I know it may seem a bit tired to go over this again (and it’s largely irrelevant these days), but I do think it’s interesting and, well, it’s my blog.
The common argument given from advocates from the NWT is that an anarthrous noun can be indefinite while an articulate noun is definite. Therefore, θεος is “a god” while an articular θεος is “the God” or a capital G “God”. This is why the now infamous John 1:1c is rendered by the NWT as “and the Word was a god.”
But how consistent are the translators on this point?
θεος occurs 12 times in John 1.
|Jn 1:1||Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.||In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.|
|Jn 1:2||οὗτος ἦν ἐν ἀρχῇ πρὸς τὸν θεόν.||This one was in the beginning with God.|
|Jn 1:6||Ἐγένετο ἄνθρωπος, ἀπεσταλμένος παρὰ θεοῦ, ὄνομα αὐτῷ Ἰωάννης·||There came a man who was sent as a representative of God; his name was John.|
|Jn. 1:12||ὅσοι δὲ ἔλαβον αὐτόν, ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς ἐξουσίαν τέκνα θεοῦ γενέσθαι, τοῖς πιστεύουσιν εἰς τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ,||However, to all who did receive him, he gave authority to become God’s children, because they were exercising faith in his name.|
|Jn 1:13||οἳ οὐκ ἐξ αἱμάτων οὐδὲ ἐκ θελήματος σαρκὸς οὐδὲ ἐκ θελήματος ἀνδρὸς ἀλλ᾽ ἐκ θεοῦ ἐγεννήθησαν.||And they were born, not from blood or from a fleshly will or from man’s will, but from God.|
|Jn 1:18||Θεὸν οὐδεὶς ἑώρακεν πώποτε· μονογενὴς θεὸς ὁ ὢν εἰς τὸν κόλπον τοῦ πατρὸς ἐκεῖνος ἐξηγήσατο.||No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten god who is at the Father’s side is the one who has explained Him.|
|Jn. 1:29||Τῇ ἐπαύριον βλέπει τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἐρχόμενον πρὸς αὐτὸν καὶ λέγει· ἴδε ὁ ἀμνὸς τοῦ θεοῦ ὁ αἴρων τὴν ἁμαρτίαν τοῦ κόσμου.||The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and he said: “See, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!|
|Jn. 1:34||κἀγὼ ἑώρακα καὶ μεμαρτύρηκα ὅτι οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ.||And I have seen it, and I have given witness that this one is the Son of God.”|
|Jn. 1:36||καὶ ἐμβλέψας τῷ Ἰησοῦ περιπατοῦντι λέγει· ἴδε ὁ ἀμνὸς τοῦ θεοῦ.||and as he looked at Jesus walking, he said: “See, the Lamb of God!”|
|Jn 1:49||ἀπεκρίθη αὐτῷ Ναθαναήλ· ῥαββί, σὺ εἶ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, σὺ βασιλεὺς εἶ τοῦ Ἰσραήλ.||Nathanael responded: “Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are King of Israel.”|
|Jn. 1:51||καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ· ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ὄψεσθε τὸν οὐρανὸν ἀνεῳγότα καὶ τοὺς ἀγγέλους τοῦ θεοῦ ἀναβαίνοντας καὶ καταβαίνοντας ἐπὶ τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου.||He then said to him: “Most truly I say to you men, you will see heaven opened up and the angels of God ascending and descending to the Son of man.”|
So, by my count, that’s 7 uses of an articular θεος and 6 uses of an anarthrous θεος. The only problem being that I count 11 “God” and two “god”. That means 4 of the 6 instances of θεος without the article are translated as “God” (in 1:1, 6, 12 13, 18). So the translation choice smells an awful lot like a theological pre-commitment as opposed to an adherence to a grammatical rule.