Take the 2-minute tour ×
Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professors, theologians, and those interested in exegetical analysis of biblical texts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

This question already has an answer here:

Regarding John 1:1, I really want to know if the correct translation of the verse from Greek to English should contain the word God or the words a God?

share|improve this question

marked as duplicate by Wikis, Soldarnal, Monica Cellio, Kazark, Noah Sep 2 '13 at 18:23

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

2 Answers 2

It is "God", not "god":

Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ Λόγος, καὶ ὁ Λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν Θεόν, καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ Λόγος.

The Greek word for "God" is "Θεός" and has survived in English in words like "Theology", "Theism" etc. "Θεόν" in the text above is third person inflection.

share|improve this answer
3  
Are you arguing from the capitalization in the version of the Greek text you have? That is a weak argument, because that distinction is not original (tho I do agree with your conclusion). –  Kazark Sep 2 '13 at 16:13
    
Yes I am arguing from the capitalization solely, I'd be out of my depth to argue any other way. –  Marcus Junius Brutus Sep 2 '13 at 16:38
6  
Greek was written in all-caps (Uncial script) until the 9th century. –  Noah Sep 2 '13 at 18:21

There are no original Greek language manuscripts available by which to confirm/clarify the wording of John 1:1 or any other word seen in the New Testament. As to whether or not τον θεον at John 1:1 should be orthodoxly rendered in English as "God" depends upon whether or not one accepts the Orthodox Judeo-Christian inference that the Greek word θεος always refers to the supreme deity of Judaism-influenced Christianity whenever it's preceded by the Greek definite article (i.e., a form of "the").

Although θεος can correctly refer to "a deity" (any deity) it is, nevertheless, ubiquitously translated as "God" (capitalized) in English Bible versions. But to say "a God" in John 1:1 would:

  1. be incorrect since there is no indefinite article "a" in biblical Greek, and
  2. indicate the possibility of the existence of more than one god--a possibility that Orthodox Jews and Judaism-influenced Christians will adamantly refute.
share|improve this answer
    
You seem to think that there is no grammatical reason for reading this as *God*—which, quite frankly, is patently false. –  Kazark Sep 2 '13 at 20:46
    
@Kazark-- yes, "God" is the one and only orthodox (commonly accepted) Greek-English translation of θεος used by Orthodox Judaism-influenced Christians. But, it's not the only possibility. –  Pat Ferguson Sep 4 '13 at 14:54

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.