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John 10:33 is typically translated as something like

"“We are not stoning You for any good work,” said the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because You, who are a man, declare Yourself to be God.”" (Berean Study Bible)

Jesus responds to this by talking about the gods of Psalm 82.

"Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your Law, 'I have said you are "gods"'?"

This seems like a non sequitur. According to the standard translation, they are accusing him of being God and Jesus is responding about gods - God's representatives. How is that an adequate response?

This suggests another possibility, that the Jews instead said something like

"“We are not stoning You for any good work,” said the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because You, who are a man, declare Yourself to be a god.”"

This would make some logical sense of Jesus' response. This would also fit with what Jesus says at John 10:36.

"How then can you accuse Me of blasphemy for stating that I am the Son of God?"

Jesus is saying they are accusing him of blasphemy for being the Son of God - not God Himself.

Is it grammar that is primarily driving the typical translation of John 10:33 which renders the Jews' statement as 'God' instead of 'god', or are background theological views driving the translation?

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  • Jesus denied he was God in John 10:34-36.and he did not contradict himself elsewhere. John 17:3 and John 5:44. If we align ourselves with his accusers' words that he is God when Jesus expressly denied he is,, is like saying that Jesus was wrong and his accusers were right . Consider too the motives of his accusers, they were trying to entrap him with his words. John 14:28, Jesus plainly says that his Father is greater than him. Apr 9 at 10:11
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    (1) I think it's neither dogma, nor grammar. It's mere logic and context. For one, in John 10:33 the Jews didn't know what verse Jesus would quote in 10:34, therefore, we can’t say that the Jews spoke in the context of that quote. On the other hand, they for sure were speaking in the context of the previous verses: 10:24-25 where they were asking Jesus if He was the Christ. Jesus told them the He was and in 10:28 He said that He was giving the eternal life, and in 10:30, that He and the Father were One.
    – brilliant
    Jun 18 at 5:25
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    (2) Of course, the Jews knew that Christ was not going to come from a god, but from God. And, of course, they knew that when Jesus said “Father” He meant God, not a god. They also knew that only God could give eternal life, not a god. Therefore, when Jesus said that His Father and He were one they already wanted to stone Him. All of that happened prior to John 10:33. Hence, is the translation is “God”, not “god”.
    – brilliant
    Jun 18 at 5:25
  • @brilliant Thanks for this - interesting points - perhaps make it into an answer? And I'd be interested in an expansion on "They also knew that only God could give eternal life, not a god." Jun 18 at 5:45
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    @OneGodtheFather - I can’t make it into an answer because it’s just my opinion and I have no sources to quote. As for the eternal life, it is that the Jews believed that only God was the Creator who created everything, including those who later became gods (most likely fallen angels). Therefore, only God, not anyone of gods, can give life, let alone the eternal life.
    – brilliant
    Jun 18 at 22:02
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As often is the case, it is both grammar and dogma/theology that has rendered 'God' - but mostly dogma. The key to understanding difficult or strange passages is to seek other verses input and the consistent message God has left through the whole text.

If we eliminate the bias that has crept into the text we will see this consistent message clearly. We can do this by context and also by other verses where the same words are used.

CONTEXT

John 10

  • v6 Jesus spoke to them using this illustration, but they did not understand what He was telling them.
  • v7 So Jesus said to them again
  • v19 Dissension occurred again among the Jews
  • v20 Many of them were saying, “He has a demon and is insane. Why do you listen to Him?
  • v24 The Jews then surrounded Him... “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
  • v25 I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me. -v26 you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep
  • v30 I and the Father are one. (Everyone by now should readily dismiss this verse as suggesting Jesus and the Father are one substance. v30 is easily understood correctly with John 17:11,22)
  • v31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him

Context shows the Jews had no idea what was going on, who Jesus was, or what he was doing! They wanted to stone him because they were angry and sought any excuse to get rid of this man who understood the word of God like no one else ever did, showing them up for the hollow sepulchres they were - full of dead. Jesus was full of life and holy and they knew he was not at all like them! (He rightly called them children of the devil)

OTHER VERSES

And so v33

We are not stoning You for a good work, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God

-v34 and v35, Acts 12:22 Herod, 28:6 Paul and others have 'god', and rightly so. v33 is exactly the same, yet irrationally, gets 'God'.

They totally misunderstood what he was saying - in fact they had a veil over them according to God's plan.

But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. 15 But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts; 16 but whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 2 Cor 3:14

He told them they were not his sheep - he was (in their view) not their Lord and Master, not their teacher or guide - certainly not the one sent from God they had been waiting millennia for.

They were unable - or unwilling, to recognise who he was. He said he was the son of God and justified this claim by quoting other references of the same concept. He said he did the works of his Father - believe on the works v38

  • believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.

How we might then side with the Jews and their desperate claims of blasphemy is bewildering if only to support a dogma of Jesus being God, when the text and words of Jesus and his apostles never say anything of the kind.

The same de-contextualised verses (a few listed below) are typically used to support a Jesus being God idea, but when read in context they say the opposite. Jesus, a man only who was born of Mary, the word of God become flesh, tempted, died, raised, exalted, made heir, Lord and Messiah, and given all authority under God - sitting at God's right hand.

  • John 10:30 I and the Father are one.
  • Heb 1:8 Your throne, O God, endures forever
  • John 8:58 Before Abraham was, I am.
  • John 1:1-3 in the beginning was the logos
  • John 1:18 only begotten God

Is it grammar that is primarily driving the typical translation of John 10:33 which renders the Jews' statement as 'God' instead of 'god', or are background theological views driving the translation?

So the dogma and theology of Jesus being God has introduced interpretations, alterations and additions to the text to support this construct - the most infamous being 1 John 5:7.

Capitalising 'god' when it suits is just one method of advancing a threeology not of, or intended by, the original text.

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  • I was aware of Acts 28:6, which seems to have the same grammatical construction but a different typical translation, but not Acts 12:22, which is a bit different but seems analogous. These passages seem key to this argument, as they seem to show that the text in John 10:33 is ambiguous and requires contextual interpretation. +1 Apr 7 at 16:14
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    @user48152 I have to take issue with you saying, "Context shows the Jews had no idea what was going on, who Jesus was, or what he was doing!" In my post I made this statement! "What did Jesus say that caused the Jews to accuse Him of blasphemy?" My question to you is, "If the Jews had no idea of what was going on, (your words), why at the trial did they bring up Leviticus 24:16, the issue of blasphemy? I also said in my post that the Jews accused Jesus of working with Beelzebul. Luke 11:14-23. Please read: rsc.byu.edu/celebrating-easter/…
    – Mr. Bond
    Apr 7 at 21:11
  • Simply bc they were so focussed on the law, they missed Jesus’ teaching that pointed to the way of grace. ‘I am the way’ he said, and they still thought the law was everything. Naturally, they used the law in attempt to justify their actions and attitudes as ‘children of the devil’. (Skimmed the article, if they say Jesus is creator then they have made grievous error and poor understanding thus results)
    – steveowen
    Apr 7 at 22:08
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    Another verse with very related content is John 5:18. This is not directly quoted from the opponents of Jesus but it is John's (inspired) insertion of their reasoning: Jesus' claim to be the Son of God was equal to His claiming equality with God. The adjective ιδιος indicates one's own or private rather than general or public. They understood Jesus to be claiming that God was his own Father personally rather than including himself as one of many. This would have been an excellent opportunity for the Gospel writer to indicate that the opponents understood Jesus' claim wrongly. Apr 13 at 11:38
  • It does seem to be the natural way to be ambiguous in important matters - things are indeed kept hidden in full view from most and revealed to 'babes' only. We simply need to affirm our initial understanding with all other texts to see if it has merit or not. The term 'equal' has many variables - equal in what way, is left for the reader to decide exegetically (hopefully) Jesus was equal to God in some ways - but this does not make him God - being an image of God or having the form of God doesn't either.
    – steveowen
    Apr 13 at 11:55
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This is definitely a grammatical problem and is subtle. The matter at hand in John 10:33 is what Daniel B Wallace in "Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics" (GGBB) calls "Qualitative Predicate Nominatives. Let is take some non-threatening examples.

In each of these case we will have two nouns in the nominative case connected or correlated by a verb

  • John 1:14 - ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο = "the word became flesh". Here we note that "word" is articular and "flesh" is not. Therefore, we cannot say, "The word became a flesh", nor can we say, The word became the flesh". This is NOT a convertible proposition because we cannot say, "the flesh became word". Thus, we have a statement of quality, "The word became flesh".
  • 1 John 4:8 - ὁ Θεὸς ἀγάπη ἐστίν = "God is love". Same qualitative construction as above - we cannot translate, "God is a love", nor, "God is the love". We have a statement of quality like, "the car is red".
  • Luke 23:6 - ὁ ἄνθρωπος Γαλιλαῖός ἐστιν = "the man is Galilean".

For more details, see GGBB pages 263-265.

In the case of John 10:33 we have:

ὅτι σὺ ἄνθρωπος ὢν ποιεῖς σεαυτὸν Θεόν = because you being human, make yourself to be God.

Jesus is claiming divine qualities. Contrast the construction in V34 -

ὅτι Ἐγὼ εἶπα Θεοί ἐστε = because I said, "gods [you] are".

Here the subject, "you" is implied only in the verb. Further, quality cannot be expressed in the plural form (gods) because we do not say something like, "the car is reds", but must say, "the car is red".

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  • Aha! Do you think a translation like "declare yourself to be godly," or perhaps "declare yourself to have divine qualities," would be a straightforward translation that is also true to the Greek then? Apr 6 at 21:48
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    @AnthonyBurg - That works in English but not in the Greek - the Greek uses a noun, not an adverb (which modifies a noun). Here the predicate noun expresses a quality of the subject, like, "the car is red", not "the car is red-like". "godly" expresses 9in English) the idea that the subject is like God but not necessarily of the quality or substance of God. Jesus said that He was of the same quality and substance of God.
    – Dottard
    Apr 6 at 21:54
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    Minor note: the σὺ in 10:33 is singular you and Θεόν agrees with it in the singular, while the ἐστε in 10:34 is plural you are and Θεοί agrees with it in the plural. I do not see a special God/god & Gods/gods distinction in the Greek, but just grammatical agreement
    – Henry
    Apr 7 at 8:30
  • Really interested in your take on this hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/58671/… Apr 7 at 16:26
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    @AnthonyBurg - I will see If I can provide an answer today.
    – Dottard
    Apr 7 at 20:31
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It is grammar or theology that causes translators to typically translate John 10:33 as “declare Yourself to be God” as opposed to “a god”?

The Emphatic Diaglott New Testament (1942) John 10:33

  1. Answered him the Jews saying: Concerning a good work not we stone thee, but concerning blasphemy, and that thou, a man being, makest thyself a god.

NWT John 10:33

The Jews answered him: “We are stoning you, not for a fine work, but for blasphemy;+ for you, although being a man, make yourself a god.

False charge of blasphemy.

Because of Jesus’ references to God as his Father, certain opposing Jews leveled the charge of blasphemy against him, saying, “You, although being a man, make yourself a god.” (Joh 10:33) Most translations here say “God The Emphatic Diaglott says “a god.” Support for the rendering “a god” is found principally in Jesus’ own answer, in which he quoted from Psalm 82:1-7. As can be seen, this text did not refer to persons as being called “God,” but “gods” and “sons of the Most High.”

https://classic.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2082%3A1-76&version=NASB;NET;NRSV;RSVCE;MOUNCE

According to the context, those whom God called “gods” and “sons of the Most High” in this psalm were Israelite judges who had been practicing injustice, requiring that God himself now judge ‘in the middle of such gods.’ (Ps 82:1-6, 8) Since Jehovah applied these terms to those men, Jesus was certainly guilty of no blasphemy in saying, “I am God’s Son.” Whereas the works of those judicial “gods” belied their being “sons of the Most High,” Jesus’ works consistently proved him to be in union, in harmonious accord and relationship, with his Father.​

John 10:34-38 (NABRE)

34 [a]Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods”’? 35 If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came, and scripture cannot be set aside, 36 can you say that the one whom the Father has consecrated[b] and sent into the world blasphemes because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37 If I do not perform my Father’s works, do not believe me; 38 but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may realize [and understand] that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”

From the Book Truth In Translation by Jason David BeDuhn

Quote:

Harner says that to an English-speaking reader, if "the" is used with these predicate nouns, the qualitative sense will be lost. . The use of "a" conveys that qualitative sense.

For example, in John 4:19 we must translate "You are a prophet" not " You are the prophet". In john 8:48 it is "You are a Samaritan", not "Your are the Samaritan".In John 9:24 the translation is "This man is a sinner", not "This man is the sinner".In john 1:26 it must be "He was a thief", not he was the thief". Notice that this is not the case of how we say things in English dictating the meaning of the GreeK, but a matter of choosing the English that best communicates what the Greek means. So, for example, in English, we say "You are a disciple of that man", or "you are the disciple of that man", but the Greek of John:28 uses the indefinite, and so should we. "The disciple" would an identification "a disciple" is a characterization, and that's what Harner means by the "qualitative" function of such expression.

Harner states that the anarthrous predicate noun before the verb cannot be definite in John 1:14, 2:9, 3:4, 3:6 (twice), 4:9, 6:63, 7:12, 8:31, 8:44 (twice), 8:48, 9:8, 9:24, 9;24-31,( 5 times) 10:1, 10:8, 10:33-34 (twice) 12:6, 12:36,18:26, 18:35. The very last verse in this long list is a good place for us to start exploring sentences structured like John 1:1c and the meaning they are meant to convey. The setting is Pilate's exchange with Jesus...........

Unquote;

Conclusion

In the Greek text, there are many cases of a singular anarthrous predicate noun preceding the verb, such as in Mr 6:49; 11:32; Joh 4:19; 6:70; 8:44; 9:17; 10:1, 13, 33; 12:6. In these places, translators insert the indefinite article “a” before the predicate noun in order to bring out the quality or characteristic of the subject. Since the indefinite article is inserted before the predicate noun in such texts, with equal justification the indefinite article “a” should be inserted before the anarthrous θεός in 10:33-34 (twice)

It is theological bias that causes translators to typically translate John 10:33 as “declare Yourself to be God” as opposed to “a god”. Support for the rendering “a god” is found principally in Jesus’ own answer, in which he quoted from Psalm 82:1-7

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  • I agree that the context seems to make more sense with something like 'a god'. Do you think the translation 'a god' is more a paraphrase than a literal translation - grammatically it isn't equivalent to the Greek, but it captures the basic thrust of the charge against Jesus better than the translation using 'God' nonetheless? Apr 6 at 23:21
  • Theological bias? 1) Since the concept of an indefinite article did not exist at the time or in the Greek, Aramaic, or Hebrew language, any insertion of an indefinite article is interpretive. 2) Interesting how on one side of this issue NWT and other similar argue for exclusive monotheism: there is only one God. Yet on this issue the same people who believe there is only one God, act as if "gods" was commonly accepted. Apr 7 at 3:26
  • (Romans 1:23 NASB) Paul says: "And they exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible mankind, of birds, four-footed animals, and [a]crawling creatures."Thus mythical gods existed then with the Romans ,Greeks, Egyptians, Babylonians, and others, and even to this day "gods" are commonly accepted by many none Christian people. So what? Apr 7 at 6:23
  • You should offer evidence that a concept which cannot be articulated because the language had no word to express it, is a reasonable translation. The simple linguistic fact is neither Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic had an indefinite article. Therefore all translations which have "God" are literal and all which have "a God/god" are interpretative. It doesn't mean the interpretation is wrong, but it is nonsense to say the literal one is based on theology and the interpretive one is grounded in the actual language. Apr 7 at 15:15
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    Revelation Lad: Appreciate your comments and have added evidence that the indefinite article "a" must be inserted as in all other similar cases with the same grammar and syntax. Apr 8 at 17:10
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It is definitely "theology/context." Before getting to John 10:33 "specifically," lets look at what happened before Jesus quoted Psalm 82:6.

So let me pose this question? What did Jesus say to cause the Jews to want to accuse Him of blasphemy resulting in His death on that cross?

John 5:16, "And for this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because (or why?) He was doing things on the Sabbath." He healed a man on the Sabbath and the Jews did not like it.

At John 5:17 Jesus says, "My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working." At John 5:18 the Jews "react" to what Jesus stated. "For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because (or why?) He not only was breaking the Sabbath but also was calling God His onw Father, MAKING HIMSELF EQUAL WITH GOD."

The Jews absolutely knew that Jesus was not saying He is "a god," no, but equal to THE God. Then at John 8:56 Jesus says, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw and was glad." John 8:57, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham."

John 8:58, "Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, "I am." How do the Jews react to what Jesus stated? "Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple." Here again, "What did Jesus say to tick off the Jews?" Did they understand Jesus to be stating He is "a god?"

The context before we get to John 10:33 is extremely important. At John 10:24 the Jews gather around Jesus. And they were saying to Him, "How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly."

John 10:25, "I told you and you do not believe; the works I do in My Fathers name, these bear witness of Me." Jesus says, "My sheep hear My voice and I give them eternal life etc. Vs29, "My Father who has given them to Me is greater than all; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand."

Now for John 10:30 that really ticks the Jews off. "I and the Father are one." John 10:31, "The Jews took up stones again to stone Him." The power of the Son is equal to that of the Father, although much more is implied with what Jesus stated. Yes, it's a given that Jesus and the Father are one in purpose as it relates to the sheep but the Jews understood Jesus meant much more.

At John 10:30 Jesus is asserting the essential unity of the Father and the Son in the word "one" (hen). It is a neuter number to indicate EQUALITY of essence, attributes, design, will, and work.

Jesus distinguishes the "I" from the "Father" and uses the plural verb "are" denoting "we are." Thus these words separate the persons within the Godhead, but "one" asserts their unity of essence or nature as identical. Remember, at vs24 the Jews asked Jesus to tell them plainly, who He was. John 10:30 is plain, He does not say "I am Christ," but "I and my Father are one"--God!

When Jesus ask the Jews vs32, "Why are you stoning Me?" The Jews say at vs33, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out God." Not "a god." Now Jesus brings up Psalm 82:6, why?

What Jesus is doing is taking the Jew's statement about Him blaspheming to its logical conclusion to show that they are being inconsistent. In effect, Jesus is saying, "If you say that I am blaspheming, you must also hold that God is blaspheming because He said to those by whom the word of God came, "ye are gods."

Jesus clearly draws a clear distinction (vs36) between Himself and those by whom the Word of God came when He says that He was sanctified and sent into the world by God.

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It is important to note that John 10:33 was spoken by Jesus' opponents (New International Version):

"We are not stoning you for any good work," they replied, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God."

God.
Θεόν (Theon)
Noun - Accusative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 2316: A deity, especially the supreme Divinity; figuratively, a magistrate; by Hebraism, very.

There is no definite article here. It is an anarthrous Greek noun. The accusers wanted to stress the notion of deity and not a particular god. According to the grammar and sementics, there is no need to translate Θεόν as "a god". Indeed, all 29 versions translate it as "God". No theological justification is necessary.

John 10:34

Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your Law, 'I have said you are "gods"'?

gods’?
Θεοί (Theoi)
Noun - Nominative Masculine Plural
Strong's Greek 2316: A deity, especially the supreme Divinity; figuratively, a magistrate; by Hebraism, very.

The original Greek is plural. The English is plural. No controversy in translation here.

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  • "According to the grammar and sementics, there is no need to translate Θεόν as "a god"." Can you say a bit more about this? No one is claiming it is necessary to translate it as 'a god'. The question is whether the decision to translate it one way or the other is primarily grammatical or theological. Apr 7 at 16:24
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    I answered that question as well.
    – Tony Chan
    Apr 7 at 16:58
1

The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” (John 10:33 ESV)
ἀπεκρίθησαν αὐτῷ οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι περὶ καλοῦ ἔργου οὐ λιθάζομέν σε ἀλλὰ περὶ βλασφημίας καὶ ὅτι σὺ ἄνθρωπος ὢν ποιεῖς σεαυτὸν θεόν

The Greek language of the period lacked an indefinite article. Translations which render the phrase "make yourself God" are conveying the literal text. Translations which render "a god" make two interpretations. They add an indefinite article and then they create a distinction between "god" and "God" by failing to capitalize the word, another aspect of language which did not exist at the time. That is to say, even if the people speaking intended their charge to be one which conveyed an indefinite θεόν, it would have been understood as "a God."1

Since the speakers were Jewish, the context demands other considerations. If a follower of Judaism believed Jesus was making Himself "a god," then He committed neither blasphemy or a crime worthy of death. The accusation which leads to the death penalty is specifically to blaspheme the name of the LORD (cf. Leviticus 24:16). Thus the Jewish context of "make yourself God" which constitutes blasphemy for which one is to be stoned, is understood to be, "make yourself YHVH, the God of Israel."

Acts
Two passages in Acts deserve consideration. One involves Paul on the island of Melita:

1 And when we were escaped, then we knew that the island was called Melita. 2 And the barbarians showed us no common kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us all, because of the present rain, and because of the cold. 3 But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out by reason of the heat, and fastened on his hand. 4 And when the barbarians saw the venomous creature hanging from his hand, they said one to another, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped from the sea, yet Justice hath not suffered to live. 5 Howbeit he shook off the creature into the fire, and took no harm. 6 But they expected that he would have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but when they were long in expectation and beheld nothing amiss came to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.
(Acts 28 ASV)

Translators universally interpret the Greek ἔλεγον αὐτὸν εἶναι θεόν to mean "said he was a god." The justification for this interpretation is based on understanding what the barbarians of Melita meant by "θεόν." They were not monotheistic and from their perspective, Paul was "a god" and probably not one of their gods, but a foreign god who had come to their island. The fundamental difference between Acts 28:6 and John 10:33, is who is speaking. A translator may rightly understand the barbarians of Melita as polytheistic and obviously are not declaring Paul to be "God" as that term is understood today. On the other hand, the Jewish people speaking to Jesus may rightly be understood as being monotheists and seek to obey God by stoning Jesus for blasphemy, as the text clearly states.

An earlier event in Acts is also relevant:

20 Now Herod was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, and they came to him with one accord, and having persuaded Blastus, the king's chamberlain, they asked for peace, because their country depended on the king's country for food. 21 On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. 22 And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” 23 Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last. (Acts 12 ESV)

As with the event in Melita, Θεοῦ is almost universally rendered as "a god." This, like the others, is an interpretation. Translator's may logically believe the people from Tyre and Sidon are not monotheists. They see these people exactly as those on Melita and so Θεοῦ is "a god." In this case, there is the added element: the translator recognizes Herod might be "a god" but is not "God."

However, that ignores the cultic practice of emperor worship and the divine punishment delivered, which indicate Herod accepted their praise to mean "God:"

And the people gave a shout, saying, The voice of God, and not of man. (GNV, RGT, WYC)

Herod was punished with death because He did not correct the people of Tyre and Sidon as Paul and Barnabas did in Lystra (cf. Acts 14:8-18). When Herod failed to give "God" (not "a god") the glory, the angel of the Lord struck him down.

Conclusion
In addition to the literal meaning, if the people thought Jesus was making Himself to be "a god" as that expression is understood by modern readers, then He was not violating the Law. Rather, only if the people believed He made Himself to be YHVH, the God of Israel, would He have committed the crime of blasphemy for which the people were required to execute Him by stoning.

Therefore, a translation which has make yourself God accurately renders the actual text in a way which is consistent with the context. Those which insert an indefinite article and fail to capitalize "God" reflect a translator's interpretation which is likely a result of a belief Jesus made no claim to be God and that He was not God.


1. If they were not speaking Greek the same issues still exist since neither Hebrew or Aramaic of the period had an indefinite article, or made use of capitalization.

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  • "The Greek language of that period lacked an indefinite article and so translations which render the phrase "make yourself God" are simply conveying the literal text" Can you say more about this, since it seems to be the key to your answer? When translating to a language with indefinite articles, doesn't the translator have to make his best guess as to whether the original Greek was intended to be definite or indefinite? Otherwise, it seems you're going to get a lot of weird translations. Apr 7 at 16:10
  • If you think they meant "a" God/god, then the period correct understanding would be "a" God/god of something. For example, if a one wanted rain, one would invoke the rain god. There is no ability to conceive of invoking "a" god for rain. If people believed in more than one god, the multiple gods were not "gods" in a generic sense; rather they were specific gods with specific characteristics or attributes . Hence it would be impossible to invoke "a" god of rain (for example) because the god of rain controlled that aspect or had that characteristic. Apr 7 at 17:18
  • In this context, wouldn't it be 'a' god as in Psalm 82? Apr 7 at 17:29
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    There is no indefinite article in Hebrew. The literal interpretation would be God/god. Apr 7 at 18:33
  • Interested in your views on this hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/58671/… Apr 7 at 18:44
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John 10.30 context is clear, Jesus said that he was one in purpose with the Father claiming to be the sent Messiah but the Jews didn't believe him.

The Jews deliberately accused Jesus of claiming to be God Almighty to see if he would bite; being the supposed devil's agent or a false crazy prophet, the Jews thought Jesus would acknowledge this false charge, but Jesus quotes scriptures 82 Psalms about the divine council if eloahim gods, the verse calls human beings divine gods, the sons of God that will die like ordinary men.

Jesus is using scriptures to counter their tricks, then denies he's claiming to be God by stating that he only claimed to be a son of God; even if he claimed to be one of those divine eloahim gods this isn't claiming to be God.

Jesus further states that how could they accuse him of this blasphemy when God purified him, then his superior God sent him on his mission according to Greek Grammar.

So Jesus totally denied this blasphemy of claiming to be God Almighty and even stated his actual claims of being a son of God, then explained his superior his God purified him like others then sent him on his mission, how Trinity Christians miss this actual context is because they are programmed by preaching to not see the actual context but to only see I and my Father are one.

They have no clue in John 17 that Jesus tells God that he prays that the Disciples will be one with you to the exact same degree as we are one, if Jesus was supposedly claiming to be one with God coequal as being God, then Jesus wished that the Disciples also would be one to the exact same degree as he; God are one ? more Gods in this supposed Trinity ? or was Jesus praying asking God that the Disciples also be one together with him and God in purpose ? Jesus was claiming to be one with God in purpose; not claiming to be equal with God because Jesus denied this false charge tricks by the Jews to expose his false claims of being the Messiah but Jesus was the Messiah but was rejected like previous prophets like Jeremiah who also was killed but now is accepted as a true prophet.

You study it yourself and you correct me if I am wrong.

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The entire context conditions and gives ground to the translators to render here "God" and not "a god", for Jews would not account as a blasphemy if Jesus Christ would have called himself "θεός" in the sense of Psalms 82:6, for those "gods" mentioned there are humans. In fact, the guilt of those humans, who hold the office of those who should exert judgement (kings or judges does not matter), according to the logic of this psalm, is that they do not acknowledge their divine dignity of being images and likenesses of God, and thus divine beings or "gods", and die as "humans", that is to say, seeing only an earthly, empirical dimension in themselves and not a divine dimension. It is only natural, because the justice of God, in which those kings or judges are to participate according to this Psalm, is not a human thing, but a divine thing, for justice comes from Heaven (Psalm 85:11).

Thus, Jesus acknowledges Himself this relative or participatory appellation of "gods" of those to whom the justice of God, or in Jesus' interpretation, "word of God" was revealed (John 10:35) and this would not be a cause for the rage of Jews.

However, with reference to Himself He claims the appellation of "God" in a completely different and scandalous way, with saying that to Him and to the Father the same honor befits (John 5:23), that it is not that "word of God", that is to say, "truth of God" came to Him, but that He Himself is Truth (John 14:6) and thus the Fountainhead, not a receiver of Truth, and many other such things, because of which Jews understood, and correctly so, that He, Jesus claimed the same status and dignity as God the Father.

Thus, "God" is not only a good and plausible translation, but "god" will be a wrong and pernicious translation that would damage - either unintentionally due to an ignorance, or intentionally due to an evil pseudo-theological intent - entirely the logic of the context and situation described in the Gospel of John.

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