Disclaimer 1: I do not claim to be a Greek scholar. But I do know how to pay attention to men who are. For this post, I have been very careful to only speak on matters that I have properly researched, investigated, and which I properly understand. Any technical aspects of biblical Greek included in this post are taken from reputable, (small ‘o’) orthodox sources who have spent years studying biblical Greek.
Disclaimer 2: Any comments not limited to discussion of this particular passage of Scripture will be deleted. If you want to compare the Greek of John 1:1 to another passage, you may do so. But any and all rabbit trails that have nothing to do with the text in question will be swiftly done away with.
Of all the biblical passages that get debated by orthodox and heretic, John 1:1 ranks within the top 3–if not holding the #1 spot. It is one of the clearest declarations of the Deity of Christ, written by one who received revelations from God concerning the end of all things–many of which could not be expressed in the vocabulary of the day. He was the apostle that Jesus loved (John 13:23, John 19:26, John 20:2, John 21:7, John 21:20). He wrote more about the heart of Jesus than any of the other gospel writers.
And to begin his reckoning of the person of Christ, he begins in, of all places, the beginning. He shows us that not only was Jesus there; he shows us that Jesus was with God–and he shows us that Jesus was, indeed, God. However, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (hereafter referred to as ‘WTBTS’) decided some time back to mistranslate this verse in accordance with their theology, and render it quite wrongly. And so, whenever you get a knock on the door, and the person tells you they are with the Jehovah’s Witnesses (hereafter referred to as JW or JW’s), they will very confidently whip out their little pamphlet entitled “Should You Believe in the Trinity?” and they will tell you why they think that you believe in a pagan God. Therefore, the aim of this post is to give you a biblical basis, founded upon the Greek, for believing in the deity of Christ.
So, what exactly does this verse say? How should it read? Let’s find out. Following is the Greek of this verse:
εν αρχη ην ό λóγος και ό λóγος ην πρoς τoν θεoν και θεος ην ό λóγος
en archē ēn o logos kai o logos ēn pros ton theon kai theos ēn o logos
Let’s take this one phrase at a time and understand what the Holy Spirit is saying to us through the apostle. And before we begin, I would like to make this statement: do not try to take the rules of English grammar and apply them to biblical Greek (hereafter referred to simply as “Greek”). It won’t work. There are some rules that the two have in common, but there were many rules, grammatical structures, verb tenses, noun cases, and other technical aspects of Greek that do not translate exactly into modern (or any other type of) English. We will see this shortly. Continue reading