Bible Articles on the Topic of Logos

The following articles have been compiled and indexed by inWORD Bible software.

"Word” and “Beginning” in John 1

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1,  NIV)

Bible Basics: God Manifestation

What follows will not be easy to grasp fully at first reading, but the importance of the subject will become more evident as your studies proceed. We include it at this point so that you will leave this Study having fully considered the Bible’s basic revelation about God Himself.

Bible Basics: In The Beginning Was The Word

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him...” (John 1:1-3)

Before 1611, The Word Was...?

The practice of associating masculine pronouns to the “logos” of John 1:1-4 was for the most part, a phenomenon unpracticed prior to the translation of the King James (Authorized) Version of 1611. Below is a chronological list of how the English translators rendered the opening verses of John’s gospel prior to 1611:

In The Beginning Was The Word

Our subject title is taken from the opening portion of the first chapter of John’s Gospel, which is a much misunderstood introduction. I say much misunderstood because Bible students are very much divided in their interpretation of it. Many claim that if teaches the doctrine of the Trinity and its companion doctrine, the pre-existence of Christ, as “God the Son”, while others are equally emphatic in claiming that it furnishes no support whatever for either of these doctrines, provided it is properly translated and understood. Again, many claim that the Apostle John takes as his starting point the Genesis creation, while others contend that the “beginning” he had in mind was the beginning of the gospel dispensation. It will be our purpose, keeping in mind the principle of exegesis already stated, to show what the apostle had in mind, as evidenced by the context, both immediate and remote.

47 English Translations: John 1

The opening verses of the Gospel of John have proven to be, unfortunately, a veritable battleground and storm center of theological argument. Translators have often edited John to make him fit much later systems of theology. For instance, John, who was a Jew, had never heard of the term “trinity,” the proposition that God consists of three “persons.” Yet many of the church fathers made an appeal to such a doctrine by pointing to the opening verses of John. They managed there to contradict the witness of Jesus himself and present the reader with a second eternal “person” alongside the Father—giving the appearance of two “gods”. This error was achieved by first putting, incorrectly, a capital letter on the word “word” (translated from the Greek logos), giving it the appearance of “personhood.” Having altered the meaning of the Greek word logos by giving it personhood, the next move was to refer to logos with a masculine pronoun “him,” rather than a neuter “it.”

John 1:1

Christology, the study of who Jesus is, has to do with a reasoned statement about the relation of Jesus to the One God of Israel. There is no doubt that for the early Christians Jesus “had the value and reality of God.” This, however, does not mean that they thought Jesus “was God.” It has been held by some that John presents Jesus in metaphysical terms which would appeal to people in the Greek world who thought in terms of abstract ideas familiar to Hellenistic thought. “Orthodoxy” claims John as its bridge to the world of Greek metaphysics — the metaphysics which helped to mold the Jesus of the Church Councils.

Memra: God’s Creative Word Personified

Memra (= “Ma’amar” or “Dibbur,” “Logos”): “The Word,” in the sense of the creative or directive word or speech of God manifesting His power in the world of matter or mind; a term used especially in the Targum as a substitute for “the Lord” when an anthropomorphic expression is to be avoided.

NET Trinitarian Bias

Now I desire to remind you (even though you have been fully informed of these facts once for all) that Jesus, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, later destroyed those who did not believe. (Jude 1:5, NET)

Substitution of Son for Word

It is a common but patent misreading of the opening of John’s Gospel to read it as if it said: In the beginning was the Son and the Son was with God and the Son was God. What has happened here is the substitution of Son for Word, and thereby the Son is made a member of the Godhead which existed from the beginning.

Early Church Fathers: No Room for Trinitarian Teaching

“The object of our worship is the One God” (Tertullian: Apology, xvii).

The Key to Bible Understanding: The Trinity

The Athanasian Creed, which is accepted by the majority of the Churches professing to be Christian, furnishes an authoritative answer. It states:

Incarnation Derives From the Hellenistic World

In his great study of pre-existence christology, Born Before All Time?, my Tübingen colleague Karl-Josef Kuschel has been able to show convincingly that the Pauline statements about the sending of the Son of God do not presuppose any pre-existence of Christ as a heavenly being, understood in mythological terms, but must similarly be seen against a Jewish background, namely in the context of the prophetic tradition. As he points out: ‘The metaphor of “sending” (borrowed from the prophetic tradition) expresses the conviction that the person and work of Jesus do not originate within history but are completely the result of God’s initiative.’²² ‘Paul’s confessions are about the origin, derivation and presence of Christ, from God and in God, but not about a temporally isolated “existence” before the creation of the world...”²³

Post-Apostolic Clues: The Incarnation and the Trinity

The Apostle Paul wrote to his missionary associate, Timothy, about those who taught in opposition to Paul’s teaching. He said, “If anyone advocates a different doctrine, and does not agree with sound word, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words” (1 Timothy 6:3-4 NASB). And Paul wrote similarly in a later letter to Timothy, “Retain sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you” (2 Timothy 1:13 NASB). So, Paul says to guard the true doctrine by using sound words. Both verses in the Greek text use the words hugiaino and logos, meaning “healthy words.”

The Word Spoken: God’s Determined Plan and Purpose

John writes about the Word as though it was something separate from God Himself. This helps us to see the way in which those attributes of God that have to do with the communication and expression of His purpose came to their fulfilment in the work of Jesus Christ.

The Ambiguity of the Word “Trinity"

It is easy to forget that “Trinity” was once a puppy, a neologism. But it was. It was born some time in the second half of the second century. We don’t know who coined it, but the earliest surviving mention of it is by Theophilus, bishop of Antioch (d. c. 185). Commenting on the Genesis days of creation, in his remarks on the fourth day, he says that

Studies in John: The Prologue

The background of ideas, Gentile and Jewish, of the opening verses of John’s gospel, and some of the associations of the words he uses. The Old Testament shewn to be most essential to the understanding of his words.

Does Colossians 1:15-19 Mean Jesus Preexisted and Created the Universe?

Multiple issues arise in Colossians 1:15-19 that have caused many Bible readers to think Paul therein teaches that Jesus preexisted and created the universe. From this they conclude that only God does that, so Jesus must be God. But Paul does not mean any of that. This text, which is about Jesus, reads as follows in the New American Standard Bible:

A Synopsis: Explaining “Jesus is God” Verses

Most distinguished Trinitarian scholars who have written on the doctrine of the Trinity cite the following texts as the foremost biblical support for these beliefs. We call them “Jesus is God verses” for simplicity sake. Not only is this an easy way to identify the verses, but also expresses what Trinitarians believe these verses teach. Alternative ways to understand these verses accompany them below.

Explanations to Verses Commonly Used to Teach that Jesus Is God

Isn’t it interesting how one statement can be shocking and controversial in one setting and totally mundane in another? For example, if someone came into a room of NASCAR enthusiasts and said, “Racing is so boring to watch—all they do is take left turns over and over,” immediately all activity in the room would screech to a halt so that one could hear a pin drop as each person with blazing eyes fixed their best death stare on the intruder. However, if the same phrase were uttered in a room full of people who didn’t care for car racing, there might be a brief chuckle, but then life would go on. So it is with the phrase, “Jesus is God.” Among my own biblical, unitarian¹ brothers and sisters, this statement is not only understood as false and pejorative, it may even trigger memories of ridicule and exclusion from mainstream Christians. Yet, in any other Christian context, trinitarian or modalist,² the phrase, “Jesus is God,” is utterly mundane and doesn’t even warrant raising an eyebrow. Even so, there are at least two instances in the New Testament in which Jesus is called God.³ So, the question we need to ask is not, “Is Jesus God?” but, “What does the Bible mean when it says, Jesus is God?”⁴ But, before we look at the two places in the New Testament where Jesus is called God, it is necessary to build our understanding of a biblical notion called representational deity, in order to give us the required interpretive tools to understand what the Bible means when humans are called “Gods.”

Philosophical Concept of the Logos

The concept of the Logos is clearly important to John. John’s Logos closely parallels Wisdom in the Old Testament, but he would most likely also have been aware of Philo’s concept of the Logos. Perhaps he meshed the two concepts together.

"The Trinity is Like a 3-in-1 Shampoo”...and Other Stupid Statements

Alternate title: “Trinitarian Heresy 101”

Trinity

The traditional Christian doctrine of the Trinity is commonly expressed as the statement that the one God exists as or in three equally divine “persons”, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Every significant concept in this statement (God, exists, as or in, equally divine, person) has been variously understood. The guiding principle has been the creedal declaration that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit of the New Testament are consubstantial (i.e. the same in substance or essence, Greek: homoousios). Because this shared substance or essence is a divine one, this is understood to imply that all three named individuals are divine, and equally so. Yet the three in some sense “are” the one God of the Bible.

Type I, Type II and Type III Trinitarianism

Seven years ago I sat down and drafted a template for debating Trinitarians. As part of this process, I identified three specific Trinitarian methodologies. I refer to them as Type I, Type II and Type III Trinitarianism.

How Jesus Became God

When we meet together each Sunday, at the opening of the service, it is quite common for presiding brothers in their public prayers to give thanks to God for the fact that we are able to meet together in “peace and safety.” That portion of their prayer concerning our being able to meet together in “peace and safety” is something that we can easily take for granted. These prayers remind us that we live in a country where we do not have to worry about being physically attacked by religious adversaries or arrested by our government for simply showing up here each Sunday to worship God according to our consciences. But for many people, for many centuries, in various lands,… for them this wasn’t always the case.

Incarnation Rebuttal: The Word Becoming Flesh?

The following is a transcription of a sermon by Bill Kynes, pastor of Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church, in Annandale, Virginia, given on December 20, 2015. The title of his sermon was, “Incarnation: The Word Becoming Flesh.” I was in the audience listening to the pastor’s message and found myself disagreeing with much of what the pastor put forth. I decided to transcribe Pastor Kynes’ words (found in blue type-face) and insert my comments (found in black type-face) along the way.

The Word Had Created Him, Not He the Word

It must be observed that John never represents Jesus as God but always as the Son of God. The whole purpose of his writing, he declares, is” that ye may believe that Jesus is, the Christ, the Son of God.” So the separation of Father and Son is always observed and the Song of Solomon always appears as subordinate to the Father: it is, for example, the Father Who sent the Son into the world. Again Jesus never proclaims himself as God but deliberately emphasises his dependence upon God in all things. He can do nothing of himself, and he does not speak of himself but as he has been commanded by the Father; when he claims to reveal that Father to men, it is as the Son of God: and, when he affirms his unity with God, it is a unity which can be enjoyed also by those who become his disciples. The only possible exception to this is the language occasionally used by Jesus which suggests some sort of pre-existence.

Do the Scriptures Teach the Existence of Christ Prior to His Birth?

The human mind is incapable of understanding to the fullest extent the might and majesty of God. Be that as it may, all that pertains to God is logical. “We have not followed cunningly devised fables.” Jesus Christ was the Son of God. He therefore proceeded from God and must have been begotten of Him. Could he then have been “eternally begotten” as declared in the Church creed? In all reverence we ask whether that which was begotten could have been in existence as long as the One from Whom he was begotten?

The Logos of John’s Gospel

[I]n the first verse of John’s Gospel the translators had no justification, except their pre-conceived prejudice, for personifying “word,” and for giving it an initial capital letter. The pronoun “him” in verse 3 of John Ch. 1 can correctly be translated “it”—as given in the Emphatic Diaglott. This translation is given in Luke 8:15, “Having heard the word (“logos”), keep it ” (not him).

Figurative Language: “From Heaven"

“And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” (John 3:13)

The Forgiveness of Sins

“And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” (John 3:13)

Did Signify of Christ

Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. (1 Peter 1:10-11)

Summary of the Progress of the Logos

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life.” (1 John 1:1)

Addressed to God or to Jesus?

“And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of Thine hands.” (Hebrews 1:10)

The Greek Pronoun

“Through its agency all things came to be, and apart from it hath not one thing come to be.”¹

"Egeneto” Never Translated “Create"

The A.V. for John 1:10 reads “...the world was made by him...” The Greek for “was made” [Greek: εγενετο: “egeneto”] is elsewhere translated “be done” (63 times), “be made” (69 times), “become” (42), “come” (53), “come to pass” (82), but it is NEVER translated by “create”.

The Creator Made the World Because of the Son

In passages such as Hebrews 1:3, Colossians 1:15-17, and John 1:3, special attention should be given to the Greek prepositions dia and hupo. The former denotes, “through any thing or instrument” whereas the latter denotes, “by any one as an original cause.” Matthew 1:22 reads, “Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of (hupo) the Lord by (dia) the prophet.” More accurately this might be translated “which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet.”

The Authorised Version

While it is true that the great majority of versions produced since 1611 were translated by Trinitarians, it was the King James Version which set the tone by mistranslating John 1:3,4. The rendering of the Greek pronoun autou by ‘him’ is incorrect because, although logos (word) is a masculine noun in Greek, it is a neuter noun in English, and therefore the English pronoun should be neuter, that is, ‘it’, rather than the masculine ‘him’.

Harner Endorses the NEB: “What God was, the Word was"

Throughout church history, almost all biblical scholars have insisted there are two primary passages in the New Testament(NT) that identify Jesus as “God.” These are John 1:1c (“and the Word was God”) and John 20:28 (“my Lord and my God”).

The Formulation of Dogma: The Christ of the Creeds

We have examined some of the factors which led to the formulation of dogma in the early centuries of the Christian era and we have seen that the controversies and questions centred pre-eminently on the person of Jesus Christ. To review in any detail the steps by which formal definitions on these questions came to be laid down would require far more space than we have available and might prove tedious. It is proposed, however, to indicate in very broad outline the main periods in the development, so that the dogmas which were formed then and still remain part of the orthodox creed of the Established Church may be seen against their proper background.

In the Beginning Was the Word

It is right that we have a true apprehension of the meaning of the phrase, “In the beginning.” We take it to be a relative term. That is, an expression whose meaning is to be understood by the object to which it is related. As an instance take Genesis 1:1: “ln the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth.” That was the first state, or commencement of that constitution. The heaven and the earth were the objects to which the first movements were made. The first approaches toward an accomplishment of any given project, or purpose, are the beginning. The objective in this particular was the heaven and earth. The same will apply to the subject in hand. “In the beginning was the word.” It matters not, in point of time, when that was. Suffice it to say the first approach toward the great object of Divine manifestation was the beginning.

In the Beginning was the Act

‘Tis written: “In the beginning was the Word,” Here am I balked: who now can help afford? The Word?—impossible so high to rate it; And otherwise must I translate it. If by the Spirit I am truly taught. Then thus: “In the beginning was the Thought,” This first line let me weigh completely, Lest my impatient pen proceed too fleetly. Is it the Thought which works creates, indeed? “In the beginning was the Power,” I read. Yet, as I write, a warning is suggested. That I the sense may not have fairly tested. The Spirit aids me; now I see the light! “In the beginning was the Act,” I write.

Things Hard to be Understood

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning, with God. . . . And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1, 14)

The Historical Background of the Gospel of John

One of the foremost students of the books of the New Testament—a man well versed in the original languages spoken at the time when those books were written, has said that the Gospel of John is “a work which, in thought, scheme and execution, takes rank as the greatest literary production of the New Testament, and the greatest religious monument of all time.” Another writer has described the Fourth Gospel as the most wonderful book ever written. It will therefore be a matter of interest to all sincere readers of it, to ascertain who was the author, where and under what circumstances it was written, and what were the religious ideas which prevailed at the time.

The Word Made Flesh

The style of the fourth Gospel has little in common with that of the Synoptics. Luke’s narrative is avowedly historical in purpose (Luke 1:1-4), and the same purpose can clearly be seen in the gospel records of Matthew and Mark.

The Influence of Greek Thought on Christianity

To the Greek philosophers, life was one long process of the satisfying of the intellect. But Greek philosophy had gone stale by the time of the uprise of Christianity. The Christian religion revived Greek philosophy by giving it something new and unique to think about. So that in the second and following centuries we find thousands of “Greek-minded” citizens of the Roman Empire considering Christianity, not with the idea of attaining personal salvation by obeying the revealed will of God, but with the view of satisfying their intellect with respect to the Christian doctrines of the existence and nature of God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. The dominant desire was for knowledge, not for love or faith. Naturally intellectual discussion waxed hot and involved on the exact relationship of God to Jesus Christ and to the Holy Spirit; and presently, little by little, there emerged the doctrine of the Trinity, concerning which a high and unbiased authority states that the mould of thought is that of Greek philosophy, and, again, “the Nicene creed is characteristically Greek”. In unvarnished language, the doctrine of the Trinity is a blasphemous mixture of Greek speculation with divine truth.

The Personification of Light

Question: Has God made provision for enlightening every man that cometh into the world, or has his privilege been strictly confined to believers now?

One of Many Mysterious Sayings

This is one of many mysterious sayings in the writings of the Apostle John, and it is one over which many young students are apt to stumble. They take it for granted that “the word,” in every case in which it occurs in this chapter, can be substituted by “Christ,” and that here we have support for the doctrine of the Trinity, for if the “word” existed from the beginning and “was God,” and if that “word” is Christ, then Jesus was with the Father in the beginning, and was identical with Him in person.

A Degree of Obscurity Arising from the Ignorance of Contemporary Opinions of the Logos

I come now to a passage which is perhaps the one most readily cited against the Unitarian view of Christ, and which demands the fuller notice. I refer to the Proem or Introduction to St. John’s Gospel.¹⁰⁵ That there is in it a degree of obscurity arising from our want of familiarity with the prevalent opinions of the time, may at once he admitted. To rectify and guard against the influence of these opinions, was in part the Apostle’s object. On the one hand was the Jewish or later Platonism, the leader of which was the celebrated Philo Judaeus, of Alexandria, and a contemporary of our Lord. On the other was Gnosticism, a heresy whose headquarters were at Ephesus; where, by the concurrent testimony of antiquity, the Apostle lived and wrote his Gospel. With the Gnostic opinions which prevailed throughout the regions of Greece and Asia Minor, where the new religion was spreading, the Apostle must, therefore, have been familiar; and Irenaeus—a pupil of Polycarp, who was a personal friend and disciple of St. John, and who flourished early in the second century—declares that the Evangelist wrote expressly to confute them. Between the Neo-Platonic and Gnostic systems there were some coincidences. While the former made the Logos—the Divine Reason or Intellect, in the passage before us translated Word—to be the great instrument in Creation, and gradually extended its significance to comprehend all Divine attributes employed or manifested in the Creation and Government of the world, the latter made it the Chief of the (Œons, supposed immortal spirits holding and exercising different functions or offices, themselves created, but still independent of the Supreme God. To correct these false notions was the purpose of the Apostle; by directing men’s minds to GOD Himself, as the Great and Original Source of all things, the Creator of all beings, Himself independent, they all dependent on Him. In this sense the Logos—“the Word” (the Wisdom, Power, Reason of God—Divine attributes employed in the Creation and Government of the world) “was with God”; inherent, that is, in Him, of course;—“was God,” because belonging to His essential nature. The syntax of the Greek language obliged him to seem at least to personify the

The Great Trinity Debate: Bowman vs. Burke

If you consider yourself a non-Trinitarian believer in Jesus, do I have a challenge for you!” wrote evangelical Trinitarian Rob Bowman Jr. in 2010, on the theological website, www.reclaimingthemind.org.

The Word (John 1:1-5)

Apart from the palpably erroneous Trinitarian view of this familiar passage, the interpretation most commonly heard follows more or less these lines:

History of Trinitarian Doctrines

This supplementary document discusses the history of Trinity theories. Although early Christian theologians speculated in many ways on the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, no one clearly and fully asserted the doctrine of the Trinity as explained at the top of the main entry until around the end of the so-called Arian Controversy. (See 3.2 below and section 3.1 of the supplementary document on unitarianism.) Nonetheless, proponents of such theories always claim them to be in some sense founded on, or at least illustrated by, biblical texts.

All Things We Made by "It"

“All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1:3, KJV)

Judaic and Islamic Objections to the Trinity

With rare exceptions atheists and naturalists don’t bother to criticize trinitarian doctrines, beyond the passing joke or dismissal, rightly seeing issues about monotheism generally, and about the teachings and status of Jesus Christ as more fundamental. Serious critics of trinitarian doctrines are nearly always fellow Abrahamic monotheists. Objections by Christians are discussed in the supplementary document on the history of trinitarian doctrines, section 2.2, and the supplementary document on unitarianism; here we survey Islamic and Judaic objections.

By Him: Translators’ Liberty with αυτoυ Unwarranted

“All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:3)

When Was Jesus Glorified with Honor?

“Now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” (John 17:5)

The Great Trinity Debate: Closing Statement

In previous weeks I have shown that my arguments are strongly supported by standard authorities and a broad range of recent Trinitarian scholarship. This week I will be summarising the key elements of the Biblical Unitarian position, identifying key weaknesses in the Trinitarian position, and weighing the evidence against three primary criteria: reason, Scripture and history.

The Great Trinity Debate: On God and Scripture

I would like to begin by thanking Rob Bowman [Jr.] and Michael Patton for giving me the opportunity to present and defend my faith. Before I commence my argument, I’ll take a little time to introduce myself, my beliefs and my approach to Scripture.

The Great Trinity Debate: On Jesus Christ

Jesus of Nazareth is the most important man who has ever lived. Christians are indebted to him for the hope that he offers, the sacrifice he offered on our behalf, and the special relationship with God that is made possible through him.

The Great Trinity Debate: On the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Part 5)

This week I hope Rob will show Biblical evidence for the essential relationship formulae of Trinitarianism:

The Historical Development of the Doctrine of the Trinity

To the ordinary reader it may seem a little strange to commence a review of the history of a Christian doctrine with a survey of the teachings and views of Greek philosophers. But in fact it is impossible to understand the development of the Trinity without this background. It was not mere rhetoric when St. Augustine confessed that he was in the dark about the Trinity until he read the writings of Plato; or when he told some to go and learn the Trinity from the Platonists.²

Logos: The Power Shaping The World In Conformity With A Specific Purpose

“In the beginning was the Word (Logos), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)

Stoic Philosophers Thought the Logos as the Power of God

A Tamworth correspondent writes as follows:—

Unitarianism Defined: Antiquity and the History of Unitarianism

It is very frequently said, probably by those who are unaccustomed to this sort of investigation believed, that Unitarianism is of very recent origin, a very modem doctrine. But I affirm and hope to show that, on the contrary, it is very ancient; nay, the ancient, original, primitive Christianity—the Christianity of Christ. We claim to be Christians; not out of the Church, but in and of the Church, by virtue of holding the original faith of the Saviour and his Apostles. No Protestant, indeed, of any school or denomination, should be satisfied with believing any thing less of the antiquity of his own faith as attested by the Scriptures. A Romanist consistently may. The resort of Tradition and the Custody of the Church are open to him; and though an alleged doctrine be not patent on the face of Scripture, be not by mortals discoverable there, enough for him that in the wisdom of the Saviour it was deemed fit not to publish it so early, but to leave its keeping and transmission to the Church.

Unitarianism Defined: The Double Nature of Christ

I find myself unexpectedly, and before entering on the main theme of my present Lecture, obliged¹ to turn aside for a moment, and consider another. It is one on which I had deemed it scarcely necessary to spend breath, namely, the Doctrine, as it is theologically called, of the Double Nature of Christ, or the Hypostatic Union. The argument from Scripture is very limited. Besides two passages already fully commented on,² namely, the Proem of St. John’s Gospel, and a passage in the Epistle to the Philippians, there are but two others on which it has even the shadow of a foundation. Both occur in the Epistle to the Romans. In the first chapter³ St. Paul has these words: “His Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, which was made of the seed of David, according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God, with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” In the ninth chapter:4 “I could wish myself accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh… Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever.” The closing part of this second passage, I have already commented upon in another connection.⁵ Now remember, that the allegation of our Trinitarian brethren is, that Christ had two distinct and complete natures, Divine and Human; in the one he was God, in the other, Man. The question before us now, therefore, is, whether these passages sustain the allegation? It is made a question, bear in mind, as to nature; and because St. Paul, in the first, uses both the expressions, “according to the flesh,” and “according to the spirit of holiness,” with reference to our Lord—the one as being “of the seed of David,” the other as being “the Son of God with power”—here is proof, it is said, of his possessing two natures. But turn to the second passage. There you find the Apostle using the same phrase, “according to the flesh,” in regard to himself, in its obvious sense, without the least reference to any peculiarity of nature, which, of course, in his case, will not be pretended; but simply to the matter of descent from the common stock of all Israelites, by virtue of which he shared with them “the promises.” Why not, then, to Jesus, who, by universal consent, was “of the seed of David,” and therefore of “the fathers,” the patriarchs and founders of the nation; “of whom, as concerning” (the phrase in the Greek is the same, according to) “the flesh,” i.e. by natural descent, he “came,” and in correspondence with prophecy, must have come? There is no reasonable pretence for understanding the phrase rendered “according to the flesh,” and which is of frequent and invariable use elsewhere by St. Paul in his Epistles,⁶ with reference to natural descent, in any other sense in either passage. It cannot he interpreted with reference to his human, in contradistinction from his divine nature, except to make out a case, to support this mere hypothesis. Paul declares, that he “had been called to his Apostleship, to preach the Gospel of God, concerning his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, (how carefully he distinguishes them!) who, he says, by natural or lineal descent, was of the house of David; but by the Holy Spirit was demonstrated to be the Son of God, with power, by his Resurrection from the dead.”⁷ Thus I paraphrase the first passage, to show its true meaning.

Unitarianism Defined: The Inferiority and Subordination of the Lord Jesus to the Only True God

My present object, as an expounder and defender of the Unitarian faith is, to show the Inferiority and Subordination of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to the Only True God the Father; in contradistinction to the popular or orthodox belief of his Supreme Deity.

Unitarianism Defined: The Unity of God and the Trinity

If any doctrine can be called fundamental to Revealed Religion, it must be that of the strict, simple, unqualified Unity of God. I take this to be universally admitted, nay, insisted on. There is not a more obvious truth in the Scriptures; none more coincident with their whole tenor and drift, or with their most express and positive declarations. Rightly interpreted, rightly understood, there is not even an intimation or hint of anything else. The language of the Bible upon this point is everywhere plain and explicit. The declaration recorded in the fourth verse of the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy, then so solemnly made to the people of Israel through Moses; and afterwards in the coming in of the new and better dispensation, quoted and so emphatically affirmed by our Lord Jesus Christ in the twenty-ninth verse of the twelfth chapter of St. Mark’s Gospel—“Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is One Lord”—is clear and indisputable. Unitarians, therefore, not only without hesitation, but in perfect harmony with the unambiguous language of Scripture, and on the express authority of Christ himself, affirm that GOD is ONE; in the strictest meaning of the word, ONE; One Person, One Being, One intelligent, conscious Mind. There are seventeen texts in the New Testament alone, in which He is expressly called the One or Only God. In thirteen hundred passages, the word God occurs; in not one of them is there any necessary implication, but directly the contrary, of a plurality of Persons in the Godhead. In but very few of them has it ever been pretended that such a plurality is even implied.

Five Major Problems With The Trinity: Approaching the Matter from the Inside

The doctrine of the Trinity is analyzed and carefully refuted, with five major problems highlighted:

Do the NT Authors Assume that God is the Trinity, or the Father?

Were the authors of the New Testament trinitarians, or were they unitarians? Or are they just confused about whether the one God is the Trinity or the Father? This episode is a talk by Prof. Dale Tuggy given on May 26, 2017 at the University of Augsburg (in the state of Bavaria, Germany) at the conference Trinitarian Theology: Confirmation or Transformation of Classical Theism? In this talk it is argued that fifteen undeniable observations about the New Testament strongly confirm the unitarian hypothesis over its rivals. That is, these observations provide strong evidence that these authors assume that the one God is the Father alone.

Bread Come From God

“For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven.” (John 6:33)

Wrested Scriptures: Bread of God from Heaven

“For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven.” (John 6:33)

Wrested Scriptures: Godhood or Unity? (John 10:30)

“I and my Father are one.”

Wrested Scriptures: Not Literally Seen (John 14:9)

“Jesus saith, . . . he that hath seen me hath seen the Father . . .”

Wrested Scriptures: Pre-existence Alongside (John 17:5)

“And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.”

Wrested Scriptures: Jesus Not the Word (John 1:1-3)

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”

Wrested Scriptures: Pre-existence and Deity of Christ

Group a) passages are easily explained once it is shown that the creative work of Christ refers to the making of new men and women, and not to the creation of animals, trees etc. of Genesis 1. Christ is the firstborn of the new creation.

Admissions from the Writings of Trinitarians

Trinitarians Roger Olson and Christopher Hall say of the doctrine [of the Trinity] in their book, The Trinity (pp. 1-2):

John 1:1 and the Trinity

The first verse of the Gospel of John is almost always used as a starting point to prove the Trinity. However, is there another way to understand John 1:1? Was John, a first century Jew, articulating the completely non-Jewish idea that God became a human being or have we read that into John 1:1? Join Anthony Buzzard as he explains the meaning of John 1:1–14 in its original Hebrew thought context.

Creating a World Out of Words

Born in Argentina, the son of a diplomat, Alberto Manguel started out in the literary world as a reader—first, of course, for himself, like all of us, but most famously, as a reader for the blind Argentinian writer Jorge Luiz Borges. For four years in his teens, Alberto Manguel would read books to the great man. Alberto Manguel’s career as a writer, and his many books, all arguably revolve around the same theme—what books, libraries and the act of reading signify.

On the Errors of The Trinity

Since its components began to be officially codified at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD, the doctrine of the Trinity has been a topic that has caused great confusion and uncertainty for many truth-seeking Christians. This 16-hour seminar, by Don Snedeker, is filled with fascinating quotes from many Christians through the centuries who recognized that the Trinity has no biblical basis, and who stood firm against opposition and persecution for not believing it. Don aptly shows how critical it is for Christians to truly understand who Jesus Christ really is and what is his relationship to God, not only so they can make a rational defense of our faith, but so they can experience a relationship with God similar to that which Jesus had.

Is the Trinity Biblical?

Patrick Navas has been a Bible student for the last fourteen years—ever since one of the Gideons handed him a free pocket New Testament and he was gripped by John 3:16. In his quest to understand Christianity he quickly learned that there were quite a few differences between various groups which all claimed to have the truth. This propelled Patrick into long years of study as he researched the biggest question of all—who is God?

How Jesus Became God

Listen to a brief history of the doctrine of the Trinity, how it became part of the Christian mainstream belief system, and the problems associated with the Trinitarian creeds. This lecture was inspired by the book When Jesus Became God by Richard E. Rubenstein.

John 1:1 and the Trinity

The first verse of John’s Gospel reads: “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.” Typically, Christians understand the “Word” to refer to the Son, and “God” to refer to the Father. However, as John Schoenheit explains, this reading owes more to later trinitarian theology than the native biblical context. Instead of assuming the “Word” is the Son, Schoenheit carefully shows how God’s “Word” is His plan for salvation. In fact this is what became incarnate in Jesus in verse 14.

Five Major Problems With The Trinity

The doctrine of the Trinity is analyzed and carefully refuted, with five major problems highlighted:

Is Belief in the Trinity Necessary for Salvation?

During over three decades of ministry, Tennessee pastor J. Dan Gill has observed a tendency within the Evangelical movement to preach the gospel without telling people about the doctrine of the Trinity. In fact, large Billy Graham crusades fail to inform people about the existence of a Trinity at all. Is this modern tendency good news or bad news? Some, in their zeal to uphold their denomination’s traditions have declared that those who do not believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, or the dual natures of Christ, are not Christians. Who is right?

A Journey to Monotheism

Nathan Crowder earned bachelor degrees from the University of Florida in Political Science and Zion Bible Institute in Theology and Pastoral Ministry. Throughout his Christian life he has diligently searched to discover biblical truth. This quest began when he discovered that the Bible taught that the destination of the redeemed was the kingdom of God on earth in fulfillment of the promises made by God to Abraham and David. He was surprised to learn while at Bible College that they did not teach this simple truth but instead ascribed to the mythological view that at death righteous souls escape the body to go to heaven. This first discovery prompted more investigation and more skepticism in regard to other teachings commonly accepted in mainstream Christianity.

What Is the Trinity: Thinking About the Father, the Son & the Holy Spirit

Do you know what the Trinity is? Could you explain it to someone else or is it just a confusing collection of impenetrable statements hidden under a cloud of fog? In his recent book, What is the Trinity?, Professor Dale Tuggy seeks to clarify everyone’s perceptions of the various Trinity theories so that we can have productive conversation on the subject. He delves deep into the various key concepts like explaining various ways of thinking about persons and essence (ousia) to help you make sense of it all. Whether you believe in the Trinity or not, this interview will help you understand how to have more focused and profitable conversation on this important doctrine.

Two Perspectives on the Doctrine of the Trinity in the Early Church

Is the doctrine of the Trinity articulated in the New Testament? In what ways did the Early Christian Church understand the metaphysics of the Trinity? What motivated the Early Church to describe the Son and the Holy Spirit as distinct persons of a triadic formula on God?

The One God and His Son According to John

When it comes to God and Jesus, does the fourth gospel contradict the first three?

Proverbs 8 and the Early Church Fathers

Do the earliest surviving post-New Testament writings interpret Proverbs chapter 8 as being about the pre-human Jesus? And do they teach the pre-human existence of Jesus at all?

Proverbs 8 and Justin Martyr

What did the famous Justin Martyr teach about Proverbs 8, and why? In this episode, we learn about who Justin was, his spiritual journey, and what works we still have from his hand. Along the way, we ask how others have taken these two statements by Lady Wisdom:

Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho

Has anyone ever seen God himself? The Bible seems to both affirm and deny this. In Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho (written c. 155-61), Justin claims that the “God” seen in any Old Testament theophany was not the one God, the Creator (i.e. the Father), but was instead another “God” – the pre-human Jesus. In Justin’s view, it is impossible that God himself could be visibly seen. Thus, for instance, the prophet Isaiah must have seen Jesus, not God (in the vision described in Isaiah 6).

Listener Questions # 1

In this episode Prof. Dale Tuggy answers listeners’ questions. These include:

A Triad of Book Reviews: What is the Trinity?

Curious Christians rightly ask: what is the Trinity? This question is especially pressing for Protestants, for they claim to base their theology on scripture, and yet when we look in the Bible, there is no passage which clearly lays out this idea that God is three “Persons” in one “substance.” In this episode, Prof. Dale Tuggy reviews three Protestant treatments from three books, all bearing the same title: What is the Trinity?

Do the NT Authors Assume God is the Trinity, or the Father?

Were the authors of the New Testament trinitarians, or were they unitarians? Or are they just confused about whether the one God is the Trinity or the Father? This episode is a talk by Prof. Dale Tuggy given on May 26, 2017 at the University of Augsburg (in the state of Bavaria, Germany) at the conference Trinitarian Theology: Confirmation or Transformation of Classical Theism? In this talk it is argued that fifteen undeniable observations about the New Testament strongly confirm the unitarian hypothesis over its rivals. That is, these observations provide strong evidence that these authors assume that the one God is the Father alone.

Flames, Tears and the Athanasian Creed: Peter Abelard and His Trinitarian Troubles

Peter Abelard (1079–April 21, 1142) was a medieval French scholastic philosopher, theologian and preeminent logician. A contemporary described Abelard as “more subtle and more learned than ever.” Abelard’s studies led him to reject the Athanasian Creed, yet in 1121, he was summoned to appear before a council, condemned, and forced to recite the Athanasian Creed. His book, in which he expressed his understanding of the Trinity, was consigned to the flames. He was then sentenced to imprisonment. In his despair, he fled to a desert place in the neighbourhood of Troyes.

A Guide for the Perplexed: Three Incomprehensibles

From prolific philosopher-theologian Keith Ward’s God: A Guide for the Perplexed:

James White’s Case for the Trinity Examined

Some would say that Reformed apologist Dr. James White, director of Alpha and Omega Ministries, is the best contemporary debater on behalf of traditional catholic views on the Trinity. Certainly, he’s had time and opportunity to sharpen his arguments, having debated the Trinity and/or the “deity of Christ” with (among others) a Muslim scholar, some biblical unitarians (also here), a Oneness Pentecostal, and a defender of Jehovah’s Witnesses theology.

The Athanasian Creed: The Place to Start

The Athanasian Creed is the statement most Christian philosophers start with when they try to construct a self-consistent and plausible way of interpreting the claim that God is three equally divine “persons.” Of uncertain origin, the creed rose to prominence in the Roman Catholic through the middle ages, and then in other traditions, including Protestantism.

The Second Sirmian Creed (357 AD)

In this episode we first hear about the years between 351 and 357, including some now obscure councils, the interesting case of bishop of Ossius of Cordova, the religious policy of emperor Constantius II, and his struggles with Athanasius. We then hear the creed from the second council at Sirmium, and why it was labelled as “blasphemy” by some Nicenes. Often derided even today as “Arian,” it did not assert or defend any of the distinctive theses of Arius which had been condemned by many councils dating back to 325. But it was strongly in the two-hypostasis (two being) school of thought when it came to God and his Logos.

Ware’s Outline of the Testimony of Scripture Against the Trinity

Henry Ware, Jr. (1794-1843) was a Unitarian minister in Boston from 1807-1830, and then Professor of Pulpit Eloquence and the Pastoral Care at Harvard Divinity School from 1830-1842. He authored not only sermons and works of theology, but also poetry and fiction.

Logia, The

log ́i-a, (Λόγια, Lógia):

Logos

log ́os (λόγος, lógos):

Philo, Judaeus

fī ́lō, jōō-dē ́us:

Speech

spēch (אמרה, ‘imrāh, דּבר, dābhār, etc.; λόγος, lógos): “Speech,” the articulate utterance of thought, is the tranlation of various Hebrew terms which convey this idea of “saying” or “word”; so, in the New Testament, the term generally so rendered is logos, “word.” See LOGOS; WORD. Eulogía in Romans 16:18 is “fair speech”; laliá in Matthew 26:73; Mark 14:70 the King James Version; John 8:43 is simply “talk.” The Revised Version has “speech” for various other words in the King James Version, as “matters” (1 Samuel 16:18, margin “bussiness”), “communication” (Matthew 5:37; Ephesians 4:29), “words” (Luke 20:20; 1 Corinthians 14:9); “persuasiveness of speech” for “enticing words” (Colossians 2:4), etc.

Word

wûrd: The commonest term in the Old Testament for “word” is דבר, dābhār (also “matter” “thing”); in the New Testament λόγος, lógos (“reason,” “discourse,” “speech”); but also frequently ῥῆμα, rhḗma. Rhēma is a “word” in itself considered; logos is a spoken word, with reference generally to that which is in the speaker’s mind. Some of the chief applications of the terms may thus be exhibited:

Logos

Logos, (Λόγος, a word, as usually rendered), a special term in Christology, in consequence of its use as such by the apostle John, especially in the opening verses of his Gospel. An excellent article on the subject may be found in the brief but lucid exposition given in Bengel’s Gnomon (Amer. edit. by Profs. Lewis and Vincent, page 536 sq.). SEE WORD.

Wisdom of God

Wisdom Of God, is that grand attribute of his nature by which he knows and orders all things for the promotion of his glory and the good of his creatures. It is that perfection of God, by virtue of which he realizes the highest designs by the use of best means. The assertion of Spinoza and Strauss, that no design at all can be ascribed to God, is connected with the pantheistic idea of the impersonality of God. Certainly there does not exist for the infinite understanding the opposition, nor even the great disparity, between means and ends, which so frequently hinder us. The exclusion here of the idea of design is the exclusion of the idea that God is a Spirit who thinks and wills. As such he must not only be the All-wise, but also the Only-wise One, in comparison with whom all human wisdom is as nothing. Holy Scripture also presents him to us precisely in this light (1 Timothy 1:17). He is a God who not only possesses in himself wisdom in perfection (Proverbs 8:22), but communicates it to others (James 1:5) and possesses a manifold wisdom manifest for the eye of angels, although for that of man unsearchable (Ephesians 3:10; Romans 11:33).

Wisdom Personified

The foundation of this view is to be found in the book of Proverbs, where (chapter 8) wisdom (Chokmach) is represented as present with God before (8:22) and during the creation of the world. So far it appears only as a principle regulating the action of the Creator, though even in this way it establishes a close connection between the world, as the outward expression of wisdom, and God. Moreover, by the personification of wisdom, and the relation of wisdom to men (8:31), a preparation is made for the extension of the doctrine. This appears, after a long interval, in Ecclesiasticus. In the great description of wisdom given in that book (chapter 24), wisdom is represented as a creation of God (24:9), penetrating the whole universe (4-6), and taking up her special abode with the chosen people (8-12). Her personal existence and providential function are thus distinctly brought out. In the book of Wisdom the conception gains yet further completeness. In this, wisdom is identified with the Spirit of God (9:17) — an identification half implied in Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 24:3 — which brooded over the elements of the unformed world (9:9), and inspired the prophets (7:7, 27). She is the power which unites (1:7) and directs. all things (8:1). By her, in especial, men have fellowship with God (12:1); and her action is not confined to any period, for “in all ages entering into holy souls, she maketh them friends of God and prophets (7:27). So also her working, in the providential history of God’s people, is traced at length (10); and her power is declared to reach beyond the world of man into that of spirits (7:23). SEE ECCLESIASTICUS.

Word of God, Or, of the Lord

Sometimes Scripture ascribes to the word of God supernatural effects; or represents it as animated and active. So, “He sent his word, and healed them” (Psalms 107:20). Enlarging upon this idea, the apocryphal book of Wisdom ascribes to the word of God the death of the first-born of Egypt (18:15; 16:26; 9:1; 16:12); the miraculous effects of the manna; the creation of the world; the healing of those who looked up to the brazen serpent. In a similar sense of omnific-power the centurion in the gospel says to our Savior, “Speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed” (Matthew 8:8). Referring to the preserving influence of divine truth, Christ says to the devil that tempted him, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (4:4).

Word

Word is in Hebrew, (דָּבָר) often put for thing or matter; as Exodus 2:14. “Surely this thing [Heb. word] is known;” “Tomorrow the Lord shall do this thing [Heb. word] in the land” (9:5); “I will do a thing [Heb. word] in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle” (1 Samuel 3:11); “And the rest of the acts [Heb. words] of Solomon” (1 Kings 11:41). So likewise the Gr. ῥῆμα, which properly signifies an utterance, came to denote any sensible object or occurrence.

Tyndale’s Translation, Gospel of John, Chapter 1 (1526)

Logos

Tyndale’s Translation, Gospel of John, Chapter 1 (1536)

Logos

Wycliffe’s Translation, Gospel of John, Chapter 1 (14th c.)

Logos

Philo

Philo of Alexandria (/ˈfaɪloʊ/; Greek: Φίλων, Philōn; Hebrew: ידידיה הכהן, Yedidia (Jedediah) HaCohen; c. 25 BCE – c. 50 CE), also called Philo Judaeus, was a Hellenistic Jewish philosopher who lived in Alexandria, in the Roman province of Egypt.

Trinity

The Christian doctrine of the Trinity (Latin: Trinitas, lit. ‘triad’, from trinus, “threefold”) holds that God is three consubstantial persons or hypostases—the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit—as “one God in three Divine Persons”. The three persons are distinct, yet are one “substance, essence or nature” (homoousios). In this context, a “nature” is what one is, whereas a “person” is who one is.