Is Jesus Deity?

Jesus possesses the things which belong to God Alone

Power to forgive sins

(Luke 5:21-24) "And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, "Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?" {22} But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered and said to them, "Why are you reasoning in your hearts? {23} "Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, 'Rise up and walk'? {24} "But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins"; He said to the man who was paralyzed, "I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.""

Note that his demonstration that he had the power to forgive sins was a statement that he had the power which belongs to deity alone, with the conclusion being that Jesus is himself deity.

Power to execute Judgment and grant Eternal Life

(John 5:25-26) ""Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. {26} "For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself,"

Acceptance of Worship

(Mat 28:8-9) "So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word. {9} And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, "Rejoice!" So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him."

(John 9:32) ""Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind." ... (John 9:35-37) "Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, "Do you believe in the Son of God?" {36} He answered and said, "Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?" {37} And Jesus said to him, "You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you."" {38} "Then he said, "Lord, I believe!" And he worshiped Him."

(Heb 1:6) "But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: "Let all the angels of God worship Him.""

Angels Refuse Worship, only God is to be Worshiped!

(Rev 22:9) "Then he said to me, "See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.""

(Rev 19:10) "And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.""

(Col 2:18 NKJV) "Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,"

Jesus Himself Said Only God is to be worshiped

(Mat 4:10) "Then Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.'""

This is conclusive. Jesus states that only God is to be worshiped by quoting the Old Testament scriptures, and yet Jesus himself accepts worship (Matthew 28:8,9; John 9:38)! The only logical conclusion is that Jesus is deity, just as is affirmed in John 1 ((John 1:1 NKJV) "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.").

Possesses the Holy Spirit

(John 16:13-15) ""However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. {14} "He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. {15} "All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you."

What about the Scriptures that speak of worshiping Jesus?

The greek word for worship is "proskuneo".

4352. proskuneo, pros-koo-neh'-o; from G4314 and a prob. der. of G2965 (mean. to kiss, like a dog licking his master's hand); to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (lit. or fig.) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore):--worship.

The NWT translators have translated every occurrence of "proskuneo" as "obeisance" when applied to Jesus, in accordance with their argument that Jesus is not deity.

Obeisance (from Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary) means "1. a gesture of respect or reverence, such as a bow or curtsy made by an inclination of the body or by bending the knee; also, homage; deference."

In "INSIGHT:obeisance", pg. 523, "the context must be considered to determine whether pro·sky·ne'o refers to obeisance solely in the form of deep respect or obeisance in the form of religious worship."

Consider the context of Matthew 14:33, where after walking on the water, which no man could do without the power of God, (Mat 14:33 KJV) "Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God." This "obeisance" came at the time of yet another proof that Jesus was "the Son of God". How did the Jews understand this phrase "the Son of God"? Consider:

(Mat 26:63-65 NKJV) "...Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!" {64} Jesus said to him, "It is as you said. ..." {65} Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, "He has spoken blasphemy!

The Jews understood this admission to be a statement of deity, as also when Jesus said that he and his Father were "one":

(John 10:30-33 NKJV) ""I and My Father are one." {31} Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. ... {33} The Jews answered Him, saying, "... for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.""

In light of the Jews' understanding of the meaning of the usage of "the Son of God", the context demands that "proskuneo" have the meaning beyond that of reverence that a man might show to another man, and therefore the appropriate meaning when applied to Jesus is "worship".

The same is also true for John 9:35-38 (KJV)

"Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? {36} He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? {37} And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. {38} And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him."

The evidence for "worship" being the correct translation is quite strong in Hebrews, and here the Watchtower argument is to say that although Jesus is receiving the worship, it is really directed to God, through Jesus. The following quotation is from "INSIGHT" (obeisance), pg. 524:

True, Psalm 97, which the apostle evidently quotes at Hebrews 1:6, refers to Jehovah God as the object of the 'bowing down,' and still this text was applied to Christ Jesus. (Ps 97:1, 7) However, the apostle previously had shown that the resurrected Christ is "the reflection of [God's] glory and the exact representation of his very being." (Heb 1:1-3) Hence, if what we understand as "worship" is apparently directed to the Son by angels, it is in reality being directed through him to Jehovah God, the Sovereign Ruler, "the One who made the heaven and the earth and sea and fountains of waters."

However, bowing down to another (who is not God) in the place of God has never been permitted. Angels refuse worship (Rev 19:10; 22:9), even though they are representatives of God. The Apostles refused worship (Acts 10:25-26), even though they were representatives of God.

Does Jesus Mislead the Crowds?

The Jews understood the implications of Jesus' statements as being a claim of deity and therefore on ocassion took up stones against him for blasphemy. If they merely misunderstood Jesus' claim, would not Jesus have corrected them? The failure of Jesus to correct them is either an affirmation that their understanding was correct, or a blatant misleading of the people. Dare any man lay this charge at the feet of God?

Jesus before the High Priest

(Mat 26:63-65 NKJV) "But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, "I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!" {64} Jesus said to him, "It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven." {65} Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, "He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy!"

On Solomon's Porch

(John 10:30-33 NKJV) ""I and My Father are one." {31} Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. {32} Jesus answered them, "Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?" {33} The Jews answered Him, saying, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.""

Jesus Speaking in the Temple

(John 8:57-59 NKJV) "Then the Jews said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" {58} Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM." {59} Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by."

What about the Greek Translation of John 1:1?

From the NWT (New World Translation), Appendix 6A:

These translations use such words as "a god," "divine" or "godlike" because the Greek word qeòV (the·os') is a singular predicate noun occurring before the verb and is not preceded by the definite article. This is an anarthrous the·os'. The God with whom the Word, or Logos, was originally is designated here by the Greek expression ó qeòV, that is, the·os' preceded by the definite article ho. This is an articular the·os'. Careful translators recognize that the articular construction of the noun points to an identity, a personality, whereas a singular anarthrous predicate noun preceding the verb points to a quality about someone.

From "A Manual Grammar Of The Greek New Testament":

'The use of the articular and anarthrous constructions of qeòV is highly instructive. A study of the uses of the term as given in Moulton and Geden's Concordance convinces one that without the article qeòV signifies divine essence, while with the article divine personality is chiefly in view.'

'The use of qeòV in Jn. 1:1 is a good example. PròV tòn qeón points to Christ's fellowship with the person of the Father; qeòV hn ò lónoV emphasizes Christ's participation in the essence of the divine nature. The former clearly applies to personality, while the latter applies to character. This distinction is in line with the general force of the article.'

F. F. Bruce's comments on this passage are valuable:

The structure of the third clause in verse 1, theos en ho logos, demands the translation "The Word was God." Since logos has the article preceding it, it is marked out as the subject. The fact that theos is the first word after the conjunction kai (and) shows that the main emphasis of the clause lies on it. Had theos as well as logos been preceded by the article the meaning would have been that the Word was completely identical with God, which is impossible if the Word was also "with God".

From (

The WT is basically correct here. Greek scholars H.E. Dana and Julias Mantey write, "... without the article theos signifies divine essence, while with the article divine personality is in view" (p.140).

However, the conclusion the WT reaches in light of this information is where the problem comes in, "So the text is not saying that the Word (Jesus) was the same as the God WITH WHOM he was, but, rather that the Word was godlike, divine, a god" (Reasoning, p.212; emphasis in original). But it must be asked, the same in what?

The WT is ignoring the distinction between "Person" and "essence." The Word is not the same PERSON as God the Father, but it does not then follow He is not of the same ESSENCE as Him.

Dana and Mantey state, "pros ton theos (with God) points to Christ's fellowship with the PERSON of the Father; theos en ton logos (the Word was God) emphasizes Christ's participation in the ESSENCE of the divine nature" (p.140).

Merrill C. Tenney comments further, "To say the absence of the article bespeaks of the non-absolute deity of the Word is sheer folly. There are many places in this Gospel where the anarthrous theos appears (e.g. 1:6,12,13,18), and not once is the implication that this is referring to just "a god" (p.30).

The NWT renders the first three anarthrous appearances of theos Tenney mentions as "God," and the last as "god" (no "a"). But if the WT were consistent in the application of its own Greek "rules" each of these should read, "a god."

Here are some quotes from other respected Greek Scholars: ( )

What the Scholars say about: "the Word was a god" John 1:1 (New World Translation)

  • Dr. Charles L. Feinberg of La Mirada, California: "I can assure you that the rendering which the Jehovah's Witnesses give John 1:1 is not held by any reputable Greek scholar."

  • Dr. James L. Boyer of Winona Lake, Indiana: "I have never heard of, or read of any Greek Scholar who would have agreed to the interpretation of this verse insisted upon by the Jehovah's Witnesses...I have never encountered one of them who had any knowledge of the Greek language."

  • Dr. J. R. Mantey (who is quoted on pages 1158-1159 of the Witnesses own Kingdom interlinear Translation): "A shocking mistranslation." "Obsolete and incorrect." "It is neither scholarly nor reasonable to translate John 1:1 'The Word was a god.'"

  • Dr. Bruce M. Metzger of Princeton (Professor of New Testament Language and Literature): "A frightful mistranslation." "Erroneous" and "pernicious" "reprehensible" "If the Jehovah's Witnesses take this translation seriously, they are polytheists."

  • Dr. F. F. Bruce of the University of Manchester, England: "Much is made by Arian amateur grammarians of the omission of the definite article with 'God' in the phrase 'And the Word was God.' Such an omission is common with nouns in a predicative construction...'a god' would be totally indefensible." [Barclay and Bruce are generally regarded as Great Britain's leading Greek scholars. Both have New Testament translations in print!]

  • Dr. B. F. Wescott (whose Greek text - not the English part - is used in the Kingdom Interlinear Translation): "The predicate (God) stands emphatically first, as in IV.24. It is necessarily without the article...No idea of inferiority of nature is suggested by the form of expression, which simply affirms the true deity of the the third clause 'the Word' is declared to be 'God' ans so included in the unity of the Godhead."

  • Dr. J. J. Griesbach (whose Greek text - not the English part - is used in the Emphatic Diaglott): "So numerous and clear are the arguments and testimonies of Scriptures in favor of the true Deity of Christ, that I can hardly imagine how, upon the admission of the Divine authority of Scripture, and with regard to fair rules of interpretation, this doctrine can by any man be called in doubt. Especially the passage, John 1:1-3, is so clear and so superior to all exception, that by no daring efforts of either commentators or critics can it be snatched out of the hands of the defenders of the truth."

For information on the translations quoted by the NWT Appendix see the section labeled "Fancy Footwork" at:

Barnes: 'There is no evidence that John intended to use the word God in an inferior sense. It is not "the Word was a God," or the Word was like God, but "the Word was God." He had just used the word God as evidently applying to Jehovah, the true God; and it is absurd to suppose that he would, in the same verse, and without any indication that he was using the word in an inferior sense, employ it to denote a being altogether inferior to the true God.'

Barnes: 'Yet, lest it should be supposed he was a different and inferior being -- a creature -- he affirms that he was God -- i.e., equal with the Father. This is the foundation of the doctrine of the Trinity: (1.) That the second person is in some sense distinct from the first. (2.) That he is intimately united with him in essence, so that there are not two or more Gods. (3.) That the second may be called by the same name, has the same attributes, performs the same works, and is entitled to the same honours with the first; and that therefore he is "the same in substance, and equal in power and glory," with God.'

However, it should be noted that with John 1:1 translated as "the Word was a god.", the translation would have the inspired scriptures acknowledging polytheism! For it plainly teaches that God alone is to be worshiped (Matt 4:10) and also (Exo 34:14 KJV) "For thou shalt worship no other god: ...", and also has Jesus accepting worship (Mat 28:9, John 9:38, Heb 1:6). However, if John 1:1 is taken just as given (and as all major translations throughout history have translated it), it agrees with what is confirmed elsewhere, that Jesus is deity (John 10:30) -- not a separate deity, but "one" with the Father. Three Divine Beings Constitute The Only God, i.e., "Godhead," Isa. 43:10; 45:5; 1 Cor. 8:5-6.

Verses Used to Argue Against the Deity of Christ

John 5:25-26

(John 5:26) ""For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself,"

Barnes: This evidently does not refer to the manner in which the Second Person of the Trinity exists; for the power and authority of which Christ here speaks is that which he exercises as Mediator. It is the power of raising the dead, and judging the world. In regard to his Divine nature, it is not affirmed here that it is in any manner derived. Nor does the fact that God is said to have given him this power prove that he was inferior in his nature, or that his existence was derived. For, (1) it has reference merely to office. As mediator, he may be said to have been appointed by the Father. (2) Appointment to office does not prove that the one who is appointed is inferior in nature to him who appoints him. ... ¶ To have life. That is, the right or authority of imparting life to others, whether dead in their graves or in their sins. ¶ In himself. There is much that is remarkable in this expression. It is in him as it is in God. He has the control of it, and can exercise it as he will. The prophets and apostles are never represented as having such power in themselves. They were dependent; they performed miracles in the name of God, and of Jesus Christ, Acts iii.6; iv. 30; xvi. 18. But Jesus did it by his own name, authority, and power. … None could do this but He who had the power of creation, equal in power to the Father; and the power of searching all hearts, equal in omniscience to God.

John 14:28

(John 14:28) ""You have heard Me say to you, 'I am going away and coming back to you.' If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, 'I am going to the Father,' for My Father is greater than I."

Barnes: ¶ For My Father is greater than I. The object of Jesus here is not to compare his own nature with that of the Father, but his condition. Ye would rejoice that I am to leave this state of suffering and humiliation , and resume that glory which I had with the Father before the world was. You ought to rejoice at my exaltation to bliss and glory with the Father. (Prof. Stuart.) The object of this expression is to console the disciples in view of his absence. … The discourse has no reference manifestly to the nature of Christ, and cannot therefore be adduced to prove that he is not Divine. Its whole connexion demands that we interpret it as relating solely to the imparting of the blessings connected with redemption, in which the Son is represented all along as having been sent, or given, and in this respect as sustaining a relation subordinate to the Father.


In Summary, the deity of Christ is attested to by the:

  • actions of Christ in that he affirmed that God alone was to be worshiped, and yet he accepted worship,
  • statements such as "before Abraham, I AM" which the Jews undeniably understood to be a claim to deity (and were not corrected),
  • confession of Jesus at trial (Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!" {64} Jesus said to him, "It is as you said."), which the Jews understood to be a claim to deity in that they called this blasphemy, and
  • witness of John ((John 1:1 NKJV) "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.")
  • testimony of Thomas:
    (John 20:27-28 NKJV) "Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing." {28} And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"" Notice that this statement of belief is addressed to Jesus (even in the NWT!).

The Implications

Accepting the witness of Jesus and his apostles, the implications lead to only two alternatives -- either his claim was True or False -- one of the two. If True, then any who deny the deity of Christ have denied Christ!

(1 John 2:22 NKJV) "Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son."

Any who teaches that Jesus was the Christ, but deny the teachings of Jesus by consequence affirm that Jesus is a teacher of false doctrine, and place blame at the feet of God who sent him.

If the teaching of Jesus was false, then again there are two alternatives -- either he was a deliberate liar, or a lunatic (i.e. one who was self-deceived and deluded).

-- David A. Duncan