“And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” (1 John 5:20, KJV)
1. Many Trinitarians claim that the final sentence in the verse, “This is the true God,” refers to Jesus Christ, since the closest noun to “This” is “Jesus Christ.” However, since God and Jesus are both referred to in the first sentence of the verse, the final sentence can refer to either one of them. The word “this,” which begins the last sentence, is houtos, and a study of it will show that the context, not the closest noun or pronoun, must determine to whom “this” is referring. The Bible provides examples of this, and a good one is in Acts 7:18 and 19 (KJV): “Till another king arose, which knew not Joseph. The same (houtos) dealt subtilly with our kindred ..., and evil entreated our fathers, so that they cast out their young children, to the end they might not live.” It is clear from this example that “the same” (houtos) cannot refer to Joseph, even though Joseph is the closest noun. It refers to the other king earlier in the verse, even though that evil king is not the closest noun.
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Author: John Lynn, John Schoenheit, Mark Graeser
Keywords: true god, Jesus true god, Trinity, Trinitarian, Trinitarianism, Trinitarian heresy, Trinitarian heresies, Jesus is not God, Three gods in one, Three gods, Triplural, Triplurality, Tri-plural, Tri plurality, Three in one, Triunity, Tri unity
Bible reference(s): 1 John 5:20
Source: One God & One Lord (Indianapolis: Christian Educational Services, 2003), pp. 473-4.
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