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Jehovah's Witnesses and John 1:1 (G.G.)

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This is an opinion article from a user of WikiChristian.

By Graham Llewellyn Grove, June 2003

Jesus Christ is at the centre of Christianity. Any religious organisation or church that claims to be a Christian church must be seriously examined with regards to its teaching about Jesus.

The Jehovah's Witness religion does not teach that Jesus Christ and God the Father are one. The Jehovah's Witness Church teach that Jesus is "a god", not God.

The Jehovah's Witness religion does not use a standard Bible. It has its own translation called the New World Translation, which helps strengthen the doctrine of the church. The translation used has significant differences from standard Bible translations and some of these verses portray Jesus in a different light. A good example is John 1:1, where Jesus (the Word) is shown to be God.


John 1 1
En (in) arche (beginning) en (was) ho (the) logos (Word), kai (and) ho (the) logos (Word) en (was) pros (with) ton (the) Theon (God), kai (and) Theos (God) en (was) ho (the) logos (Word)

English (NIV):

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God

Jehovah's Witness:

In the beginning was the word, and the word was with the God, and the word was a god

The translation "and the word was a god" is, I believe, an incorrect translation. The Jehovah's Witness religion claims that since in the Greek the definite article ("the") is used initially in "the word was with (the) God" but not used later in "and the word was God" that it follows that Jesus is a god and not the God.

However, most scholars of New Testament Greek consider that the definite article is not needed and the true translation is "and the word was God"

Moreover, the Jehovah's Witness religion is inconsistent in its translations. Since the translation in John 1:1 of the word Theos is "a god", it would be logical to expect that the New World Translation (Jehovah's Witness Bible) would be consistent and that everywhere there is an absent definite article ("the"), the translation would be "a god". However this is not the case in their Bible. There are many instances where this is not done, including

Matthew 5:9

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God (Theos)"

Matthew 6:24

"... You cannot serve both God (Theo) and money"

John 1:6

"There came a man who was sent from God (Theou)..."

There are many more examples throughout the Bible similar to these, and in all of them, the translation is "God" and not "a god" in the New World Translation. This is inconsistent and the Jehovah's Witness Church should have translated them as, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of a god", "You cannot serve both a god and money" and "There came a man who was sent from a god" and so on.

Since the Jehovah's Witness religion has a different Bible to that of the Christian churches it is understandable that its doctrine regarding the nature of Jesus is considerably different.

It's sad when we misrepresent who God is - and I'm sure we're all guilty of it to some extent. However, if we deny that Jesus is God, how can we believe that he took our sins as a perfect sacrifice and that he alone brings us into a right relationship with the Father? And how can we read Jesus' own words in the Gospel where he claims to be one with the Father and not believe him?

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