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John said the Word was with God and was God (John 1:1), and the Word became flesh (John 1:14)—Jesus.

Jesus said "Before Abraham was I AM" (John 8:58)—Jesus' claim to be YHVH.

Jesus acknowledged the Father to be God.

However YHVH says there are no other gods beside Him (Exodus 20:3; Deuteronomy 5:7; Deuteronomy 4:35; Deuteronomy 4:39).

Trinitarianism is a solution to this. How do non-trinitarians resolve the clear indications that both the Father and Jesus are God?

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  • John didn't speak English. :) "The logos became-was-came in the flesh." What does it mean? The verb 'egeneto' is a vague verb. "Before Abraham was-was born-came to be-comes to be(!), I am-I am he-I am the one." Again, what does it mean? So your argument depends on certain interpretations of what, especially with John 8:58, are debatable verses. Oct 25, 2022 at 14:22
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    But in a nut-shell, Jesus is God in the sense of agency, not ontology. The Christ is the Father's authorized agent or deputized representative. Oct 25, 2022 at 14:24
  • But your 3rd sentence is right - Jesus didn't only acknowledge the Father to be God, but to be the only true God! (John 17:3) Do you have a Biblical reference for "YHVH says there are no other gods beside Him"? Oct 25, 2022 at 14:41
  • The question re John 1:1 is already asked here for Unitarians. christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/54906/… A question re John 8:58 that impinges on this question is here christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/91430/… Oct 25, 2022 at 17:40
  • If you're not looking for binitarian answers, might want to tighten up the scope on the question. Oct 25, 2022 at 18:37

6 Answers 6

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God was in Christ

When Jesus spoke as God, it was because God was in him, and the words were not his but God's. He tells us this himself. This is the point upon which multitudes stumble, because Jesus does sound like God speaking--but he told us plainly that the Father was the only true God, and that the words he spoke were not his words but those of the Father.

As Jesus said to Philip:

Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. (John 14:10, KJV)

And he gave this same consistent message elsewhere as well.

Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. (John 8:28, KJV)

But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him. (John 10:38, KJV)

For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. (John 12:49, KJV)

Many today are as unbelieving as was Philip. They don't believe that the Father was in Christ. They think Christ spoke only his own words, on his own volition, rather than the words of the Father. This is also what the Pharisees thought--and what caused them to accuse Jesus of blasphemy when he offered words of forgiveness to sinners.

Yet the Bible plainly tells us that God was in Christ.

To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:19, KJV)

So, ironically, it is the Trinitarians who fail to recognize the presence of two beings within the person of Christ. They instead elevate Christ to Godhead, believing the Man to be God, even against plain Bible statements to the contrary.

God is not human.

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? (Numbers 23:19, KJV)

And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent. (1 Samuel 15:29, KJV)

God is not a man, and there is not one text of scripture that contradicts this. Not one text says Jesus was God.

The Spirit of Antichrist

Jesus' own teachings help us to see that Trinitarians not only have the wrong belief about who he was, but also have the spirit of antichrist, as I will next explain.

Consider these texts:

Jesus is not a spirit: he has flesh and bones, spirits do not.

Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. (Luke 24:39, KJV)

But God is a spirit.

God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24, KJV)

Those who do not confess Jesus came in the flesh have the spirit of antichrist.

2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (1 John 4:2-3, KJV)

Trinitarians claim that Jesus is God. Jesus taught that God is a spirit, and said spirits do not have flesh and bones as he had. Therefore, to say Jesus is God is to say he could not have come in the flesh. That is the Biblical definition of having the spirit of antichrist.

Conclusion

Jesus never claimed to be God. His claim was that of being the Son of God. But that Jesus spoke as God is clear, for he tells us that his words were those of the Father. And Jesus taught that the Father was the only true God (John 17:1-3), and that the Father was both his God and our God (John 20:17).

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    Jesus had the spirit of God without measure (John 3:34). All of God (who is spirit) dwelt in Jesus (who is flesh). The dichotomy you try to draw in your "spirit of antichrist" proof does not exist...God is spirit and Jesus is both. Oct 24, 2022 at 11:40
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    @MikeBorden Can God divide His spirit and have only part of it inhabit Christ? Nothing that I said above would even hint at such a thing. In fact, you have not gone quite far enough even in your statement here, because the Bible says: "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." (Col. 2:9). What you might, however, be mindful of is that God is spirit, and can be everywhere present. God is not limited to a specific location. Jesus is a man in whom God dwelt. Jesus died, but God cannot, and did not die. Had Jesus been God, he could also never have been tempted (James 1:13).
    – Biblasia
    Oct 24, 2022 at 11:56
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    What would be the purpose of saying "without measure" and "all the fullness" if not to set Christ apart from all others. God "dwelled" in a special way in the temple, even though the spirit is everywhere present, and Jews went there to approach God. Now God dwells in a temple of flesh, made without hands, and when one "goes to" Jesus one "goes to" God. This union of God (spirit) and temple (flesh) is complete and permanent. Oct 24, 2022 at 12:33
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    Jesus Christ in/to to flesh having come is what 1 John 4 says. It does not say that he suddenly began to exist but that he came in flesh. This is what the spirit of antichrist will not confess. Oct 24, 2022 at 12:34
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    @MikeBorden When you say Jesus is God, you deny that he could possibly have been flesh, because Jesus taught plainly that God is (a) spirit, and that he himself was not (a) spirit. Either you believe Jesus when he says he has flesh and bones, or you do not. Either you believe Jesus when he says he is not a spirit, or you do not. It is not possible to have it both ways because Jesus himself was too clear on it. He said he was not a spirit, but that God is a spirit. If you believe the Man himself, you accept that he was come in the flesh, and was not God.
    – Biblasia
    Oct 24, 2022 at 12:39
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Before Abraham was I AM, This doesn't say anything about Jesus being God. This must be read in.

What does 'before Abraham' mean?

Paul gives a clue in Gal 3:16

The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say "and to seeds," meaning many people, but "and to your seed," meaning one person, who is Christ.

So, quite unequivocally, Paul tells us what the ‘before’ means. Jesus was the one to come, yet he was planned well before Abraham existed. He would be the descendant of Abraham!

Our texts do not say, ‘before Abraham, I existed’.

The phrase egō eimi or ‘I am’ is used in the NT by other people who certainly are not God or claiming to be God. To hang desperately to this “I am” from Jesus is to ignore other texts that are exactly the same and simply refer to the person in context. Jesus is saying nothing more than “I am the one”, “It is I”. Before Abraham, ‘I am the one’ that he looked forward to. ‘My day’, has just begun!

The man born blind John 9:9, ‘I am (he)’ egō eimi Matt 14:27 Take courage, it is I. Don’t be afraid. Mk 6:50 John 6:20 egō eimi The disciples said, ‘Surely you don't mean me, Lord?" egō eimi Matt 26:22, John 8:28 ‘you will know that I am he…’ egō eimi

While some gravitate to this ‘I am’ construct, it must align with the rest of the NT. Which is silent on Jesus being God from Matt to Rev.

Jesus said he had the same God all men do which makes him not God.

But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ John 20:17

Jesus makes no claim to be God. All the Bible provides is some ambiguous passages which can be understood in a manner^ which creates contradictions with the rest of the NT. Every NT writer teaches that Jesus is a man only, yet without sin.

The 'word' you refer to in John 1:1-3 is not yet Jesus. He is the result of the logos becoming flesh ~2000 years ago. The logos was with God, Jesus was not. Jesus was born of Mary (Gal 4:4) as the Gospels clearly express. Jesus is now with God - at His right hand.

^ by reading out of context, by partially quoting verses or by using very poor or biased 'translations'.

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Ken Graham
    Oct 26, 2022 at 15:46
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Until the incarnation, YHWH alone dealt with humanity. Until Jesus revealed him, the world had no knowledge of the Father. It wasn't until less than 2000 years ago that humanity learned of the existence of the Father.

The writers of the Hebrew scriptures knew only of YHWH, their only God. And YHWH spoke to the prophets as their only God.

So is there really a "requirement for monotheism", or do the Hebrew scriptures simply record that in practice Israel was monotheistic?


Consider the relationship between God the Father and God the Son, and their desire for more children. This relationship is symbolized in the physical world by family, hence the terms "father" and "son".

If one considers "God" to be a family (currently with only 2 members), then there is only one "God" or godhead.

In John 10:30, Jesus said "I and the Father are one.". He didn't mean this as a doctrine that the Catholic Church calls a "mystery" that no human can comprehend, he simply meant that they are united in purpose, acting in harmony and perfect agreement.

If one sees "God" as a family, there is, and always will be, only one "God".

See also:

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    Exodus 4:22-23, Isaiah 1:2, Isaiah 63:16, Malachi 1:6, 1 Chronicles 29:10All testify God was known as Father by His people in OT.
    – steveowen
    Oct 24, 2022 at 21:11
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    God the Son - this is an imaginary construct not found in all the pages of scripture. If as you righty say, they are united in purpose, then they are two not one at all. How can ONE be united? This bizarre construct is trinitarianism with a leg missing. Jesus came to do the Father's will - not his own - two wills in this strange arrangement of a duality of God.
    – steveowen
    Oct 24, 2022 at 21:27
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    This is clearly not a non-trinitarian response, and therefore cannot address what the questioner was asking (i.e. it doesn't answer the question). The use of the eisegetical (unbiblical) term "God the Son" is a huge giveaway, as no non-trinitarian would ever accept the use of this term.
    – Biblasia
    Oct 24, 2022 at 23:01
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    @Biblasia, it definitely is non-trinitarian. There is no suggestion that God's holy spirit is a person, and if you look at the references they quite explicitly reject the Trinity Doctrine. There are more than two views of what God is: atheist, unitarian, binitarian, trinitarian, Trinitarian, polytheistic, etc. What I presented is a binitarian view. Oct 24, 2022 at 23:39
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    @Biblasia Not to really jump into a disagreement between two persons, but it's perfectly normal to teach concepts you don't believe in. Especially when it comes to faith. I accepted this answer since it helped me the most Oct 25, 2022 at 22:20
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The theological basis for this response

This answer is based on the Bible interpretations and Christian theology put forth by Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), which is the basis for the Bible interpretations and theology of the various New Church, or Swedenborgian, denominations that were founded after his death.

  • This theology is not unitarian as that is usually defined, because Swedenborg stated that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all fully divine, and are God.
  • This theology is not trinitarian as that is usually defined, because although Swedenborg stated that there is a Trinity in God, he denied that the Trinity consists of three persons, but stated that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit exist in a single person of God.
  • It is also not modalist, as explained in this answer.

From a Swedenborgian Christian perspective, it is trinitarians themselves who have not met the requirements for monotheism, as covered in this answer.

Note: This answer will not attempt to provide a full biblical basis for its statements, as that basis is so extensive that doing so would swell this answer far beyond the character limits imposed by this website. For those who want the full biblical basis behind this answer, I refer you to True Christianity, volume 1, by Emanuel Swedenborg. (The link is to my own book notice for this book.)

To properly answer this question, I must divide it into several points, the first being:

1. Jesus was not fully divine at birth

According to the Gospels, Mary, an ordinary human being, was Jesus' mother, whereas God was his Father. This means that at the time of his birth, Jesus had both a finite, limited, sin-prone human nature from his human mother Mary and an infinite, unlimited, eternal divine nature from his divine Father.

This dual nature, finite human and infinite divine, persisted throughout Jesus' lifetime on earth. It was not until after the Resurrection that he was fully divine, having by that time replaced all the finite humanity that came from his human mother with an infinite divine humanity that was the expression of his inner divine nature, which was God, also known as the Father.

During his lifetime on earth, Jesus' conscious awareness alternated between his finite human side and his infinite divine side. This is why he sometimes speaks to, and of, the Father as if to, or of, a separate being, and other times says that he is one with the Father, and that everything he says and does is from the Father within.

Without an understanding of Jesus' process of "glorification," or becoming fully divine, during his lifetime on earth, it is impossible to understand and reconcile the various statements by and about him in the Gospels and in the rest of the New Testament.

For a fuller explanation of these points, please see this answer.

2. During Jesus' lifetime on earth, he was literally the Son of God

Because Jesus had a human mother and a divine Father, during his lifetime on earth he was quite literally the Son of God.

Every human being is the son or daughter of his or her human father through that person's father having impregnated that person's mother, resulting in his or her conception and birth.

Similarly, Mary was impregnated by a father, but in this case it was the divine Father, resulting in Jesus' conception and birth. Therefore Jesus was the Son of God via Mary.

3. After the Resurrection and Ascension, Jesus was no longer literally, but figuratively the Son of God

As stated above, during his lifetime on earth, Jesus gradually replaced everything that came from his human mother with a divine humanity that was the expression of the divine Father. At the time of his Resurrection, he was therefore no longer the son of Mary, since there was nothing left of Mary in him.

This means that at the time of the Resurrection, he was no longer literally the Son of God. Rather, he was simply God, because:

4. God is indivisible; therefore Jesus never separated from the Father

Every human being born on this earth separates from both father and mother, and becomes a distinct person of his or her own.

With God's divine self, this is not possible. God is fully and utterly One, and cannot be divided into more than one. Therefore, since God, known as the Father, was Jesus' own inner being, Jesus never separated from his Father, but instead became more and more one with his Father.

This is the same as saying that Jesus, as he replaced everything from his human mother with the divinity of his Father, became fully one with God, and became, quite simply, God.

5. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not three Persons of God, but three "essential components," or in more ordinary language, "parts" of God.

Although, as stated above, during his lifetime on earth Jesus was literally the Son of God, this literal sonship lasted only during his lifetime on earth.

Once Jesus' lifetime on earth was complete, and he ascended to the Father, this literal sonship no longer existed. Rather, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are metaphors for three essential components (Latin: essentialia) of God.

Unlike the Nicene Trinity of Persons, which no one can really understand, this Trinity in one Person of God is very easy to understand. Genesis 1:26–27 says that we humans, both male and female, are created in the image and likeness of God. Therefore if there is a Trinity in God, there must also be a trinity in human beings. Using us humans as an example, here is how we can understand the Trinity in one Person of God:

  • "The Father" mentioned in the Bible is like our soul.
  • "The Son" is like our body.
  • "The Holy Spirit" is like everything we say and do.

Even a five-year-old can easily understand this.

More abstractly:

  • The Father is the Divine Love
  • The Son is Divine Truth
  • The Holy Spirit is Divine Power

These are not three Persons—which is polytheism—but three "essential components" of God, who is fully and completely One, both in essence and in person.

For a fuller explanation of the true biblical Trinity in the One Person of God, please see this article on my website:

Who is God? Who is Jesus Christ? What about that Holy Spirit?

6. Swedenborg's Trinity in one Person resolves all the thorny biblical issues about the nature of God

If we understand all of these points, and several more that there is not time to delve into here, all of the statements about Jesus in the Gospels, the Acts, and the Epistles, and all of the prophecies of Jesus in the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms, make complete and beautiful sense, with no difficulties and no contradictions.

7. Scripture quotations from the question

To take up just the few passages mentioned in the question itself:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overtake it. . . . And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1–5, 14)

Here "God" is the same as "the Father." It represents the divine Soul, which is love (1 John 4:8, 16). "The Word" represents the divine Wisdom, which is the light mentioned in the rest of the passage. It was through Divine Wisdom that Divine Love created all things.

And it was as divine wisdom, or divine truth, that Jesus, who is the light of the world (John 8:12, 9:5), came to earth. This is why it says that "the Word became flesh and lived among us."

Divine Love and Divine Wisdom are not the same as one another, hence they are "with" one another. But they are also both fully and inseparably God, so that the Word also was God.

It is in this same sense that the Father and the Son are not the same, hence they are "with" one another. But they are also both fully and inseparably One God, so the Son is God, just as the Father is God. The Father is the Divine Love, and the Son is the Divine Wisdom manifesting the Divine Love to humans both on earth and in heaven.

Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am." (John 8:58)

Here Jesus is speaking from his inner divine being, or divine soul. During his lifetime, when Jesus' conscious awareness was in his inner divine being, he spoke of himself as the same being as God, the Father. This is why here, contrary to what some claim, Jesus did say that he was God.

Though many people today don't understand this, his listeners understood his meaning very clearly. That is why, in the very next verse, it says that they picked up stones to stone him. Two chapters later they explain why they picked up stones to stone him: "The Jews answered, 'It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, though only a human, are making yourself God'" (John 10:33).

Unfortunately, through the centuries of increasingly false "Christianity," the clear meaning of Jesus' words has been lost, such that some people can claim that nowhere does Jesus say he is God. Further, after his Resurrection, when he was fully God, Thomas, one of his disciples, addressed him as "My Lord and my God" (John 20:28), and Jesus did not correct him.

Jesus knew that he was God. However, during his lifetime he also had a human side that was not God. This is why the Gospels don't explicitly call him God until after the Resurrection.

About this statement in the question:

Jesus acknowledged the Father to be God.

Yes. Because his Father was God. And Jesus himself said that he and the Father are one (John 10:30), and that those who have seen him have seen the Father (John 14:9). In other words, Jesus was, as the Gospel of Matthew tells us, "God with us" (Matthew 1:23).

You shall have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:3; Deuteronomy 5:7)

This, also, is why Jesus, after his process of glorification, could be no other than God. Not some supposed unbiblical "Second Person" of God, but God. And this is why Jesus himself, in prophecy and in the New Testament, is also called "Father." For more on this, please see this article on my website:

Is it Right to Call Jesus "Father"?

Conclusion

Once we recognize that the Son of God is not some unbiblical "eternally begotten Second Person of the Trinity," but rather is God himself come to be with us, to teach us, and to save us, just as the Bible says, all the problems about God being fully and completely One disappear.

There are not three Persons of God. Conceptually and in reality, that is simply three gods, which is polytheism.

No, there is one God and that God is the Lord God Jesus Christ.

I realize that I have hardly done justice to these points here. If you want to know the biblical truth that will set you free from all these biblical "contradictions," please do yourself a favor: read Swedenborg's book True Christianity. Then all the mystery and confusion of Nicene Christianity will be cleared from your mind. Then you will have a clear path to seek and know the true God, who is One both in essence and in person, and who is with us personally as our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ.

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It actually seems most certain that God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son are separate beings; Jesus was not praying to himself or throwing his voice in Gethsemane. How about when he said on the cross, "Father, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46) Forsaken means to leave entirely. Was he asking, "Why have I left myself?" because that doesn't make sense in two ways. He left himself? And he didn't know why he left himself? 😂😅 We really need to realize that the idea of them being one being was just a thought by imperfect, limited human beings and move on to reason and sense.

But I guess I could also mention these scriptures that clearly describe them as separate beings: John 1:18, Acts 7:55, 56, and Colossians 3:1, how about John 8: 7-18, where Jesus wants to make it very clear that Jesus and God are two separate beings. It reads, "It is written in your law, that the testimony of TWO men is true. I am one that bears witness of myself, and the father that sent me beareth of me." If Jesus and God are one and the same, Jesus wouldn't have been able to make that statement. I can only imagine how they feel, seeing that we still think they are one. 😆😅

And this page may help you if it is possible that you still don't think so.

So why a dispute?

They are both parts of the same Godhead, they are all part of managing the Father's plan. They are all one God (John 10:30), just like a married man and woman are "one flesh" (Matthew 19:5), or do you suppose that he meant for married couples to become like conjoined twins? 😉 Does that make sense?
Edit: The point is that a husband and wife are not literally one person, but are considered "one" because when they get married, her goals and concerns become his goals and concerns, and vice versa. And this is what Non-Trinitarians believe Jesus means when he says "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30).

Edit for disclaimers:

  1. I cannot specify what type of Non-Trinitarian subset of beliefs these are, but they are scripture, and so it seems to me that, if you believe the Bible, and do not see any loopholes to how this doesn't clarify them as separate beings, that this is the belief of your religion.
  2. I gave my sources, please do not say that I am saying something, when it is what the scriptures that I site are saying, that seems to be a common thing on this site.
  3. I put a lot of attention and care into my posts, please actually read it over carefully before thinking that you know what I'm saying, and arguing against what I'm not saying.
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  • No, it still doesn't make sense. You say Jesus and Father are separate, yet you say they are 'one God'. This is not scriptural as you suggest. Jesus has a God and still does - therefore he cannot be that God.
    – steveowen
    Nov 29, 2022 at 21:25
  • @steveowen, You are truly not understanding what I'm saying, and I cannot understand how you're not. The point is, you could also say that a husband and wife are not literally one flesh, but they are one in the sense that they now share the same goals and interests; her goals become his goals and vice versa. When the scriptures (not me) say, "I and the father are one,"(John 10:30) notice the scriptures say that, not me, they are not saying they are literally the same person, but speaking like I said above. Nov 30, 2022 at 16:20
  • Considering the question I am answering, you really should've known that I was not saying they are one being, I wish you had just read my entire post before commenting. You clearly did not. Nov 30, 2022 at 18:05
  • No, I read it many times and agree on most everything. I just don’t understand your inclusion of Godhead.
    – steveowen
    Nov 30, 2022 at 19:41
  • @steveowen, Stated clearly, God, his Son, and the Holy Spirit are three, separate, individual beings, but the Son, Jesus Christ, once called Jehovah (if you don't know this I could talk in chat), and the Holy Spirit are so central to carrying out God's plans, and entrusted with so much of God the Father's power and authority, and they are so united to each other, that they are all "one". Basically, it just means they do not each have different causes and goals, one does not feel differently about what is sad or what is good than how the other two feel. In this sense, they are "one". Nov 30, 2022 at 20:34
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The OP asks: "How do non-trinitarians resolve the clear indications that both the Father and Jesus are God?" Other answers so far have focused on refuting the claim that there are actually "clear indications" that the Father and Jesus are God. Another non-trinitarian approach would be to admit that certain biblical passages do indeed give such indications, but other verses provide evidence to the contrary. In other words, a non-trinitarian approach is not necessarily an approach that accepts biblical inerrancy in its entirety. Once the Bible is accepted as containing doctrines which originate from human beings as well as from God, the issue may be resolved by rejecting certain passages as untrue.

All of the proof-texts offered by the OP are from the Gospel of John. So to resolve the problem, a non-trinitarian need only point out that John's Christology is atypical and need not be considered the final word on the subject. John clearly did believe that "the Word was God" and that the Word became flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. John also depicts Jesus as saying "Before Abraham was I am." So, rather than arguing that John really meant something other than what is suggested by these verses, a non-trinitarian may simply dismiss these verses because John's Gospel is ahistorical and teaches a high Christology which other apostles and Jesus himself did not truly teach.

An example of this kind of approach is found among the scholars of the Jesus Seminar, who found only one saying in the Gospel of John that was likely to be something that Jesus said.

“Most scholars, if they had worked through the sayings as we had, would tend to agree there is virtually nothing in the fourth Gospel that goes back to Jesus,” said Robert Fortna of Vassar College. Jesus says in John “I am the good shepherd . . . I am the light of the world . . . I am the bread of life,” but that “is mostly the work of the author,” Fortna said. Jesus rarely refers to himself in the other Gospels. source

Conclusion: while non-trinitarians often defend their views by interpreting biblical verses differently from traditional Christians, they also sometimes simply reject the authority of the sources in question, including the proof texts mentioned in the OP.


Note: The example from the Jesus Seminar above should not be understood to imply that the Seminar consists only of non-trinitarians but as an example of an attitude which certain non-trinitarians might hold.

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