The following articles have been compiled and indexed by inWORD Bible software.
Echad One and Not Two
“Echad” (Hebrew: “one”) is a numerical adjective which appears 650 times in the Old Testament, and at no time does this word itself carry the idea of plurality. While it is true that “echad” is sometimes found modifying a collective noun — one family, one herd, one bunch, etc. — the sense of plurality actually resides in the compound noun, and not in the word “echad”! Echad appears in translation as the numeral “one”, and also as “only”, “alone”, “undivided”, and “single.” Its normal meaning is “one and not two”, as we find in Ecclesiastes 4:8. Abraham was “only one man” (“echad”) in the NIV’s rendition of Ezekiel 33:24, and he was “alone” (“echad”) in the KJV translation of Isaiah 51:2.
Echad: Compound Unity?
It is untrue to say that the Hebrew word echad (one) in Deuteronomy 6:4 points to “compound unity. A recent defense of the Trinity¹ argues that when “one” modifies a collective noun like “bunch” or “herd,” a plurality is implied in echad. The argument is fallacious. The sense of plurality is derived from the collective noun (herd, etc.), not from the word “one.” Echad in Hebrew is the numeral “one.” “Abraham was one [echad]” (Ezekiel 33:24; “only one man,” NIV). Isaiah 51:2 also describes Abraham as “one” (echad; “alone,” KJV; “the only one,” NJB), where there is no possible misunderstanding about the meaning of this simple word. Echad appears in translation as the numeral “one,” “only,” “alone,” “entire, undivided,” “one single.”² Its normal meaning is “one and not two” (Ecclesiastes 4:8). “God is one Lord” (Deuteronomy 6:4, cited by Jesus in Mark 12:29, NASV), hence obviously one person only and distinct from the “Lord Messiah” mentioned in the same passage (Mark 12:36). The One God is identified with the Father in Malachi 1:6 and 2:10 and is constantly in the New Testament distinguished from Jesus, the Son of God, who is presented as a separate individual. In the Hebrew Bible “the Lord’s anointed” (literally “christ”) is the King of Israel. This agent of the Lord God is on no occasion confused with God.
Trinitarians . . . sometimes advance the statement in Genesis 1:26 as proof (in contradiction of the evidence of thousands of singular pronouns denoting the One God) that a plurality of persons in the Godhead was responsible for the creation. “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.’” This argument is precarious. Modern scholars no longer take the Hebrew phrase, “Let Us” or the word elohim (God) to mean a plurality of God persons as creator. It is most likely that the plural pronoun “us” contains a reference to the One God’s attendant council of angels,¹ who themselves had been created in the image of God and had been witnesses to the creation of the universe (Job 38:7). It is fanciful to imagine that this verse supports the idea that God was speaking to the Son and the Holy Spirit. Where in Scripture does God ever speak to His own Spirit? The text says nothing at all about an eternal Son of God, the second member of a coequal Trinity. Moreover, the “us” of the text gives no indication of two other equal partners in the Godhead. If God is a single person, His use of the word “us” means that He is addressing someone other than Himself, i.e., other than God . ..
Dr. Cohn, the Jews and the Doctrine of the Trinity
A reader in Martinville, Arkansas, has sent along a booklet for our comments. It is by Dr. Leopold Cohn, and is issued by the American Board of Missions to the Jews, Brooklyn, N.Y. Its avowed purpose is to “convert Jews to a belief in the Doctrine of the Trinity.”
A New way to Translate Deuteronomy 6:4
Deuteronomy 6:4 is a well-known verse that is most often translated something like this: “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord,” or “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.” However, in this article we will see that these translations are not the best, and can lead to false conclusions.