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"...and these three are one" 1 John 5:7 (the Comma Johanneum) has been inserted....it is not found in any Greek manuscript before the 16th century.   See more...

Is Matthew 28:19 written today as it originally was, or has it indeed been changed to promote the trinity doctrine?  See more....

John 1:1 is a mistranslation of the original Greek text, and a surprising number of Bible translations verify this, along with some of the most credible koine Greek scholars..  ..  See more

Isaiah 9:6 is used by many to try to 'prove' that Jesus is God Almighty because it says that his name shall be called "mighty God". It also says his name shall be called "everlasting Father", yet trinitarians know that Jesus is not God the Father...

 

...some versions of the Septuagint, the Bible Jesus and his followers used, are completely different in this part of Isaiah than our modern bibles...   .See more

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Please note that we are not giving any kind of blanket commendation, nor do we necessarily ascribe to any doctrinal stand of anyone we may quote on this website, or any music group or video preacher, etc. We may be only commending some major aspect of that particular truth, song or teaching we are promoting at the time. Sadly, we can commend very few in

these last days, but thank God for the writings of the apostle's of our Lord Jesus and for the teachings of our Lord Jesus himself, as passed on in the form of the New Testament sacred scriptures!!

 

John 1:1

 

 

 

The following is a list of translations whose translators, I believe, have better understood the deeper issues involved in more correctly translating John 1:1:

 

 

The New English Bible, (NEB) 1970, Oxford/Cambridge University Press

Rendering: "...and what God was, the Word was."

 

The New Testament, in An Improved Version, Upon the Basis of Archbishop Newcome's New Translation: With a Corrected Text 1808, LONDON

Rendering: "...and the word was a god"

 

The Monotessaron; or, The Gospel History, According to the Four Evangelists 1829, BALTIMORE (by John S. Thompson)

Rendering: "...and the Logos was a god"

 

The Emphatic Diaglott 1864, NEW YORK, LONDON (by Benjamin Wilson)

Rendering: "...and a god was the Word"

 

The Bible - An American Translation 1935, CHICAGO (by J.M.P. Smith and E.J. Goodspeed)

Rendering: "...and the Word was divine"

 

Das Evangelium nach Johannes 1975, GOTTINGEN (GERMANY) (by Sigfried Schulz)

 

"...und ein Gott (oder, Gott von Art) war das Wort"

Rendering: "...and a god (or, of a divine kind) was the Word"

 

Das Evangelium nach Johannes 1978, BERLIN (GERMANY)(by Johannes Schneider)

 

"...und goettlichen Wesens war das Wort"

Rendering: "...and god-like sort was the Word"

 

Das Evangelium nach Johannes 1979, WURZBURG (GERMANY) (by Johannes Schneider)

 

"...und ein Gott war das Wort"

Rendering: "...and a god was the Word"

 

Revised English Version

Rendering: “ …and what God was, the word was.”

 

Good News For Modern Man, The New Testament in Today's English Version 1966 (before they compromised and changed it!), New York, American Bible Society:

"...what God was, the word also was."

 

The preceding list is not exhaustive, but it is sufficient to indicate clearly that reasonable debate against the popular rendering is considerable, and for good reason. The authors of the King James Version, and therefore the authors of some of the subsequent versions whose publishers greatly hoped would become accepted, translated this pivotal verse in this way: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Jn.1:1). Then verse two confirms: “He was in the beginning with God”. Because the King James Version became the most significant 'standard' English Bible for so long, this particular rendering of the passage has become 'immortalized'. How could it be possible that this verse is not translated exactly correct, since most are so conditioned to hearing it preached this way. But remember, the Trinitarian ‘victory’ had long been established as being orthodox by the time the Catholic Erasmus translated his Greek text that was the basis for the KJV Bible. Many have wisely asked, how could the ‘logos’ be “with God” and “be God” if there is truly only one God? Modern ignorance birthed from indifference rooted in sin says, “Don’t try to understand it. You can’t understand it. It shouldn’t be logical. It’s beyond our reasoning.” But THIS LEGITIMATE QUESTION is one reason why they had to create the doctrine of the ‘Trinity’ in the first place, while some began arguing that Jesus is absolute God. Their ‘solution’ only solved things for those who didn’t continue to look too deep, or for those who wanted to go along with the crowd.

 

It turns out that this is a mistranslation of the original Greek text, and a surprising number of Bible translations verify this, along with some of the most credible koine Greek scholars. In fact, many of the Trinitarian Greek scholars who believe in Christ’s absolute deity have even had to agree that this scripture is more accurately rendered: “...and what God was, the Word was”. This only proves that Jesus was like God before His incarnation, a FACT that I am veryglad about. This scripture actually says that the Word was Divine, a God, like God. Oh how people want to cling to this last straw, this last domino. Keep in mind that most Jews and Muslims know how ludicrous the doctrine of the ‘Trinity’ is. Even demons knew Jesus was the Holy one SENT BY GOD (Mk.1:24,34), and called Him the Son of God quite a few times. Now look into this matter more fully, and then you should pray about it, for the Spirit will lead you into all truth (1Jn.2:27). God will answer your persistent prayers concerning any important subject like this, but is it really important to you? We’ll see to what degree it was important to everyone in the reruns on Judgment Day. Until then our fruit tells the story.

 

First you need to remember that through many hundreds of years most of the scholars have been paid or expected to argue and prove why this verse should be translated conventionally, in order to defend Christ's deity and the 'Trinity’. And some have done so out of other purely selfish interests, for who wants to be labeled a heretic and censored? Because of the great pressure to comply, financial, social and otherwise, it is amazing thatthere are any translators at all who have attempted to translate this verse correctly, bearing the brunt of harsh criticism that they knew was surely to come from the intolerant religious ‘orthodoxy’ (and we should be intolerant, in the right way, of genuine heresy). Translations are often censored based largely upon their rendering of key controversial passages such as this one. It is therefore a wonder and a testimony to the integrity of the few responsible, such as Moffatt and Goodspeed and others, that there are versions of the Bible which JEOPARDIZE THE PERCEIVED INTEGRITY OF THEIR ENTIRE COLOSSAL WORK BASED UPON THEIR COSTLY ATTEMPT TO TRANSLATE THIS CONTROVERSIAL VERSE ACCURATELY, AGAINST THE ‘STATUS QUO’.

 

“En archee een ho logos, kai ho logos een pros ton theon, kal Theos een ho logos.”

“In beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and a god was the Word.”

 

We can see here that there is a major difference between the two words that are both translated ‘God’ in the KJV. The first is ‘ton theon’, meaning (THE) GOD, or (absolute) God. The definite article (ton) preceding ‘theon’, a form of the word ‘Theos’, unquestionably indicates our God, the Father Himself. The second word that many versions here translate ‘God’ is ‘Theos’, which often means GOD, especially when accompanied by the definite article, in this case it would be ‘ho‘. WITHOUT the definite article, AS IT OCCURS HERE, it SOMETIMES means God, and SOMETIMES IT IS QUALITATIVE, MEANING ‘DIVINE’, ‘LIKE GOD’, ‘A GOD‘. Greek is a very exact language, and the rule for understanding what this word means in this case IS DETERMINED BY THE CONTEXT. Because the context HAD JUST STATED THAT “THE LOGOS WAS WITH THE GOD”, THE CONTEXT HERE CLEARLY DEMANDS THAT THE LOGOS CANNOT ‘BE’ THE SAME GOD WHOM THE LOGOS WAS ‘WITH’. COMPOUNDING THE CERTAINTY IS THE CLEAR CONTEXT OF THE ENTIRETY OF SCRIPTURE THAT CONSISTENTLY TEACHES THAT THERE IS ONLY ONE ABSOLUTE GOD, THE GOD AND FATHER OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.

 

Kenneth Wuest, former Professor Emeritus of New Testament Greek at Moody Bible Institute demonstrates throughout his writings how the use of the definite article, before the noun, or the lack thereof, is a regular distinguishing feature of the very specific nature of the Greek language. In ’Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, Volume I’, on the first page he wrote (technically pg. 11) detailing the beginning of the gospel of Mark, "The word ’Son’ is without the article in the Greek text. Emphasis is therefore upon character or nature.

 

Two pages later he wrote, “'The voice'; no definite article in the Greek text. (John) The Baptist was not the only mouthpiece of God sent to Israel. John only claimed to be ’ a voice’, not ’the voice'.  Then on the next page he wrote, “ The word ‘Lord’ is without the article, the emphasis being upon character or quality .“ Throughout all three volumes he continuously makes these kind of distinctions. On pg. 63 of volume two, he writes concerning Phil. 2:6, where it says that the Logos subsisted in the form of God: “The word 'God' here is without the definite article in the Greek text, and therefore refers to the divine essence...our Lord, as toHis nature is the possessor of the divine essence of Deity...” On the next page he writes, concerning the same verse where it says that the Logos did not consider equality with God something to be grasped: “ The word 'God' is used again without the article. Had the article preceded it, the meaning would be 'equal with God (the Father).'” So again he admits that no definite article proves that it doesn’t literally mean “God”.

 

You can do a little word study and prove how this works to yourself, and also discover an interesting example of the deceptiveness of the Trinitarian slant in many Bibles, concordances, and study guides in the process. You can purchase ’The Interlinear KJV-NIV Parallel New Testament in Greek and English’, by Alfred Marshall in most Christian bookstores pretty cheap, and this one revelation, in my opinion, is worth the purchase price. On pg. 265 it quotes John 1:1 as saying that in the beginning the Word was with "τὸν θεόν” (“THE GOD“), and that the Word was "θεὸς" (although according to the context the exact translation should be “divine”, or the equivalent, they here translate “Theos”, without the definite article, into English as “GOD“). Now you can look up 2 Thessalonians 2:4 on pg. 609 where they translate the exact same word, used exactly as it is in John 1:1, "θεὸς", without the definite article, as “a god”. Theos, without the definite article is also translated as “a god” in Acts 12:22 and 28:6. Why then do they translate it “God” in John 1:1 when it makes absolutely no sense that the Logos was with God and also was the God he was with?

 

It is therefore a sure certainty that the word ‘Theos’ in this instance IS INDEFINITE AND QUALITATIVE, that it DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE LOGOS WAS DEFINITE GOD, but is DESCRIBING THE GOD GIVEN DIVINE NATURE AND QUALITIES OF the Logos. This would demand that it must be properly translated as some Bibles bravely render it, in spite of he great risk of public and ecclesiastical rejection of the translation: “...the Logos was with God, THE LOGOS WAS DIVINE” (“brilliant Scottish scholar” James Moffatt’s ‘The New Testament’). And, "THE WORD WAS DIVINE” (The New Testament: An American Translation).

 

The following is possibly the most clear and accurate translation that I have found, which I think may give the best equivalent definition of ‘Theos’ in this context without the definite article (and it means the same as ‘divine’, ‘like God’, ‘a God’), and some modern experts of New Testament Greek agree: “...WHAT GOD WAS, THE WORD WAS” (NEB). Again I remind, when the accuracy of the years of work involved in translating these complete Bibles can lose credibility based upon one rendition of a hotly controversial verse like this one, extreme certainty must have been assured before going against the crowd on such a sacrosanct issue. It should be easy to see why other translations chose to safely agree with the majority rather than face such a risk. The modern NEB is no longer in print. I insert this next explanation that my wife Stephanie found on the internet,  several years after I wrote this work, because it is so clear. I have added to the article, which we found at greeklatinaudio.com Austin TX June 2000. 

Does John 1:1 Indicate that God and Christ (the Logos) are one and the same?

 

Satisfactorily resolving this question requires that one have a clear understanding of THREE basic, simple, yet rarely-understood, concepts relating to the exercise of language translation in general; and Greek-to-English translation in specific. These are:

 

Concept A: The comparative use of DEFINITE and INDEFINITE articles in translation from Greek to English.

 

Concept B: The necessity of varying degrees of "LITERALNESS" in language translation in general, such that aesthetics may be maintained without compromising accuracy.

 

Concept C:The subtle treatment which language accords to common titles of intimacy, and how this must be handled in translation from Greek to English.

 

These three concepts and how they relate to one another (and to a proper understanding of John 1:1) will be explained fully in this narrative. To this end, and...to keep issues clear and manageable for the reader... this narrative is presented in 5 progressively-developed segments below, with each segment providing a clear and solid foundation for its successor segment - with the end result being coherent and easily-understood presentation of the question at hand. Although the language translation concepts presented here are applicable in many language translation contexts, they are discussed here specifically in the context of translation from Greek to English. There will be short illustrative passages of Greek presented here. However, this need NO cause any concern, because these passages are fully translated and clarified such that, even those who know no Greek will have no problems following the concepts presented... Thus, one need NOT be a scholar, a linguist, a Greek grammarian, etc., to follow along. It is absolutely unreasonable to think that God would impose such requirements on anyone who is seeking to get to the truth of the matter under consideration here. (Matthew 18:1-6)

 

Furthermore, inasmuch as God undertook very personal and painful measures to open the way to accurate knowledge concerning himself and his son Jesus Christ, (John 17:3) one may safely presume that such knowledge is fully intended to be attainable and clearly understandable. The 5 progressively developed segments comprising this commentary are summarized as follows:

 

Segment 1: A clarification of the question introducing this commentary, and WHY the question is even asked: Does John 1:1 indicate that God and Christ (the Logos) are one-and-the-same?

Segment 2: A discussion of Concept A: The comparative use of DEFINITE and INDEFINITE articles in translation from Greek to English.

Segment 3: A discussion of Concept B: The necessity of varying degrees of "LITERALNESS" in language translation in general, such that aesthetics may be maintained without compromising accuracy.

Segment 4: A discussion of Concept C: The subtle treatment which language accords to common titles of intimacy, and how this must be handled in translation from Greek to English.

Segment 5: Review and obvious conclusion.

 

SEGMENT 1: A clarification of the question introducing this commentary, and WHY the question is even asked: Does John 1:1 indicate that God and Christ (the Logos) are one-and-the-same? John 1:1 in the original Greek follows: en arch hn o logoV kai o logoV hn proV ton qeon kai qeoV hn o logoV An acceptable variation of the most common English translation of this verse is: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. An acceptable variation of the opposing English translation of this verse is: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was a god

 

The not-so-subtle difference between the above opposing translations is:- The former suggests that Christ (the Logos) is God himself.  The latter suggests that Christ (the Logos) is a god (i.e., NOT God himself, but one like God). Obviously(!) the implications raised by these opposing translations of John 1:1 are enormous.

 

One is, therefore, absolutely justified in asking: "Which one is correct?" And, in actuality, the REAL point of contention here is the little red "a" in the latter translation...DOES IT BELONG THERE? - OR NOT?

The issue raised, of course, has to do with getting to know the very nature of God and his son Jesus Christ. (They are either one-and-the-same...or they are not!) The warning raised by the apostle Paul at 2nd Thessalonians 1:6-8 attaches a mortal tempo to this issue. The remaining 4 segments of this narrative deal with the little red "a" and the propriety or impropriety of its presence in the English translation of John 1:1. (Once this minor logistics problem is solved, everything else falls into place.)

 

SEGMENT 2: A discussion of Concept A: The comparative use of DEFINITE and INDEFINITE articles in translation from Greek to English. [The little red "a" mentioned in the previous segment is known grammatically as an " article "More specifically, it is an indefinite article ." Because the controversy being discussed here cannot be apprehended intelligently without having a clear understanding of articles and their role in English and Greek expression, the following is provided...] Webster's dictionary defines an " article" as "...the words "the" and "a," (or "an ") in English, that are linked to nouns and that typically function in identifying nouns as nouns and in indicating definiteness or indefiniteness of reference." As mentioned here, English has two articles: The DEFINITE article " the ," and the INDEFINITE article " a." (or "an ") These articles are invariable in form, i.e., they always occur as " the," and "a." (or "an ") They do not change. Greek, on the other hand, has only ONE article, the DEFINITE article. This article is quite variable in form, i.e., it changes (or morphs itself) regularly into as many as 30 different variations of itself. REGARDLESS, it is STILL Greek's single DEFINITE article, and in all of its forms, it is translated simply as " the ."

 

Thus, in both English and Greek, the article, as Webster's definition above suggests, simply assigns the notion of grammatical "definiteness" or "indefiniteness" to associated nouns. In the material immediately following, we will examine the difference between HOW English and Greek use their respective articles to assign the notion of grammatical " definiteness " or " indefiniteness " to associated nouns.

 

English first...Notice the subtle shades of meaning generated by use of these articles in the sentences below as they express grammatical "definiteness" and "indefiniteness" with regard to the man

and the woman being discussed... AND, to provide a beneficially meaningful dimension to these sentences, imagine that you are in a park in an unfamiliar locale, and you encounter two tourists whom you do not know. One of the tourists is telling the other about an event he witnessed at a picturesque gazebo in the park. With this in mind, imagine that the tourist who witnessed this event tells 4 different one-sentence versions of what he saw...as follows:

 

"A man married a woman."

 

Notice what is implied by the indefinite article preceding both man and woman in this sentence: Neither tourist knows the man or the woman. That is, they are indefinite entities. All we know about them is that they are human and of opposite gender.

 

"The man married a woman."

 

Now notice what is implied by the definite article preceding man and the indefinite article preceding woman in this sentence: Both tourists know the man. They don't necessarily know him well, but they know who he is, e.g., the man in the room down the hall at their hotel. Thus, the mam becomes a definite entity. He has a prior contextual place in the minds of the tourists. They recognize him! On the other hand, neither tourist

knows the woman. She is still an indefinite entity.

 

"A man married the woman."

 

In this example, we have the exact opposite of the previous example: Neither tourist knows the man. HE is now the indefinite entity...and now both tourists know the woman. SHE is the definite entity. She has a prior

contextual place in the minds of the tourists. They recognize her! (e.g., from the hotel, etc...)

 

"The man married the woman."

 

And finally, notice what is implied by the definite article preceding both man and woman in this sentence: Both tourists know the man and woman. Both are now definite entities with a prior contextual place in the minds of the tourists. The tourists recognize them! (e.g., from the hotel, etc...) Regarding the 4 examples above, there is absolutely nothing foreign or mystical about their meaning. They simply illustrate HOW the English language uses its definite and articles to express notions of "definiteness" and "indefiniteness."

 

Now, Greek... In the Greek language, however, there is a different variation on this theme: As stated above, Greek has only the definite article. IT DOES NOT HAVE THE INDEFINITE ARTICLE! Therefore, although Greek can use the same grammatical mechanism as English to express definiteness, it MUST obviously (!) use a DIFFERENT grammatical mechanism to express indefiniteness. This will be clearly illustrated in the following examples. These examples will take advantage of the park wedding scenario given above. However, we will experience it from the Greek perspective, via the accompanying word-for-word LITERAL English translations. Note that, because we are thinking in Greek, ALL of the articles here are DEFINITE articles - and theu will be high-lighted in blue so that their comparative use may be immediately evident. AGAIN, remember that, because Greek DOES NOT HAVE AN INDEFINITE ARTICLE, its grammatical mechanism for expressing the notion of "indefiniteness" will be seen here to be DIFFERENT from English. ALSO, BEAR IN MIND THAT THE GREEK SENTENCES WHICH FOLLOW ARE PROPER GREEK. DO NOT be put off by their seeming "incompleteness." If you are not used to thinking in Greek, then that is the way they will sound...incomplete! This is perfectly normal. Simply keep in mind that you are experiencing proper Greek thought via word-for-word literal English translation. WITH THIS IN MIND... We will repeat the park wedding scenario above - thinking in Greek this time! It will be seen that we come to exactly the same conclusions about the man and the woman as we did in the previous English scenario. The conceptual pattern is the same - only the grammatical mechanism is different. It is Greek.

 

anqrwpoV egamhse gunaika

man married woman

 

Notice what is implied to a Greek speaker by the LACK OF Greek definite articles preceding anqrwpoV and gunaika: Neither tourist knows the man or the woman. That is, they are indefinite entities. All we know about

them is that they are human and of opposite gender.

 

o anqrwpoV egamhse gunaika

the man married woman

 

Now, notice what is implied to a Greek speaker by the Greek definite article preceding anqrwpoV and the LACK OF the Greek definite article preceding gunaik: Both tourists know the man. They don't necessarily know him well, but they know who he is, e.g., the man in the room down the hall at their hotel. Thus, the man becomes a definite entity. He has a prior contextual place in the minds of the tourists. They recognize him! On the other hand, neither tourist knows the woman. She is still an indefinite entity.

 

anqrwpoV egamhse thn gunaika

man married the woman

 

In this example, we have the exact opposite of the previous example: Neither tourist knows the man. HE is now the indefinite entity...and now both tourists know the woman. SHE is the definite entity. She has a prior

contextual place in the minds of the tourists. They recognize her! (e.g., from the hotel, etc...)

 

o anqrwpoV egamhse thn gunaika

the man married the woman

 

And finally, notice what is implied by the Greek definite articles preceding anqrwpoV and gunaika in this sentence: Both tourists know the man and woman. Both are now definite entities with a prior contextual place in the minds of the tourists. The tourists recognize them! (e.g., from the hotel, etc...) At this point the reader should see clearly that, inasmuch as Greek does NOT have an INDEFINITE article, it nevertheless perfectly expresses the notion of "indefiniteness" by simply NOT using its DEFINITE article! This mechanism is very typical of Greek in its elegant efficiency of expression. However, as seen in our examples above, this peculiarity of Greek, if conveyed literally in English translation, presents aesthetic problems to English speakers. This is simply because English utilizes a different grammatical mechanism for expressing "indefiniteness," and the failure to employ that mechanism in translation to English (i.e., by NOT using the English indefinite article where necessary) is quickly "sensed" by the English speaker, such that he feels something is "incomplete." There is an aesthetic glitch which must necessarily be fixed by the translator before his job is done. This necessary fix is discussed in the next segment.

 

SEGMENT 3: A discussion of Concept B:

 

The necessity of varying degrees of "LITERALNESS" in language translation in general, such that aesthetics may be maintained without compromising accuracy. Given the park wedding scenario illustrated in the previous segment, we saw that, as it pertains to "indefinite" expressions, conveying LITERAL Greek thought in English leaves a bit to be desired. With this in mind, it is important to understand that, in general, NO word-for-word literal

translation of thought from one language to another will do aesthetic justice to the source language (e.g., Greek) when conveyed thus in the target language. (e.g., English) Therefore,

the concept of "literalness" with regard to language translation must be understood as a relative concept.

 

In view of this, it should be clear that, even the best "literal" English translation of the Bible is only relatively literal. If it were word-for-word literal, then its English would sound strange and "incomplete" to the English reader, as was the case in our Greek park wedding scenario above. To avoid this, translators must ROUTINELY exercise their considerable expertise to balance literalness with aesthetics by the application of a connective linguistic "glue"... This linguistic "glue" is quite simply the addition of "connective" language to (or the omission of "disconnective" language from) a base literal translation such that, the result is a relatively literal translation which conveys full aesthetic soundness to the target language speaker, WITHOUT compromising accuracy. This application of linguistic "glue" is a very serious matter in the realm of language translation. And it occurs in many varied and complex circumstances. In this commentary, however, we are discussing ONLY its application to the problem of transferring correct notions of definiteness and indefiniteness from Greek thought to English thought - via the proper use of articles. To see examples of this, we will recall the park wedding scenario above with its Greek expressions and their literal English translations. All articles, as previously, will still be highlighted in blue . In addition, however, we will now include a 2nd English translation for each Greek expression. This 2nd translation will illustrate the use of the linguistic "glue" necessary to make the 1st translation (the word-for-word literal translation) sound correct to the English speaker. You will notice that the "glue" in this case is simply the application of the indefinite article (the little red " a ") where appropriate...

 

anqrwpoV egamhse gunaika

man married woman

 

a man married a woman

 

o anqrwpoV egamhse gunaika

the man married woman

 

the man married a woman

 

anqrwpoV egamhse thn gunaika

man married the woman

 

a man married the woman

 

o anqrwpoV egamhse thn gunaika

the man married the woman

 

the man married the woman

 

(no change necessary) Notice that in the 2nd translation for each Greek expression above, (except the last) English indefinite articles (i.e., little red "a"s) were added to provide the linguistic "glue" which gives proper sound and feeling to the English translation. NOTE that these English indefinite articles were added by the translator, EVEN THOUGH NO SUCH ARTICLES EXIST IN THE GREEK EQUIVALENT. Remember! Greek has no such (indefinite) articles. This translational practice is perfectly acceptable, ROUTINE, and indeed necessary, if the translation is to convey correct thought in correct English. As a matter of fact, bearing the above concept in mind, it should be clear to the reader that EVERY TIME HE SEES THE INDEFINITE ARTICLE IN THE ENGLISH NEW TESTAMENT, he is seeing an application of the above-mentioned linguistic "glue!" (i.e., the little red " a ") added by the translator!

 

Now, as a formative conceptual exercise, please open your English Bible and browse randomly through the New Testament and contemplate the number of times you encounter the indefinite article. (i.e., the little red " a ") And REMEMBER! That little "a" has NO literal equivalent in the Greek language! It is necessary linguistic "glue" added by the translator to help convey Greek thought in palatable English without compromising translational accuracy.

 

Thus, the little red "a" has an honored, necessary, and abundant place in the process. HOWEVER! The translator's job is still not complete! We must now consider a sterling rule of conduct in language translation which has critical applicability to our discussion: This sterling rule of conduct states, in essence, that aesthetics MUST take a back seat to accuracy of meaning IF accuracy of meaning is critical...ESPECIALLY if it affects

doctrinal understanding!

 

With this rule of conduct in mind, and applying what we have learned thus far, we will again recall JOHN 1:1 in Greek and this time provide the word-for-word literal translation in English.

We will also apply the color scheme introduced earlier to modify our optic of the language of JOHN 1:1. (At the moment, we will be looking at this verse from the Greek perspective. So REMEMBER: Greek has only the DEFINITE article! There is no indefinite article. Therefore, our color scheme (as above) will high-light the definite article in blue .) John 1:1 in the original Greek:

 

en arch hn o logoV kai o logoV hn proV ton qeon

 

kai qeoV hn o logoV

 

...Note that, because we are dealing with actual Greek along with a word-for-word literal English translation to express the equivalent Greek thought, the only articles we see high-lighted are DEFINITE articles. AND, we notice immediately that, because we are experiencing literal Greek thought here, we see (from an English perspective) at least two aesthetic irregularities which will require fixing with our linguistic "glue:"

 

The 1st irregularity: "in beginning" sounds a little strange to an English speaker. The 2nd irregularity: "with the god" also sounds a little strange to an English speaker. The translator must, therefore, apply his linguistic "glue" to these two irregularities such that they may sound aesthetically proper to the English speaker. AND he must bear in mind his sterling rule of conduct as well: Accuracy of critical meaning must NOT be compromised... So what did the Apostle John mean when he said " en arch?" (that is, "in beginning ") He was thinking in Greek, therefore he was thinking of an indefinite "beginning" because he did NOT use the Greek definite article here. Based on what we learned earlier, the translator must, therefore, put the little red "a" before "beginning." to convey accurately what John (thinking in Greek!) meant, e.g., " in a beginning." But that STILL sounds strange to an English speaker! However, if the translator puts the DEFINITE article "the" before "beginning," then it sounds correct. (e.g., "in the beginning ") But this is NOT what John said or meant!

 

So... If the translator leaves the "the" there for aesthetic purposes, will it compromise critical meaning? Surprisingly enough, NOT REALLY! This is because the difference in meaning can be shifted semantically in English to mean what John said anyway. Thus, even though a very subtle difference in meaning is conveyed now to an English speaker, (a meaning which John did not really intend) it is, nevertheless, aesthetically sound, AND the difference in meaning is not really critical - it can be compensated for semantically. Therefore, the translator may apply his "glue" here (depicted in red) and we end up with a satisfactory phrase in English: " in the beginning NOW, what about the 2nd irregularity?: "with the god" which also sounds a little strange to an English speaker. What did John (thinking in Greek) mean by "with the god?" He used the Greek Definite article. Therefore, he meant his God, the one and only God Almighty. (In the NEW TESTAMENT, this Greek construction ("god" preceded by the Greek definite article) ALWAYS means the one and only God Almighty.) However, it sounds strange to the English speaker!

 

English speakers with a Christian background ROUTINELY refer to the one and only God almighty as simply "God!" There is no need for the definite article here to convey to the English speaker what John (thinking in Greek) meant... Therefore, the translator may again apply his "glue:" "with * god." (The red asterisk here simply reminds us, for the sake of this discussion, that "glue" was applied, by virtue of the omission of a definite article.) At this point, we have satisfactorily dealt with the two irregularities mentioned above, and the resulting English translation, with linguistic glue in place, now appears as follows: in the beginning was the word and the word was with * god and god was the word.

 

It was demonstrated in the previous SEGMENT that English speakers ROUTINELY refer to God Almighty as simply "God" (without a definite article) and, in so doing, leave no ambiguity as to WHO is meant. This peculiar mode of address in English is at the crux of the controversy swirling around John 1:1. (And English is certainly not the only language which evokes this controversy!) To appreciate the subtle translational disaster which this causes with regard to understanding John 1:1 properly, we must carefully contrast the way that English treats the following three forms of nouns when assigning notions of "definiteness" or "indefiniteness" to them via articles...(or the LACK of articles):

 

These three forms of nouns are: Titles, common nouns and proper names.  Let's be clear on what these are:

 

TITLES are special nouns which convey a categorical or functional notion to the subjects which they "tag." For example, the following are TITLES. Notice how these titles clearly convey category or function to those who might be "tagged" by them...e.g., Mayor Smith. (Mr. Smith is "tagged" with the title of mayor. (We know his category (of office) or function by virtue of his TITLE. The same applies to the other TITLES in this list.) mayor policeman father mother teacher professor god.

 

COMMON NOUNS are nouns which are slightly more generic than TITLES. We need only understand here that there is considerable conceptual overlap between these two types of nouns, (e.g., all of the above are common nouns as well as titles...) Some examples of other common nouns are: dog cat boy ball cab.

 

PROPER NAMES are nouns which uniquely "tag" their subjects as identifiable in a crowd of like nouns of the same category or function. For example, Mike Canada Paris Mary Texas.

 

Now notice carefully in the following sentences how differently English treats some of the nouns taken from the above lists - particularly, with regard to assigning notions of "definiteness" and "indefiniteness" to them via articles...(or the LACK of articles) The dog bit mayor. The dog bit policeman. The dog bit cat. The dog bit mother. The dog bit father. The dog bit Stephanie. The dog bit Mike.

 

Notice that, in English, the 1st three victims of the dog require either a indefinit or a definite article before them in order to meet English aesthetic standards, e.g., The dog bit (a/the) mayor. The dog bit (a/the) policeman. The dog bit (a/the) cat. Contrastingly, however, the last four victims of the dog require no such "articular" intervention to meet English aesthetic standards! (Note particularly, that one of these victims is God.)

 

WHY do these nouns not need an article?! Theories and variations of theories abound on matters such as this. The bottom line, however, is that such nouns or titles DON'T NEED ARTICLES IN ENGLISH - or in many other languages. This undoubtedly has to do with the implied intimate linguistic contexts in which such titles have been developed over thousands of years of language evolution...such that, they have acquired the near status of PROPER NAMES, (WHICH ALSO DON'T NEED ARTICLES IN ENGLISH) e.g., TOM, MARY, PARIS. For the sake of discussion, we may simply refer to such titles as titles of intimacy.

 

Now note another subtle peculiarity regarding such titles of intimacy: As stated, they DON'T need articles to be aesthetically correct in the contexts which we have discussed above. HOWEVER, THEY MAY FREELY TAKE ON ARTICLES AT ANY TIME AND NOT SUFFER ANY LOSS OF AESTHETIC CORRECTNESS IN SUCH CONTEXTS! In so doing, however, they lose a degree of intimacy. AND, their MEANING in context is definitely altered. For example... The dog bit Mother. (The speaker's mother is implied here: quite intimate! Notice that no article is used.) The dog bit a mother. (...as opposed to a policeman. (How rude and unfeeling!) The speaker's mother is NOT implied here: less intimate. Notice that an indefinite article ("a") is used.) The dog bit the mother. (...as opposed to her child. The speaker's mother is NOT implied here either, however, there is slightly more specificity of meaning. This example too, is less intimate than the 1st example. Notice that a definite article ("the") is used.)

 

DO WE APPRECIATE THE FULL IMPACT OF WHAT HAS JUST BEEN DEMONSTRATED HERE?... particularly with regard to the 1st example using "god"? The original Greek of John 1:1 has commonly been translated to suggest that God and Jesus Christ (the Word) are one-and-the-same, e.g., In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Contrastingly, this verse has far less commonly been translated to suggest that God and Jesus Christ (the Word) are distinct and separate beings - that the Word is "a god," or a godlike (or divine) one, e.g., In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god. The very valid question is then posed: Which of these translations is correct? Or, more succinctly: Does the little red "a" belong there or not? Because the critter in question (the little red "a") is an indefinite article, a discussion of theconcept of the comparative use of DEFINITE and INDEFINITE articles in Greek and English was presented.We learned that, although English has BOTH a definite and an indefinite article, Greek has ONLY a definite article. Therefore, the mechanisms which both languages use to convey the notion of indefiniteness MUST, of necessity, be functionally different. This difference was clearly demonstrated via the use of literal Greek to English phrase translations in which it was illustrated that when Greek omits its single definite article with respect to a related noun, it (Greek) is indicating that noun's INDEFINITENESS.

 

We learned that these nouns in literal translation necessarily cause aesthetic irregularities which must be fixed by the translator via the judicious and honest application of "linguistic glue" in English...AND that this must be done WITHOUT compromising meaning. And finally, we learned that this is true particularly with regard to titles of intimacy (such asbgod) which, if NOT tagged properly with the English INDEFINITE article, can freely bounce back and forth between Greek and English, switching their noun status from indefinite to definite, WITHOUT even being noticed, while at the same time significantly altering intended meaning. However, if the translator does his duty and "catches" this quick "in-transit costumechange" by applying the little red "a" like he's supposed to, then the apostle John's intended meaning at John 1:1 is accurately conveyed to the English reader, i.e., THAT JESUS CHRIST IS A GOD-LIKE ENTITY DISTINCT FROM GOD HIMSELF: HE IS LIKE GOD IN CHARACTER AND NATURE AND QUALITY. As such, his role as God's son takes on a completely different and far more sensible meaning than that commonly presented in "acceptable" Christian theology: He becomes, quite simply, God's son, WITHOUT all the usual mystic doctrinal accoutrements…” The Bible says, “Yahweh is …a great King above all Gods“(Ps.95:3).