Available summer 2014 is the Apostolic Study Bible from Pentecostal Publishing House. Here’s the information from their site:
The Apostolic Study Bible is a new leatherbound Bible with study notes and commentary exclusively written by Apostolic authors.With book introductions, verse-by-verse notes, articles, and a concordance all compiled by Apostolic writers, this Bible is sure to enhance your understanding of God’s Word.
I want to do bible study
I would like to have one of these Apostolic Study Bible for I am of the Apostolic Faith looking to Grow more and more in Jesus. The only one True God manifested in the Flesh. I believe it will help me to be a better teacher/Deacon in the Kingdom of God.
Where can I find this apostolic bible released summer 2014
You can get it from PPH here: http://pentecostalpublishing.com/
I am very excited about the new apostolic study bible i ordered one and recieving today in mail..i cant wait ive loved studing the word and deep things of God to my knowledge this is the bible of bible s for the apostolic doctrine,i would like to suggest also the book on oneness of God another good book Godbless all the hungry hearts pentecostal publishers is the place go too pentecostalpublishers.com regerister for new acct its worth your search
I would like to order the new apostolic study bible. I submitted on line and used the coupon code ‘THANKS2015’ to get a free shipping and the price didn’t give the discount to me. Is it possible If I place my order again and get the discount?
Hi Krisitiani. You’ll have to contact Pentecostal Publishing House. I don’t work for them.
I’m in dare need of the apostolic bible but can’t get it. Please I need the soft copy to be sent to my mail.
I need Pentecostal publishing address. Thanks.
Is there a way I can print (on line) the Introduction Pages to each chapter?
Unfortunately this isn’t an option.
According to Jesus, God is strictly one Person, not three. Christians who value Jesus as the supreme revealer of truth should consider his classic words, uttered in a final prayer.
3 αὕτη δέ ἐστιν ἡ αἰώνιος ζωὴ ἵνα γινώσκωσιν σὲ τὸν μόνον
This but is the eternal life that they might know you the alone
ἀληθινὸν θεὸν καὶ ὃν ἀπέστειλας Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν .
true God and whom you delegated Jesus Christ
He defined salvation as belief in that One and only true God, and in himself as the Messiah (John 17:3).
It is a serious hijacking of the words of Jesus if one adds to Jesus’ creed. For Jesus, his Father is “the one who alone is truly God, the only one who is truly God, the one true God” (see also Mark 12:29).
12:29 ἀπεκρίθη ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὅτι πρώτη ἐστίν · ἄκουε , Ἰσραήλ , κύριος ὁ θεὸς
Answered the Jesus (“) first is hear Israel LORD the God
ἡμῶν κύριος εἷς ἐστιν
of us LORD one is
Adonai and Adoni (Psalm 110:1)
The Bible’s supreme proof text for telling the difference between the One God and the Messiah who is not God
This verse was referred to the Messiah by the Pharisees and by Jesus. It tells us that the relationship between God and Jesus is that of Deity and non-Deity. The Messiah is called adoni (my lord) and in every one of its 195 occurrences adoni (my lord) means a superior who is not God. Adonai on the other hand refers exclusively to the One God in all of its 449 occurrences. Adonai is the title of Deity and adoni never designates Deity.
If the Messiah were called Adonai this would introduce “two Gods” into the Bible and would be polytheism. Psalm 110:1 should guard us all against supposing that there are two who are God. In fact the Messiah is the supreme human being and agent of the One God. Psalm 110:1 is the Bible’s master text for defining the Son of God in relation to the One God, his Father.
Why is it that a number of commentaries misstate the facts about Psalm 110:1? They assert that the word for the Messiah in Psalm 110:1 is adonai. It is not. These commentaries seem to obscure a classic text defining God in relation to His Son. The Hebrew text assigns to the Messiah the title adoni which invariably distinguishes the one addressed from the Deity. The Messiah is the supreme human lord. He is not the Lord God (cp. I Tim. 2:5; I Cor. 8:4-6; Mark 12:28ff).
Why is the Messiah called adoni (my lord) and never adonai (my Lord God)?
“Adonai and Adoni are variations of Masoretic pointing to distinguish divine reference from human.”
Adonai is referred to God but Adoni to human superiors.
Adoni – ref. to men: my lord, my master [see Ps. 110:1]
Adonai – ref. to God.Lord (Brown, Driver, Briggs, Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, under adon [= lord]).
“The form ADONI (‘my lord’), a royal title (I Sam. 29:8), is to be carefully distinguished from the divine title ADONAI (‘my Lord’) used of Yahweh.” “ADONAI – the special plural form [the divine title] distinguishes it from adonai [with short vowel] = my lords” (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, “Lord,” p. 157).
“Lord in the OT is used to translate ADONAI when applied to the Divine Being. The [Hebrew] word.has a suffix [with special pointing] presumably for the sake of distinction.between divine and human appellative” (Hastings Dictionary of the Bible, “Lord,” Vol. 3, p. 137).
“Hebrew Adonai exclusively denotes the God of Israel. It is attested about 450 times in the OT.Adoni [is] addressed to human beings (Gen. 44:7, Num. 32:25, II Kings 2:19 [etc.]). We have to assume that the word adonai received its special form to distinguish it from the secular use of adon [i.e., adoni]. The reason why [God is addressed] as adonai, [with long vowel] instead of the normal adon, adoni or adonai [with short vowel] may have been to distinguish Yahweh from other gods and from human lords” (Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, p. 531).
“The lengthening of the ā on Adonai [the Lord God] may be traced to the concern of the Masoretes to mark the word as sacred by a small external sign” (Theological Dictionary of the OT, “Adon,” p. 63 and Theological Dictionary of the NT, III, 1060ff. n.109).
“The form ‘to my lord,’ l’adoni, is never used in the OT as a divine reference.the generally accepted fact that the masoretic pointing distinguishes divine references (adonai) from human references (adoni)” (Wigram, The Englishman’s Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance of the OT, p. 22) (Herbert Bateman, “Psalm 110:1 and the NT,” Bibliothecra Sacra, Oct.-Dec., 1992, p. 438).
The doctrine of the trinity is a doctrine of inference. It can never be established from any context… Jesus has many titles of God, but never is he called God of God’s
3 αὕτη δέ ἐστιν ἡ αἰώνιος ζωὴ ἵνα γινώσκωσιν σὲ τὸν μόνον
This but is the eternal life that they might know you the alone
ἀληθινὸν θεὸν καὶ ὃν ἀπέστειλας Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν .
true God and whom you delegated Jesus Christ
In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God.
The Trinitarian Claim
Trinitarians interpret the text as if John is referring to the beginning of the Genesis creation and John is telling us that the Son was God.
The Problems with the Claim
Trinitarians impose their doctrine upon the text by imagining the person Jesus is being styled with the title, “the Word” and identified as God. But it simply does not say Jesus was with God nor does it say Jesus was God. Moreover, John 1:14 does not say Jesus became flesh. It says the Word became flesh.
2. Can’t See the Forest for the Trees
It is common for Trinitarians, and others, to suppose the interpretation of John 1:1 rests entirely upon the grammar of John 1:1c, that is, the meaning of the anarthrous noun theos. This approach essentially ignores any other questions which must be asked concerning this verse. There are several other questions pertaining to this verse which Trinitarians disregard.
3. Mythical meaning attached to the word pros.
John 1:1b has been typically translated as, “the word was with God. More than one Greek word is translated as “with” in English translations. The Greek word here is pros and it usually refers to directional motion “toward” something in the sense that one thing is coming to be before another thing. Sometimes, Trinitarians suggest that the Greek preposition pros with a stative verb, as we have at John 1:1, necessarily implies a personal relationship indicating the Son and the Father were in a “face to face” relationship. However, this reads far too much into this common everyday Greek preposition than the word can offer and loads an everyday Greek preposition with a fourth century doctrine. The Greeks actually had a term for a face to face relationship, “prosopon pros prosopon,” but this is not what John said. The Greek word pros with a stative verb simply implies that one thing ‘X’ is positionally before another thing ‘Y.’ For example, the Old Testament (LXX) says several times that the word of God came pros Prophet X referring to a message from God which came to that prophet. Once the word of God had come to him, we could say the word of God was pros Prophet X.
4. The Definition of theos at 1:1c
It is not uncommon for Trinitarian laypeople to suppose John is telling us WHO the Word was at John 1:1c. They being by assuming that the term “the Word” refers to Jesus and then they also suppose the word “God” means that John is telling us WHO Jesus was/is.
However, Trinitarian scholars and theologians deny that John was indicating WHO the Word was (although this fact doesn’t seem to stop them from citing this verse to try and prove Jesus is that identity known as God). Trinitarian academics insist, rather, that John is telling us WHAT the Word was, and the word “God” essentially means “divine” or “deity” in a qualitative sense. In other words, they are defining the word “God” (theos) as a qualitative noun in an adjectival sense. The problem with this interpretation is that John actually said, “and the word was pros ton theon and theos was the word.” The point here is not whether theos or logos is the predicate noun but the meaning of the word theos at 1:1c. Even though John’s word order is “God and God,” we are expected to accept the notion that the first instance of the word “God” means “the Father” but the second instance means just the opposite: “not the Father.” It is highly unlikely that John would join two instances of the word “God” with the conjunction “and” and expect readers to assume that each instance of the word “God” has different, and even opposite, meanings.
και ο λογος ην προς τον θεον και θεος ην ο λογος
and the word was pros God and God was the word
Is it reasonable to suppose John would expect his readers to suppose the first instance of theos means “the Father” but the second instance means “not the Father”? It is an extremely far-fetched proposition.
5. The Word/Logos
In the New Testament Gospels, the “Word” refers to the proclamation of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God through the ministry of Jesus Christ. This fact is entirely ignored by Trinitarian interpreters. The “Word of God” came to John the Baptist (Luke 3:2) and he proclaimed the Good News. Both Mark and Luke begin their Gospels by referring to the beginning of the Good News (Mark) and the beginning of ministry of the Word (Luke). And again, John opens his first letter by telling us they heard the Word of Life and that is the message which he is announcing in his letter. Jesus kept his Father’s word (8:55).
6. 1 John 1:1
The language 1 John 1:1 is obviously referring to the same concepts. John refers to “what” they had seen, “what” they had heard, “what” they had touched with their hands concerning “the word of life.” And then John proceeds to announce that same word to his readers, the word they had heard. It should be rather obvious that the word in question is the same Word proclaimed by that flesh Jesus.
7. “In the beginning”
Since the book of Genesis begins with the words “In the beginning,” Trinitarians suppose that John is establishing a time frame when the Word was with God and when the Word was God. However, New Testament writers clearly portray Jesus’ life, beginning with the baptism of John, as the beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ and the imminent establishment of the Kingdom of God. The “Word of God” came to John the Baptist (Luke 3:2) and he proclaimed the Good News testifying to the Light coming into the world (1:6). Mark similarly opens his Gospel with the words, “the beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ.” Luke opens his Gospel referring to the beginning of the ministry of the Word and his opening statement in the Book of Acts refers to his Gospel as “all that Jesus began to do and teach.” And in his first letter, John refers to the Word as what they had heard from the beginning.
Additionally, not a few scholars have noted that John’s Gospel is about the new creation since he routinely uses Genesis creation imagery. Indeed, the new creation of God is the reconciliation of the Genesis creation. The ministry of Jesus is the beginning of the new creation of God.
8. Houtos and Autos
Supposing that John 1:1 refers to the beginning of the Genesis creation, John 1:3 is generally interpreted by Trinitarians to mean the Genesis creation was created through the Son. On this basis alone, the Greek words houtos and autos are translated as “he” and “him” respectively in verses 2 and 3. These personal pronouns lead readers to suppose that the Word mentioned verse 1 is being identified as a person. This is due to the fact that most readers are ignorant of Greek grammar and do not realize these two Greek words do not function like our English words “he” and “him.” They are also be used to refer to inanimate objects.
The words houtos and autos are often translated as “He” and “Him” in verses 2 and 3 in Trinitarian based translations. However, these two Greek words and not equivalent to our English words “He” and “Him.” These two Greek words function very much like our English word “This.” We use the word “this” to refer to both persons and inanimate objects and that is how these two Greek words operate. The word houtos is routinely translated as “this” in the New Testament. The word autos functions in the same manner and is routinely translated as “it.” Both of these words refer back to the subject which is under discussion. To illustrate, the exact same words are used at John 6:60 where Jesus is referring to the logos he had just spoken to the Jews. Compare John 1:1-3 with John 6:60:
In the beginning was the logos…. houtos was with God in the beginning. All things came to be through autou and apart from autou not one thing has come to be that has come to be.
εν αρχη ην ο λογος…. ουτος ην εν αρχη προς τον θεον παντα δι αυτου εγενετο και χωρις αυτου εγενετο ουδε εν ο γεγονεν
Therefore many of his disciples, when they heard autou said, “houtos is a difficult logos; who can hear autou?”
πολλοι ουν ακουσαντες εκ των μαθητων αυτου ειπον σκληρος εστιν ουτος ο λογος τις δυναται αυτου ακουειν
Laypeople are often further confused by the fact that Greek is a gender specific language. In English, only people have gender but in Greek, both people and inanimate objects have gender. For example, a spoken logos is a grammatically masculine thing in the Greek language. Masculine words do not mean a male person is in view.
When either of the two words houtos and autos are referring back to the subject in view, and the subject in view is a person, it is appropriate to respectively translate these words as “he” and “him” because that is how we speak in English. It is appropriate not because that is precisely what these words mean but that is how we would express the same idea in English. And when the subject is an inanimate object, these same two words must be translated as “this” and “it.” If we don’t know whether the subject is a person or an inanimate object, the words houtos and autos do not tell us whether the subject is or isn’t a person.
The grammar of John 1:2-3 does not tell us whether a person is in view or not. All we can say in verse 2 is that the Word was with God in the beginning. And all we can say in verse 3 is that all things were created through the Word mentioned in verse 1. Neither of these two words can tell us that the Word is a person, nor can they tell us the Word isn’t a person.
9. God Created with Two different Words?
We know that the Word by which God created all things in Genesis was His spoken Word. The Trinitarian interpretation of John 1:1-3 introduces an incomprehensible confusion whereby we are to suppose John is referring to the beginning of the Genesis creation and God created all things by means of two different Words: (1) His spoken Word, and (2) a person called the Word.
The confusion of Trinitarians here is especially entertaining since they view verse 3 as referring to the Genesis act of creation. However, the Scriptures tell us that the Genesis creation was accomplished by means of God’s SPOKEN Word.
10. The Light
The immediate context says the Light shines in the darkness. If John is talking about reality at the creation of the world, then John is talking about Genesis 1:2-3 where darkness was upon the face of the deep and God said, “Let their be Light.” And the Trinitarian is stuck in his own folly since this Light was the first of God’s creations.
We are informed that this Light is the Father in John’s first letter (1 John 1:5). We also see that the Light of the Father was expressed through His Messiah in the ministry of Jesus who was the expression of the Father through the words he said and the works he did. This suggests John does not have the beginning of the Genesis creation in mind but the beginning of the Good News of the Kingdom. And indeed, we are immediately told in verse 9 that the Light was coming into the world as John was testifying to that Light. John came to announce the true Light which was coming into the world since that Light had not yet come into the world.
11. The Word became flesh
Trinitarians are again guilty of reading their doctrine into the text concerning this verse. Verse 14 is usually interpreted to mean the Second Person of the Trinity became a human being when he descended into the womb of Mary. However, the text itself says nothing of the sort. God’s Word is something which is expected to be fulfilled. For example, Paul said the mystery of godliness was manifested in flesh which means that a human being of flesh named Jesus manifested godliness during his ministry. In the same way, “the Word became flesh” refers to the fact that the Word of the Father was manifested in all the things that flesh said and did. The Word came to be flesh when the Spirit descended upon Jesus and he began to walk according to that Word, that is, the Good News of the Kingdom which God Anointed him to proclaim.
Analysis of the Evidence
The Biblical facts show that John’s introductory words (1:1-5) refer to the beginning of the Gospel of the Kingdom and the Word proclaimed through the ministry of God’s Anointed, Jesus of Nazareth. The Word of John 1:1 is the Word proclaimed through the ministry of Jesus.1. The Beginning of the Proclaimed Word
In the New Testament, “the Word” is an expression referring to the proclaimed Word of God and it is synonymous with the Good News. The ministry of Jesus was considered the beginning of the Word, the beginning of the Gospel. Mark and Luke open their Gospels in a similar introductory manner:
In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God
Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the Word… Luke 1:1-2
The beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ. Mark 1:1
Luke also opens the Book of Acts in this manner:
The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up… Acts 1:1-2
The ministry of Jesus, from his baptism at the Jordan to his death and resurrection, was considered to be the beginning of the Word, the beginning of the Gospel.
2. John’s First Letter
John opens his first letter in a manner very similar to his Gospel:
What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life… 1 John 1:1
The Word is something they had heard. John then immediately proceeds to announce that Word:
What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life— and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and announce to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us. What we have seen and heard we announce to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete. This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you…. 1:1-5
The Word which they had heard is a message which John is announcing. John makes it even more clear in his letter what he means in his opening statement. The Word is something his audience had heard from the beginning:
What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life
Beloved, I am not writing a new command to you, but an old command which you have had from the beginning. The old command is the Word which you have heard. 2:7
As for you, let that [Word*] abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. 2:24
This is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 3:11
John’s letter tells us quite clearly what he means by his language in the first verse of his letter and his Gospel. The “beginning” is the beginning of the proclaimed Good News and “the Word” refers to that proclaimed Word.
Also notice that the Word was something they had seen, something they had touched with their hands. Jesus proclaimed the Gospel in word and deed. He embodied the Word of God, the will of God. That flesh named Jesus always kept his God and Father’s Word. To see that flesh was to see the mystery of godliness manifested in the flesh.
4. John 1:1-9 and John the Baptist
The Word of God came to John the Baptist and he proclaimed the Good News of the Kingdom.
The Word of God came to John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness and he came into all the district around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins; as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet… Luke 3:2-4
John the Baptist came, proclaiming in the wilderness of Judea, saying, “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet… Matthew 3:1-2
The beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet… John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins… Mark 1:1-4
In the beginning was the Word… There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. John 1:1-7
4. …and the Word was God
It is easy enough to understand that the proclaimed Word was pros God (1:1b), but what did John mean when he said, “the Word WAS God?” In verse 18, John tells us plainly what he means.
… and the Word was God
the only begotten in the bosom of the Father he declares* Him
*Greek exēgeomai – unfolds, expounds, explains, expresses. See Luke 24:35; Acts 10:8; 15:12, 14; 21:19
The Word proclaimed through Jesus was the declaration of God the Father Himself – “the Word was God.” No one has ever seen God but John tells us that Jesus came so that we might have understanding of the Father and so that we might know the Father, the only true God (cf. 17:3; 1 John 5:20). John’s words, “the Word was God” refer to the fact that the Word proclaimed by Jesus revealed God the Father Himself to us.
Although no one has ever seen God the Father, Jesus teaches his disciples they had indeed seen the Father, “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” Jesus also immediately explained to them how they had seen the Father. They had seen the Father in the words Jesus spoke and the works Jesus did. Jesus testified many times in the Gospel of John that his words were not his own but the Father’s who sent him. In the same way, his works were not his own but the works of the Father which he did in his Father’s name.
The proclaimed Word is not simply uttering a verbal message. Jesus proclaimed the Good News in Word and Work/Deed. The Word of God was all the things God did through Jesus His Anointed.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me wherefore He anointed me to proclaim the Good News to the poor. He has sent me to herald release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord. Luke 4:18
Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God did through him in your midst. Acts 2:22
God anointed Jesus of Nazareth in the Holy Spirit and with power, and how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. Acts 10:38
The Father abiding in me does the works. John 14:10
5. John’s Introductory remarks and the Light of the Gospel: God the Father
In the first verse of Genesis, we read that God created the heavens and the earth. This is an introductory statement since what follows is a description of God creating the heavens and the earth. We should then ask ourselves whether John 1:1-5 is an introductory statement in a similar manner. In Genesis it says, “In the beginning, God created…. darkness was upon the face of the deep and God said, ‘Let there be light.'” In John, it says, “In the beginning was the Word… all things came to be through the Word…. the light shined in the darkness.”
God the Father is Light. John the Baptist came to testify to that Light (1:7-8). The true Light which enlightens every man was coming into the world. When was the Light coming into the world? The Light was coming into the world when John the Baptist began to proclaim the Word. Because God the Father was at work in Jesus His Anointed, he was the full expression of the Father who is Light. For that reason, Jesus could say, “I am the Light of the world.” In contrast, John the Baptist testified that he was not that Light. Rather, he only testified about the Light. In other words, John the Baptist’s mission was to testify about the Light of the Father coming into the world. Jesus of Nazareth’s mission was to be that Light – the full expression of the Father Himself – and he did this by always keeping his God’s Word and doing his Father’s will.
6. The Word became flesh and tabernacled among us (1:14)
The Hebrew word for “Good News”, bsr, is the verb form of bsr, flesh (see John 6:53-55,63). The shekinah glory of the Father tabernacled in that flesh named Jesus. God the Father’s glory was seen in Jesus’ words and deeds. In the Gospel of John, Jesus did signs which revealed the glory of God.
The man of flesh named Jesus was the embodiment of the Word of God since he always obeyed his Father’s word. Obedience to his God’s will was HOW he proclaimed the Word to the world.
7. The Beginning of the New Creation
There is a very good reason John uses the language of Genesis in his opening statement. Not a few commentators have observed John’s Gospel employs creation imagery. For example, when Jesus is about to die on the cross, he said, “It is finished” echoing Genesis 2:1. And when the risen Jesus breathes the Spirit into his disciples at John 20:22, we are reminded of Genesis 2:7. Jesus walking on water recalls the Spirit of God hovering over the waters of the Genesis creation. And again, the Light shines into the darkness in the Genesis account just as we see the Light of God shining into the darkness of the world through the ministry of Jesus. In every respect, we are to see the activity of God the Father’s Spirit at work in Jesus just as we see the activity of the Spirit in the Genesis creation account.
The new creation is the reconciliation of the Genesis creation. Paul tells us that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself and those in Christ are new creations in him. In the same respect, God created anew all things in heaven and earth in the risen Christ by reconciling all things in heaven and earth to Himself in Christ (Col 1:16-19). It is for this reason, we ourselves new creations in Christ who is the firstfruits, the beginning of the creation of God.
8. Everything Came to Be through the Word (1:3)
If we carefully consider John 1:5, “the Light shines in the darkness,” it is obviously apparent that these words are referring to the ministry of Jesus (see 3:19-21; 8:12; 9:5; 12:35-36). In verse 4, we also read that life was in the Word and that life was the Light of men. It should be plain here that John is not referring to the Genesis act of creation. The true Light which enlightens every man was presently coming into the world (1:9).
With these facts in view, it is obviously apparent that John 1:3 is not referring to the Genesis act of creation but to all the things that came to be through the proclamation of the Word through the ministry of Jesus. For this reason, Jesus cried, “It is finished” upon the cross just as we find God was finished all His works in the Genesis act of creation. Jesus’ ministry was the beginning of the new creation of God, the new heavens and earth, where our risen Lord is the firstfruits of that new creation, the beginning of the creation of God.
An honest exploration of the facts demonstrates to us that the Word of John 1:1 is the Word proclaimed through Jesus in his ministry and the Word he proclaimed was the proclamation of God the Father Himself, “the Word was God.” He who had seen Jesus had seen the Father in terms of the things Jesus did. God is Life and Jesus fully expressed that Life in the words he spoke and the works he did. God is Truth and Jesus fully expressed that Truth by everything he said and did. God is Light and Jesus fully expressed the Light of the Father in all the words he spoke and works he did in the name of his God. God is Love and the flesh named Jesus fully expressed the Father’s Love, dead flesh hanging on the cross for your sins and mine. The Word of God was something the flesh named Jesus always kept. The Word became flesh, that is, God the Father was manifested in flesh, that flesh named Jesus. Jesus came so that we might know the Father and Jesus fully expressed the Father in all the things he did because he always kept His Father’s Word. Jesus’ words and works were not his own but the Father’s. The Word as proclaimed by Jesus… was God.
Truly, truly I tell you, whoever hears my Word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life.
If I say that I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His Word.
Jesus Has A Beginning
This time of year, we are saturated with songs about the birth of Christ. However, there is disagreement about what exactly happened at his birth. What you believe about the birth of Christ depends on your belief about when he began. There are several models of understanding Christ. Some believe that Christ had no beginning–that he was never created. Others believe that he was brought into existence at a set point in time. Some place his beginning just before creation, and others regard Christ as having come into existence for the first time when he was born of Mary.
The first question that needs an answer is: “Does Jesus have a beginning?” The majority of Christians believe that Jesus has always existed. In order to tackle this question, consider the
following quote from the Nicene Creed of 325AD.1
“We believe in one God the Father…and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the son of God, the only-begotten, begotten from the Father, that is from the substance of the Father, God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father…And those who say “there once was when he was not,” and “before he was begotten he was not,” and that he came to be from things that were not, or from another hypostasis or substance, affirming that the son of God is subject to change or alteration these the catholic and apostolic church anathematizes [bans/curses/excommunicates].”2
At the center of the controversy surrounding the issue of beginnings, is the term “begotten.” According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, “begotten” means to procreate as the father. The word “procreate” is comprised of two words,”pro” meaning forth and “create” meaning to bring into existence. Putting this all together yields the following definition for “begotten”–to bring forth into existence as the father. Let me say that again: to be begotten means that you have been brought into existence by your father. It is easy to see why this little word could cause so much trouble for those who believe Jesus has always existed.3
The creed quoted above defines Jesus specifically as “only begotten, begotten from the Father,” but later it goes on to excommunicate anyone who says, “before he was begotten he was not.” This seems very confusing. Was Jesus begotten? Yes, the creed has already stated this. Then that means that he was brought into existence by a father. Thus, if he was brought into existence, there was a time when he did not exist. But if someone says, “there was when he was not,” that person is excommunicated. I find this very confusing. Thankfully, the Scriptures are our standard for truth and not the creeds of men.
What does the Bible say about the beginning of Jesus?
Hebrews 1:5 For to which of the angels did He ever say, “YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN 4 YOU”? And again, “I WILL BE A FATHER TO HIM AND HE SHALL BE A SON TO ME”?
This section is talking about the superiority of Jesus to the angels. None of the angels was called God’s son. Nevertheless, why is Jesus called the Son? This is because “today” God begot him. I repeat, Jesus is the Son of God because God begot him on a certain day. There is a day when the Son came into existence. Otherwise, the Father could not say, “today I have begotten you” (see Psalms 2:7; Acts 13:33; Hebrews 1:5; 5:5). If this verse is true, then there was a time before the Son was begotten.
–Trinitarian– The Son has no beginning; he has always existed –Arian– The Son has a beginning; he was created before the universe –Unitarian– The Son was brought into existence in Mary’s womb
We have already seen that “begotten” means to come into existence; thus, there was a time before the Son came into existence. It is impossible for someone to exist before he comes into existence. Furthermore, the second half of this verse applies the prophecy found in II Samuel 7:14 to Jesus. There was a time when God became the Father of Jesus. Otherwise said, God was not the Father of Jesus until He became his Father. This prophecy was given by Nathan to David in approximately 1,000BC. As of this date, God was speaking about the Son in the future tense–”I will be his father.” Thus, either the Son did not exist at this time, or, if he did exist, he did not enjoy a father-son relationship with God.
When did God become the Father of the Son? I believe that this text brings these two Old Testament quotes together in such a way that answers this question. God became the Father of the Son when the Son came into existence through the Father’s begetting. This seems to be the plain reading of this verse (Hebrews 1:5). In fact, this is confirmed in what Gabriel said to Mary:
Luke 1:35 The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy child shall be called the Son of God.”
How did God accomplish the act of begetting His Son? It was done when the holy spirit (power of God) overshadowed Mary. As a
direct result of this virginal conception, Jesus is called the Son of God. This makes perfect sense! What Hebrews 1:5 alludes to, Gabriel states plainly–Jesus is the Son of God because his origin is through a special creation of God in the womb of his mother. In order for Jesus to exist before he was born, there must be a distance wedged between this event and the begetting of the Son. Yet, here they are linked together.
There is another man who was specially created by God (i.e., he did not come into existence through the normal process of two parents). Adam was formed from the dust of the earth by God. Thus, if our understanding is correct, Adam would also be called the son of God.
Luke 3:23, 38 When He began his ministry, Jesus himself was about thirty years of age, being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph, the son of Eli…the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.
As Adam was the son of God, so is Jesus the Son of God. In fact, Paul refers to Jesus as the second Adam because their origins and functions are so similar (I Corinthians 15:21-23; Romans 5:12,ff). Now, has anyone suggested that Adam existed before he was born? Certainly not; this is foolish. So why is it entertained when the discussion moves to the second Adam, Jesus?
Galatians 4:4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born5 of a woman, born6 under the Law,
When it was finally the right time, God sent (commissioned) His Son. The Son was born (brought into existence) of (out from) a woman. The word translated “born” literally means, to come into existence; to be created, exist by creation. The word translated “of” in the phrase “born of a woman” literally means: of, from, out of, denoting origin or source. Putting this all together explains that the origin (beginning point) of Jesus’ life was when he was brought into existence out from a woman. He was also born (brought into existence) under the Law–he was alive before the Law had been fulfilled. This statement about the origin of the Messiah is marvelous. (Compare this verse to Romans 1:3 where the same word “born” and the same word “of” are used in this way).
All of these texts and others (John 1:14,18; 3:16,18; Romans 1:3; I John 4:9; 5:1,18) make clear that Jesus was begotten/born and that he did, in fact, have a beginning. If Jesus had a beginning, then he cannot be God; but there is still more to determine….
The second question that needs to be answered is: “When did that beginning occur?” The Arian position states that God the Father alone is eternal, that Christ was created out of nothing as the first, and greatest, of all creatures,
and that he in turn created the universe.”7 This is what six and a half million Jehovah’s Witnesses believe.
In order to answer this second question, consider the following Scriptures. Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.
The Greek word for “birth” is the same as the English word “genesis.” “Genesis” means beginning, which is why it is the name of the first book of the Bible. Thus, this verse tells us that the beginning of Jesus Christ was a result of his mother being “with child by the holy spirit.” This is absolutely essential to understand–Jesus has a genesis (beginning), and it was related to the miracle in the womb of Mary (remember Luke 1:35).
Matthew 1:20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the child who has been conceived9 in her is of the holy spirit.”
Most translations say “the child who has been conceived in her” instead of “the child who has been begotten in her.” This is the only time in the NASB when this Greek word is translated “conceived!”
Why would they not translate the word “begotten” as they do in the other places that this word is used? I believe the answer is that this is a clear statement that Jesus was begotten (brought into existence by his Father) in Mary through the holy spirit. That is the whole package in one verse! Jesus, the Son, was brought into existence (begotten), and that beginning was in Mary as a result of the creative power of the holy spirit. How simple, how elegant is this understanding! There is no confusion about being begotten twice. Words can be taken at their plain meaning rather than hiding them through interpretive translating tricks.10 Besides, if Jesus was not a human like Adam, then why should it matter that he lived perfectly? If he is really the second Adam, then he could have sinned. He could have messed up, but he did not. What an example for us to emulate!
Acts 1:1 “The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach,”
Luke wrote the books of both Luke and Acts to Theophilus. Here in Acts (the second volume), Luke makes reference to his first volume (the book of Luke). He says that in the former volume, he told about what Jesus began to do and teach. If Jesus began to “do and teach” in the book of Luke (which starts with his birth in the first chapter; remember Luke 1:35?), then Jesus could not have done
anything or taught anything before he was born!
Hebrews 1:1 and 2 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world [ages].
If the Son were there in the Old Testament times, what was he doing? This text tells us that only in these last days has God spoken through His Son. This makes a lot of sense if His Son did not exist before. But it sure would be boring to have existed for millennia without being permitted to speak or participate in the project of God’s creation.
Jesus had a beginning, and if he had a beginning, then he cannot be God. There was a time before the Son existed! The Son came into existence within the womb of Mary by a direct act of God Himself. Jesus is the Son of God, not because he was begotten before the creation of the universe, but because he was begotten in Mary. And this is what is so special about the birth of Christ.
It kind of makes me feel like singing….
Footnotes: 1 This creed is universally accepted by the Catholic church and all Orthodox Christian churches. 2 Translation taken from Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, ed. Norman P. Tanner, see http://www.piar.hu/councils/
3 This is probably why most modern translations have changed the phrase “only begotten” to “one and only” (see NIV/HCSB/NLT/NRSV/BBE on John 3:16). 4 gegennka = 1st person singular perfect indicative active of gennaw (to beget) 5 genouenon = accusative singular masculine of aorist 2 of ginouai (to come into existence) 6 Same exact word as above (footnote 4) 7 Wycliffe Dictionary of Theology by Harrison, Bromiley, and Henry, p63 8 gennhsiv = genesis, birth, what has come into being 9 gennhyen = nominative singular neuter participle aorist 1, passive gennaw (to beget) 10 For further discussion on the bias of the translators especially in reference to the subject of Christ, see Orthodox Corruption of Scripture by Bart Ehrman or Truth in Translation by Jason BeDuhn
Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and My God.”
The Trinitarian Claim
Trinitarians claim that Thomas himself is identifying Jesus as “God.”
The Claim vs. The Facts
The Scriptural facts show us that Thomas was confessing what Jesus had taught him – to see Jesus is to see the Father (14:10-11; 12:44-45). That human flesh named Jesus declares the Father (1:18).
The Problems with the Claim
1. What Thomas finally believed
The Trinitarian interpretation is based on the notion that Thomas took this opportunity to declare Jesus is his God. However, this interpretation defies the context. Thomas had doubted his Lord’s resurrection and declared he would not believe he had risen until he had seen Jesus for himself. In verse 27, Jesus tells Thomas to see the wounds in his hand and side proving that he was indeed risen from the dead. Thomas’ response to Jesus in verse 28 is based on finally believing that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead. Jesus then responds to Thomas in verse 29 saying that he was blessed to finally believe because he had seen him. Jesus’ response refers to the fact that Thomas had finally believed he had risen from the dead. Trinitarians read verse 29 as if Jesus is blessing Thomas for believing he is his God. However, the entire point of the passage is that Thomas had finally believed Jesus had risen from the dead.
2. An Understandable but Seriously Flawed Assumption
The Trinitarian interpretation is also based upon a very defective assumption. Trinitarians suppose that since Thomas said these words TO Jesus, then he must have taken this opportunity to declare that Jesus is his God. However, as the following passage demonstrates, this assumption is highly flawed.
From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God but upon the things of men.”
If we interpreted the above passage in the very same manner as Trinitarians interpret John 20:28, we would then be required to conclude Peter is Satan himself. But this is obviously incorrect. Even though Jesus said these words directly TO Peter, we know it does not mean Peter is Satan himself. Hence, we must inquire whether a similar situation may be taking place at John 20:28.
3. The Surrounding Context
The immediate context militates against the Trinitarian claim. In the preceding context, Jesus describes his Father as his God and Mary’s God rather than identifying himself as her God. In the following context, John indicates that he wrote this Gospel, including the account of Jesus and Thomas, not to tell us that Jesus is himself God but so that we might believe that Jesus is God’s son:
We have seen the Lord. (20:25).
I ascend to my Father and your Father, and my God and your God. (20:17)
These things have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God and that believing you may have life in his name. (20:31).
The Trinitarian interpretation of verse 28 disregards and defies these contextual facts.
4. The Significance of the Greek Grammar
Thomas literally said to Jesus, “the Lord of me and the God of me.” Now if Thomas had said, “the Lord and God of me,” the Trinitarian claim would carry much more weight. The latter statement would be the kind of language you would normally use in Greek to refer to one person as both your Lord and your God. But this is not the language Thomas used. He used a language convention which Greek speakers would use when they wanted to refer to TWO persons, “the Lord of me and the God of me.”
Verse 17 is also highly significant here. Jesus says he will ascend to “the Father of you and Father of me and God of you and God of me.” This is the kind of language a Greek speaker would use if he wanted to refer to just one person. He did not say he will ascend to, “the Father of you and the Father of me and the God of you and the God of me.” This fact tells us that John was definitively selective about his language structures and would use the verse 17 language structure when he wanted to refer to one person. John did not use this “one person” language structure when he wrote John 20:28. He does not record Thomas as saying, “the Lord and God of me.” Rather, he used the language structure used by Greek speakers to refer to two persons, “the Lord of me and the God of me.” Additionally, it is also significant that Thomas did not say, “the Lord and the God of me.” Rather, he said, “the Lord of me and the God of of me.”
Compare the following two verses. If the first verse below refers to two persons, what about the second?
This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. 1 Jn 2:22
Thomas answered and said to him, “the Lord of me and the God of me.” Jn 20:28
However, this language structure is occasionally used in Scripture when referring to one person. For example, it is sometimes used to draw a distinction between two different roles that one person might serve (see John 13:13-14). So even though this is the language construction used by Greek speakers to refer to more two persons, this fact alone does not make it certain. Therefore, we must ask ourselves if there is additional information in our Bible which demonstrates Thomas was referring to two persons. And the answer to that question is, “Yes, there is additional information in the Scriptures which demonstrates that Thomas was referring to two persons.”
Analysis of the Facts
1. The Context of John 20:28 – Seeing and Believing
The context of John 20:28 involves the theme of seeing and believing. The risen Jesus had already appeared to the disciples but Thomas was not present. So when they declared they had seen Jesus, Thomas declared he would not believe Jesus had risen until he had seen Jesus for himself complete with the wounds in his hands and side. Jesus then appeared to Thomas and said, “Reach here with your finger, and see my hands, and reach here your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And after Thomas responded to him, Jesus responds back to Thomas, “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are they who do not see, and yet believe.” It is quite clear that seeing and believing is the point of this account.
2. Seeing and Believing: What Jesus had taught Thomas and the disciples
At the end of John 13, Jesus informs his disciples that he is going away and they become very troubled. But he tells them not to be troubled for they know they way. But they are still confused so Jesus explains:
And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.” Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father.”
The context of John 20:28 is seeing and believing. Jesus had taught Thomas and his disciples about seeing and believing. To see Jesus was not to see just one person but two persons: (1) Jesus their Lord, and (2) their God and Father. Jesus also explained to them precisely HOW they had seen the Father. In the next breath, Jesus said, “the Father abiding in me does the works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, otherwise believe because of the works themselves.” (14:10-11). At John 12:44-45, Jesus made a similar declaration to the Jews where he said that to see/believe him was to see/believe the One who sent him. To know Jesus was to know the Father; to believe in Jesus was to believe in the Father; to see Jesus was to see the Father. This is because Jesus was sent by the Father to speak and do works in his Father’s name. And even moreso, it was the Father abiding in him that did the works. In this way, Jesus was the Father’s Word of Truth. And in this way, Jesus explains, they had seen the Father when they had seen Jesus.
At John 1:18, John tells us that no one has ever seen God but the only begotten in the bosom of the Father declares/explains HIM. This is precisely what Jesus is talking about in John 14 when he teaches his disciples about seeing and believing. To see Jesus is to see the Father. To see Jesus is to see not just one person but two persons.
Verse Jesus The Father
John 12:44 He who BELIEVES in ME Also [BELIEVES] in HIM who sent me.
John 12:45 He who SEES ME Also SEES HIM who sent me
John 14:9 He who has SEEN ME Also has SEEN THE FATHER.
John 20:28 my Lord And my God.
3. In that Day you will know
Carefully compare these two teachings from Jesus:
He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, “Show us the Father”? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me? (14:9-10).
In that Day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. (14:20).
Jesus is telling us disciples that they would fully realize the truth of this matter “on that Day.” That day is when he rose from the dead. “After a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know I am in my Father. (14:19-20). He also taught them that the Spirit would remind them of everything he had just taught them (14:26). On that Day,t he disciples would know that Jesus was in the Father.
When we put all these facts together, the answer is clear and undeniable. To see Jesus is to see the Father. To see Jesus was to see two persons, Jesus and the Father. Jesus taught Thomas and the disciples that they would know in that Day that Jesus was in the Father. The reason for Thomas’ words is clearly explained in the Scriptures in this selfsame Gospel of John.
When all the evidence is honestly weighed, there is simply no doubt that Thomas was affirming Jesus’ earlier teaching to him, that to see and believe in Jesus was to see and believe in the Father. Jesus declared/explained the Father in terms of everything he said and did. He is the Way to the Father and through Him we know the Father. Jesus explained that they saw the Father when they saw Jesus because the Father abiding in him did the works. How much more then was the Father abiding in that dead body which had the Father had risen from the dead by the power of His Holy Spirit. Since seeing Jesus meant seeing the Father, Thomas said to Jesus, “My Lord and my God. Thomas is confessing what the entire Gospel of John is about. Jesus made the Father known to the people of the world. The only begotten declares/explains the Father. For that reason, to see Jesus is to see the Father. To see the Lord Jesus is to see the Father, our God, and Jesus Christ’s God.
Blessed are you Thomas. Because you have seen, you have believed. John 20:29
He who believes in me, does not believe in me but in Him who sent me.
He who sees me sees Him who sent me. John 12:44-45
28 ἀπεκρίθη Θωμᾶς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ · ὁ κύριός μου καὶ ὁ θεός μου .
Answered Thomas and said to him the lord of me and the God of me