Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Friday, May 11, 2007

A Good John 1:1/Jehovah's Witnesses Sermon

Co-pastor of Grace Life fellowship at Grace Church, Don Green, gave an outstanding exegetical message on the text of John 1:1 and why it is relevant for Christians to know and believe the Deity of Christ on apologetic terms. It was one of the best apologetic oriented message I have heard in sometime.

Download the MP3 here. There is also a PDF file for his notes he used for the Power Point.

Unlike the JW apologist who wandered onto the comments under one of my blog posts leaving cut-and-paste, long-winded comments and claiming there is a "vast body of scholarship" who believe John 1:1 can be translated as it is found in the New World Translation, Don actually knows the Greek language. In fact, he has taught Greek on a seminary level, so I am confident he knows what he is talking about.

As an extra bonus, here's the HiRes version of the S. Lewis Johnson message Don mentioned in his sermon:

The Word of God: The Ages Past



Blogger ann_in_grace said...

Amazing. I listened to it on my way home today. It was very good.

2:39 PM, May 11, 2007  
Blogger Gummby said...

Sweet! I love Don Green. And that other GraceLife guy is ok, too.

I've got a JW post that I hope to get up sometime in the next few weeks--I'll let you know when it's posted.

7:47 PM, May 11, 2007  
Blogger JohnOneOne said...

When many take issue with Jehovah's Witnesses' "New World Translation" of John 1:1 (as, "a god"), they often miss the point that one of the principal reasons for this is because of the Grammatical construction there, that is, that this is "a singular anarthrous predicate noun preceding the verb, and subject noun (implied or stated)" and not just that the noun theos (in the third clause) lacks the Greek definite article.

For other examples of a similar Greek construction, please examine the few following verses within your own prefered translation of the Bible and see whether your own translators had inserted either an "a" or "an" there - in most cases they do:

Mark 6:49
Mark 11:32
John 4:19
John 6:70
John 8:44a
John 8:44b
John 9:17
John 10:1
John 10:13
John 10:33
John 12:6

At each of those verses, identity of the one discussed was not at issue; no, but rather, the class and/or quality of the individual was.


8:52 PM, May 11, 2007  
Blogger Gavin said...

Great audio message. Don Green's sermons at gracelife are excellent (Especially the series on the The Beatitudes).

12:49 AM, May 12, 2007  
Blogger Raulemir said...

Mr. Fred,

Mr. Johnoneone just blog troll. He copy post some hoot named "Alan" made on March 25, 2007 at: http://greenbaggins.wordpress.com/2006/10/28/john-11/.

Maybe Mr. Johnoneone really just Alan and try cover his tracks. He no interact with you message. Muslim see right through him.

8:16 AM, May 12, 2007  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Thanks Raul for the comments. I thought his arguments smelled fishy.


12:09 PM, May 12, 2007  
Blogger Matthew Christensen said...

If anyone would like to learn Greek I recommend using Basics Of Biblical Greek by William D. Mounce. At the start of chapter 6 he and Daniel B. Wallace show why you can't translate John 1:1 to be "a god". People like the previous poster JohnOneOne have to read into the verse what they want to get that translation. Also there are countless other verses that show Jesus is God as well. Of course if you repeat a lie enough times you are bound to fine some that will be suckered in.

6:10 AM, May 13, 2007  
Blogger Daniel said...

Apparently Johnoneone never heard of Granville Sharp?

I know you know this Fred, but for the others, Granville Sharp, being well read in NT Greek eventually noticed that anytime the word καὶ was used to join in an article, a singular noun where both first and second nouns shared the same case ending, and where the word καὶ was used to link the two nouns thus, that this construct always resulted in the second noun predicating something about the first. We call this Granville Sharpe's second rule.

We note therefore the significance of this construct: article-(singular)noun-καὶ-(singular)noun, and as we look at the verses you quoted, we compare them to see if they are (as you imagine) comparing apples to apples:

Mark 6:49 - verb-conjunction-noun-καὶ
(Definitely not article-(singular)noun-καὶ-(singular)noun - therefore my verdict? apples and oranges.) Next.

Mark 11:32 - noun-adverb-conjunction-noun
(Again, definitely not an article-(singular)noun-καὶ-(singular)noun construct. My verdict? Again - Smoke and mirrors.)

John 4:19 - noun-verb-noun
(Again, definitely not an article-(singular)noun-καὶ-(singular)noun construct. My verdict? Comparing wiener water and gravy.)

John 6:70 - noun-noun-verb
(Again, definitely not an article-(singular)noun-καὶ-(singular)noun construct. My verdict? Bows and arrows against the lightning.)

John 8:44a - noun-noun-verb
(Again, definitely not an article-(singular)noun-καὶ-(singular)noun construct. My verdict? All bologna, no steak.)

John 8:44b - noun-καὶ-article-noun
(Well, this one was almost close. Still not an article-(singular)noun-καὶ-(singular)noun construct. Notice, all the elements were there however, but they weren't in the right order - My verdict? Chaff not wheat.)

John 9:17 - article-noun-noun-verb
(Nope, not even on the same field, not the article-(singular)noun-καὶ-(singular)noun construct we are looking for, and therefore, not really a valid comparison. My verdict? A pretender, not a contender.)

John 10:1 - noun-καὶ-noun (no article)
(Another near miss - but like the trapeze artist who has the near miss - it is not good enough.)

John 10:13 -noun-καὶ-noun
(These nouns are not even the same case - let alone the fact that the clause lacks the article! Again - this is no mountain, it is a mole-hill.)

John 10:33 - καὶ-pronoun-noun
(Do I have to say it? <buzzer sound>)

John 12:6 - noun-καὶ-article-noun
(oh, so close, but again, no cigar.)

Sadly (for the JW apologist, but quite cheerfully for everyone else), this very brief comparison shows that the construct Granville Sharp noted, which is found in John 1:1 is not found in any of the verses that were cut and pasted into this meta.

Now if one wants to actually check Granville sharp's rule, and see if it holds water, I suggest you check out verses such as:

Matthew 12:22 (the blind and dumb, "τον τυφλον και κωφον" note [1] the case endings are the same, the construct follows the same one we find in John 1:1 - an article (τον - the) a singular noun (τυφλον - blind) the copulative (και - and/even/also) and the second noun lacking the article in the same case as the first (κωφον - dumb) Do the JW's translate this passage in their bible as 'the blind and "a" dumb...'? No. Why not?

2 Corinthians 11:31 - (The God and Father) "ο θεοσ και πατηρ" - I suppose the JW bible translates this as the God and "a" Father? Not so, their eisegesis is rather selective... Here we see again that both nouns are in the nominative singular, and the construct is our familiar article-noun-kai-noun.

I don't want to make this comment longer than it has to be, but I for one am not dazzled by a list of scripture and an assertion that my point is made by giving you a list. For that reason, rather than simply retort with an equally impressive list, I shall qualify the list I suggest returning in this way - it is a right comparison, comparing the actual construct found in John 1:1 with verses that actually share that construct, verses you can check out because I am not only highlighting the first few, but will link to a place where you can check them out yourself without having to take my word for it.

I wonder if we would insist that this construct, used elsewhere implies as Johnoneone would have us believe, that the two nouns refer to different people in the following:

2 Corinthians 1:3 (twice! - [1] the God and Father, and [2] the Father of the compassions and God)

Ephesians 6:21 (The beloved brother and faithful minister)

Hebrews 3:1 (the Apostle and High Priest)

2 Peter 2:20, 2 Peter 3:2 (The Lord and Savior)

Colossians 2:@, 1 Thessalonians 3:11, James 1:27 - (the God and Father)

Are we to understand that the Lord and Savior is actually supposed to read The Lord and a Savior? The God and a Father? That Christ is "the Apostle" and also, in an unrelated way, someone else is a high priest of our faith?

Consider these things soberly.

For more reading, see here, where I shamelessly pilfered some of my comment. ;-)

2:38 PM, May 14, 2007  
Blogger Raulemir said...

Mr. Fred,

Mr. Daniel probably friend to you and way you look at things. I no complain about Granville Sharp rule. Sharp help show deity of Christ to Christians in some passages, no doubt.

But I think Mr. Daniel miss blog troll point. Troll try argue Colwell's construction (no article-predicate nominative noun-copula verb), no Granville Sharp.

Further, Mr. Daniel say John 1:1 about Granville Sharp construction. That no true. That why Daniel Wallace talk about John 1:1 and Colwell construction at pp. 266-270 of his grammar.

If I Mr. Daniel, I delete my comment from you blog. He no look too good to someone who know Greek. It big embarrassment to me if I Mr. Daniel and I post that.

3:25 PM, May 14, 2007  
Blogger Raulemir said...

Mr. Daniel, I no want pick fight with you. But where you think Granville Sharp construction found in John 1:1?

I know you mean well. But you no help Mr. Fred defend deity of Christ if you make bad argument from Greek.

3:29 PM, May 14, 2007  
Blogger Daniel said...

Raul, I agree with you, my argument for the Granville Sharpe construction is flawed. I am a student of Greek and clearly not a master.

A kind fellow had read my comment and was kind enough to email me and point out my error in this comment (My apologies Fred).

I must admit that my pride would be quite satisified to delete my previous erroneous comment, yet I prefer to leave my ignorance on grand display and accept correction publically rather than to erase it before everyone knows I made a mistake.

Nevertheless, I am reading up on the anarthrous (without the article) pre-verbal predicate nominatives and Colwell's rule in particular with respect to the various criticism leveled against it and the holes that have since been found in it (see Harner and Dixon). I am at least understanding this discussion a little better - and a day wherein I am learning is a good day for me.

Two things I have understood from my recent study are that [1] anarthrous pre-verbal predicate nominatives are normally qualitative (80% of the time), and sometimes definite (20% of the time), and only very rarely indefinite; and [2] that in John 1:1 Theos is very likely qualitative and while some small possibility remains for a definite argument, the argument would be quite weak given that the vast majority of definite anarthrous pre-verbal predicate nominatives are monadic, in genitive construdtions, or are proper names, none of which (according to Wallace), is true in John 1:1. The thought that Theos could possibly be indefinite - seems, at least according to the grammarians I am reading, to be almost impossible.

Thank you to those of you who corrected me in my error.

5:25 AM, May 15, 2007  

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