Re: John 1:1

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Sat Jun 20 1998 - 07:21:00 EDT

At 11:29 AM 6/19/98 -0500, wrote:

>SORRY bout this, I know it's a dead issue, but one question:
>is there any justification for the NWT rendering of "the Word was a god"
>according to the text itself, theological implications aside?

This is a Frequently Asked Question, and one that often gets into very
emotional discussion here on the list. The short answer is that the grammar
could be interpreted in three ways:

1. The Word was God - definite, showing who the Word was. But it can not
mean strict identity, as in "the Word was God and God was the Word", given
the use of the article.
2. The Word was God - qualitative, as in "Caesar was King", where it
describes the status, qualities, and attributes of The Word. This is the
interpretation I find most likely. (Some have argued for "The Word was
divine" - I think that this weakens it in English in the same way that
saying "Caesar was royal" is weaker than "Caesar was King", so I prefer to
say "The Word was God" and explain that this is like saying "Caesar was King".
3. The Word was a god - the grammar itself permits this. Those who argue
for this intepretation have slightly different ideas what exactly the
phrase would mean, but generally feel that Jesus is not fully God. Those
who argue against it feel that it is incompatible with John's view of Jesus
as expressed in the rest of the Gospel.

Please look at the archives if you want a fuller discussion.



Jonathan Robie

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