Arianism is the nontrinitarian, heterodoxical teaching, first attributed to Arius (c. AD 250–336), a Christian presbyter in Alexandria, Egypt.

The only true God (John 17:3)

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    The only true God (John 17:3)

    Those who espouse the heretical teaching that the Lord Jesus is not God will often cite John 17:3 in support of their belief. I think it is important to take a closer look at this passage (as well as others that relate to it) in order to refute the notion that the Lord Jesus is not God.

    John 17:3
    This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (NASB)

    When the Lord Jesus said the only true God in John 17:3 He wasn't denying that He was God but was saying that the Father is the only true God in relation to false gods. The "true God" is always used in Scripture this way.
    2 Chronicles 15:3
    For many days Israel was without the true God and without a teaching priest and without law. (NASB)

    Jeremiah 10:10-11
    But the LORD is the true God;
    He is the living God and the everlasting King.
    At His wrath the earth quakes,
    And the nations cannot endure His indignation.
    Thus you shall say to them, “The gods that did not make the heavens and the earth will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.” (NASB)

    1 Thessalonians 1:9
    For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God (NASB)

    1 John 5:20-21
    And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.
    Little children, guard yourselves from idols. (NASB)

    The events surrounding John 17:3 were during the time that Judas was betraying the Lord Jesus. Whether it was for money, power or simply wanting to do it his own way besides what God wanted Judas became an idolater. He didn't really know the only "true God" in that he gave himself over to one or more of these idols.

    1. Frederick Danker: of God in contrast to other deities, who are not real J 17:3 (A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, alēthinos, page 43)
    2. NIDNTT: in Jn. 17:3, monos is linked with alethinos, true, in contrast to the deceptive appearance (pseudos) of all alleged gods and revealers (2:724, One, K.H. Bartels).
    3. Joseph Thayer: the one, true God, in contrast with the polytheism of the Gentiles (Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, ginōskō, page 117).
    4. R. C. Trench: But He is ἀληθινός (1 Thess. 1:9; John 17:3; Isai. 65:16; == ‘verus’), very God, as distinguished from idols and all other false gods, the dreams of the diseased fancy of man, with no substantial existence in the world of realities (alethes, alethinos, #8)
    Trench's New Testament Synonyms :: viii. ἀληθής, ἀληθινός.
    5. W. E. Vine: John 7:28 ; 17:3 ; 1 Thess. 1:9 ; Rev. 6:10 ; these declare that God fulfils the meaning of His Name, He is "very God," in distinction from all other gods, false gods (Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, True, page 1170).
    6. EDNT: In John 17:3 the Gospel writer interprets "eternal life" by having Jesus say, ἵνα γινώσκωσιν σὲ τὸν μόνον ἀληθινὸν θεὸν, "that they may know you, the only true God." Here Yahweh is implicitly contrasted with other deities (2:441, monos, J.A. Fitzmeyer)
    7. NIDOTTE: Asa demonstrated unquestionable religious zeal, even to the point of removing his own (grand)mother (cf. 1 Kgs 15:2, 10) Maacah from her place (15:3 ) - no easy feat, to be sure, given the idolatrous tendencies his father had (15:3) (4:413, Asa, Daniel Schibler).

    It is also worth noting that 'monos' (only) is also used in Jude 1:4. It reads:
    For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (NASB)
    The Greek word for 'Master' is despotēs and yet the Father is also referred to as such in Acts 4:24 (cf. 'Lord'). It reads:
    And when they heard this, they lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, “O Lord, it is You who MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA, AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM (NASB)
    This Greek word can be applied to people (1 Timothy 6:1) but for the Christian there is only one despotēs in heaven. The fact that it applies to both the Father and to the Son in equality demonstrates that the Lord Jesus is God.
    The NIDNTT reads, "Belief in the one, only and unique God (Matt. 23:9; Rom. 3:30; 1 Cor. 8:4, 6; Gal. 3:20; 1 Tim. 2:5; Jas. 2:19) is an established part of primitive Christian tradition" (2:73, God, J. Schneider). Jude 1:4 teaches that "the uniqueness of God can be applied without qualification to Jesus" (NIDNTT 2:725, One, K. H. Bartels). Unique is defined as “existing as the only one or as the sole example; single; solitary in type or characteristics” (Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary, page 1554) while qualification is defined as a “restriction” (ibid., page 1174).
    There is no restriction in that Christ shares in the “uniqueness” (singleness) of the “only one” God.

    Revelation 15:3-4
    And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations!
    Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.” (ESV).
    Revelation 15:4 teaches that "only" (monos) God is holy. The same Greek word for "holy" (ὅσιος) is used in Titus 1:8 as a noble quality of what people (overseers) are to aspire to so what Revelation 15:4 is teaching (based on the very next clause) is that only God is absolutely holy in that He alone is to be supremely worshiped. His absolute holiness forms the basis for this worship that is to be ascribed to Him. To render supreme worship to anyone/anything other than God is to ascribe the holiness that He "alone" has to someone/something else which is a direct assault on His name.
    The fact that the Father never receives a form of worship that is superior to the worship properly rendered unto the Lord Jesus demonstrates that the Lord Jesus is absolutely holy (God).

    Last edited by Faber; 09-28-2016, 04:53 AM.

    Well done. My initial thought when I started reading was to wonder about the word "only" because I knew that anyone advocating against Jesus=God would immediately counter with that. It was nice to see you adressed it and did so quite well!


      I think the words spoken by the Lord Jesus in the immediate context should also be noted.

      John 17:5
      Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. (NASB)

      1. TDNT: it is a sign of His unsuspended pre-existence (17:5 cf. 1:14) in which His self-awareness is seated (8:58) (7:253, sēmeion, Rengstorf).
      2. A. T. Robertson: It is small wonder that those who deny or reject the deity of Jesus Christ have trouble with the Johannine authorship of this book and with the genuineness of these words. But even Harnack admits that the words here and in John 17:24 are “undoubtedly the reflection of the certainty with which Jesus himself spoke” (What Is Christianity, Engl. Tr., p. 132). But Paul, as clearly as John, believes in the actual pre-existence and deity of Jesus Christ (Philemon 2:5-11).
      John 17 Commentary - Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament
      3. Peter Pett: It is difficult to overemphasise the importance of these words here. They remove all doubt about Jesus’ essential deity.
      John 17 Commentary - Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible


        In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, and the Word became flesh and dwelled among men.....

        IMO the only version of the bible is the 1611 kjv, anything else is a perversion.


          Why do you feel that way?
          The NASB from which I cited so often easily demonstrates that the Lord Jesus is God.

          In fact, the NASB demonstrates that the Lord Jesus is God even better than the KJV.
          Last edited by Faber; 10-03-2016, 05:00 PM.


            Originally posted by Faber View Post
            John 17:3
            This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (NASB)
            The information below pertains to those who espouse that the Lord Jesus was created before anything else (Jehovah's Witnesses as well as some Unitarians). It does not apply to groups that believe His existence did not begin until He was conceived in Mary's womb (Christadelphians and some other Unitarians).

            If those who deny the Lord Jesus is God insist that the word "only" must mean that only the Father is the only true God in contradistinction to the Son I would have them read the following two passages from the Old Testament:

            Job 9:8
            Who alone stretches out the heavens And tramples down the waves of the sea (NASB)

            Isaiah 44:24
            Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb,
            I, the LORD, am the maker of all things,
            Stretching out the heavens by Myself
            And spreading out the earth all alone (NASB)

            Taken together both passages teach that God "alone" created everything. In the footnote of Isaiah 44:24 it rhetorically asks "Who was with Me?"
            The obvious answer is "No one". God's work in creating everything was accomplished (absolutely) by Him alone.
            Isaiah 44 NASB - The Blessings of Israel - “But now - Bible Gateway
            Keil and Delitzsch: It was He who alone, without the co-operation of any other being, stretched out the heavens, who made the earth into a wide plain by Himself, i.e., so that it proceeded from Himself alone
            Isaiah 44 Commentary - Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament
            That the Jehovah's Witnesses teach that the Lord Jesus is another being (not God) they are in direct conflict with what Isaiah 44:24 (cf. Job 9:8) is teaching.
            From their 'Insight on the Scriptures' (see paragraph #6):
            Jehovah’s first creation was his “only-begotten Son” (Joh 3:16), “the beginning of the creation by God.” (Re 3:14) This one, “the firstborn of all creation,” was used by Jehovah in creating all other things, those in the heavens and those upon the earth, “the things visible and the things invisible.” (Col 1:15-17) (Creation, Volume 1)
            Creation — Watchtower ONLINE LIBRARY

            NIDNTT: Isa. 44:24: "I am the Lord, who made all things." This witness to the uniqueness and universality of God is fully aware of the first commandment and rejects every power that claims to have shared in God's work of creation. This is not contradicted by the claim that through Jesus Christ all things were made (1 Cor. 8:6), in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible (Col. 1:15f.). For as "God's image" Christ is God himself in his relationship with the world (1:95, All, F. Graber).


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