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The Trinity Delusion An exposť of the doctrine of the Trinity

Translation Trickery: Trinitarian Sleight of Hand

This is a running list. I have run across so much translation trickery over the years that I thought it was time to document them all. This page was created February 29, 2016. As these translation trickeries come to mind, they will be added to this page. There are many.


"Lord" vs "sir" or "master" or "lord"

Trinitarians like to suggest that if Jesus is "Lord" that means he is God. Observe that whenever the Greek word kyrios is used of Jesus, Trinitarian translators will provide you with the capitalized word "Lord." But whenever the exact same word is used of anyone else, they translate it as lower case "lord" or "sir," or "master." The reason for this translation discrepancy should be obvious to readers.

Begotten vs. Born

Trinitarians believe that Jesus was begotten before all ages. But they will never say he was born before all ages. Observe that whenever the Greek word gennaō is translated in reference to people in general, it is translated as "born." However, when this same Greek word is translated in reference to Jesus, it is typically translated as "begotten." The only real exception seems to be concerning the birth of baby Jesus. Trinitarians would like you to think Jesus was "begotten of God" but everyone else is "born of God" as if there is a difference of some kind. But there is no difference. Let the reader understand that "You must be begotten again" and "You must be born again" are both appropriate translations which mean exactly the same thing. Either English word is translating the exact same Greek word. It just wouldn't be convenient for Trintarian doctrine to say Jesus "born" before all ages or for people to notice that Christians are begotten of God just as Jesus was begotten of God.

Anointed [One] vs. Christ/Messiah

Trinitarians like to think of Christ Jesus as the only Christ who ever existed. However, this is not true. "Messiah" or "Christ" or "Anointed One" all mean exactly the same thing, no more, no less. The English word "Christ" is simply an anglicized form of Greek Christos and "Messiah" is simply an anglicized form of Hebrew Mashiach. All these words mean exactly the same thing: Anointed One. You Bible says that King David was God's Anointed One, God's Christos/Christ, God's Mashiach/Messiah. Even King Cyrus was called God's Christos/Christ, God's Mashiach/Messiah.

However notice what Trinitarian translators do to draw your attention away from this fact. Whenever the word Mashiach or Christos is used to refer to Jesus, you will see "Messiah" or "Christ" in your translations. But when the exact same word is used of anyone else, such as King David, you will see "Anointed One" in your Bible. The only exceptions are when they think the same verse might apply to both Jesus and David. Then you will see "Anointed One" used again. The reason why they are doing this should be obvious to the reader.

Verse Specific

John 10:33

Trinitarian translations typically have something like, "you being a man, make yourself God." However, if a Greek speaker wanted to say, "you being a man, make yourself a god," the Greek text is just how he would say it. And when we examine how Jesus responded to this charge, it is abundantly clear that he understood the Jews to mean, "you being a man, make yourself a god."

"Calling upon God" (Acts 7:59 KJV)

The KJV translation reads, "And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." KJV translators added the word "God" to the text. The Greek text simply doesn't say Stephen was calling upon God. The Greek text literally says Stephen was "calling upon and saying, 'Lord Jesus receive my spirit.'"

Morphē - "very nature" (Philippians 2:6)

The NIV translates this Greek word as "very nature." The idea here is to promote the Trinitarian doctrine that Jesus has a divine nature as if Paul had fourth century Trinitarian philosophy in mind. However, the best English word here is "form." There is no reason to suppose morphē refers to anyone's intrinsic nature. This Greek word refers to one's state or condition which is why the form of God is contrasted with the form of a servant. One is a noble state or condition and the other is a humble state or condition. In ancient Rome, the difference between a King and a slave was drastic and could be seen in the clothing they wore (a slave was required to wear a specified kind of clothing). To be in the morphē of a King involved the appearance of his royal majesty as well as his imperial authority and status over others. To be in the morphē of a servant involved the appearance of a servant as well as his subservience to the authority of others.

Paul is also here referring to the exalted and glorified state of the risen Jesus. God subjected all things to the risen and set him over all the works of His hands giving him all authority in heaven and earth. The risen man Jesus now sits on the throne of God (Rev 3:21; see 1 Chronicles 29:23). Paul then explains how Jesus came to be in this exalted state and why every knee will bow before him. He is equal to God in the sense that God has given Jesus the right to execute the authority of the throne of God, that is, he exercises his God's authority (this was also granted to David over the nation of Israel). Jesus did not regard a plunder to have this equality with God, that is, the form of God. Rather, he humbled himself to his God and was obedient to death. For that reason, God highly exalted him and seated Jesus at His right hand.

Harpagmos - various translations (Philippians 2:6)

The word harpagmos at Philippians 2:6 has been translated in a great variety of ways by Trinitarian translators:

ASV counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped
DRA thought it not robbery to be equal with God
ESV did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped
KJV thought it not robbery to be equal with God
NASB did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped
NET did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped
NIV did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage
NRSV did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited
RSV did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped

Let the reader clearly see the radical differences here. Some treat harpagmos as something which Christ already had but did not exploit (NIV, NRSV). Other translators treat harpagmos as something Christ did not have and did not grasp at (ASV, ESV, NASB, NET, RSV). The KJV and DRA translates harpagmos as "robbery" and their interpretors have Christ not supposing it would be robbery to be equal to God. Why would God ever suppose it would be robbery to be equal to God? It should be obvious to anyone that these translators are struggling to comprehend what Paul is talking about here. The NIV and NRSV are perhaps the worst perpetrators since they are implicitly defining harpagmos as something Jesus already has which he did not exploit. However, there is no reason whatsoever to interpret this Greek word in such a manner.

The Greek word harpagmos refers to something snatched or seized for one's self. It commonly refers to a booty or a plunder, a prize taken for one's self as the outcome of a victory. It comes from the Greek word harpazō, to snatch up, seize. Very obviously, Paul is telling us that Jesus did not regard a plunder to be equal to God. He is telling us what Jesus did not do. Jesus did not have his eyes upon equality with God as if it were something to be plundered. Rather, Paul tells us, he humbled himself to his God and served his God as positionally higher than himself and for that reason God highly exalted him. Jesus was not exalted because he plundered an exalted status for himself; God exalted him for his humility. Paul's point is that Jesus never attempted to exalt himself to equality with God but humbled himself. Rather than having his eyes on an exalted status as if it were some kind of thing to plunder, he humbled himself. And that is precisely what Jesus himself taught, "He who exalts himself will be humbled but he who humbles himself will be exalted." (Luke 14:11).

"OVER" - "firstborn over all creation" (Colossians 1:15)

The Greek text simply does not say Jesus is the firstborn "over" all creation. Trinitarian translators are here trying to give Paul's words a spin to work for their own theology. The Greek text says he is the firstborn OF all creation. What Paul intends here is made clear in verse 18 where he refers to Jesus as the "firstborn out of the dead." See Acts 13:30-33; Hebrews 1:4-5; Revelation 1:5. The reference is to the risen Jesus who is the image of the invisible God, "life-giving Spirit" (1 Corinthians 15:45; see also 2 Corinthians 3:17-4:4). In the risen Christ all things are created anew, that is, in the firstborn of all creation, the firstborn out of the dead.

En - "by Him" (Colossians 1:16)

Several Trinitarian based translations have "by him" at Colossians 1:16. The translation "by Him" makes it sound like Jesus is the Creator. However, the Greek word en simply means "in." The expression "in him" is typical Pauline language to describe our position in the risen Christ. There simply is no excuse for translating this typical Pauline expression as "by him" in this verse but "in him" everywhere else Paul uses the term. Note: In their most recent edition, the NIV has changed their translation from "by Him" to "in Him."

Ginomai - "He might come to have" (Colossians 1:18)

Translations similar to the above are found in several Trinitarian based translations. However, this is not what the Greek text actually says. The Greek word in question is not the word "to have" but the word ginomai, "to be." The Greek text literally says, "that he might come to be pre-eminent in all things," or "that he might become pre-eminent in all things." Now let the reader understand that Trinitarians want verse 16 to refer to Jesus as the Creator. But it just isn't going to sound very good for verse 18 to say the Creator became pre-eminent over his own creation is it? Again, it should be obvious to the reader why translators are doing this.

Hebrews 1:2 - through whom he made the /world/universe

Several translaters attempt make it sound like God created the heavens and earth through the Son in this verse (i.e. Genesis act of creation). However, the Greek text actually says, "through whom He made the aions." Aions refer to the ages and their reality and this verse is referring to the risen and glorified Son who had made purification of sins and had sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High (v.3-4). The reference is to the aions God makes in the risen son, the "coming ages."

Hebrews 2:7 - a little while lower than the angels

Although Psalm 8:5 is clearly referring to position rather than time, and their own translations reflect that fact, Trinitarian translators slip in the word "while" at Hebrews 2:7 to make is sound like their pre-existent Son came to be temporarily lower than the angels - "for a little while."

Legei - "He says" (Hebrews 1:6,7)

At Hebrews 1:6-7, Trinitarian translations will typically have "HE says" leading the reader to suppose God Himself is saying these words. And because they have "HE says," at Hebrews 1:6-7, some translations, such as the NIV, will go even further and add "He says" to Hebrews 1:8 (which is not in the Greek text). The NIV doesn't even stop there and adds "He also says" to Hebrews 1:10 (which is also not in the Greek text).

But when you actually check the facts, their error is obvious. The Hebrews writer quotes four different Psalms between Hebrews 1:6 and 1:12. If you turn back the pages and actually check all four of these Psalms, you will discover that God is not the speaker in any of them.* It is the Psalmist who is the speaker in all of them. Yet these translations make is appear that God is the speaker of all four of these Psalms.

The Greek word legei is translated as "he says," and "she says" and "it says" in the New Testament. It was used by New Testament writers to refer to what a woman says, what Scripture says and what the Law says. It doesn't necessarily mean "HE says." Here it is obvious that the Hebrews writer is not referring to what God says but to what Scripture says, or at the very least, what the Psalmist says. We know this for certain since God is not the one speaking these words in these Psalms. And God isn't the one speaking the words at John 7:20; 8:48 either. The Bible has many speakers. In the four Psalms quoted at Hebrews 1:6-12, God is not the speaker in any of them. Yet Trinitarian translations attempt to make it appear that God was the speaker in all of them.

*Some believe that Hebrews 1:7 is quoting Deuteronomy 32:43 LXX and not Psalm 104:4. However, it makes no difference. The very same situation applies there as well. God is not the speaker; Moses is the speaker.

Created: February 29, 2016
Last Revision/Update: May 11, 2016