Was God Manifest in the Flesh?

1 Timothy 3:16
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

This scripture infers that Jesus is God. Although you could argue that even we should manifest God in our lives knowing full well we are not God. Regardless, this verse is certainly a verse that Trinitarians use as a proof verse, and to the untrained eye, people may well accept that Jesus is God based on this verse alone.

But is this all there is to this matter.

Apparently this verse is controversial because most other translations do not say “God was manifest in the flesh”, rather they say “He was manifest in the flesh”.

So what is going on here. Why does the KJV say ‘God’ and most other translations say ‘He’?

I found this explanation in Yahoo Answers and thought it would be helpful to share it.

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080728123800AALVzER

Thank you so much for this question. It is a very interesting one.

A few weeks ago, I inquired of a Greek translator who often posts on this site, asking him this very same thing. He kindly and carefully explained to me that, first off, one must understand the nomina sacra (sacred names). He explained that these are abbreviations, in early manuscripts, of certain names and titles. 

In ancient manuscripts 1 Timothy 3:16 had the word “os” which looks like: “OC” and means “he”. 

The nomina sacra of God looks like OC but it has a horizontal line through the middle of the O and a long horizontal line over both letters (as Abernathy, above, explained).

The Greek translator continues, and I quote: “In one old manuscript (Codex Alexandrinus) it seems to the nomina sacra, but an analysis of the manuscript demonstrated that the two horizontal lines were added centuries later. 

Many late manuscripts have the nomina sacra, but all manuscripts earlier than about 800AD have OC “He”

So “He was manifest in the flesh” is supported by all the most ancient manuscripts, “God was manifest in the flesh” has no attestation before 800 AD.”

End quote.

Hannah J Paul

 

This topic contains 231 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of NickHassan NickHassan 1 year, 4 months ago.

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  • #778284
    Profile photo of mstrainjr mstrainjr 
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    I just finished a debate on whether Jesus is Almighty God. I took the stance that he is not. My arguments come straight from the Bible, especially the Greek text, as I don’t rely solely on English translations.

    You can see the debate here:
    http://www.debate.org/debates/The-Bible-Does-NOT-say-that-Jesus-is-Almighty-God-in-the-flesh./1/

    #778285
    Profile photo of Admin Admin 
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    M. Strain Jr, would you like to sign up for this site. There is a forum where the Trinity has been hotly debated for years. The Forum is here:
    http://www.heavennet.net/forum/

    A Trinity Topic is here:
    http://www.heavennet.net/forums/topic/trinity-part2/

    Trinity Writing here:
    http://heavennet.net/writings/the-trinity-doctrine/

    And you can register here:
    http://heavennet.net/register/

    #778286
    Profile photo of mstrainjr mstrainjr 
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    Cool, thanks! I just registered, but I have a lot of reading to do here before I jump in.

    #778287
    Profile photo of Admin Admin 
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    Good stuff.

    I look forward to seeing what you can contribute to this topic. 🙂

    #778288
     Christian
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    The Codex Sinaiticus renders the verse to say “He”…

    …And yet Ignatius, a first century apostolic father references the verse to say “God”.

    Is there an explanation for this?

    #778289
    Profile photo of Admin Admin 
    Keymaster
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    I was not aware of this and will look into it. The oldest scripts, ‘The Dead Sea Scrolls’ do not have it and as you say neither does the The Codex Sinaiticus.

    If what you say is correct about Ignatius, it does open the possibility that if this was the view of Ignatius, he could have inspired a scribe to change later on. Then again it also opens up the small possibility that he quoted it correctly from some older source than we have today.

    Regardless, if God is in us, then is God manifest in the flesh? If so, then this verse doesn’t lend a hand to the Trinitarian view even if viewed in that way. Further, we are taught that God is not a man.

    #778578
    Profile photo of tigger2 tigger 
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    Christian:  The Codex Sinaiticus renders the verse to say “He”…

    …And yet Ignatius, a first century apostolic father references the verse to say “God”.

    Is there an explanation for this?

    ……………………………………

    Tigger: I can’t find it.  Please give epistle name and chapter number.

     

    #778627
    Profile photo of tigger2 tigger 
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    Whoever wrote that Ignatius used “God” in a quote of 1 Tim. 3:16 is, I believe, completely wrong.

    I would appreciate an answer to my question.

    Why is there no name or information for the person who made that comment?

    #778628
    Profile photo of terraricca terraricca 
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    1Ti 3:15 if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.
    1Ti 3:16 Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great:
    He appeared in a body(in the flesh),
    was vindicated by the Spirit,
    was seen by angels,
    was preached among the nations,
    was believed on in the world,
    was taken up in glory.

    Paul is talking about Christ not God his father , i still do not see why your question

    #778630
    Profile photo of kerwin kerwin 
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    To whomever it may concern,

    If you look at the underlying Koine Greek it does not even say “God” it actually who or which depending on what you think the topic of the sentence is. Perhaps in the manuscript the AV of the KJV and others are translated from it does say God. I do not know. I do know that those translators that translating from the one more commonly used today are assuming the word is correctly translated as who and believe that who is God. They also do not trust us laymen to find “the truth” for ourselves or to decide they are mistaken and find another “truth”.

    #778631
    Profile photo of kerwin kerwin 
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    To all that are concerned,

    Personally I believe the correct translation is “it” and that the “it” is the mystery of godliness.

    I agree that God manifest in the flesh through his Spirit.

    #778653
    Profile photo of terraricca terraricca 
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    Kerwin

    I do not going to argue long on this for what paul is talking about in his letter to timothy is all about Christ and our union with him ,and him with his father

    this is clearly describe in all of his letters so i have doughts that he would say it in any other way than the true way of the OT

    for every describe thaught can be explain in scriptures ,no need to fill in with our own dreams

    #778654
    Profile photo of terraricca terraricca 
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    tigger

    1 Tim 3;16 is totally right and true ,for all scriptures back those thaughts up

    #778715
    Profile photo of t8 t8 
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    Whoever wrote that Ignatius used “God” in a quote of 1 Tim. 3:16 is, I believe, completely wrong.

    I would appreciate an answer to my question.

    Why is there no name or information for the person who made that comment?

    @tigger

    Glad you researched this. And the reason that the person is not a member of the forum is because they originally made a comment on the site under a blog post. I am just finishing changing blog comments to posts in forum topics instead. It makes things much easier and I can use one topic for multiple blogs that are related. It helps keep related conversations in one place.

    #778716
    Profile photo of tigger2 tigger 
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    Thank you t8.

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