John's use of theos

Dedicated to the scholarly study of the bible as text and the discussion thereof

Moderator: Moderators

User avatar
tigger2
Sage
Posts: 634
Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 4:32 pm

John's use of theos

Post #1

Post by tigger2 »

Before I start a new discussion, I'd like to discuss some aspects of John's usage and grammar which will be needed.


First, my study has shown that John (and the other Gospel writers) always used the definite article when they intended the meaning of 'God' in the nominative case (theos). This means that (excluding the known grammatical exceptions) they always wrote ho theos when they meant 'God' (rather than 'a god').

Among the known grammatical exceptions, the most used is the uncertainty of the definite article (ho in this case) when theos is part of a prepositional phrase. These include phrases where a genitive is used with the nominative "God": "God of gods," "God of Israel."

It also includes normal prepositional phrases, e.g., "God to him," "God in heaven." Such 'prepositional' uses of "God" (or any other nominative noun in John's writings) may or may not use the article and still be understood as either definite or indefinite.

I have found dozens of places where John uses ho theos to mean "God."

So, as the first step, can anyone here find where John has used theos without the article to mean "God"?

............................
I used my own copy of Strong's Concordance along with my own Greek English interlinear to find all the uses of theos in all of John's writings. But if you don't have a copy of your own, you could try these:

A fairly good interlinear can be found here: http://biblehub.com/interlinear/john/1-6.htm

The following concordance begins with John at the bottom of the page:

https://www.blueletterbible.org/search ... mary_0_58
[/u]

By Grace
Apprentice
Posts: 146
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:52 pm

Post #11

Post by By Grace »

[Replying to post 10 by tigger2]

We are agreeing, tigger2.

Because I did not want to trot out my D&M, I went into English to establish the principles of Koine Greek

User avatar
tigger2
Sage
Posts: 634
Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 4:32 pm

Post #12

Post by tigger2 »

[Replying to post 11 by By Grace]

Examples Colwell used from John - John 1:49; 5:27; 9:5; 19:21. They are all anarthrous nominative nouns modified by prepositions/genitives! See (2. in post 10 above. Colwell's Rule is based on improper examples and is not valid!

Proper examples in John's Gospel include John 4:19 ('a prophet'); 18:37a ('a king') and 16 more (all indefinite).

So, obviously, the scripture in question (Jn 1:1c) is also one of these proper examples and should read: "And the Word was a god."

By Grace
Apprentice
Posts: 146
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:52 pm

Post #13

Post by By Grace »

[Replying to post 12 by tigger2]

Saying that the Word was A God is not what I meant. So we are in disagreement

Here is a list of 36 other anarthrous nouns that John uses

Singular Anarthrous Predicate Nouns Preceding the Copulative Verbs EIMI
and GINOMAI in the Gospel of John Occurring as Indefinite (*),
Qualitative (**), or Definite (***)
Joh 1:1 * and the Word was with God, and the Word was _a god_
KAI hO LOGOS HN PROS TON QEON KAI _QEOS_ HN hO LOGOS
Joh 1:14 ** the Word became _flesh_
hO LOGOS _SARX_ EGENETO
Joh 1:49 ** you are _King_ of Israel
SU _BASILEUS_ EI TOU ISRAHL
Joh 2:9 ** the water that had been turned into _wine_
TO hUDWR _OINON_ GEGENHMENON
Joh 3:4 ** How can a man be born when he is _ol-d_?
PWS DUNATAI ANQRWPOS GENNHQHNAI _GERWN_ WN;
Joh 3:6 ** What has been born from the flesh is _flesh_
TO GEGENNHMENON EK THS SARKOS _SARX_ ESTIN
** what has been born from the spirit is _spirit_
TO GEGENNHMENON EK TOU PNEUMATOS _PNEUMA_ ESTIN
Joh 3:29 *** He that has the bride is _the bridegroom_
hO ECWN THN NUMFH _NUMFIOS_ ESTIN
Joh 4:9 * despite being _a Jew_
_IOUDAIOS_ WN
Joh 4:9 * when I am _a_ Samaritan _woman_?
_GUNAIKOS_ SAMAREITIDOS OUSHS;
Joh 4:19 * I perceive you are _a prophet_
QEWRW hOTI _PROFHTHS_ SU,
Joh 5:27 ** _Son_ of man he is
_HUIOS_ ANQRWPOU ESTIN
Joh 6:70 * one of you is _a slanderer_
EX hUMWN hEIS _DIABOLOS_ ESTIN
Joh 8:33 ** We are Abraham's _offspring_
_SPERMA_ ABRAAM ESMEN
Joh 8:34 * Every doer of sin is _a slave_ of sin
PAS hO POIWN THN hAMARTIAN _DOULOS_ ESTIN THS hAMARTIAS
Joh 8:37 ** you are Abraham's _offspring_
_SPERMA_ ABRAAM ESTE
Joh 8:42 *** If God were your _Father_
EI hO QEOS _PATHR_ hUMWN HN
Joh 8:44 * That one was _a manslayer_
EKEINOS _ANQRWPOKTONOS_ HN
* he is _a liar_
_YEUSTHS_ ESTIN
Joh 8:48 * You are _a Samaritan_
_SAMARITHS_ EI SU
Joh 8:54 *** he who you say is your _God_
hON hUMEIS LEGETE hOTI _QEOS_ hUMWN ESTIN
Joh 9:5 *** I am _the_ world's _light_
_FWS_ EIMI TOU KOSMOU
Joh 9:8 * he was _a beggar_
_PROSAITHS_ HN
Joh 9:17 * He is _a prophet_
_PROFHTHS_ ESTIN
Joh 9:24 * this man is _a sinner_
HOUTOS hO ANQRWPOS _hAMARTWLOS_ ESTIN
Joh 9:25 * Whether he is _a sinner_ I do not know
EI _hAMARTWLOS_ ESTIN OUK OIDA
Joh 9:28 * You are _a disciple_ of that [man]
SU _MAQHTHS_ EI EKEINOU
Joh 10:1 * that one is _a thief_
EKEINOS _KLEPTHS_ ESTIN
Joh 10:2 ** But he that enters through the door is _shepherd_ of
the sheep
hO DE EISERCOMENOS DIA THS QURAS _POIMHN_ ESTIN TWN
PROBATWN
Joh 10:13 * he is _a hired man_
_MISQWTOS_ ESTIN
Joh 10:33 * although being _a man_
_ANQRWPOS_ WN
Joh 10:36 ** because I said, I am God's _Son_?
HOTI EIPON _hUIOS_ TOU QEOU EIMI;
Joh 11:49 ** who was _high priest_ that year
_ARCIEREUS_ WN TOU ENIAUTOU EKEINOU
Joh 11:51 ** because he was _high priest_ that year
_ARCIEREUS_ WN TOU ENIAUTOU EKEINOU
Joh 12:6 * he was _a thief_
_KLEPTHS_ HN
Joh 17:17 ** your word is _truth_
hO LOGOS hO SOS _ALHQEIA_, ESTIN
Joh 18:26 * being _a relative_ of the man whose ear Peter cut off
_SUGGENHS_ WN hOU APEKOYEN PETROS TO WTION
Joh 18:37 * are you _a king_?
_BASILEUS_ EI SU;
* I am _a king_
_BASILEUS_ EIMI
Joh 19:21 ** I am _King_ of the Jews
_BASILEUS_ EIMI TWN IOUDAIWN

User avatar
tigger2
Sage
Posts: 634
Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 4:32 pm

Post #14

Post by tigger2 »

[Replying to post 13 by By Grace]

According to your last post, those scriptures with a single asterisk (*) are to be translated as indefinite. Therefore, according to your post, John 1:1c; 4:9(2); 4:19; 6:70; 8:34 (improper example - genitive modified); 8:44(2); 8:48; 9:8; 9:17; 9:24; 9:25; 9:28 (improper example - genitive); 10:1; 10:13; 10:33; 12:6; 18:26 (improper example - genitive); [18:35?]; 18:37(2) are indefinite. I also found a few in 1 John. They all are translated with the indefinite article in all the Bibles I examined.

There should be no argument that John 1:1c is properly translated as "And the Word was a god."

By Grace
Apprentice
Posts: 146
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:52 pm

Post #15

Post by By Grace »

I did not mate that list; I just got it thinking that it was accurate. On that, I was wrong.
[Replying to post 14 by tigger2]

John 8:34 * Every doer of sin is _a slave_ of sin
That is indefinite, and properly translated

ποιέωa: a marker of an agent relation with a numerable event—‘to do, to perform, to practice, to make.’ διδάσκων καὶ πο�είαν ποιο�μενος εἰς Ιε�οσόλυμα ‘teaching as he made a journey to Jerusalem’ Lk 13:22; οἱ μαθηταὶ Ἰωάννου νηστε�ουσιν πυκνὰ καὶ δεήσεις ποιοῦνται ‘John’s disciples often fast and pray’ Lk 5:33; τῷ σῷ ὀνόματι δυνάμεις πολλὰς �ποιήσαμεν ‘in your name we did many miracles’ Mt 7:22; πίστει πεποίηκεν τὸ πάσχα ‘by faith he performed the Passover’ He 11:28

Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 803). New York: United Bible Societies.

verb, present active participle singular masculine nominative | substantival participle


John 9:28 * You are _a disciple_ of that [man]
That is NOT properly translated it should be HIS
The demonstrative genitive masculine singular pronoun �κεῖνος is the key. Ny hunch is that the person compiling that list used the KJV
μαθητής.

Contents: A. The Term in the Greek World: 1, The General Use; 2. Pupil or Disciple? 3. Master and Disciple: a. Socrates, Plato and the Academy; b. The Mystery Religions; c. The Master-Disciple Relation with a Religious Aspect; 4. The Fellowship of Disciples and the Principle of Tradition: a. The Fellowship of Disciples; b. The Principle of Tradition. B. The Term in the Old Testament and Judaism:



Rengstorf, K. H. (1964–). μανθάνω, καταμανθάνω, μαθητής, συμμαθητής, μαθήτ�ια, μαθητε�ω. G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley, & G. Friedrich (Eds.), Theological dictionary of the New Testament (electronic ed., Vol. 4, p. 415). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

John 18:26 * being _a relative_ of the man whose ear Peter cut off
Is properly translated

Again the relative genitive singular masculine pronoun is the key

User avatar
tigger2
Sage
Posts: 634
Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 4:32 pm

Post #16

Post by tigger2 »

[Replying to post 15 by By Grace]

Do you understand what the trinitarian scholars I have referenced say about genitives making the governing anarthrous noun irregular (EITHER indefinite OR definite)?

Looking at John 8:34 which is one of those exceptions in your list:

Joh 8:34 * Every doer of sin is _a slave_ of sin
PAS hO POIWN THN hAMARTIAN _DOULOS_ ESTIN THS hAMARTIAS

'Slave' (doulos) is anarthrous, but it is modified by the genitive ('of the sin') which makes doulos EITHER indefinite OR definite. (I have found that such constructions are usually, but not always, definite.) Even if you don't believe the many trinitarian NT Greek grammarians who admit the above exception, here is further evidence:

We can see that such a construction is irregular by the differing translations:

Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. - KJV.
everyone who sins is a slave to sin. - NIV.
everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. - NASB.
everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. - CSB.
Every one that committeth sin is the bondservant of sin. - ASV.
everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. - NRSV.
whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. - KJ21.
Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. - HCSB.

It should be apparent that this construction (preposition/genitive modified anarthrous nominative) is properly listed as an improper example for considering the anarthrous noun to be definite or indefinite.

In contrast, the proper examples are always translated as indefinite in the Bibles I have examined. So John's own usage shows that John 1:1c is also one of the indefinite examples and should be rendered: "And the Word was a god."

In spite of your errors, I'm very pleased that you have replied to post 10. I don't believe anyone else has honestly attempted it before.

The other part of a proper examination of John 1:1c is found in the OP.

Have you found any uses of the anarthrous nominative theos (John 1:1c excepted since its usual translation is what I am questioning) which are clearly intended as 'God'?

By Grace
Apprentice
Posts: 146
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:52 pm

Post #17

Post by By Grace »

[Replying to post 16 by tigger2]

You are focusing on one word that is difficult to render properlyL

"Third, a particular [translational] difficulty is presented when words in biblical Hebrew and Greek refer to ancient practices and institutions that do not correspond directly to those in the modern world. Such is the case in the translation of ‘ebed (Hebrew) and doulos (Greek), terms which are often rendered “slave...."
From the preface of the ESV Bible

34 Ἀπεκ�ίθη α�τοῖς � Ἰησοῦς· Ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι πᾶς � ποιῶν τὴν �μα�τίαν δοῦλός �στιν τῆς �μα�τίας·

Holmes, M. W. (2011–2013). The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition (Jn 8:34–35). Lexham Press; Society of Biblical Literature.

The important part is what I made bold

We agree that δοῦλός has no article; by definition it is anarthrous But there is a whole lot more to the verse. Permit me to unpack it.

We also need to look at the other words in that bolded phrase

The word πᾶς is an adjective , nominative, masculine and singular. By the rules of Greek Grammar, it must agree in all parts of its declension with the subject of the phrase. Translated, it means "everyone"

The word � is an article declined as nominative masculine singular. It is translated as "all" or "everyone"

Next is a phrase that is very important ποιῶν τὴν �μα�τίαν .

ποιῶν is a participle, and Koine Greek is a participle-loving language, so that is where it gets tricky. It is based on the verb "do" or make' or "practice".
It is present, active, singular, nominative and masculine. and the best way to translate that is "doing", "making" or "practicing" because it is a participle, the tense is secondary to voice, which in this case is active, meaning it is habitual, or on-going.

It is also a substantive participle

The word τὴν is an untranslated article, accusative, singular and feminine. it modifies the next word.

"�στιν" is a finite verb translated "is" a form of the verb "be"

"�μα�τίαν" is a noun accusative singular and feminine.

Because the noun and article are accusative, they function as direct objects, and receive the action of the dependent verb phrase translated "a slave".

You are correct in citing the genitive, and it is also a predicate nominative and functions as a possessive genitive.

I began this post with a citation from the preface of the ESV; these are people who surely know more than either of us, combined. This is no exception to what they said.

Really, one's stance on the Trinity is extraneous in this verse, so I have no idea why you bring it up.

Nevertheless, If you followed the exegesis of the verse, you will find that ALL the nouns are declined as singular. According to logic, then you are discussing a definite person, which would make the πᾶς to be definite, by definition of the grammar.

A case can be also made for the sense of the passage to refer to "ANYONE" and that would make πᾶς indefinite, which is an inherent contradiction.

The fact that you cited 8 different translations with slight variances proves that point.

It is my conclusion that it is much easier to recognize the difficulties in the translation (as your 8 examples show) and not be dogmatic about the issue.

Make sense?

User avatar
tigger2
Sage
Posts: 634
Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 4:32 pm

Post #18

Post by tigger2 »

[Replying to post 17 by By Grace]
Make sense?


Not at all!

You don't seem to understand what makes an example flawed for article determination in translation to English. The predicate noun here is the anarthrous 'slave' which comes before the verb. But 'slave' is modified by the genitive 'of the sin.' This is what makes this an irregular (improper) example.

If you are concerned about the participle 'doing' being a part of the subject, I would probably reject this example as a proper example for not being parallel enough to John:1c.

But the most important reason I reject it is explained in post 10 and above.

This has been admitted by numerous noted trintarian scholars.

The reason the eight verses differ in article usage is simply due to the genitive-modified anarthrous predicate noun as explained many times

By Grace
Apprentice
Posts: 146
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:52 pm

Post #19

Post by By Grace »

πᾶς � ποιῶν τὴν �μα�τίαν δοῦλός �στιν τῆς �μα�τίας·

[Replying to post 18 by tigger2]
You don't seem to understand what makes an example flawed for article determination in translation to English. The predicate noun here is the anarthrous 'slave' which comes before the verb.
By definition, a predicate nominative / predicate noun MUST FOLLOW the stative verb �στιν which is a form of 'be", not proceed it.
But 'slave' is modified by the genitive 'of the sin.' This is what makes this an irregular (improper) example.
Are you aware that the genitive case is the case of possession?

Irregular is not the same as improper. In all the languages I studied, "be" is irregular, and "irregular" simply means that it does not follow the rules of regular grammar. Think of is, am, was, were, be, being, been. It does not follow the form of the verb "say" say, said, saying

Dana & Mantey deride such a notion as "improper".
¶ 100 page 97
In addition there are some adverbial prepositions which some unwittingly termed "improper" prepositions that function in one passage as an adverb, and in another as a preposition...
BTW that is an exact quote from them, and is thus not to be construed as being uncivil.

They list 28

¶81 Page 66 [describing the noun]
Hence it may be seen that function, rather than form determines case, and consequently the fundamental consideration

¶146, Page 137
The function of an article is to point out an object [meaning a noun]or draw attention to it. Its use with a word makes the object stand out distinctly "Whenever the article occurs the the object is certainly definite. when it is NOT (emph added) used, the object may or not be, (R756) [This is a reference to Robertson]
For further reading, I refer you to ¶ 83 Page 70 (4) The Independent Nominative

Additionally, you may noot understand the nature of the participle in Koine Greek, D&M state that (paraphrased) that no other language surpassed Greek in its usage of the participle.

¶ 197 page 220 call participles "verbal substantives" That is another name for "verbal nouns"
But while the infinitive maintained itself as a noun, the participle becomes an adjective
Essentially and perhaps crudely, the essence of the phrase states "the sinning slave is a slave to sin."

Shifting a bit.
You mentioned "trinitarian scholars" several times, and I do not understand why. It seems immaterial when one is examining the grammar and words used in John 8:34. There is nothing about the Trinity in that verse, so I am wondering why you bring it up?

User avatar
tigger2
Sage
Posts: 634
Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 4:32 pm

Post #20

Post by tigger2 »

[Replying to post 19 by By Grace]

[Quotation marks indicate quotes of Grace in the above post.]

"πᾶς � ποιῶν τὴν �μα�τίαν δοῦλός �στιν τῆς �μα�τίας·"

Literally: Everyone the doing the sin slave is of the sin.

[Replying to post 18 by tigger2]

Quote:
T2: You don't seem to understand what makes an example flawed for article determination in translation to English. The predicate noun here is the anarthrous 'slave' which comes before the verb.
Grace: "By definition, a predicate nominative / predicate noun MUST FOLLOW the stative verb �στιν which is a form of 'be', not proceed it."

T2:This is false, and by now you should be well aware that in Greek the predicate noun frequently precedes the verb (91 times in John alone)! In fact, we have been discussing that exact construction to analyze John 1:1c where the anarthrous predicate noun theos precedes the verb!! This construction (anarthrous p.n. before verb) is the main reason many trinitarians insist that the anarthrous theos in Jn 1:1c means 'the god' ('God' in English). These are what Colwell used to make his 'rule.'

See the second sentence in post #10 above.

Quote:
T2: But 'slave' is modified by the genitive 'of the sin.' This is what makes this an irregular (improper) example.

Grace: "Irregular is not the same as improper. In all the languages I studied, 'be' is irregular, and 'irregular' simply means that it does not follow the rules of regular grammar. Think of is, am, was, were, be, being, been. It does not follow the form of the verb 'say' say, said, saying" .... Dana & Mantey deride such a notion as 'improper'. "


T2: I have been using the terms "irregular" and "improper" to describe certain examples which cause irregular use of the article in Greek. These examples are all of predicate nouns which come before the verb, but are improper examples because of the use of genitive/prepositional modifiers as explained in #10 above.

The Dana & Mantey quotes are irrelevant to what is being discussed.

....

Grace: "Shifting a bit.
"You mentioned 'trinitarian scholars' several times, and I do not understand why. It seems immaterial when one is examining the grammar and words used in John 8:34. There is nothing about the Trinity in that verse, so I am wondering why you bring it up?"

T2: I mention it in discussing John 1:1c (and other trinity 'proofs') where nearly all trinitarian scholars mistranslate the anarthrous theos and very rarely even mention the alternate translation which is clearly intended by John. Trinitarian scholars so frequently, for obvious reasons, choose to support 'trinity proofs' while ignoring honest evidence to the contrary. Therefore, when discussing with Trinitarians, who generally ignore anything written by non-Trinitarians, I need to quote Trinitarian scholars to have any hope of anyone taking me seriously.

I don't want to shift this discussion to other trinity 'proofs' (like Is. 9:6; John 8:58; 10:30; 20:28; etc.) which are so often translated and supported by many trinitarian scholars to support the trinity (but are highly questionable to say the least). If you want to discuss one of them, please start a new thread.

So if you wish to continue this discussion, please review my OP and post #10, at least.

For more information see my studies:

http://examiningthetrinity.blogspot.co ... 1c-a.html
(see the first five lessons)
or
http://examiningthetrinity.blogspot.com ... er_21.html

Post Reply