What to Say to Jehovah's Witnesses
When they Knock on Your Door
By Michael Licona
Someday it will happen to you. You are about to sit down for a late
breakfast on a Saturday morning. The French toast smells delicious!
A glass of orange juice and a cup of coffee will make the start of
a great day. You pour the syrup and prepare to take that tasty
first bite, when there is a knock on your door. Perhaps it is the
neighbor's child asking for your daughter. Maybe it is the guy next
door who would like to borrow your Craftsman Tools—again. You open
the door and . . . oh! . . . it is the Jehovah's Witnesses!
Sharply dressed and very friendly, they ask if they can come in and
tell you about God's good news. But you are unsure. You remember
your Sunday School teacher talking about these visitors who claim
they are Christians. Some of the points the teacher made are vague
in your mind and many are forgotten. You desire to share with them
and feel that you should, but you do not want to get into a
conversation unprepared. So you politely say, "I'm too busy" and
close the door.
Ah, yes. Where were you? That is right, back to your breakfast.
You slice off a piece of French toast with syrup and take a bite. Mmmm!
However, while sipping your coffee you feel a sense of
disappointment. You know that you just passed up a valuable
opportunity to share your faith because you were unprepared. You
say to yourself, "If Jesus were here he would have spoken to them."
If you want to be ready the next time they come, this book is for
you. Its purpose is to provide the knowledge you need to see why
these groups do not represent God's truth and to share this
information effectively with Jehovah's Witnesses the next time they
knock on your door!
Chapter 1: About the Jehovah's Witnesses (JW's)
Who are the JW's?
The movement was started by Charles Taze Russell. In 1870, at the
age of 18, Russell formed a Bible class whose members eventually
made him their pastor. Russell wrote, traveled, preached, and
formed the Watchtower Society, the governing body for the JW's. He
died in 1916 and was succeeded by Joseph F. Rutherford, who coined
the term "JW's" for the group. Rutherford died in 1942 and was
succeeded by Nathan H. Knorr, under whose leadership the
New World Translation of the Bible
was produced. Knorr died in 1977 and was succeeded by Frederick W.
Franz, the spokesman for the translation committee of the
New World Translation.
As of the writing of this book in 2005, there are approximately 6.7
million JW's worldwide.
The following are a few of the theological points held by the JW's,
which differ from orthodox Christianity.
Originally created by God as the Archangel, Michael. Michael was
later given a human body and renamed Jesus. Therefore, Jesus is not
Not regarded as a person, but rather God's force.
The home of God. The majority of believers will not spend eternity
with God in heaven, but rather with Jesus on a refurbished earth.
Believers will not immediately be with Christ after death. They
remain in a soul sleep until his second coming.
C. The People:
As with Mormons, JW's are very sincere and caring. Generally, they
are better students of the Bible than Mormons. In my personal
experience, I have found that conversations with JW's are more
likely to become adversarial than with Mormons. Therefore, extra
caution is needed when talking with them.
JW's tell you when they knock on your door
As with Mormons, much of
what JW's initially tell you when they come to your door is in
agreement with the beliefs of most religious people. "God loves you
and wants to do something special with your life. Make sure of
where you stand with him because he's coming back again." They
will talk you through the Bible explaining God's good news and that
Christians are commanded to be "witnesses" to others of this news. JW beliefs begin to differ from those of
the Bible when
they mention that Christ is going to permanently reign on a
refurbished earth, not in heaven. However, the major
difference will surface when they claim that Jesus was created by
God and is inferior to him.
Although Mormons believe
that the text of the Bible has been corrupted over the years, JW's
unquestionably believe in its preservation and inspiration by God.
This provides a common ground. Therefore, your strategy should
be different when talking with them than it is with Mormons. JW's, however, differ on the interpretation
and translations of many verses. This is why they
prefer to use their New World Translation (NWT), which has
translated many verses in such a manner as to be friendly to their
own theological interpretation. JW's will claim that the
New World Translation is a much more accurate translation of the
Bible than other English translations. They will also claim
that the consensus of scholarship has acknowledged this.
However, to my knowledge, not a single credible biblical scholar has
ever made such a claim much less a consensus, and JW's will he hard
pressed to mention the names of even a few or one.
SEARCHING THE SCRIPTURES
The JW's frequently quote
"Dana-Mantey Greek Grammar," a widely recognized work of two
scholars, whom the JW's contend agree with the New World
Translation's rendering of John 1:1 in which the NWT
asserts: "In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word
was with God, and the Word was a god." However,
the scholars Dana and Mantey have objected to the JW's
misquoting of their work and issued a personal letter in
1974 written by Mantey in which they requested the
Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of the JW's to cease and
desist from misquoting and misapplying their work. (See
the letter posted below)
Learning how to refute their interpretations and translations of key
verses will require more technical knowledge than for answering
Mormons. In most cases, this will involve a little knowledge
of the Greek language (the original language of the New Testament).
A little Hebrew will be discussed as well (the original language of
the Old Testament). But don't worry. We will explain
these as we go.
As mentioned above, the Watchtower has several doctrines that differ
from the Bible and JW's will want you to know them.
These become focal points as they discuss the Bible with you.
For example, JW's insist that you should call God by His name,
Jehovah, rather than by His title, God. They also believe that
Jesus will reign on a refurbished earth. However, these
doctrines are of secondary importance when compared to the main
doctrine in contention, the deity of Christ.
Deity is a theological term for "Godness". To believe
in the deity of Jesus is to believe He is God. JW's do not
believe in Christ's deity but rather than He is a being created by
God originally as an angel.1
Christians believe that Jesus is God, by His very nature and
essence, as is the Holy Spirit.2
Christians also believe that although God the Son willingly became
subordinate to God the Father, they are equal in their essence.3
JW's, on the other hand, believe that Jesus is inferior not only in
his position to God, but in his essence.4
Therefore, the issue to discuss is, Is Jesus God? The
reason this issue is so important is because if I am worshipping
Jesus as God, and He is not, then I am guilty of blasphemy.
However, if Jesus is God and JW's refuse to worship Him as
such, then they are guilty of just as great a sin, since they refuse
to worship the true God.
When talking to JW's it is easy to get sidetracked and move from
one issue to another. Many of these issues are of minor
importance. So why spend a lot of time on them? Stick to
the single issue that really matters: the deity of Christ.
This will keep the conversation on the focal point that separates JW's from Christians. Watchtower founder Charles T. Russell
said in reference to one's belief about the deity issue, "It means
our salvation." Russell believed that where a person stands on
the deity issue may mean their own salvation. Unfortunately
for Russell, as we shall see, it was he who stood on the
study of the deity of Christ will be two-fold
A. Biblical texts
used by JW's against the deity of Christ. We will examine
the six (6) major biblical texts used by JW's for their belief that
Jesus is NOT God, but rather was created. Unless indicated
otherwise, the Watchtower's New World Translation (NWT) will be the
translation quoted in this section, so you can meet on the same
playing field when you talk to the JW who knocks on your door.
B. Biblical texts for the deity of Christ. In this
section, we will look at five (5) biblical texts that support the
belief that Jesus is God. Many more could be given.
However, for brevity's sake, we will stay away from those that are
not the strongest. This is not to say those texts do not
support the deity of Christ. Many of them do. However,
your time with JW's will be limited (usually by them). So
discuss only those texts that are extremely difficult, if not
impossible for them to answer, because they clearly refer to Jesus
Chapter 2: Biblical Texts used by
JW's against the Deity of Christ
In this chapter, we will examine the six (6) main arguments given by
JW's to support their belief that Jesus is not God, but was created
by God. First, the verse used will be cited as it appears in the
translation used by JW's (NWT). Next the JW interpretation of the
verse will be provided. A refutation of their interpretation
follows. Finally, a summary of each discussion is provided as a
1. Revelation 3:14: "And to the angel of the congregation
in Laodicea write: These are the things that the Amen says, the
faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation by God."
JW Interpretation: "the beginning of the creation by God"
means Jesus was the first thing created by God.
To understand why the Watchtower's interpretation is incorrect, a
little knowledge of Greek is helpful. The Greek word for
"beginning" is arche and rhymes with "parkay." Arche
is used with different shades of meaning throughout the Bible. The
following illustrate a few:
A. Time. The apostle John writes, "In the arche
(beginning) the Word was . . ." (John 1:1). In other words, in the
beginning of time the Word existed. The same word is used in
Genesis 1:1 in the Septuagint.5
In the verse we are presently considering (Revelation 3:14), if
John meant arche in the sense of time, the verse may be
translated as the New World Translation renders it, "the
beginning of the creation by God." If translated as such, Jesus was
the beginning of God's creation by being the first thing created by
God. "Beginning" is used in a passive sense; in other words, Jesus
is receiving the action (being created). However, arche
could also be translated as the majority of translations render it,
"the beginning of the creation of God." If translated this way,
"beginning" can be interpreted in an active sense. When a word is
used in the active sense, it is producing the action; in other
words, Jesus was the "beginning one" or the originating source of
creation (i.e., the Creator).
B. Political. When arche is used in this manner it
means a government or ruler. For example, Luke 20:20: " . . . so as
to turn him over to the arche (government) and to the
authority of the governor." Colossians 1:16: " . . . whether they
are thrones or lordships or archai (governments. Archai
is a plural form of arche) or authorities . . . " Most
translations render arche in these verses as "rule" or
"rulers." The sense, however, is the same. Arche is the top
(or beginning) of a power hierarchy. Imagine the pyramid structure
of a corporation. The president is at the top or beginning
of the pyramid. A few vice presidents are below him. And below them
are more managers who oversee even more employees.6
If John means arche in a political sense, the verse may be
translated "the ruler of God's creation" (NIV).
What in fact does John mean when he says Jesus is the arche
(beginning) of the creation of (by) God? In order to translate and
interpret a verse correctly, there are four general rules that can
A) Consider the various meanings of a word. We have
already done this and observed that the word for "beginning" could
have any of several meanings.
B) Consider the verse and see if any particular meaning fits
best. The NWT renders this verse in such a manner
that Jesus was the first thing created "by God." However, the
preposition hypo (by) does not appear in the Greek text.7
Therefore, this verse does not help us.
C) Consider the context. Unfortunately, "the beginning
of the creation of (by) God" is a title given to Jesus by John and
is not explained by the context surrounding Revelation 3:14.
D) Consider other Scriptures that would support a view. You
can support taking "beginning" in the active sense with John 1:3, "All
things…came into existence through him" and Colossians 1:16"because
by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and
upon the earth".8
Both verses support Jesus as Creator and would justify
understanding Revelation 3:14's description of Jesus as the
originating source of creation. "Ruler" is also justified since
arche is frequently used in the political sense and agrees with
other New Testament verses which say the same thing (see Rev. 1:5;
19:16). Unless the JW's can produce other verses that legitimately
indicate God created Jesus, they are not justified in translating
arche in a passive sense.
Bottom Line: The Greek word for "beginning," arche, is
used in several ways. In John 1:1 it means the "beginning of time."
In Colossians 1:16 it means a "ruler." In Revelation 3:14 arche can
be used in a passive sense (he was created), or in an active sense
(he was creating).
The context provides no clue to what he means. So we look at other
Scriptures. John 1:3 and Colossians 1:16 clearly speak of Jesus as
Creator and justify taking arche in the active sense. Unless
the JW's can give you any scriptures that clearly speak of Jesus
being created, they cannot use this verse as proof that he was.
2. Proverbs 8:22: "Jehovah himself produced me as the
beginning of his way, the earliest of his achievements of long ago."
JW Interpretation: Verse 12 identifies "wisdom" as the
one speaking in this passage. "Wisdom" is Jesus who says he was
"produced" by God and became his "master worker" (vs. 30). He was
involved in the creation process, after he himself was
created since he was "the earliest of his achievements."
First, point out that neither Jesus nor any of the writers of the
New Testament apply Proverbs 8 to Jesus. Next, point the JW to verse
one in the same chapter where wisdom is also talking.
"Does not wisdom keep calling out, and discernment keep giving
forth its voice?"
Ask: If "wisdom" is an actual person (Jesus) in this text, then
who is "discernment" in verse 1? And who is "shrewdness" in verse 12
with whom "wisdom" is said to reside?
"I, wisdom, I have resided with shrewdness . . ."
At this point, the JW usually does not have an answer except to
ask how you understand these verses. Solomon is using a figure of
speech called "personification."9
He attributes the qualities of being a person to character
qualities in order to make the reading more enjoyable and to have a
greater impact. This is obvious throughout Proverbs.10
Consider Chapter 7:4-5.
"Say to wisdom: 'You are my sister;' and may you call
understanding itself 'Kinswoman,' to guard you against the woman
stranger, against the foreigner who has made her own sayings smooth."11
Solomon teaches that if we are intimately acquainted with wisdom and
understanding in our lives, we will not be ensnared by the
enticements of the adulteress described in verses 6 and following.
Finally, point out that the purpose to which Solomon wrote Proverbs
". . . for one to know wisdom and discipline, to discern the
sayings of understanding, to receive the discipline that gives
insight, righteousness and judgment and uprightness, to give to the
inexperienced ones shrewdness, to a young man knowledge and thinking
ability." (Proverbs 1:2-4)
We would expect Solomon, therefore, to talk about these
qualities. A history of Jesus would be out of place, totally
unrelated to the rest of Proverbs.12
Moreover, just a few verses after Solomon states his purpose behind
writing Proverbs (1:1-6), he personifies wisdom (1:20ff). That
wisdom is personified as a figure of speech is apparent in Proverbs
9 where folly is likewise personified alongside of wisdom.
In another of his books, Solomon tells his readers that he has used
literary tools throughout his writings:
And besides the fact that the congregator had become wise, he also
taught the people knowledge continually, and he pondered and made a
thorough search, that he might arrange many proverbs in order. The
congregator sought to find the delightful words and the writing of
correct words of truth. (Ecclesiastes 12:9-10)
In Proverbs 8, Solomon is telling his readers that if God used the
quality of wisdom to create the universe, think of how it can be
used in your own life for avoiding pitfalls and being successful at
your endeavors. Wisdom, therefore, is not referring to Jesus. So we
still have no Scriptures that indicate Jesus was created.
Bottom Line: The New Testament writers never employ Proverbs
8 in reference to Jesus. If "Wisdom" in Proverbs 8 is in fact
"Jesus," who is "Shrewdness" in verse 1 and "Discernment" in verse
12? Finally, referring to Jesus in this passage is both out of
place and goes against what Solomon is trying to teach. Solomon is
not referring to Jesus in Proverbs 8, but is simply using a figure
of speech called personification, as he does throughout Proverbs in
order to be creative.
3. John 3:16: "For God loved the world so much that he
gave his only begotten Son."
JW Interpretation: "Only-begotten" means Jesus was begat or given
birth by God. So he had a beginning.
Ask the JW to define "only begotten." His answer is usually that God
brought him into existence; he created him and no other son. Then
ask the JW to read Hebrews 11:17. "By faith Abraham, when
he was tested, as good as offered up Isaac, and the man that had
gladly received the promises attempted to offer up [his]
Was Isaac Abraham's only begotten son in the sense that he
brought him and no other son into existence? No. Remember Ishmael?
Ishmael was Abraham's son through Hagar.13
Ishmael was born to Abraham prior to Isaac. So when the author of
Hebrews calls Isaac, Abraham's "only begotten son," he must mean
something other than Abraham's only son. Isaac was unique to
Abraham. He would be the son through whom God's covenant would be
therefore, means "unique," "chosen," "special," or "exalted" in some
The Greek word for "only begotten" in Hebrews 11:17 is the same word
used in John 3:16. The JW may respond, "But, 'begotten' signifies a
beginning to existence." Ask if it does in Hebrews 11:17. So we
still have no Scripture that indicates Jesus was created.
Bottom Line: In
John 3:16, "only begotten" does not mean "only born," but special in
some sense as indicated by Issac being called Abraham's "only
begotten" son in Hebrews 11:17 in spite of Ishmael being Abraham's
son as well.
4. Colossians 1:15:
"He is the image of the invisible God, the
firstborn of all creation."
Jesus was the first thing created by God.
Does the word "firstborn" indicate Jesus was created? The Greek word
for "firstborn" is prototokos. It appears throughout both
the Old Testament (Septuagint) and the New Testament with different
shades of meaning.
A. Chronological: Emphasis is on the order of birth
(Genesis 10:15; 19:30-31; Exodus 13:15).
B. Positional: Emphasis is on the position of being
the firstborn, with all of the honor and favor that is due to one
being born first. For example, look at the following: "Also, I
myself shall place him as firstborn, The most high of the kings of
the earth." (Psalm 89:27)
This Psalm refers to King David.16
Yet David was not the first king appointed by God. Saul was.17
And it is clear that God chose Saul to be king.18
David was firstborn in the positional sense; he was God's chosen and
favored king, although he was not the first.
In Colossians 1:15, when Paul calls Jesus "the firstborn of all
creation," is he using "firstborn" in a chronological or a
positional sense? Paul is helpful in the verses that follow by
explaining what he means when he says "firstborn."
Verse 16: "because by means of him all [other] things
were created in the heavens and upon the earth . . . All [other]
things have been created through him and for him."
"Other" is in brackets indicating it does not appear in the
Greek text. The NWT translators have inserted it, because they
assume the chronological sense of "firstborn."19
However, if Paul had meant the chronological sense, he would have
probably used a different preposition. Instead of saying, "in him"
or "by means of him,"20
he could have said, "after him,"21
i.e., "after him all things were created." But Paul says "by means
of him all things were created" and establishes Jesus as Creator of
the universe—a position.
Verse 17: "Also, he is before all [other] things and by
means of him all [other] things were made to exist."
The Greek word for "made to exist" means "to place or hold
together, to frame, to cause to exist."22
In other words, Paul says the universe exists because of Jesus who
put it together. Verse 17, therefore, reinforces verse 16 by stating
Jesus is the creator and sustainer of the universe—a position.
Verse 18: "and he is the head of the body, the
congregation. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that
he might become the one who is first in all things."
Jesus is the head of the Church—a position. He is also the
firstborn from the dead. This second use of prototokos
could be either the chronological or positional sense. Jesus was
either the first risen from the dead with an immortal body or stands
in a position over all those who will be resurrected. Why is this
important? The final statement provides the answer, "that he
might become the one who is first in all things." The Greek
word for "the one who is first" means "to hold the highest rank or
dignity, to be chief."23
He is firstborn from the dead so He might now be chief of
everything. As Christ holds rank over all creation and the Church,
He especially does so as risen Lord.24
Once again, Paul points to position. In fact, there is nothing in
this passage that lends support to a chronological interpretation of
"firstborn" in verse 15.
So what are these verses saying? Paul defines Jesus as "firstborn"
by saying He is the Creator of the universe, the sustainer of the
universe, the head of the church, and the risen Lord, so that He can
be chief over all things. This entire passage points only to the
position definition! Then lest there be any doubt in the reader's
minds that Jesus, the image of God and chief of everything,
possesses the very essence of God, Paul makes that very clear in
verse 19 when he says all the fullness of God dwells in Christ. He
states the same even more clearly in 2:9, "Because it is in him
that all the fullness of divine quality dwells bodily." This
verse is discussed in depth in the next chapter. Since Jesus is
"firstborn" in a positional sense, this verse may not be used as a
text in support of the view that Jesus was created. If anything, it
points to the deity of Christ. Therefore, we still have no
Scriptures that indicate Jesus was created.
Bottom Line: The word "firstborn" can be used in a
chronological sense (first to be born or first created) or in a
positional sense (one who has the honor and rights of a firstborn
son [Ps. 89:27; Jer. 31:9]). We are fortunate that Paul explains
what he means by "firstborn" in the verses that follow. If Paul had
meant "firstborn" in a chronological sense (order of creation), he
would have said "after him all things were created." Instead, Paul
says Jesus is the creator of the universe, sustainer of the
universe, head of the Church, risen Lord and, therefore, chief of
all things. This points only to the positional sense, not the
5. John 14:28: ". . . the Father is greater
than I am."
JW Interpretation: "How can Jesus be God when
He says, "the Father is greater than I am?" Jesus may be referring
to his incarnate position, not his essence.
A husband and wife are one in essence (one flesh),25
yet two distinct persons. Likewise, God is one in essence, yet three
distinct persons. In theology, this is referred to as the "Godhead."
The biblical standard is that the husband is positionally greater
than the wife in the home,26
yet both he and his wife are equal in essence—one flesh. As the wife
voluntarily submits herself to her husband, the Son voluntarily
submits Himself to the Father.
Perhaps another analogy may be helpful. Consider the New York
Yankees. There are many members on the team: players, coaches, the
manager, and the owner. The members are, in essence, one team.
Positionally, there is an authority structure. The owner is the
final authority (as many Yankee managers have found)! The manager
has authority over the players. The team is one, in essence, but is
made up of many members that have different levels of authority.
Likewise, all three members of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy
Spirit) make up the Godhead. The Godhead is one in essence, but the
Son submits to the authority of the Father. There are Scriptures
that say Jesus and the Father share the same essence of God (see the
next chapter). Since the JW's still cannot provide biblical reasons
to support their view of Christ (i.e., that He was created), their
particular interpretation of John 14:28 should not be preferred. So
we still do not have any Scriptures that teach Jesus was created.
Bottom Line: When Jesus said the Father was greater
than Himself, He was referring to the Father's position, not His
6. Passages where the Father is called the God of Jesus (Mk
15:34; Jn 20:17; Eph. 1:3,17) or where God is referred to being
distinct from Jesus. (Jn 17:3)
JW Interpretation: Both the New Testament writers and Jesus
Himself called the Father, the God of Jesus on several occasions. If
Jesus was God, why would He call the Father His God?
Of all the reasons provided by the Watchtower to support their view
of Jesus, this is the most difficult to answer. The prominent New
Testament scholar Raymond Brown says although the question, "Did New
Testament Christians call Jesus God?" must be answered in the
affirmative, there are nevertheless "Passages that seem to imply
that the title 'God' was not used for Jesus."27
What are we to make of these passages?
A. The New Testament writers, particularly John and Paul,
clearly say Jesus is God and refer to the Father as the God
of Jesus. So there was a sense in which they understood
these two beliefs to be compatible. See John's writings (John 1:1;
20:17,28; Revelation 22:13) and Paul's writings (Ephesians 1:3;
B. The Earliest church fathers, particularly Ignatius and
Polycarp, clearly call Jesus "God," and also refer to the Father as
the God of Jesus.28
Just like the New Testament writers, they did not appear to see a
tension between the two. Ignatius was the Bishop of Antioch and
wrote seven letters to the churches while en route to his execution
in Rome around the year AD 110. In Ignatius' letter to the
Ephesians 18:2 he states: "For our God, Jesus the Christ, was
conceived by Mary according to God's plan."
In 19:3 he states: "Consequently all magic and every kind of spell
were dissolved, the ignorance so characteristic of wickedness
vanished, and the ancient kingdom was abolished, when God appeared
in human form to bring the newness of eternal life."
And in 1:1: "Being as you are imitators of God, once you took on new
life through the blood of God you completed perfectly the task so
natural to you."
In his letter to the Smyrnaeans 1:1 he states: "I glorify Jesus
Christ, the God who made you so wise."
Polycarp also testifies to the teachings of the early church
regarding Jesus' deity. The early church fathers, Irenaeus (circa AD
120-190) and Eusebius (AD ?-342) write that Polycarp was
"instructed" and "appointed" by the apostles, "conversed with many
who had seen Christ," and "having always taught the things which he
had learned from the apostles."29
So his view of Jesus is very important. In The Letter of
Polycarp to the Philippians, he mentions "the God and Father of
our Lord Jesus Christ" and "our Lord and God Jesus Christ."30
"Now may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the
eternal High Priest himself, the Son of God Jesus Christ, build you
up in faith and truth and in all gentleness and in all freedom from
anger and forbearance and steadfastness and patient endurance and
purity, and may he give to you a share and a place among his saints,
and to us with you, and to all those under heaven who will yet
believe in our Lord and God Jesus Christ and in his Father who
raised him from the dead."
Thus, Polycarp agrees with the teachings of the apostles, which we
will study in the next chapter, that Jesus is God. The JW's may
point out that some church leaders before the 4th century did not
believe in the deity of Christ. However, these are much later than
Ignatius and Polycarp (80 to 200 years). The historian is more
interested in knowing what the earliest church leaders believed than
later ones, realizing that heretical teachings form over time.
However, what one finds when you read the very church fathers cited
by the Watchtower in support of the inferiority of Jesus, is that
every one of them actually supports the deity of Jesus!31
C. The Father may be God to
Jesus in the sense that He is the final authority to Jesus.
Verses such as John 1:1 and Colossians 2:9 clearly speak of Jesus
having the same essence of deity that the Father has (See Chapter
9). Nevertheless, Jesus submits to the Father who is His final
authority. The "one flesh" analogy is again helpful. The parents,
mom and dad, are the final authority to their children. Mom and dad
share the same essence as persons and are "one flesh." However,
there is a divinely ordained authority structure within the
marriage; the husband is head. Therefore, mom can accurately tell
her children, "Your dad is my final authority and yours." By doing
this she acknowledges her husband's position as final authority and
gives up nothing of her own position and essence as parent and final
authority to her children.
Bottom Line: Jesus
referred to the Father as His God. This does not mean Jesus Himself
was not God, for the apostles and the earliest church fathers all
recognized Him as God while at the same time recognizing that the
Father was Jesus' God with no apparent tension. Furthermore, the
Father may be God to Jesus in the sense that He is His final
authority before whom unswerving and unquestioned love and devotion
are given above all others.
some other arguments Jehovah's Witnesses use:
1. "The word 'Trinity' is not
found in the Bible." Neither are the terms "Jehovah's
Witnesses" and "theology." Trinity is the term we use to describe
the Godhead, one in essence but three persons. The question is not
what we call it, but if the concept is taught in Scripture.
2. "The concept of the 'Trinity' has pagan origins before
Jesus." The story of a catastrophic flood is also found in
pagan religions. Does this indicate that it has pagan origins as
well? Even if the concept of a Trinity preceded Christianity, it
would not prove Christianity copied it from other religions. The
question is, "Does the Bible teach that Jesus is God?" As we shall
see in the next chapter, the answer is clearly, "yes."
3. "If Jesus is God, then He prayed to Himself in John 17."
Jesus did not pray to Himself. He prayed to the Father, another
person of the Godhead, to whom He submits. If we view the Godhead
(Trinity) as some sort of team (see #5 above), then there is no
contradiction. Remember, the difference is in position, not
Chapter 3: Biblical Texts for the Deity of Christ
In this chapter, we will examine five (5) biblical texts that
strongly support the doctrine that Jesus is God. Third century
theologians saw such biblical teachings and formally called God a
Trinity: the belief that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the
Holy Spirit is God, yet there are not three Gods, but rather three
persons in one God.31
While the Trinity may not be easy to understand, I think that the
baseball team analogy in the previous chapter may be of help.
However, one does not need to be able to understand the essence of
God in order to believe that he is a Trinity. There are perhaps many
things that we cannot understand about a God who is infinite in
every respect. Our lack of full comprehension, however, does not
negate an attribute of God. So the question is not, "Can I
understand the Trinity?" Rather, the question is, "Does the Bible
teach the Trinity?" In the following, the biblical verse will be
provided (usually from the
New American Standard Bible),
followed by the reason why the verse points to the deity of Christ,
usually followed by the JW response, followed by how to answer their
1. Isaiah 9:6:
"For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the
government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace."
Most Christians understand this verse to be a prophecy about the
You may remember it from Handel's
Jesus is here referred to as "Mighty God." The JW expects you to
bring up this verse and will respond that comparative language is
used here: Jesus is a "mighty god," but Jehovah is described as
"Almighty God" elsewhere and, therefore, is more powerful (i.e.,
Jesus is mighty, while God is almighty). They may further note that
Jesus is never referred to as "Almighty God." However, the
Watchtower interpretation of Isaiah 9:6 is incorrect.
While in English, the words may be taken in a comparative manner,
the original Hebrew is not at all comparative.
A) Almighty God
is the Hebrew
The exact meaning of this word is uncertain. Most often it is linked
to mountains and therefore can mean "God of the mountain."32
"The idea behind the root in Akkadian and in Hebrew seems to be that
of impelling force, hence, the sovereign, 'Almighty God.'"33
The translation, "Almighty God," is from the Septuagint.
B) Mighty God
is the Hebrew
and can be translated "God, the hero or champion among the army."34
It means a God who is mighty or superior, strong, brave, valiant, a
These Hebrew words have different, unrelated meanings. "Mighty God"
stand inferior to "Almighty God" as the term, "strong," stands
inferior to "strongest." They are unrelated terms, as in "brilliant"
and "strong." More problematic to the Watchtower interpretation of
the words "almighty" versus "mighty" is the fact that God is called
(Mighty God) just one chapter later in Isaiah 10:20-21. Also in
Jeremiah 32:17-18 and Deuteronomy 10:17, the Father is referred to
as the "Mighty God" (El
Therefore, Isaiah 9:6 clearly refers to Jesus as God.
Isaiah calls Jesus, "God." The Watchtower's attempts to explain this
by claiming "mighty God" is less than "almighty God" reveals a lack
of knowledge of the Hebrew language because the words "mighty" and
"almighty" are not comparative in meaning, and Isaiah calls the
Father "mighty God" one chapter later.
2. John 20:28:
"Thomas answered and said to him: 'My Lord and my God!'"
After his resurrection Jesus appears to doubting Thomas who calls
him, "God." This is a difficult verse for the JW because it is so
clear. The JW will respond that either Thomas said, "My Lord" to
Jesus, then looked heavenward and said, "My God!" or Thomas was
saying it out of exclamation, much like someone today might say,
"Oh, my God!" when astonished. However, there are four (4) reasons
why the Watchtower response is inadequate:
A) The text says, "Thomas answered and said
'My Lord and my God!' " Thomas was addressing Jesus.
B) In Psalm 35:23 (Septuagint), the same Greek grammatical structure
is used as in John 20:28. The Psalmist David says, "Awake, O Lord,
and attend to my judgment, even to my cause,
my God and my Lord."
ho theos mou kai ho kurios mou.
My God and my Lord.
ho kurios mou kai ho theos mou.
My Lord and my God.
David was addressing one person. His God and his Lord were one and
the same. Since the Greek grammatical structure in John 20:28 is the
same, Thomas is most likely referring to Jesus as God.
C) Jesus never rebuked Thomas for calling Him "God."
D) It is unlikely that Thomas, a pious Jew who was accustomed to
carefully guarding his lips, would take the Lord's name in vain,
especially when he saw the risen Jesus.35
Thomas addresses Jesus as his God. Attempts by the Watchtower to
explain this by claiming Thomas was looking heavenward when he said
"my God" or that he just uttered the statement as an expression of
surprise fails to carefully observe Thomas' statement "to him," the
similar Greek grammatical structure in Psalm 35:23, that Jesus never
rebuked Thomas for calling him God, and the fact that the pious Jew,
Thomas, would be unlikely to take the Lord's name in vain.
3. Colossians 2:9:
"for in him all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form."
The New World Translation renders "divine quality" instead of
"deity." What does the word mean? The Greek word is
There are two words in the Greek language Paul had to choose from.
divinity or has the quality of the divine; that which shows God to
be God, and gives Him the right to worship.36
The emphasis is on his attributes.
one who occupies the divine office and possesses all divine power.37
The emphasis is on his nature.
Both words are almost identical in spelling and meaning. Both
acknowledge the deity of Christ. But the latter,
is stronger and is the word Paul uses. All the fulness (nothing
excepted) of God's essence dwells in Christ in bodily form. Thus,
Colossians 2:9 clearly refers to Jesus as God.
A few years ago, I met an engineer from Greece who was visiting the
United States. After a brief conversation, I asked if he could read
Koine Greek, the language in which the New Testament was originally
written. He said that in Greece it was a requirement in school to
become familiar with the ancient forms of the language. I wrote
Colossians 2:9 in Greek for him and substituted the original
I asked him to translate it for me. He read it and said, "This says,
'God's qualities are in Christ's body.' But it doesn't make much
sense." I scratched out the substituted word and wrote the original
where it belonged. I then asked him to translate it for me. He
looked at it and said with confidence, "Oh, this says that God came
down and put on a body!"
The Greek word Paul uses for "deity" means Jesus is in essence God.
4. God and Jesus are both referred to as the: a) Alpha and Omega, b)
First and Last, c) Beginning and End.
A) God: Rev. 21:6 (Alpha and Omega; Beginning and End); Is. 44:6
(First and Last)
B) Jesus: Rev. 1:8 (Alpha and Omega), 17-18 (First and Last); 2:8
(First and Last); 22:13 (Alpha and Omega, First and Last, Beginning
Since John addresses Jesus and God interchangeably throughout these
passages, it is clear he viewed Jesus as God. This is strengthened
further by our fifth text, which is also from John.
5. John 1:1:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the
Word was God."
John 1:14 tells us that "the Word" is Jesus. Therefore, when John
states in the third clause of verse 1 that "the Word was God," he
claims that Jesus is God in the plainest of terms. JW's, however,
will not allow you to cite this verse without opposition. They claim
that the final clause should be translated "the
Word was a god"
In a Watchtower tract they are likely to leave with you titled,
"Should You Believe in the Trinity,"39
reasons are provided why they believe the clause should be
Word was a god."40
The first reason provided in the tract is that "someone who is
'with' another person cannot be the same as that other person." This
is correct and is brought up because of the verse's second clause,
"the Word was with God." However, Christians do not believe that
Jesus is the same person as the Father. Rather, from the early
church to the present, Christians believe that God is one, in three
persons. Therefore, the Watchtower's objection is without any
The tract then cites an article from the
Journal of Biblical Literature.41
Apparently they did not believe anyone would actually check the
article and read it. Otherwise they would have never cited it. We
will look at this article in-depth in a moment.
The tract continues by listing nine (9) translations which render
the third clause as the Word (Jesus) is "a god," "godlike," or
"divine." The average reader will not recognize any of these
translations. The most recognized and certainly the majority of
translations all render the verse, "the Word was God."42
However, the issue is not how many scholars believe something, but
why they believe it.
The Watchtower returns to the
article and states that "expressions 'with an anarthrous [no
article] predicate preceding the verb, are primarily qualitative in
meaning.' As the
notes, this indicates that the
can be likened to a god. It also says of John 1:1: 'The qualitative
force of the predicate is so prominent that the noun
cannot be regarded as definite.'" These are heavy statements for the
non-Greek student. Let's try to simplify them somewhat with a few
is the Greek term for "word" and is referring to Jesus in the
context of John 1 (see verse 14).
is the Greek word for "God." A predicate is a word(s) that describes
the subject of the sentence. For example, in the sentence, "the girl
is smart," "girl" is the subject and "smart" is the predicate, since
it is describing the girl. Articles are either definite or
indefinite. When an article is definite (e.g., the), it is
identifying something. For example, suppose I was in a public debate
with a JW and someone asked, "Which of the two is Mike?" The answer,
tall guy," identifies me from the other. Now let us suppose that
later on someone else heard about the debate and asks, "What is Mike
like?" The answer, "Mike is
tall guy" employs an indefinite article (e.g., a, an) and points to
a quality or trait (i.e., tallness). There is no attempt to
distinguish or identify the noun from others when the indefinite
article is used. In Greek, there are no indefinite articles.
However, the absence of the definite article in Greek usually has
the same effect as the English indefinite article and places stress
on the quality or trait of the noun. With this in mind, let us now
look at the
article cited by the Watchtower and what the Watchtower claims
In order to determine what John meant when he wrote, "the Word was
article's author, Philip Harner, lists five ways in which John could
have said it in Greek. We will refer to these as Clauses A through E
as Harner does.43
The clauses have been translated below in English for the reader.
The word "the" indicates that the Greek definite article appears
before the word.
A. The Word was the God.
B. God was the Word. (This is what John wrote.)
C. The Word God was.
D. The Word was God.
E. The Word was divine. (A different word,
Harner states that if the word
[God] had the article [as in Clause A above], then Clause A "would
contradict the preceding clause of 1:1, in which John writes that
the Word was with God
[translated from Greek]." This is because the two (i.e.,
would be equivalent to the point that there would be no
differentiation between the two as persons and John's statement that
"the Word was with God" certainly indicates that two persons are
involved. So the Watchtower tract is correct when it says that "if
the latter part of John 1:1 were interpreted to mean 'the' God, this
'would then contradict the preceding clause,' which says that the
Harner continues, "Clause D, with the verb preceding an anarthrous
[without the article] predicate, would probably mean that the logos
was 'a god' or a divine being of some kind [as the Watchtower
translates it]. Clause E would be an attenuated form of D [i.e.,
carrying a lesser force than D]. John evidently wished to say
something about the
that was other than A and more than D and E."44
In other words, Harner says that John wanted to say something other
than that God and Jesus were the same person and that the proper way
to say that the Word was "a god" or "divine" would be to use Clause
D or E. However, John wanted to say something stronger about the
Word, since he uses Clause B.
Harner's very next statement is cited by the Watchtower tract—yet
not in its entirety and its commentary is deliberately misleading.
According to the tract, "The
Journal of Biblical Literature
says that expressions 'with an anarthrous [no article] predicate
preceding the verb, are primarily qualitative in meaning.' As the
notes, this indicates that the
can be likened to a god. It also says of John 1:1: 'The qualitative
force of the predicate is so prominent that the noun [theos]
cannot be regarded as definite.'"
Now here is what Harner actually said in the
After stating that John wished to say something other than A and
more than D and E, he continues, "Clauses B and C, with an
anarthrous predicate preceding the verb, are primarily qualitative
that the logos has the nature of theos
In other words, clauses B and C stress
as the quality or character of the Word and indicate that the Word
and God share the same nature. And this statement is omitted from
the Watchtower tract, although it comes immediately after the
statement they quote. Moreover, contrary to the tract, the
does not note that the Word "can be likened to a god." Harner has
clearly said in the statement immediately preceding that John wished
to say something more than that. This is deception on the part of
the Watchtower. They are deliberately misleading its followers and
every reader of their tract.
He continues that if
in Clauses B and C was taken as definite instead of qualitative,
then B and C would be the same as A and would be problematic as well
given the context. Therefore,
must be referring to the quality of the logos [Word].46
But what is the quality John is wishing to emphasize?
The Watchtower tract says, "So John 1:1 highlights the quality of
the Word, that He was 'divine,' 'godlike,' 'a god,'47
but not Almighty God." Remember that the very article they cite
states that John did not mean to say that, but more; that the Word
has the nature of God. So what does Harner claim is the quality John
wished to emphasize? At the end of the article, he states, "These
examples [i.e., Clauses A through E] illustrate the difficulty of
translating the clause accurately into English. This does not mean
that the translators were not aware of the issue involved. Perhaps
the clause could be translated, 'the Word had the same nature as
God.' This would be one way of representing John's thought, which
is, as I understand it, that
[the Word], no less than
[the God], had the nature of
The Word, no less than God, has the nature of deity. Deity is the
quality John wishes to ascribe to the Word.
So to sum up the article, Harner states that if John had wished to
say that the Word was "a god" or "divine," he had two ways, even a
different word, by which he could have done so. But it is evident
that he wished to say something even stronger about Jesus. He did
not wish to say that Jesus and God are the same person, since he has
already stated that they are two persons and there was a way in
Greek for him to have done so if he had wished. What John does say
is that Jesus and God share the same nature; that Jesus, no less
than God, has the nature of deity. This is an extremely strong
statement, since it rules out any interpretation that Jesus was
merely acting in God's place, but was not God Himself. Rather, Jesus
was God in his very nature and essence. John's words echo Paul's in
Colossians 2:9 discussed above when he says that in Jesus, "all the
fulness [nothing excepted] of deity dwells."
So we observe that the Watchtower has taken a few statements out of
context to justify their translation, "the
Word was a god,"
from an article, which states that their translation is wrong, and
that Jesus possesses the nature of God. It is also interesting to
note that the tract states that "[t]here are many other Bible verses
in which almost all translators in other languages consistently
insert the article 'a' when translating Greek sentences with the
same structure." What they do not say is that such does not take
into account a simple Greek rule found in just about any Greek
grammar: proper names, places, and certain words such as "God,"
"Lord," and "Holy Spirit" appear numerous times throughout the New
Testament with and without the article with no apparent change of
meaning and are, therefore, exempt from the very general rule of
when to insert the indefinite article 'a' when translating Greek.49
Such a gross lack of scholarship is not a reflection on the JW's who
come to your door with a sincere heart and are good students of
Watchtower interpretations. However, it reflects a dangerously
deceptive and intellectually naïve leadership at the Watchtower that
should neither be followed nor trusted.
Now let's observe how consistent the Watchtower is with this rule
concerning "an anarthrous [no article] predicate preceding the verb"
throughout its own translation, the
New World Translation.
In the New Testament there are exactly four (4) occurrences where
(God) appears as a singular predicate noun, without the article,
before the verb (see Luke 20:38; John 1:1; 8:54; Philippians 2:13).
Remember the Watchtower said that this grammatical structure merited
the translation, "a god." Yet, in every instance, the
New World Translation
as "God," contrary to the committee's rule, except one,
In other words, they made a rule then broke it every time, except
one occurrence when convenient. (See Appendix 1 in this book for a
detailed look at each of these four verses.)
Therefore, the Watchtower has not only deliberately deceived its
trusting followers, but has demonstrated a lack of knowledge of
basic rules of Greek and is grossly inconsistent in applying its own
rule. This is pseudo-scholarship at its finest.
On the other hand, Harner has shown why the translation, "the Word
was God" is an accurate rendering of the Greek which is even more
precise by saying that the Word possesses the very nature of deity,
no less than God Himself. Indeed, the majority of translators render
the clause "the Word was God."
But one other point can be made here. It is interesting to note how
the earliest church fathers who commented on John 1:1 interpreted
it. This is especially noteworthy, since the earliest church fathers
wrote in Greek. Therefore, their views on how it should be
translated may reflect not only what the early Church thought of
Jesus, but how the original readers of John understood his statement
in the original Greek.50
Irenaeus wrote around AD 185 and mentions John 1:1 five times.51
In one reference he comments, "'and the Word was God,' of course,
for that which is begotten of God is God."52
Irenaeus understood Jesus as more than "a god" or a divine being of
a sort. He referred to Jesus as God.
Origen is another church father who wrote in Greek around AD 200. In
a reference regarding John 1:1 he comments, "John, however, with
more sublimity and propriety, says in the beginning of his gospel,
when defining God by a special definition to be the Word, 'And God
was the Word, and this was in the beginning with God.' Let him,
then, who assigns a beginning to the Word or Wisdom of God, take
care that he be not guilty of impiety against the unbegotten Father
Himself, seeing he denies that He had always been a Father, and had
generated the Word."53
Origen understood John to be saying that the Word was God and
without a beginning. Elsewhere he refers to Jesus as "God the Word"
a total of 18 times.54
Clement of Alexandria wrote in Greek
around AD 200 as well. He alludes to John 1:1 and Jesus as God when
he says, "For since Scripture calls the infant children lambs, it
has also called Him, God the Word, who became man for our sakes and
who wished in all points to be made like to us, "the Lamb of God,"
Him, namely, that is the Son of God, the child of the Father."55
Thus, Clement also interprets John as referring to Jesus as God in
Therefore, all of the earliest church fathers who comment on John
1:1 interpret John as claiming that the Word was God. Moreover, not
a single church father, early or otherwise, interprets John as
saying that "the Word was a god" or the "Word was divine."
In summary, we have seen that there are no good reasons for
translating John 1:1 as "the Word was a god" as the NWT does.
We have seen good reasons to translate it "the word was God" with
the understanding that John is claiming that Jesus, no less than
God, possesses deity. And finally, we have seen that all of the
early Church Fathers who commented on John 1:1 and who also wrote in
Greek clearly interpreted John 1:1 to be saying "the Word was God"
and that there were no church fathers who understood it otherwise.
For these reasons, the normal rendering, "The Word was God," is
correct. Therefore, John 1:1 clearly refers to Jesus as God. I know
this section on John 1:1 has been quite technical. Carefully read
through it a few times and it will serve you well when discussing
this verse with JW's.
Bottom Line: The very article in the biblical journal
appealed to by the New World Translation committee to justify
their translation of John 1:1 actually advises that it should not be
translated "the Word was a god" as the NWT translates it, but
rather "the Word was God" as with most translators. Furthermore, the
Watchtower is inconsistent in applying its own rule because the
Greek grammatical structure referred to by the committee appears
with the word theos a total of four (4) times in the New
Testament. In every instance, the NWT has translated it
"God," except one John 1:1. The Greek John used in this verse
indicates that he believed Jesus, no less than God Himself,
possesses the very nature of deity. Finally, every church father who
comments on this verse translates it, "the Word was God."
Some final thoughts on the deity of Christ:
Multiple biblical figures all viewed Jesus as God: Isaiah, John,
Thomas, and Paul. We have seen that the doctrine of Christ's deity
carried from the biblical writers to their successors, the apostolic
fathers such as Polycarp who knew the apostles and Ignatius who
probably did. The doctrine did not stop there, but continued through
the church fathers who succeeded them such as Justin, Irenaeus,
Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen, and Hippolytus.56
Although Jesus is never recorded as coming right out and saying, "I
am God," his actions and claims spoke very loud. He accepted worship
(see Matthew 14:25-33; 28:8-10; John 9:35-38). Yet he knew worship
was for God alone (see Matthew 4:8-10 [quoting Deuteronomy 6:13]).
His disciples also recognized worship was for God alone (see Luke
4:7-8; Acts 10:25-26; Revelation 19:10). Yet they worshipped him
(see Matthew 14:25-33; 28:8-10; Hebrews 1:6). In addition, he
claimed to have authority over the Sabbath day that God had
instituted (see Matthew 12:1-8), something it would seem was
reserved for God alone. Finally, he taught with an authority that
none of the prophets claimed. The prophets would say, "Thus says the
Lord . . ." Jesus, on the other hand, said, "Truly, truly, I say to
you." It will not do to say that Jesus had the authority to forgive
sins, since he granted this right to his disciples (see John
A fair question is "If Jesus thought of Himself as God, why didn't
He just come out and say it clearly?" This is to import Twenty-first
century Western thought back into the First century Middle East. It
appears that the culture in which Jesus lived expected actions
rather than words. Consider the question posed by John the Baptist
to Jesus in Matthew 11:2-5. When in prison, John sent some of his
disciples to Jesus and asked him, "Are you the expected one (i.e.,
Messiah) or are we to expect someone else?" We pick up at verse 4:
"Jesus answered and said to them, 'Go and report to John what you
hear and see: the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers
are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor
have the gospel preached to them.'" Jesus answered their question by
pointing to his works. John presents a similar thought in 10:24-25.
The Jews asked Jesus "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you
are the Christ, tell us plainly." Jesus answered them, 'I told you
and you do not believe; the works that I do in my Father's name,
these testify of me.'"
The question we need to ask then is "Did Jesus do anything that
would indicate that He thought of Himself as God?" When we consider
that He accepted worship that He knew was only for God, claimed to
have authority over God's Law, and spoke using His own authority, it
seems clear that Jesus did think of Himself as God.
Chapter 4: Conclusion & Application
Jehovah's Witnesses are very sincere about their beliefs and well
versed in them. When they come to your door, invite them in. Be
cordial and patient. Remember Peter's instruction "but sanctify
Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense
to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in
you, yet with
gentleness and reverence"
(1 Peter 3:15). Unfortunately, most of the Christians JW's encounter
are unprepared and become extremely defensive and unpleasant with
them. This just encourages the JW's to believe they are on the
correct path. Why would they change unless someone soundly shows
them their error? That someone may be
Dare to be different by having a response, which is both biblically
sound and loving.
It is easy to become upset with someone who disagrees with you on so
important a subject. A few years ago, I blew it with a JW who
knocked on my door. She was going around the neighborhood with her
teenage daughter and I invited them in. We discussed the deity of
Christ. It turned into a heated discussion and I eventually asked
her to leave. Although she initially became quite unpleasant when I
let her know that I disagreed with her on the issue, my attitude was
bad to begin with. I was more excited about "winning an argument"
than compassionately sharing the truth and patiently attempting to
reveal Watchtower error. I thank my wife, Debbie, who pointed out my
attitude problem to me. Do we listen with an open mind when someone
angrily or arrogantly tells us that we are wrong? We shut off our
minds to whatever that person tells us. JW's are people too. If your
attitude is bad, they will shut off their minds as well. You will
get nowhere and mistakenly blame their unreceptiveness on their
disinterest in truth. Remember that it is the Watchtower that has
led its followers down the wrong path. Lead them to the right path.
These are sincere and committed people, just the kind you want in
When you begin talking with them, limit your conversation to the
question, "Who is Jesus?" This is the most important difference
between their beliefs and historical Christianity. You may say
something like this, "I admire you for being so diligent about your
beliefs. However, we disagree on a major point, the deity of Christ,
and I would like to discuss this with you." They will agree without
Tell them you would like to hear their reasons for believing Jesus
is a creation of God; then you would like their responses to your
reasons for believing He is God. Then dialogue with them. When
everything has been said and done, you can tell them that they have
not provided any good reasons for believing Jesus was created and
that you have provided five reasons why He is God, one which even
exposes some inconsistencies in their own translation of the Bible.
Watch out for detours. JW's may try to answer arguments for the
deity that you never raised. This can create an illusion that you
stand corrected on the deity issue. For example, when asking them
for Scriptures which in their opinion indicated that Jesus was
created they will cite Colossians 1:15. Show them that the word
"firstborn" could not possibly mean "first created" in this passage.
They will respond that earlier in the same verse it says that Jesus
is "the image of God," and since the Bible also says that we have
been created in God's image we could not interpret the statement
that Jesus is "the image of God" to indicate that he is God.
However, we're not saying this verse calls Jesus, God, only that it
does not say that he was created.
When JW's perceive the conversation is not going their way, they may
try to detour you into other issues such as the earthly kingdom of
Christ. Insist that you stay on the issue of who Jesus is, because
its importance is far greater than whether eternity is spent in
heaven or on a heavenly earth ruled by Christ. Belief in these other
issues are incidental to the main issue concerning the deity of
Jesus. Where one stands on who Jesus is will determine whether we go
to heaven or not.57
Your efforts can prove to be fruitful. You may be surprised at how
God may work. Several years ago while visiting my wife's family in
Nebraska, I was asked by one of her aunts to talk with her daughter
who was a JW. I agreed and scheduled a time to go over to her home.
My wife and I had a cordial conversation with her and her husband.
We left and did not hear anything else. Four years later when my
wife went out to visit her family she talked with her aunt who told
her that her daughter had left the JW's as a result of our
conversation four years prior and both she and her husband are now
Another time two JW's came to my home on a Saturday morning. I
usually invite them in. But this particular time I couldn't because
my son was just getting over a stomach virus he had endured the day
before. I explained he was fine now but didn't want to possibly
expose them to getting the virus. I suggested we drive up to the
Hardee's a few blocks away and talk there over a cup of coffee. They
We sat down at a table and began to talk. I told them that I admired
them for zealously proclaiming their beliefs to anyone who would
listen and that I wished more people at my church were like that.
They were appreciative of the comment. I then said, "I find that we
disagree on several issues, particularly one which is very important
to both of us, the deity of Christ. You believe God created Jesus. I
believe that He is God. So I would like to discuss this issue with
you." They agreed. I continued, "Now I must admit, I don't know all
the answers and I suppose I am wrong on some things. Certainly no
one is 100 percent correct. We do our best. So why not show me why
you believe Jesus was created and I'll respond to that. Then I'll
show you why I believe Jesus is God and I'd like to hear your
responses." Nothing opens a cordial dialogue better than admitting
you could be wrong. This will encourage open-mindedness on their
part as well. This is far different from the grumpy response of many
Christians who gruffly say, "I am not interested!" and then slam the
door on them. Remember Peter's admonition to defend the faith "with
gentleness and reverence." Another great reference which was cited
earlier is 2 Timothy 2:24-26, NASB
"The Lord's bond servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to
all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting
those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them
repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come
to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been
held captive by him to do his will."
Our conversation went well. I listened with great interest and
patience as they presented their case. Their Bible texts were
virtually a mirror reflection of those presented in Chapter 8. One
by one, as I answered their arguments, they would simply go on to
their next text, "Well, what about this one?" Our discussion
continued to be cordial. I began my case for the deity of Christ.
They had no answers at all to a few of the texts. The others
elicited the anticipated responses discussed in the previous
chapter. I answered them as well.
The remarkable thing about this conversation was that about thirty
minutes into it a stranger walked up to us, politely apologized for
interrupting and said, "I've been overhearing your conversation.
Would you mind if I sat in and listened?" We invited him to join us.
He listened attentively for a good 45 minutes, injecting a comment
here and there. Approximately 15 minutes after he had joined us, I
noticed two others trying their best to listen in without appearing
obvious. One was an employee on break. When he saw that I noticed
them listening, he looked somewhat embarrassed and said, "Can we
listen too?" We now had three strangers listening. After about
another 15 minutes, the employee stood up and said, "My break is
over. Thanks for allowing me to sit in. I learned a lot!" Then he
looked right at me and asked, "Would you pray for me?" I said I'd be
happy to. Then he walked away. Shortly after, our first stranger
thanked us and left.
The JW's and I continued to talk a little longer. In summing up, I
said, "We've talked a while (3 hours and 15 minutes!) and here's how
I see our conversation. You haven't provided a single good reason
from Scripture why I should believe Jesus was created. On the other
hand, I have provided several texts that strongly indicate Jesus
is God. You have been unable to provide a plausible alternate
explanation for these texts.
"I appreciate your zeal and recognize your sincerity about your
beliefs. I hope you appreciate mine as well. It's unfortunate that
one of us is wrong. The apostle Paul and Nicodemus were very sincere
about their Jewish beliefs. When they were faced with the truth,
however, they inquired further and changed, even though it cost them
their fortunes, their status, and in Paul's case, his life. The
deity issue is worth an independent investigation on your part,
isn't it?" They nodded in agreement. "I encourage you to consult
scholarly works outside of the Watchtower. Think through this on
your own. If you come to see the Scriptures teach that Jesus is part
of the Godhead, it will cost you as well because your Kingdom Hall
will not tolerate it. I pray you will have the courage of Paul and
Nicodemus and make that change."
Your knowledge may overwhelm some JW's, because some of the
information you now have is technical. I once had a JW tell me that
there was no way for her to get into the languages as I could, so
she could never know if what I said was correct. She also said that
God is not the author of confusion and that we should be able to
read our English translations and understand his Word. These are
valid points. Maybe some readers are feeling as she did. So let's
spend a moment with each of her points.
"I don't know the languages, so I can't know what's right."
You may not desire to invest the time to learn Greek and Hebrew.
However, you do have the same sources available to you for word
studies that scholars use. Although your local library probably will
not carry these books on their shelves, you can obtain them by using
inter-library loan. Your local library will borrow the book(s) from
another library. You may have to pay a small fee for the service
(usually less than $10). If there is a seminary or Bible college
nearby, you will probably be able to locate them there. Your local
bookstore will also be happy to sell them to you. (They are a
worthwhile investment if you enjoy in-depth Bible study.) For New
Testament Greek words, a few good sources are Gerhard Kittel's
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament
(10 volumes). This is the most exhaustive source available. Colin
New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology
(4 volumes), is also a great source and is much more friendly to the
non-Greek reader. The fourth volume is an index which keys the Greek
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance Of The Bible
(a book most Bible students have). Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich's
A Greek-English Lexicon Of The New Testament and Other Early
is a good source, but not at all friendly to the non-Greek reader.
If you want to see how a Greek word is used throughout the
Wigram and Winter have a
Word Study Concordance.
They will list the Greek word and then every verse where it appears.
Hebrew words, a great source is Willem VanGemeren's
New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology & Exegesis
(5 volumes). Like its
sister, the fifth volume is an index which keys the Hebrew words to
Strong's in order to make it easy for the non-Hebrew reader to find.
Harris, Archer, Waltke have produced the Theological Wordbook of the
Old Testament (2 volumes). This is an excellent source and is
friendly to the non-Hebrew reader since it is likewise keyed to
Finally, when you study the Bible in-depth, a simple system will
be of great help.
Study the word.
First look up the definition in one of the references listed
above to see how it is used throughout the ancient world.
Now that you know the meaning(s) of the word, what is the verse
Now that you have a good idea of what the verse is saying, how
does it fit in the overall chapter or context? Sometimes a verse
may have a few different possible meanings. Many times the
context will allow you to determine its correct meaning.
As we saw in Revelation 3:14, sometimes the chapter does not
tell you what the author is saying about a particular verse or
word. In times like this, look to see if the same author touches
on the subject in other parts of his writings. For example, the
author of Revelation, John, has much to say about the deity of
Christ (see John. 1:1; 20:28; 1 John 5:20; Revelation 22:6, 16;
Alpha and Omega, First and Last, Beginning and End passages).
John's writings indicate he believed Jesus was God. In light of
these teachings, an interpretation of Rev. 3:14 saying God
created Jesus is unwarranted.
"God is not the author of confusion. We should be able to read our
English Bible and understand it."
I agree. God is not the author of confusion, man and Satan are. What
do you do when confusion exists between opposing views? You can
retreat by saying, "My pastor (church leaders, denomination)
believes it, so it must be true." This is fine if your pastor is
right. But what if he isn't?
It may be helpful to bring them back to your least technical points
such as Watchtower misinterpretations of certain verses outlined in
Chapter 8. For example, ask them: "What do you think of the
Watchtower's interpretation of Proverbs 8:22 now?" Many times they
will say, "I'm not sure." Take them through the context, chapter,
and book again. Then ask, "Given Solomon's purpose in writing
Proverbs, his style of writing, and what he is saying in Chapters
7-9, what do you personally think he means by wisdom and why?" Make
them think. Put yourself in their place. What would you be thinking
if someone showed you something that seriously challenged your
beliefs? Invite them to go home and look at the issue with an open
mind and come back next week to discuss it again.
Finally, remember that your only responsibility is to plant the
seed. It is the Holy Spirit who works the change (see 1 Corinthians
3:6-7). The purpose of your discussions with the JW should be to
reveal the truth with love, patience, and compassion. That is the
role, which God has given every Christian (see 2 Timothy 2:24-26; 1
Peter 3:15-16). The person who does not care about the truth will
not change. The person who does care about it will think about what
you have to say and engage in further study. But ultimately it is
the Holy Spirit who brings a person to the truth.
We have come to the end of our study on how to answer Mormons and
Jehovah's Witnesses. If you are a Mormon or Jehovah's Witness, I
pray you will prayerfully consider what has been discussed. Run the
information by the leaders of your Ward or Kingdom Hall. Get their
response and think through it. Ask yourself, "Did they
answer my questions?" It is your own soul and no one else's. Do not
let someone else's error cost them their soul and yours. Eternity is
a long time to feel regret. Have the courage of Paul and Nicodemus.
Remember, you never have to be afraid of the truth.
If you are
a Jehovah's Witness, I hope this book has been helpful. Master the
information, make sure your attitude is pure, and go for it. I am
proud of you for choosing this book and I wish you God's best!
More on John 1:1
There are a total of four (4) occurences in the
where the singular predicate,
precedes the verb and does not have the article.58
Let us look at each of these verses to see how the
New World Translation
has translated them.
1. Luke 20:38. "He is a God, not of the dead, but of the living" (NWT)
theos de ouk estin nekron
a God—not he is of the dead
He is not a God of the dead.
In this verse, we have
appearing as a singular predicate before the verb, "is," and is not
preceded by the article. "He" is implied and is the subject. "A God"
is the predicate because it describes the subject. "He [subject] is
[verb] a God [predicate]." Although indefinite [i.e., without the
Greek article], the
as "a God" with a big "G," meaning Jehovah.
2. John 8:54. "It is my Father that glorifies me, he who you say is
your God." (NWT)
theos hemon estin
God of you he is
He is your God.
again is a singular predicate occurring before the verb, "is," and
is not preceded by the article. "He [subject] is [verb] your
[pronoun] God [predicate]." Yet, the
again correctly translates "God" with a big "G."
3. Philippians 2:13. "For God is the one that, for the sake of [his]
good pleasure, is acting within you." (NWT)
theos gar estin ho energon en hymin
God for is the one working in you
For God is the one working in you.
is a singular predicate occurring before the verb, "is," and is not
preceded by the article. "The one working" has the article (ho) and
is considered to be the subject. The predicate, "God," further
describes who the subject is, "The one working [subject] in you
[prepositional phrase] is [verb] God [predicate]." "God" appears
first in the sentence for emphasis. Again, the NWT correctly renders
"God" with a big "G."
4. John 1:1. "the Word was a god." (NWT)
theos en ho logos
God was the Word.
is a singular predicate occurring before the verb, "was," and is not
preceded by the article. "The Word [subject] was [verb] God
[predicate]." The inconsistency of the
New World Translation
here is clear. Of the four occurrences in the
where the Greek
is a predicate occurring before the verb and is not preceded by the
article, this is the only time the
has not translated it "God" with a capital "G." John uses the term,
"God," to describe the Word. Deity is the certain character or
quality described of the subject.59
In conclusion, when we conduct a study of the reason provided by the
Watchtower Translation Committee of the
New World Translation
why John 1:1 should be translated, "the Word was a god," we find a
gross inconsistency. We saw that there is a total of four (4)
instances in the
where predicate theos precedes the verb and does not have the
article. In three of the four instances, the
has translated it "God" in conflict with their own rule.
Should You Let Them In?
Should You Let Them In?
"If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not
receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the
one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds" (2 John
Do these verses prohibit you from inviting Jehovah's Witnesses into
your home? At first look, it would seem so. However, an
understanding of the social setting in which John wrote is very
During the first century, when Christianity was getting off the
ground, it was customary for traveling teachers of Christianity to
receive hospitality in the form of room and board at someone's home.
A first century Christian document named The Didache (meaning The
Teaching [of the Twelve Disciples]), and written prior to 2 John,
spells out how the church was to receive and support these traveling
teachers (Chapters 11-13).
The majority of
scholars agree that John is saying one of two things in 2 John 10.
When John said, "do not receive him into your house," he may have
meant that false teachers were not to be given the typical
hospitalities of room and board extended to traveling teachers. The
term "greeting" would mean to greet him as a brother in the Lord. A
second possible interpretation is based on a more literal
translation, "do not receive him into the house or give him any
"[T]he house" may be understood as the house where Christians met
and worshipped. During the first century, there were no church
buildings as we have today. Christians met in a person's home. A
false teacher should not be received by "the house church" and given
the opportunity to spread false doctrine. The term "greeting" would
mean to welcome the false teacher into the congregation and
Therefore, the command not to receive the false teacher into your
home means one of two things:
1) Do not extend the hospitalities of room and board, as was
customary to do for traveling Christian teachers, to a false
2) Do not welcome the false teacher into a house church congregation
and allow him to teach.
The "greeting" John refers to is more of a welcome and encouragement
than the mere cordiality that it is today. As the late New Testament
scholar F. F. Bruce says: "The injunction not to receive any one who
does not bring 'the teaching of Christ' means that no such person
must be accepted as a Christian teacher or as one entitled to the
fellowship of the church. It does not mean that (say) one of
Jehovah's Witnesses should not be invited into the house for a cup
of tea in order to be shown the way of God more perfectly in the
sitting room than would be convenient on the doorstep."61
Dr. Mantey's Letter to the Watchtower Society
July 11, 1974
Watchtower Bible and Tract Society
117 Adams St., Brooklyn,
New York 11201
I have a copy of your letter addressed to Caris in Santa
Ana, California, and I am writing to express my disagreement
with statements made in that letter, as well as in
quotations you have made from the Dana-Mantey Greek
Grammar. Your statement: "their work allows for the
rendering found in the Kingdom Inter-linear Translation of
the Greek Scriptures at John 1: 1.'' There is no statement
in our grammar that was ever meant to imply that "a god" was
a permissible translation in John 1:1.
A. We had no "rule" to argue in support of the Trinity.
B. Neither did we state that we did have such intention. We
were simply delineating the facts inherent in Biblical
Your quotation from page 148 (3) was in a paragraph under
the heading: "With the Subject in a Copulative Sentence."
Two examples occur there to illustrate that "the article
points out the subject in these examples.'' But we made no
statement in this paragraph about the predicate except that,
"as it stands the other persons of the Trinity may be
implied in theos." And isn't that the opposite of what your
translation "a god" infers? You quoted me out of context.
On pages 139 and 140 (VI) in our grammar we stated: "without
the article theos signifies divine essence. . . 'theos on ho
logos' emphasizes Christ's participation in the essence of
the divine nature.''
Our interpretation is in agreement with that in NEB and the
TEV: "What God was, the Word was": and with that of Barclay:
"The nature of the Word was the same as the nature of God,''
which you quoted in your letter to Caris.
(2) Since Colwell's and Harner's articles in JBL, especially
that of Harner, it is neither scholarly nor reasonable to
translate John 1: 1 "The Word was a god." Word order has
made obsolete and incorrect such a rendering.
(3) Your quotation of Colwell 's rule is inadequate because
it quotes only a part of his findings. You did not quote
this strong assertion: "A predicate nominative which
precedes the verb cannot be translated as an indefinite or a
'qualitative' noun solely because of the absence of the
(4) Prof. Harner, Vol. 92.1 (1973) in JBL, has gone beyond
Colwell's research and has discovered that anarthrous
predicate nouns preceding the verb function primarily to
express the nature of character of the subject. He found
this true in 53 passages in the Gospel of John and 8 in the
Gospel of Mark. Both scholars wrote that when
indefiniteness was intended, the Gospel writers regularly
placed the predicate noun after the verb, and both Colwell
and Harner have stated that theos in John l: 1 is not
indefinite and should not be translated "a god."
Watchtower writers appear to be the only ones advocating
such a translation now. The evidence appears to be 99%
(5) Your statement in your letter that the sacred text
itself should guide one and "not just someone's rule book."
We agree with you. But our study proves that Jehovah's
Witnesses do the opposite of that whenever the "sacred text"
differs with their heretical beliefs. For example, the
translation of kolasis as cutting off when punishment is the
only meaning cited in the Lexicons for it. The
mistranslation of ego eim as "I have been" in John 8:58.
The addition of "for all time" in Hebrews 9:27 when nothing
in the Greek New Testament supports it. The attempt to
belittle Christ by mistranslating arche tes ktisoos
"beginning of the creation" when he is magnified as "the
creator of all things" (John 1:2), and as "equal with God"
(Phil. 2:6) before he humbled himself and lived in a human
body here on earth. Your quotation of "The Father is
greater than I am" (John 14:28) to prove that Jesus was not
equal to God overlooks the fact stated in Phil: 12: 6-8,
when Jesus said that he was still in his voluntary state of
humiliation. That state ended when he ascended to heaven.
Why the attempt to deliberately deceive people by
mispunctuation by placing a comma after "today" in Luke
23:43 when in the Greek, Latin, German and all English
translations except yours, in the Greek in even your KIT,
the comma occurs after lego (I say)? -- "Today you will be
with me, in Paradise." 2 Cor. 5:8, "to be out of the body
and at home with the lord.'' These passages teach that the
redeemed go immediately to heaven after death, which does
not agree with your teachings that death ends all life until
the resurrection (Ps. 23:6 and Heb. 1: 10).
The above are only a few examples of Watchtower
mistranslations and perversions of God's Word. In view of
the preceding facts, especially because you have been
quoting me out of context I herewith request you not to
quote the Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament again,
which you have been doing for 24 years. Also, that you not
quote it or me in any of your publications from this time
on. Also, that you publicly and immediately apologize in
the Watchtower magazine, since my words had no relevance to
the absence of the article before theos in John 1: 1. And
please write to Caris and state that you misused and
misquoted my "rule."
On the page before the Preface in the grammar are these
words: "All rights reserved no part of this book may be
reproduced in any form without permission in writing from
the publisher." If you have such permission, please send me
a photocopy of it. If you do not heed these requests, you
will suffer the consequences.
Julius R. Mantey
1 The terms "divinity" and "deity" can be confusing. In most cases
the terms have identical meanings. However, some have used "divine"
to refer to an angel, since it came from God. However, an angel
would not be a deity, since it is not by its nature God.
2 This book will only be concerned with the deity of Jesus.
3 JW's may on occasion say that Jesus is a "god." However, they do
not believe that he is "God" in the fullest sense of deity. In
their opinion, he is still a created being, unequal to God in his
4 New Testament scholar, Raymond Brown, explains multiple ways of
understanding Titus 2:13, "the appearance of the glory of our great
God and Savior, Jesus Christ." Is Paul referring to our
Savior Jesus Christ
as two persons? Or is he saying Jesus Christ is our
Naturally, one can see how it can be understood both ways. Brown
notes that several careful scholars have understood the first option
to be the more correct, while the latter is virtually the unanimous
view held by grammarians and lexicographers. Raymond E. Brown.
An Introduction to New Testament Christology
(Mahwah: Paulist Press, 1994), pp. 181-182.
5 The Septuagint is the Greek Translation of the Old Testament.
This was the common translation in Jesus' day and used by the New
Testament writers the majority of the time when quoting the Old
Testament. Genesis 1:1 in the Septuagint reads: "In the
(beginning), God created the heavens and the earth."
6 The Apostle Paul was particularly fond of using
in this sense. Of the twelve (12) times he used it in his writings,
nine (9) are in the political sense: Romans 8:38; 1 Corinthians
15:24; Ephesians 1:21; 3:10; 6:12; Colossians 1:16; 2:10, 15; Titus
7 The translation "by God" is possible, but it is not required.
8 Notice that the word "other" is in brackets. This means the word
is not found in the Greek text but was inserted by the translators
Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures
provides their rationale in the footnote to verse 16, "All [other],
as in Luke 11:41, 42" (p. 880). But these are not even good texts
to support the
interpretation, because "other" might be inserted in order to smooth
the translation, but it is not required. Hebrews 2:10 has a Greek
construction closer to Colossians 1:16, and yet "other" is not
inserted in the
Therefore, the NWT's insertion of "other" in Colossians 1:16 is
clearly based on the Watchtower's assumption that Jesus was created
and not because the Greek requires it.
9 For other examples see Genesis 4:10 and Psalm 85:10. Also see E.
Figures Of Speech Used In The Bible: Explained and Illustrated
(Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1968).
10 See also 1:20-21; 3:13-16; 4:5-9; 9:1-6. Also see Psalm 85:10.
11 One may also ask if "Wisdom" is Jesus, why refer to Him in the
12 This becomes especially clear when Proverbs 8 is taken in context
with Proverbs 7 and 9. Verses 22-30 would seem completely misplaced
if they referred to Jesus. However, they fit right in if "wisdom"
is taken as a character quality which Solomon personifies.
13 Genesis 16.
14 Genesis 17:20-21.
The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology,
Vol. 2, p. 725 states that the word "is used to mark out Jesus
uniquely above all earthly and heavenly beings; in its use the
present soteriological [salvific] meaning is more strongly stressed
than that of origin."
16 Verses 3, 20, 35, 49.
17 1 Samuel 8.
18 1 Samuel 9:15-17; 10:1.
19 No other major translation renders it as such.
See Kittel and Friedrich, eds.
Theological Dictionary Of The New Testament,
Volume VII (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1982),
Ibid., Volume VI, pp. 881-882.
24 Ibid., pp. 877-878.
25 Matthew 19:4-5.
26 Ephesians 5:22-23; Colossians 3:18.
An Introduction to New Testament Christology,
pp. 174, 189.
28 For the writings of Ignatius and other early Church Fathers see
J. B. Lightfoot and J. R. Harmer, eds. and transl.,
The Apostolic Fathers,
Second Edition (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1992).
3:3:4. In this passage, Irenaeus also claims to have spoken with
Polycarp when he (i.e., Irenaeus) was young. Eusebius,
4:14. In the latter, Eusebius quotes Irenaeus.
31 The topic of how the early Church Fathers viewed Jesus is beyond
the scope of this book. However, you may find an article on the
subject by this author on his web site at
www.risenjesus.com. Go to
the "Articles" section and select "The
Early Church Fathers on Jesus."
32 Harris, Archer, Waltke, eds.
Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament,
Volume 2 (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), p. 907.
33 Richard Patterson, "Joel," in
The Expositor's Bible Commentary,
Frank E. Gaebelein and Richard P. Polycyn, eds. Volume 7 (Grand
Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1985), p. 243.
34 Harris, Archer, Waltke, eds.
Vol. 1, p. 149.
35 Dr. Ron Sauer, Professor of New Testament at Moody Bible
Institute, kindly pointed this out to me. Dr. Sauer was the last
student of the late F. F. Bruce. When I studied under him at
Liberty University, he devoted 8-14 hours daily to his personal
study in the Greek New Testament and instilled a passion in this
student and many others to learn the Greek language of the New
36 NIDNTT, Vol. 2, p. 86. TDNT, Vol. III, p. 123. See Romans 1:20
for its only use in the New Testament. Interestinly, the NST has
rendered the word "Godship."
37 NIDNTT, Vol. 2, p. 86. TDNT, Vol. III, p. 119. Also, see Fritz
A Linguistic Key To The Greek New Testament.
(Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1980), p. 573.
38 Revelation 22 is somewhat difficult to follow because John
changes from one speaker to another without warning, as he seems to
do in verses 7, 12, and probably 17. The
(Red Letter editions) and the
seem to present the conversation most clearly. The
seems confused on where to place the quotation marks. It has Jesus
speaking in verses 6 and 7. But that is awkward because it would
force the Father to send the angel in verse 6 and then Jesus to send
the same angel for the same purpose in verse 16. The
is likewise confused, identifying Jesus as the angel in verse 6 and
also as the one who sends the same angel (quite a task to send
yourself) in verse 16.
Should You Believe in the Trinity?
New York: Watchtower Bible And Tract Society of New York, Inc.,
1989, pp. 26-28.
40 The same is also found in
The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures
(Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible And Tract Society Of New York, Inc.,
1985), pp. 11-39-1140.
41 The article is specifically identified in Appendix 2A of
The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures,
pp. 1140 as Philip B. Harner, "Qualitative Anarthrous Predicate
Nouns: Mark 15:39 and John 1:1," in
Journal of Biblical Literature,
ed. Joseph A. Fitzmyer, Vol. 92, 1973, pp. 75-87.
King James Version, American Standard Version, New American Standard
Bible, New International Version, Revised Standard Version, New
Revised Standard Version, New American Bible, New Jerusalem Bible,
New English Bible, Revised English Bible
("what God was, the Word was"),
("the Word was God Himself"),
Today's English Version
("he was the same as God"),
New Living Translation
("he was God.")
43 Harner, p. 84.
44 Harner, p. 85.
45 Harner, p. 85. New Testament scholar, Murray Harris agrees. See
his excellent book,
Jesus As God: The New Testament Use of Theos in Reference to Jesus
(Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1992), p. 70. The late New
Testament scholar, Raymond Brown agrees in
An Introduction to New Testament Christology,
46 Harner, p. 85.
47 "god" verses "God," much like "mighty god" verses "Almighty God."
48 Harner, p. 87.
49 e.g., John 4:20; 5:15; 20:31. A. T. Robertson.
A Grammar Of The New Testament In The Light Of Historical Research
(Nashville: Broadman Press, 1934), pp. 759-761, 795 and H. E. Dana
and Julius R. Mantey.
A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament
(Toronto: The Macmillan Company, 1955), pp. 139-140, 148-149.
50 As mentioned earlier, you may find an article on the subject of
the early Church Fathers on Jesus by this author on his web site at
www.risenjesus.com. Go to
the "Articles" section and select "The Early Church Fathers on
Book 1, Ch 8; Book 3, Ch 11 (3 x's); Book 5, Ch 18.
52 Ibid., Book 1, Ch 8.
Book 1, Ch 2, Section 3.
Book 1, Ch 66 [1:66]; 3:62; 4:99; 5:22; 6:48, 61, 68; 69 (2 x's),
71; 7:17 (3 x's), 42; 8:15, 22, 39, 75.
Clement of Alexandria.
Book 1, Ch 5.
For details, the reader may refer to the
article by this author titled, "The Early Church Fathers on Jesus,"
on the "Articles" tab.
When cornered, JWs may likewise reply
that they are not interested in debate. You may reply "I'm not
either. But when it comes to something as important as the eternal
destiny of our soul, important questions must be asked and
There are actually 2 others but these are
not readily apparent: Romans 8:33 reads
theos ho dikaion
("God is the one who justifies") and John 10:34 that reads
("gods you are" or "You are gods."
59 In Greek the subject is often contained in the verb
as in this phrase.).
The Greek Grammarians Dana and Mantey say that this statement
"emphasizes Christ's participation in the essence of the divine
Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament,
p. 140). " . . .
and the word was deity.
The article points out the subject in these examples . . . nor was
all of God, as it would mean if the article were also used with
As it stands, the other persons of the Trinity may be implied in
(Ibid., pp. 148-149).
60 As the
New Revised Standard Version
61 F.F. Bruce.
The Epistles Of John
(Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1970), p.