Re: Romans 3:19-20

From: Paul Dixon - Ladd Hill Bible Church (
Date: Fri Oct 06 1995 - 03:38:09 EDT

If you are saying the theos in Jn 1:1c is referring to the same person
identified as the theon is 1:1b, then this is Sabellianism, that is, that
the Logos is God the Father.

It seems you are considering only two possibilities - either definiteness
or indefiniteness. Have you considered that theos in 1:1c may be
qualitative? This seems to make good sense, for the first two clauses
bring out two qualities of the Logos: His eternality or preexistence, and
His distinct personhood or personality (from that ity. Also, the
contrast with 1:14 where His acquisition of humanity at a point in time
is set in contrast to His eternal deity.

Paul Dixon

On Thu, 5 Oct 1995 wrote:

> There are those who do not see the Word being declared to be God, but rather
> they say He is "a god." They say this because there is no article before the
> final "theos" (God) in John 1:1. But as you will see, this is all quite
> normal in Greek.
> I go through John 1:1 in Greek class every year. There, I present seven
> exegetical observations from the Greek text that show the Word to be God, not
> merely "a god." This is bolstered by the context which declares the Word to
> be the creator of all things, etc.
> 1. The proximity of the previous "theos" (God). The word order in the Greek
> is reversed from the normal word order in the final clause, bringing God in
> close proximity to the previous God with the article. The latter "theos" is
> explained in context to be the same as the previous "theos" (God). If John
> had intended to write that the Word was "a god," he would not have put them
> right next to each other. In the original manuscripts, there wasn't any
> punctuation or spaces between the words (lit., "THEONTHEOS...").
> 2. The impossibility of putting an article before nouns on both sides of a
> copulative phrase. When you put an article before nouns on both sides of a
> linking verb in Greek, you are saying that the totality of the one is the
> other, and vise-versa. This would make God out to be nothing else besides
> the Second Person of the Trinity. But God is more than this, He is also the
> Father and the Holy Spirit. For an in-depth discussion of this, see
> Robertson's Grammar, pages 767ff. See John 4:24 and 1 John 4:8 where the
> article on one side is missing also (cf. Robertson's Word Pictures, Volume
> IV, p. 223 on 2 Corinthians 3:17; cf. also his Grammar, p. 767f.)
> 3. The Word was "pros ton theon" (face to face with God). This is a very
> strong phrase showing how the Word was on a level with God, face to face.
> 4. The "kai" (and) in John 1:1 is an epexegetical kai. Kai can be translated
> a number of different ways ("and, also, indeed, even" just to name a few).
> John especially uses kai to continue and further explain the previous
> clauses or sentences. This is an epexegetical use. In John 1:1, John is
> building on each of the previous thoughts to a climax. "In the beginning was
> the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." A.T. Robertson
> has an excellent section on kai in his Grammar, p. 1179-1183.
> 5. It is common for Koine Greek writers to reference the first use of a given
> person with the article, then often without the article on subsequent uses in
> the same passage. So where God has the article in the second clause of John
> 1:1, it doesn't in the third, but refers to the same God, not "a god" that is
> different.
> 6. John 1:12 references God without the article in Greek. "To as many as
> believed in Him, He gave the right to become children of God..." It is
> interesting to note how many cults and the like try to interpret the latter
> reference in John 1:1 of God to be "a god" because it doesn't have the
> article, but then proceed to interpret John 1:12 as "God" unquestionably!
> The point is that both in the passage refer to God the Father Himself.
> 7. Reversed word order in the Greek. The final clause of John 1:1 is
> reversed from the normal word order. One good reason why is to bring the
> THEOS into proximity with the previous THEOS to make the identification
> clear.
> Finally, in conclusion here, John meant to write that Jesus, the Word (cf.
> John 1:14) was God. He wouldn't have written John 1:1ff. so confusing if he
> didn't mean this. There are so many things that make it clear that John was
> saying Jesus was God here. If he didn't mean this, then he really made a lot
> of mistakes to confuse his readers.
> Jim McGuire
> Greek Professor at
> Logos Bible Institute
> 13248 Roscoe Blvd.
> Sun Valley, CA 91352

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