The New World Translation (NWT), the product of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, renders John 1:1, “In [the] beginning the word was, and the word was with God, and the word was a god.” The do so because the definite article does not appear before the second ‘God’ of the verse. Moreover, by changing the second ‘God’ to ‘god’ they imply that Jesus is somehow a lessor essence than God.
Ray Summers, in his classic work, “Essentials of New Testament Greek” tells of the use of the Greek article. He writes, “The basic function of the Greek article is to identify … when the article is used with a construction, the thing emphasized is ‘identity’; when the article is not used, the thing emphasized is quality of character.” (page 129-130). Thus, while Jesus is not the same personality as God the Father, He is in essence Divine.
Read John 1:6, 12, 13, 18. The article is absent in each of these verses. Yet, in each NWT has ‘God’ with a big “G.” Why? Because in some of these verses the reference clearly is not to God the Son, that is Jesus, but to God the Father. In fact, look at John 1:18. The NWT renders this: “No man has seen the one that has explained him.” It is indeed inconsistent that both occurrences of “God” has the article missing, yet one they render with a big “G” and the other “g.” In fact, of the 282 times the word “God” appears without the article in the New Testament, only 16 times (or 6% of the time) do they follow their own rule of “G” verses “g!”
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