Why should we know God's Word?

In our day and age where anti-intellectualism runs rampant in the visible church, it is not surprising to see poll after poll verify what students of scripture have known for many years. The visible church does not know much about the scriptures they profess to believe in. This is sad considering many saints during the Reformation period lost their lives for the sake of being able to read and study God's word. Not to mention the many passages in scripture that speak as such:

Isaiah 66:2 This is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.
John 8:31-32 Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
Psalm 19:7-8 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
Psalm 119:9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.
Psalm 119:11 I have hidden Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.
Psalm 119:103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Psalm 119:130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.
Psalm 119:162 I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil.

The posts on this blog will address essential Biblical doctrines of the Christian faith. You can find much of the background for the posts here. My prayer for these posts is that the people who read them will be encouraged to open their Bibles and not just read a verse or two, but learn them and indeed, be transformed by them. As Jesus prayed, "Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth." (John 17:17). This is my prayer as well.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

John 1:1, "the Word was God" - An exegetical study

A little on the technical side, I know, but you never know who might actually be studying this passage or looking to refute the JW's heretical view of this text.

I.                   I want to very briefly hit on the technicalities of this phrase in John 1:1:
a.     “the Word was God.”
                                           i.      First, to clarify the clear meaning of the Greek.
                                        ii.      Second, to refute the erroneous views of Jehovah Witnesses who distort this translation since the Holy Spirit, who is the ultimate author of this verse, was precise in this phrase.
II.                What is the clear meaning of the Greek?
a.     There are two nouns, God (theos) and Word (logos).
                                           i.      Word is the subject because it has a definite article in front of it, and God is the predicate, which modifies the subject because it does not have the definite article. 
b.     In Greek grammar, if there are two nouns in a sentence and one has a definite article and one does not then the one with the definite article is the subject.
                                           i.      If they both had the definite article, it makes them interchangeable.
1.    If that was the case in this verse the John would be equating the Word as the God, or the God as the Word which would be inaccurate.
                                        ii.      This would contradict the previous phrase, “The Word was with God,” which shows the clear nature of the trinity.
c.     Instead, and this is important; God is the predicate, which means it modifies the subject, the Word is of the very essence of God which is perfectly in line with the Trinitarian concept.
                                           i.      This is one of those phrases that Greek scholars will throw out there as reasons for learning Greek.
1.    Because it is worded in such a way in Greek, which is not easy to see in English.
2.    To succinctly illustrate what this is saying, we could paraphrase it, like the New English Bible does…
a.     “What God was, the Word was…”
d.     To quote New Testament scholar DA Carson…
                                           i.      “If John had included the definite article (in front of God, theos), he would have been saying something quite untrue.  He would have been so identifying the Word with God that no divine being could exist from the Word.  In that case, it would be nonsense to say (in the words of the second clause of this verse) that the Word was with God.  The ‘Word does not by Himself make up the entire Godhead; nevertheless the divinity that belongs to the rest of the Godhead belongs also to Him’ (Tasker p 45). “The Word was with God, God’s eternal Fellow; the Word was God, God’s own self.”
1.    That is, Jesus has all the attributes and qualities of God – He is coequal with the Father and the Holy Spirit but He is not equal to the entire essence of God.
a.     He is the Son of God, the second person of the trinity.
III.             What about the errors of the JW translation?
a.     First, the way they translate it assumes that theos is NOT referring to the one true God, but to a godlike being.
                                           i.      This is clearly wrong.
1.    John could have used a different Greek adjective, theios, for this purpose.
                                        ii.      Instead, John used theos, and…
1.    Everytime theos is used in this immediate context and in the entire chapter it refers to the only true God.
a.     And John is clearly not advocating polytheism here. 
                                     iii.      He can only be referring to Jesus as God.
b.     Second, they make an obvious error in the grammatical construction.
                                           i.      They claim that just because the definite article is not in front of theos that this proves it should be translated ‘a god.’
1.    But the Greek and the context, again, argue against them.
a.     In essence, God is against them!
                                        ii.      The definite article is not in front of theos in vs 6, 12, 13, 18.
1.    Verses we obviously don’t translate ‘a god.’
a.     In fact, in the entire New Testament, there are 282 occurrences where theos does not have the definite article.
2.    They simply just picked and choose which translation best fits their heresy.
                                     iii.      As opposed to listening to God’s word tell us about Himself.
1.    May God grant all of us ears to hear the Word!

No comments: