The New World Translation of John 1 seems to indicate that Jesus was a separate god from the Father.

1 In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.

2 This one was in [the] beginning with God.

3 All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence.

How does the concept of the trinity fit with this concept of Jesus being a separate God?

  • 6
    It might be a good idea in this very case to indicate which translation you used.
    – raphink
    Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 14:00
  • 8
    Note that this passage is from the New World Translation, a version funded and published by Jehovah's Witnesses. As far as I know, it is the only translation of the bible that translates John 1:1 this way.
    – Jeff
    Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 14:06
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    And to be clear again, The Jehovah's Witnesses do not subscribe to the concept of the Trinity, so they don't need to make it fit at all. Commented Aug 29, 2011 at 17:59
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    This question is unclear. It's tagged jehovahs-witnesses. The answer accepted is not from a Witness perspective. In fact, none of the answers so far given are from a Witness perspective. (For the record, Witnesses are not polytheists.)
    – TRiG
    Commented Jan 7, 2012 at 19:30
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    This question uses a Jehovah's Witness translation of the Bible, but then asks for a trinitarian perspective. It's unclear what perspective the question is requesting, since JW doctrine is not mainstream trinitarian doctrine. Commented Feb 20, 2016 at 21:05

9 Answers 9


The verse in question is:

Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.

That bold part is, somewhat literally, "God the word was".

The issue here is the lack of the indefinite article in Greek. They had no word for "a, an". Depending on context, it is acceptable and even necessary to insert those words into a translation. The question is whether or not it is appropriate here.

I think not, for lots of reasons. John and all the apostles were Jews, monotheists, and if they were teaching some new polytheism, wouldn't it have shown up in more places than an ambiguous Greek sentence?

edit in response to @Sotiris' comment:

Greek usually uses the definite article in front of proper nouns, which is probably what you're getting at. But in this case the lack of the article before θεὸς is easily explainable. A word-by-word translation would be "God was the word". Word order is flexible in Greek, and since both θεὸς and λόγος are in the nominative case, it would be impossible to determine which is the subject and which is the predicate nominative except for the placement of the article. ὁ λόγος clearly identifies λόγος as the subject, but ὁ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος would be ambiguous (God was the word, or the word was God?).

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    The absence of definite article "oh" (something very important in Greek language [in English "the"]) before god in the third part of the verse make the translation "a god" most appropriate than "was God".
    – user14
    Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 13:54
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    It could also be adjectival, that is, "divine was the Word"
    – Narnian
    Commented Sep 8, 2011 at 17:58
  • John and all the apostles were Jews, monotheists, and if they were teaching some new polytheism, wouldn't it have shown up in more places than an ambiguous Greek sentence? Polytheism, or less strict monotheism, shows up in John 10:34.
    – Austin
    Commented Apr 24, 2021 at 8:35

According to this article, the New World Translation translated this incorrectly. http://carm.org/religious-movements/jehovahs-witnesses/john-11-word-was-god

The New World translation is incorrect in its translation of this verse for several reasons. First of all, the Bible teaches a strict monotheism. To say that Jesus is "a god" is to suggest that there is another god besides YHWH, which is contrary to scripture (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8, etc.). Of course, the Jehovah's Witnesses will respond that Jesus is not the Almighty God, but a "lesser" kind of God.

I believe this was actually translated in this way to support their beliefs, rather than basing their beliefs on accurate translations.

  • 8
    The New World Translation is not aimed at properly translating and building a sane theology on top of it, but rather to build the JW's theology first, and then translate in order to back it up... Wrong motives bring wrong results...
    – raphink
    Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 14:01
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    I have some experience with CARM. I wouldn't trust them further than I could throw them. The way they moderate their forums has to be seen to be believed.
    – TRiG
    Commented Aug 30, 2011 at 23:27
  • @TRiG Interesting. I'll keep that in mind when they come up in future research.
    – a_hardin
    Commented Aug 30, 2011 at 23:58
  • @TRiG - I agree, Matt Slick is extremely pompous and arrogant, and his handling of moderation on his site is extremely ridiculous. However, from what I've seen, most of his research and writings are pretty much dead on. Commented Sep 8, 2011 at 15:14
  • Never had a problem on CARM. When I violated rules, they gave me infractions. And those infractions were well deserved. I can honestly admit that they have a fair forum.
    – user900
    Commented Dec 6, 2012 at 3:16

You're reading from the Jehovah Witnesses' version of the bible. The Witnesses preach that Jesus is a separate God.

Jesus IS GOD. There's a thousand verses that back this up, but the Witnesses deny Jesus of His deity. They actually try and teach that Jesus is a created angel, which the Bible states the exact opposite. Jesus IS GOD.

John 5:16-18 Therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day. But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.

Colossians 1:16 For by him [Jesus] were all things created.

Colossians 2:9 For in him [Jesus] dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

1 Timothy 3:16 God was made manifest in the flesh.

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    Wait.. If Jesus is God, how can he be the son of himself, and send himself to earth, then talk to himself about it... I am so confused now... Do I have it all wrong? Commented Sep 2, 2011 at 11:43
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    Hey @JennyThomson, come join chat and we can talk more. chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/1265/hello-jenny Commented Sep 2, 2011 at 14:14
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    @Shog9: That addition is not true. They believe that he is a son of God, but not equal to or a unity with God.
    – Ikke
    Commented Sep 27, 2011 at 13:20
  • @Ikke: Jonathon's words, not mine (I screwed up an edit and rolled back).
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 27, 2011 at 14:42
  • @Shog9 Oh, My bad.
    – Ikke
    Commented Sep 27, 2011 at 14:46

This question does a good job at explaining part of your question, especially the answer with a lot of references: What is the Biblical basis for the doctrine of the Trinity?

Some verses shed some light on Christ as a/the God:

  • Hebrews 1:2-4- Christ help make the world (universe in NIV), sat on right hand of God, and was made 'better than the angels' (KJV) (compare to Genesis 1)
  • Isaiah 9:6- Generally accepted as a prophecy of Christ, it mentions calling Christ these names: "The Mighty God", "The Everlasting Father", among other holy names
  • Acts 4:12- no salvation by any name other than Christ's (compare with Hosea 13:4, "no god but me: for there is no saviour beside me", KJV)
    • Either this suggests Christ and the God of the Old Testament were the same being OR
    • Christ has the same "name" (or status, title) as God the Father

There are plenty others, but these seem to me to be the most clear in support of a Jesus is God stance.

The Bible does not, however, seem to teach God and Christ as sharing the same physical body. Here is some basic evidence to refute that assumption:

  • John 17:21- In the intercessory prayer, Jesus explains the meaning of "one-ness"
  • Baptism of Jesus (voice of God heard)
  • Vision of Stephen (Acts 7:55-56, as mentioned in the other question)

A good way to think of the Trinity is three persons sharing one infinite nature. That is, the way in which God is one is not the same as the way in which he is three; not that he is somehow three of one thing and at the same time one of that same thing, but that he is three of one thing and one of a completely different thing.

As humans, we're used to being one person and having one nature unique from other persons so it's hard, but not impossible, for us to conceive of a single nature shared by three people.

A great treatise on the Trinity can be found in the first part of Frank Sheed's "Theology and Sanity".

  • a good analogy would be an egg
    – Muad'Dib
    Commented Mar 14, 2012 at 15:09

Joh 1:1

εν......A primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state)

αρχη....1) beginning, origin 2) the person or thing that commences

ην......the first person singular present indicative; to be, to exist

ο.......the definite article, “the”

λογος...a word, uttered by a living voice, embodies a conception or idea

........reason, the mental faculty of thinking, meditating, reasoning, calculating

και.....And, used simply joining single words and clauses

ο.......the definite article, “the”

Λογος....a word, uttered by a living voice, embodies a conception or idea

.........reason, the mental faculty of thinking, meditating, reasoning, calculating

ην.......the first person singular present indicative; to be, to exist

προς.....1) to the advantage of 2) at, near, by 3) to, towards, with, with regard to

Τον......the definite article, “the”




ην........the first person singular present indicative; to be, to exist

ο.........the definite article, “the”

λογος......a word, uttered by a living voice, embodies a conception or idea

...........reason, the mental faculty of thinking, meditating, reasoning, calculating

εν αρχη ην ο λογος και ο λογος ην προς

In beginning was the word and the word was to the advantage (with)

τον θεον και θεος ην ο λογος

the God and God was the word

It is not that hard look at the meaning and translate the words.

  • 5
    Good start, can you put this together into an actual answer? You've given us a definitions list, let's get some interpretation on what we can conclude from these definitions.
    – wax eagle
    Commented Aug 13, 2012 at 20:58

Also remember that even Satan is referred to as a god. We don't worship Satan, but he is referred to in 2 Corinthians 4:4 as "The god of this system of things". God simply means having more power than what a human does or superhuman. Jesus was a god, but when the bible talks about YHWH it magnifies his god-ship with almighty and so on.

Another example of this is 1 Corinthians 11:3. It shows the hierarchy of Jehovah's arrangement. The woman submits to the man, the man submits to the Christ, and the Christ submits to god.

John 1:14 shows the relationship between Jesus and god. It says he is the "only begotten son from a father". That is Jehovah is the father of Jesus.

So to directly answer your question yes Jesus was a separate god from Jehovah or YHWH. We don't worship Jesus, but we do recognize and respect his sacrifice to save us.

If you do some research on triad gods you see that they existed even before the bible was finished being written. The largest example being Babylon. Some quick places to look at. jw.org--- Trinities before Abraham---Hard to read long history lesson


No. Jesus isn't a separate god.

Majority of English Translations does not read 'a god' in John 1:1c.

John 1:1

New International Version In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

New Living Translation In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.

English Standard Version In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

New American Standard Bible In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

King James Bible In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Holman Christian Standard Bible In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

International Standard Version In the beginning, the Word existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.

NET Bible In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was fully God.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English In the origin The Word had been existing and That Word had been existing with God and That Word was himself God.

GOD'S WORD® Translation In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The translation "the Word was a god" makes us ask in what way is Jesus divine?

The Bible only speaks of three categories of divinities:

1) True God - God by nature [Trinity: Mt. 28:18;Jn. 17:3;Col 2:9; 1 Jn. 5:20-21).

2) God by function ( Shaliach Principle) - not god by nature [angels: Ex 15:11; humans: Ex 7:1, Ps 82:6-7].

3) False gods - not gods by nature [idols/demons/Satan: 1 Cor. 8:5; Gal. 4:8, 1 Cor. 4:4].

So, where does Christ belong?

Christ cannot belong either to the gods by function or to the false gods because he is , fully and completely, God by nature ( Col. 2:9;Jn 10:28-30).He can only belong to the Trinity -- three ontologically equal and functionally subordinate persons ( Mt. 28:19).

Angels are called 'gods' in Exodus 15:11 but these angels are not , by nature, gods. Rather, they are created by God (Psalm 33:6, Colossians 1:16).

Who is like unto thee, O Jehovah, among the gods? Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, Fearful in praises, doing wonders? Exodus 15:11 (ESV)

Humans are also called 'gods.'

I said, "You are gods, And all of you are sons of the Most High."Nevertheless you will die like men And fall like any one of the princes." Psalm. 82:6-7 (NIV)

But these humans were not ,by nature, gods. Rather, they were merely such by title never by nature.

Satan himself is the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4).Yet we know that Satan is not, by nature, a god.

Paul said that the Galatian Christians were formerly slaves to false deities:

However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods. Galatian 4:8 (NASB)

These deities are false simply because they are not gods by nature.

On the other hand, Jesus Christ is, fully and completely, God in nature ( Colossians 2:9). He is of same nature with the Father (John 10:28-30;Hebrews 1:3).

In Him dwells all the completeness of the Godhead bodily"( Colossians 2:9 NLT).

28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all[a]; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” John 10:28-30 (NIV)

He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,Hebrews 1:3 (ESV)


The Nature of God

A "nature" is something inherently belongs to someone.

The Divine Nature, in the context of the true God, is the nature of God himself.

Nature means "set of attributes."

In the Holy Scriptures, the word for this is many and they are the following:

THEOS in qualitative sense ( as in John 1:1).

THEIAS - divine nature ( God-like nature when used to creatures). 2 Peter 1:3, 4

THEIOS -divine nature ( Acts 17:29).

THEIOTES -divine nature ( Romans 1:20).

THEOTETOS - (dual meaning) divine nature plus divine identity. Colossians 2:9 [9]

The following are God's attributes:

God is eternal ( without beginning or ending of life) and hence, his attributes are all eternal.

Psalm 90:2, Romans 1:20

God is ( eternally) love:

1 John 4:8

God is (eternally) wise:

Romans 16:27

God is (eternally) good:

Mark 10:18

God is (eternally) omnipotent

Revelation 1:8

God is (eternally) omnipresent

Psalm 46:1, Psam 139:11-12

God is (eternally) omniscient

1 John 3:20

God is (eternally) immutable

Malachi 3:6, James 1:17

God's nature is eternally one ( Exodus 3:14, Romans 1:20) and it only exists in the three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit ( Matthew 28:19).Humans and angels, the Pantheon of the Greeks, are all "not gods by nature"( Galatians 4:8).


The concept of "Trinity in Unity," where the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are a mysterious 3-in-1 composite being, is not Biblical and has no actual justification anywhere in scripture. Aside from the introduction to John, look at the baptism of Jesus, where Jesus is shown to be in the water, the Father in Heaven, and the Holy Ghost descending upon Jesus in the form of a dove, as three separate and distinct entities. See also the Crucifixion, where Jesus cries out in anguish at the Father "forsaking" him, leaving him to suffer alone.

The notion of the Trinity comes from Greek philosophy, which was greatly in vogue in the Roman empire during the early Christian period. The Holy Trinity as "Trinity in Unity" bears a much closer resemblance to some of Plato's notions about Deity than it does to anything in the Bible.

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    +1 That's very well said. Lots of interest pieces of knowledge in there.
    – Richard
    Commented Aug 23, 2011 at 21:18
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    +1 To John's baptism, I would also add the great intercessory prayer (John 17, especially verses 20-21 biblegateway.com/passage/…) in which Christ prays to the Father that the apostles might become one, like He and His Father are one. The unity and "one-ness" of God and Christ does not refer a 3-in-1 unity, any more than John 17 refers to a 12-in-1 unity. And this in no way takes away from Christ's divinity. Commented Aug 23, 2011 at 21:22
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    Gotta -1, sorry. That flies in the face of the doctrine hyperstatic union (Jesus is fully man and fully God). Jesus didn't say "I AM the way the truth and the light" for no reason. My wife had a rep of the Jehovah's Witnesses come to her last week and I thought the beginning of John was a perfect refutation to some passage in Isaiah that he was using to prove God was separate from Jesus. I'll warn her not to bring that up now.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Aug 23, 2011 at 21:32
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    I'd bet people are downvoting, because they have a different belief. Personally, I think downvotes should be reserved for when someone can directly refute you in the comments. edit: As @Peter Turner did.
    – a_hardin
    Commented Aug 23, 2011 at 21:33
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    @Mason, consubstantial is in the Nicene Creed (will be changed from "One in being with" in the new translation of the Mass starting Advent 2011). If you want to debate by what authority the council of Nicea was convened, that's nice fodder for another question. Also, Greek philosophy is the underpinning of tons and tons of Christian philosophy, just because something sounds Greek to you doesn't mean it's wrong. Also, why would John 4 be read in the context of John 17?
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 12:58

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