty. Nope. He was "a god", a powerful mighty one (http://bit.ly/9xNAvX , http://bit.ly/di3l8a ). As far as the holy spirit goes, it's not mentioned at John 1:1-3, 14, 18 and therefore NONE of those scriptures can prove the Trinity as being true because it's FALSE.

    You wanna know exactly what the Trinity is?

    This is what the Trinity is right here ------> http://bit.ly/lyiWs6

    Jesus is THE IMAGE of, THE REFLECTION of and THE EXACT REPRESENTATION of God THE almighty, but he in no way is God THE almighty. Jesus NEVER has been God THE almighty, NEVER will be God THE almighty and doesn't WANT to be God THE almighty.

    Why?

    Because as the song goes.... Ain't NOTHING like the real thing baby!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jz_D-greh8Q

    Youtube thumbnail

    Ciao ;-)

    Source(s): Truth... and nothing but. *** Should You Believe in the Trinity?: http://bit.ly/bNCgax ***
  • 9 years ago

    Violating a Rule?

    SOME claim, however, that such renderings violate a rule of Koine Greek grammar published by Greek scholar E. C. Colwell back in 1933. He asserted that in Greek a predicate noun “has the [definite] article when it follows the verb; it does not have the [definite] article when it precedes the verb.” By this he meant that a predicate noun preceding the verb should be understood as though it did have the definite article (“the”) in front of it. At John 1:1 the second noun (the‧os′), the predicate, precedes the verb—“and [the‧os′] was the Word.” So, Colwell claimed, John 1:1 should read “and [the] God was the Word.”

    But consider just two examples found at John 8:44. There Jesus says of the Devil: “That one was a manslayer” and “he is a liar.” Just as at John 1:1, the predicate nouns (“manslayer” and “liar”) precede the verbs (“was” and “is”) in the Greek. There is no indefinite article in front of either noun because there was no indefinite article in Koine Greek. But most translations insert the word “a” because Greek grammar and the context require it.—See also Mark 11:32; John 4:19; 6:70; 9:17; 10:1; 12:6.

    Colwell had to acknowledge this regarding the predicate noun, for he said: “It is indefinite [“a” or “an”] in this position only when the context demands it.” So even he admits that when the context requires it, translators may insert an indefinite article in front of the noun in this type of sentence structure.

    Does the context require an indefinite article at John 1:1? Yes, for the testimony of the entire Bible is that Jesus is not Almighty God. Thus, not Colwell’s questionable rule of grammar, but context should guide the translator in such cases. And it is apparent from the many translations that insert the indefinite article “a” at John 1:1 and in other places that many scholars disagree with such an artificial rule, and so does God’s Word.

    Source(s): Brochure: Should you Believe in the Trinity? Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.
  • Elijah
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    "Does John 1:1 prove God is a Trinity?"

    No, and not just because only two subjects are mentioned here...not three. ;)

    As your details brought out, the absence of the indefinite article (a) at John 1:1c has been purposely mistranslated in most Trinitarian-produced Bibles to fit their doctrine that Jesus is God.

    In New Testament Greek, the language does have a definite article ("the"), but it does *not* have an indefinite article ("a" or an"). At John 1:1, there are two occurrences of theos (god). The first one has the definite article ("the") but the second one in the third part of Jn 1:1 (the one in question) SIGNIFICANTLY DOES NOT.

    If one carefully examines John 1:1, they will see that it shows that "the Word was...WITH God". Commenting on this, the Journal of Biblical Literature, edited by Jesuit Joseph A. Fitzmyer, notes that if the latter part of John 1:1 were interpreted to mean "the" God, this "would then contradict the preceding clause," which says that the Word was WITH God. Since the Word (Jesus) is written and identified in John 1:1 as a separate person from God (not just the Father), then that would positively exclude him as being God!

    --------------------------------------------------

    Some of the most powerful testimonies to the fact that "the Word was *a* god" is the literal translation comes from a number of respected *trinitarian* scholars who have admitted this.

    In addition to their comments below, W. E. Vine, Prof. C. H. Dodd (Director of the New English Bible project), and Murray J. Harris admit that this ("the Word was a god") is the literal translation, but, being trinitarians, they insist that it be interpreted and translated as "and the Word was God." Why? BECAUSE OF A TRINITARIAN BIAS ONLY!

    http://defendingthenwt.blogspot.com/2010/11/john-1...

    W. E. Vine - "a god was the Word" - p. 490, An Expository Dictionary of the New Testament.

    C. H. Dodd - "The Word was a god" - Technical Papers for the Bible Translator, Jan., 1977.

    Murray J. Harris - "the Word was a god" - p. 60, Jesus as God, Baker Book House, 1992.

    Robert Young - "and a God (i.e. a Divine Being) was the Word" - Young's Concise Critical Bible Commentary.

    Even Origen, the most knowledgeable of the early Christian Greek-speaking scholars, tells us that John 1:1c actually means "the Word [logos] was a god". - "Origen's Commentary on John," Book I, ch. 42 - Bk II, ch.3.

    Origen's Commentary on John is "the first great work of Christian interpretation." Origen was certainly the most knowledgeable about NT (koine) Greek of any scholar. He studied it from early childhood and even taught it professionally from his teens onward.- and this was during a time when it was a living language and, of course, well understood. - The Ante-Nicene Fathers, pp. 291-294, vol. X, Eerdmans Publ., 1990 printing.

    Also interesting to note is that the Coptic language was spoken in Egypt in the centuries immediately following Jesus' earthly ministry, and the Sahidic dialect was an early literary form of the language. A significant fact concerning the Coptic language is that, unlike the Greek, it used an indefinite article ("a" or "an" in English).

    The Sahidic Coptic translation DOES USE an indefinite article with the word 'god' in the final part of John 1:1 and when rendered into modern English, the translation reads: 'And the Word was a god.'

    http://depts.washington.edu/cartah/text_archive/co...

    http://searchforbibletruths.blogspot.com/2010/01/h...

    Source(s): John 1:1 - Numerous Links to Information Regarding "a God" http://examiningthetrinity.blogspot.com/2011/05/jo...
  • 9 years ago

    Not at all. It shows that there were two in the beginning. Some read into it that it proves the trinity. Then some may ASK...how did the IDEA of a trinity get into peoples minds in the first place? Then you look into the many Paganistic beliefs that there are three gods made up into one, THEN you start understanding. Add to that, the churches needed members! What did they do? Well, the "allowed" the false worship to mix with the pure worship. Consider:

    2 Tim 4:3, 4 For there will be a period of time when they will not put up with the healthful teaching, but, in accord with their own desires, they will accumulate teachers for themselves to have their ears tickled, and they will turn their ears away from the truth, whereas they will be turned aside to false stories.

    In fact, this is one of Satan's biggest lies to people; comming right through the name of "religion"; Saying that there is not an Almighty God and He is ONE God. No, the devil paints him up to be a joke really; saying he is three gods like the pagans.

    The other comments are excellent and I didn't want to repeat the same thing. :)

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  • 9 years ago

    The trinity has no bible teaching/backing. It came about in the 3rd 4th century and has nothing to do with God or his son Jesus Christ.

    Edit... @ Pastor Art (((SFECU))) So why then have these same bibles (excluding the NWT) taken out God's name out, yet in the original writings, God's name appears 1000s of times?

    By the way, not one verse in the entire bible did Jesus say "I am God"

    Also for your info ------->>> Neither the word Trinity nor the explicit doctrine appears in the New Testament, nor did Jesus and his followers intend to contradict the Shema in the Hebrew Scriptures: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord” (Deuteronomy 6:4). The earliest Christians, however, had to cope with the implications of the coming of Jesus Christ and of the presumed presence and power of God among them—i.e., the Holy Spirit, whose coming was connected with the celebration of the Pentecost. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were associated in such New Testament passages as the Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19); and in the apostolic benediction: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Corinthians 13:14). Thus, the New Testament established the basis for the doctrine of the Trinity.

    The doctrine developed gradually over several centuries and through many controversies. Initially, both the requirements of monotheism inherited from the Hebrew Scriptures and the implications of the need to interpret the biblical teaching to Greco-Roman religions seemed to demand that the divine in Christ as the Word, or Logos, be interpreted as subordinate to the Supreme Being. An alternative solution was to interpret Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three modes of the self-disclosure of the one God but not as distinct within the being of God itself. The first tendency recognized the distinctness among the three, but at the cost of their equality and hence of their unity (subordinationism); the second came to terms with their unity, but at the cost of their distinctness as “persons” (modalism). It was not until the 4th century that the distinctness of the three and their unity were brought together in a single orthodox doctrine of one essence and three persons.

    The Council of Nicaea in 325 stated the crucial formula for that doctrine in its confession that the Son is “of the same substance [homoousios] as the Father,” even though it said very little about the Holy Spirit. Over the next half century, Athanasius defended and refined the Nicene formula, and, by the end of the 4th century, under the leadership of Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory of Nazianzus (the Cappadocian Fathers), the doctrine of the Trinity took substantially the form it has maintained ever since. It is accepted in all of the historic confessions of Christianity, even though the impact of the Enlightenment decreased its importance.

    "Trinity." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2010.

  • 9 years ago

    Yes.

    It is not the only place, but it is one place.

    "Most people do not know Biblical Greek" and this includes the person who asks this question.

    John 1:1 (New International Version, ©2011)

    John 1

    The Word Became Flesh

    1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

    John 1:1 (New American Standard Bible)

    John 1

    The Deity of Jesus Christ

    1(A)In the beginning was (B)the Word, and the Word was (C)with God, and (D)the Word was God.

    John 1:1 (Amplified Bible)

    John 1

    1IN THE beginning [before all time] was the Word ([a]Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God [b]Himself.

    John 1:1 (English Standard Version)

    John 1

    The Word Became Flesh

    1(A) In the beginning was(B) the Word, and(C) the Word was with God, and(D) the Word was God.

    I could quote 25 other English translations and they all agree.

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john%2...

    At the above link you will find those 25 other English translations.

    And there are 100 other translations in other languages and all of them say "The Word was God"

    Except the JW Bible, the New World Translation.

    Source(s): 45+ years following a Jewish Carpenter & studying His Book! I am the real Pastor Art, not the clone.
  • 9 years ago

    it proves the deity of Jesus Christ

  • 9 years ago

    Go get'em slugger! you already know my answer to this. :-p

  • 9 years ago

    Text is proof only that someone could write...

    IMHO

    IMHO

  • rosa
    Lv 6
    9 years ago
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