The Berean Expositor
Volume 30 - Page 102 of 179
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The Word was God (1: 1).
pp. 44 - 48
We now come to the third statement in John 1: 1:
"And the Word was God--Kai Theos en ho logos."
We have already seen that man, in his effort to find some explanation of the universe,
and some sort of mediator between things seen and unseen, got as far as giving that
mediating something the name of the Logos, though without realizing that the Logos was
a Person. We now come to the word Theos, the Greek equivalent for "God".
The following quotation from Dr. Bullinger's Greek Lexicon will give some idea of
the word's derivation:
"Theos, God.--A name reclaimed from the heathen, and used in the N.T. for the true
God. Various derivations, ancient and modern, have been proposed, but it is nearly
certain that its origin is from the East and comes from the Sanscrit root, DIU-S
(pronounced dyus), which means (1) masc.: fire, the sun, (2) fem.: a ray of light, day
(Hence Lat. Dies (fem. day), (3) neut.: the sky, heaven."
The translation of the Hebrew Scriptures known as the Septuagint, adopted the word
Theos as the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew Elohim but, with a few exceptions, the
singular Theos is used to translate the plural Elohim.
"The Talmudists themselves were so persuaded of a plurality expressed in the word
Elohim as to teach that the LXX interpreters did purposely change the notion . . . . . lest
Ptolemy Philadelphus should conclude that the Jews had a belief in polytheism" (Allix).
The N.T. follows the same procedure, and retains the singular Theos for the plural
Elohim. Both the LXX and the N.T. frequently use Theos for Jehovah, as for example in
Matt. 4: 4, which cites Deut. 8: 3.
It should be noted that all the best texts omit the word Theos in Mark 12: 32. Instead
of "There is but one God", the passage should read:
"There is but ONE (Jehovah, namely, which is the word used in Deut. 6: 4 but for
which the Greek language supplied no equivalent term), and there is none other but He"
We are thankful that we live in a day when revelation is complete, and we can see the
full truth as presented by the books of both Covenants. If we were shut up exclusively to
the Greek N.T. we might frame an argument as to the nature of the Godhead that would
stress the singular use of Theos. On the other hand, if we had only the Hebrew O.T. we