Does John 1.1 mean ‘The Word was a god’?

This is a question I quite often get asked in relation to conversations with Jehovah’s Witnesses and the New World Translation (NWT). The NWT translates the end of John 1.1 as ‘the Word as a god’ in order to avoid the identification of Jesus with the God of the Old Testament, and avoid seeing Jesus as God incarnate, part of the Trinity, as does orthodox Christian belief.

As we will see, this is an incorrect translation of the Greek text. It is quite straightforward, though sounds a little technical to explain. Here goes.

The Greek of John 1.1 is as follows, transliterated into English letters:

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Was the text of the NT ‘unstable’ and ‘evolving’?

The BBC started their new series ‘The Beauty of Books’ looking at two epoch-making books, the Winchester Bible (from around 1100) and Codex Sinaiticus, from around 350. Sinaiticus is hugely significant, since it is the earliest complete Bible, and was the fruit of the stability for the Christian faith in the Roman Empire resulting from the Constantinian settlement. (Janet Soskice’s Sisters of Sinai about its discovery is supposed to be a ripping read.) You can view the manuscript for yourself in amazing detail at its website.

The programme highlighted what an extraordinary technical achievement its

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Seeing the Big Picture

Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart comment that there are two key skills in reading the Bible: the ability to see the big picture; and the ability to see the distinctive detail of each passage, in particular to recognise its genre.

Here is my list of resources to help with the ‘big picture’ side of things. Do add yours in comments!

  • Scripture Union has developed the  E100 project which offers 100 Bible passages, 50 from the Old Testament and 50 from the New, to give you an overview of the Bible. It come with a range of supporting resources.
  • It might sound odd for adults, but we have found Children’s Bibles great for giving readable, accessible overviews of the whole Bible. The Lion Storyteller Bible is a good one for older children and adults.
  • Lesslie Newbigin gave an overview of the Bible in a series of talks at Holy Trinity Brompton several years ago, and these have been written up in the

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What is the meaning of ‘head’?

I am in the process of writing a Grove Biblical booklet with the title ‘Women and authority: key biblical texts’ which aims to explore all the key texts in 28 pages! Due out in March. I cover Gen 1, 2, 3, Luke 24, John 20, Acts 18, Romans 16, 1 Cor 11 and 14, Eph 5, 1 Tim 2.

Here is the section on 1 Cor 11. Any comments welcomed.

This passage is often seen as a key one in the discussion about gender relations because of Paul’s use of the idea of ‘head’, and applying this to relations within the Godhead as well as human relations. We

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Should women keep silent in church?

I am in the process of writing a Grove Biblical booklet with the title ‘Women and authority: key biblical texts’ which aims to explore all the key texts in 28 pages! Due out in March. I cover Gen 1, 2, 3, Luke 24, John 20, Acts 18, Romans 16, 1 Cor 11 and 14, Eph 5, 1 Tim 2.

Here is the section on 1 Cor 14.34–35. Any comments welcomed.

These verses are problematic mainly because they appear to contradict not only what Paul has said in chapters 11 and 12 but also what has been said in the immediately preceding verses. If women are

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Overview of critical methods in studying the NT

Here is a short article I have written for the new edition of Exploring the New Testament vol 2 giving an overview of critical methods.

Critical methods in the study of the New Testament

In order to help to answer some of the questions raised here, New Testament studies as a discipline has developed a range of approaches. Very often these are borrowed from neighbouring disciplines within the university, making theology something of an interdisciplinary subject.

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