Translating John 1:1

If you are familiar with the Jehovah Witnesses you will know that they claim Jesus is a god and not the almighty God. This claim comes from a confusion in a number of areas. Most important for this post is a confusion about the Greek words the apostle John uses in John 1:1. In John 1:1, John uses theos for Jesus and theon for the Father. Jehovah Witnesses claim this is because John intends for Jesus to be “a god” since there is no definite article “ho” (‘the’ in english). The following information will explain why this is wrong and John intended his passage to show Jesus is God.

The most important thing is that “theos, theon, and theou” are all actually the same word. They all are different cases of the same word. So, theos is “god/God”, and theou is “God’s,god’s” Essentially, this different spelling shows ownership in the same way ” ‘s ” does in English. Theon is the accusative case of theos. This means that only the context can determine if any of these should be translated “God/god”.

This can be seen by these two examples (there are more): John 1:6 and 2 Cor 4:4

John 1:6 “There came a man who was sent as a representative of God; his name was John.” (NWT)

The Greek says “… para Theou onoma auto Ioannes”. So, if the watchtowers logic was consistent this would be translated “a god” because there is no “ho” in the sentence.

2 Cor 4:4 “among whom the god of this system of thing  has blinded the minds of the unbelievers,” (NWT)

Yet the Greek says, “en hois ho theos tou aionos”. This sentence def has the definite article “ho” but clearly this sentence should not be translated “the God”. Thus, I believe NWT has correctly translated both of these passages, but they don’t follow the rules which they use to claim Jesus is a god.

Now, once we realize that “theos, theon, and theou” are all the same words with different grammar functions, there is more evidence of Jesus being God. Look at John 17:3 “This means everlasting life, their coming to know you, the only true God” (NWT)

This passage shows there is only “one true God”. Now, JW claim that Jesus is a god. Is this a false god or the true God? If we say he is the true God, then there is no issue. If we say he is a false god, why pay homage to him? But as Christian we must pay homage to Jesus as a divine being. This is wonderful. This shows the beauty of God to reveal himself by taking on human flesh.

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