The following verses have the words "ho Theos" in their Greek translations. There are a lot more.

Mark 1:1 Matthew 3:9 Mark 13:19 Luke 2:19 Acts 2:11 John 8:42,47 Luke 1:26 Acts 26:6 John 8:40 John 9:16 Colossians 3:3 John 1:2 Acts 15:19.

Who is/are the "ho Theos" referred to in Mark 13:19? Is the referent for "ho Theos" always the same God in the NT, or does it change?

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    Each instance has to be examined in turn. This is a multiple question, not a single question. – Nigel J Jun 17 at 5:18
  • @NigelJ Except that the anaphoric article identifies one person in each instance. – user33125 Jun 17 at 5:30
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    @ThomasPearne That is your hypothesis, sir, which you need to prove on every single occasion. – Nigel J Jun 17 at 5:36
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    @ThomasPearne Granville Sharp established Sharp's Rule with a massively extensive study taking into account every single occurrence of a collocation which he offered for peer review and which was - resoundingly - accepted by the foremost scholars of his age. You must go through the same process - taking a decade or two, at least - before your theory can gain serious attention. – Nigel J Jun 17 at 5:59
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    @ThomasPearne . . . . and you must do so in your own name and in your own identity : not hiding behind a double layer of pseudonyms. Peer review requires an assessment of the person as well as an assessment of the work. – Nigel J Jun 17 at 6:20

The referent depends upon the context. For example:

8 But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God (ὁ θεὸς), is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. 9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God (ὁ θεὸς), your God (ὁ θεὸς), has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.” (Hebrews 1 ESV)

Clearly ὁ θεὸς in verse 8 refers to the Son. The first use of ὁ θεὸς in verse 9 again refers to the Son but the second to the Father. That is, God the Father anoints God the Son.

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  • Exactly so - each case must be examined in turn throughout scripture. +1. – Nigel J Jun 17 at 5:39
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    What of Matt 1:23 which has "ho theos" without a previous anarticular theos. – Dottard Jun 17 at 6:05
  • Articular and anarticular are used by Wallace and David Bentley Hart. I am happy to use arthrous and anarthrous if you prefer. – Dottard Jun 17 at 7:03
  • @Dottard Not at all, sir. I shall use them as do you. Thank your for the reference. – Nigel J Jun 17 at 9:34
  • Is Jesus the "God" referred to in Hebrews 1:8? – Alex Balilo Jun 17 at 9:56

To quote, David Bentley Hart, " … where the Greek speaks of "ho theos", which clearly means God in the fullest and most unequivocal sense … " (The New Testament, a Translation by David Bentley Hart, Yale, 2017). I agree. In most instances it indicates God in a general sense, and often the Father particularly.

However, there are a few important exceptions:

  • Matt 1:23, and they will call Him Immanuel, which means, “God [= ho theos] with us” clearly refers to Jesus as the angel said. Note further that this is the first occurrence of the word "theos" in all the four Gospels. Therefore, it cannot be anaphoric.
  • John 20:28, Thomas said to him, 'My Lord and my God'. Again, this is ho theos and addressed directly to Jesus (despite the strident and twisting objections of Gregory Blunt/Thomas Pearne both old and modern.)
  • Titus 2:13, “…our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.” (Same comment as above)
  • Heb 1:8, “About the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last forever’”. (Ditto)
  • Heb 1:9, "therefore O God, Your God, has anointed You above Your companions with the oil of joy.”
  • 2 Peter 1:1, “…righteousness of our God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.”
  • 1 John 5:20, “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true—in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.” (See Wallace - Greek Grammar, Beyond the Basics page 327.)

I have made no attempt to be exhaustive - there are probably more.

Just one more observation, "ho theos" often occurs in such a way that it cannot be anaphoric, eg, Matt 1:23, 3:9, 16, 4:3, Luke 1:6, 8, 16, 19, 26, 30, 32, Acts 1;3, 2:11, 17, 22, 23, 24, 30, 32, 33, 36, 39, 47, 3:8, 9, 13, 15, etc.

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  • What would you say is to be understood, in that case, by the non-anaphoric use of ho Theos ? Why would the use of ho be necessary if it is not relating the noun to a referent ? – Nigel J Jun 17 at 9:39
  • It was not unusual for Hebrew names to include within them the word for God or even an abbreviated form of God’s personal name. For example, Eliʹathah means “God Has Come”; Jehu means “Jehovah Is He”; Elijah means “My God Is Jehovah.” But none of these names implied that the possessor was himself God. – Alex Balilo Jun 17 at 9:43
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    @AlexBalilo - and your point is? – Dottard Jun 17 at 9:50
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    @NigelJ - thanks for the reference - Hart's view on universalism is news to me. I am disappointed. Otherwise his material is generally very good. – Dottard Jun 17 at 9:56
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    @AlexBalilo - This is not the area for debate. However, none of that matters - Jesus is still referred to as "ho Theos". This answers your question. Further, there are plenty of people, quite eminent that stridently disagree with John Martin Creed. So let us not try to play expert against expert. – Dottard Jun 17 at 10:22

At Mark 13:19 we find a articular θεός. In the introduction to Mark we find the anarthrous first mention. There "Jesus Christ" is in apposition to "Son of God." So in Mark, God is the Father. The article at Mark 13:19 is a anaphoric to θεός at 1:1.

Without going into excruciating detail, a bit of logic can be applied to every example of ο θεός in the NT.

If Wallace and Bishop Middleton are correct on the anaphoric article being inserted with a renewed mention of θεός, every instance of ο θεός is a reference to the God and Father of Jesus Christ.

This is because there is no uncontested example of two instances of θεός that follow upon each other being a reference to the Son, even by the reckoning of Trinitarian scholars. See list of Trinitarian Bibles below.

All of the texts where some Trinitarians say Jesus is the referent for ο θεός suffer from:

  1. Textual problems
  2. Questions on punctuation
  3. Ambiguity of the word "and"
  4. Ambiguous grammar

How do we recognize these?


Get a good library of Trinitarian English translations and compare them.

They cancel each other out. When there is a translation issue, all that are left is John 1:1 and 1:18.

It's really that simple. The emperor has no clothes.

Trinitarian Bibles

Hebrews 1:8

  • Your throne is like God's throne (NEB)
  • God has enthroned you for all eternity (REB)
  • Your throne,God, is for ever and ever (New Jerusalem Bible)
  • or God is your throne" (NRSV footnote)
  • Thy throne is the throne of God (ASV footnote)

Romans 9:5

BDAG θεός 2. In Ro 9:5 the interpr. is complicated by demand of punctuation marks in printed texts. If a period is placed before ὁ ὢν κτλ., the doxology refers to God as defined in Israel (so EAbbot, JBL 1, 1881, 81-154; 3, 1883, 90-112; RLipsius; HHoltzmann, Ntl. Theol.2 II 1911, 99f; EGünther, StKr 73, 1900, 636-44; FBurkitt, JTS 5, 1904, 451-55; Jülicher; PFeine, Theol. d. NTs6 ’34, 176 et al.; RSV text; NRSV mg

Titus 2:13

  • "looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of [the great God and our Savior (footnote)], Christ Jesus, " (NASB, footnote)

  • "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; " (KJV)

  • "of the great God and of our Savior Christ Jesus" (The Riverside New Testament, Boston and New York, 1934)

  • "of the great God and of our Savior Christ Jesus" (The New American bible, New York and London, 1970)

  • "of the great God and of Christ Jesus our Savior" (The New Testament in Modern English, by J.B. Phillips, New York, 1972)

  • "of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ" (ASV)

  • "Or our great God and our savior, Christ Jesus." (JB footnote)

  • "Or of the great God and our Savior." (RSV  footnote)

  • "Or of the great God and our Savior" (NEB footnote)

2 Peter 1:1

  • Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: (KJV)

  • Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained a like precious faith with us in the righteousness of our God and the Saviour Jesus Christ: (ASV)

  • Simon Peter, a bondservant and Apostle of Jesus Christ: To those to whom there has been allotted the same precious faith as that which is ours through the righteousness of our God and of our Saviour Jesus Christ.  (Weymouth)

  • But here [2Peter 1:1], as there [Titus 2:13], considerations interpose, which seem to remove the strict grammatical [one-person rendering] out of the range of probable meaning" (Henry Alford, The Greek New Testament, vol. 3, Galatians-Philemon, page 390)

  • In 2Peter 1:1 Savior Jesus Christ] may be taken by itself and separated from the preceding [the preceding in this case is the word God." (F. Blass and A. Debrunner, A Greek Grammar of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, trans. R. W. Funk, page 145)

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  • Really, sir. I am surprised at such a simplistic dismissal. I would have expected a much better argument from you. The detail is not 'excruciating' - it is absolutely necessary. – Nigel J Jun 17 at 5:15
  • @NigelJ See my posts on the anaphoric article for most Trinitarian proof texts. Surely you have seen them. – user33125 Jun 17 at 5:29
  • Well, yes, but some of them are somewhat faded to read - as this one. – Nigel J Jun 17 at 5:37
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    I downvoted your answer because the statement: "This is because there is no example of two instances of θεός that follow upon each other being a reference to the Son, even by the reckoning of Trinitarian scholars." is inaccurate as Hebrews 1:9 shows. – Revelation Lad Jun 17 at 6:06
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    I refer you to Murray Harris whose article is cited in the BDAG as showing how Hebrews 1:8-9 state the Son is called God - legacy.tyndalehouse.com/tynbul/Library/… so your thesis is wrong on two counts. The second which is your claim about Trinitarian scholars. – Revelation Lad Jun 17 at 14:43

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