In the beginnynge was the worde and the worde was with God: and the worde was God.

John 1:1 (Tyndale Bible 1534 by William Tyndale)

Why did Tyndale (1525) did not capitalize 'word' in John 1:1?

  • Another question about the same word: What is the meaning of the Greek word λόγος in John 1:1? – Susan Dec 28 '15 at 13:10
  • Interesting question, considering his translation was at least partially funded by a trinitarian group and Tyndale's own theology is clearly trinitarian. Maybe they used capitalization differently than we do? Did he capitalize normal pronouns of Jesus mid-sentence (he/He)? – Joshua Dec 28 '15 at 13:33
  • Related: Tyndale also translated the pronoun in the following sentences as 'it' (All thinges were made by it and with out it was made nothinge that was made), rather than the 'he' which is nearly universal in English translations now. This may help inform an answer about the capitalization of 'word'. – user2910 Dec 28 '15 at 16:45

I expect a lot depended on the printer. Here are two early printings. In each, notice that not only is "worde" not capitalized, but neither is "god".

This one is the first of Tyndale's New Testaments (later revised): the 1525 printing from Cologne:


And this is John 1 from the 1526 Peter Schoeffer printing which similarly set in uppercase the first words of sentences, and few others:

John 1


We would not know why he did. But seeing that 'god' and 'word' we see the significant change in the sense of the words when they are capitalized. A few recent ones (REV; Nazarene Commentary) have it as 'word'.

Another example in the similar line is 'holy spirit'. NWT do not capitalize it and, in addition, accurately renders it either as 'holy spirit' or 'the holy spirit', whereas most others have them only as 'the holy spirit'. This may be in support of their own Trinitarian pneumatology, but as far as translation goes, it is grossly inaccurate. FYI, check for IRENT (a new translation of NT) - at http://tiny.cc/bostonreaders


If the bible interprets the bible then the proper understanding of John 1 would be found in Issaih 55 The father says "I will send out my word and it shall not come back empty" I, the father "singular" my word "His singular" "and it" not he, or she! By the breath of my mouth (His words) he spoke and it came in to existence Ps.33:5-6 There is nothing complicated about this!

  • The Greek preposition προς followed by the accusative case (images.app.goo.gl/cHSVWzYv8X6maXAH9) makes something or someone that is facing and moving towards someone. So the Word is facing God and certainly not coming from God like spoken words at John 1:1. That would be a different preposition like εκ or από. Greek linguistics prevents that interpretation. – user33125 Jan 18 '20 at 23:21

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