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Before we address the groundwork of defining the doctrine of the Trinity and the common Unitarian presuppositions of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims, and other Unitarian theists it is necessary to briefly address the common argument concerning the reliability of the New Testament, its preservation and inerrancy.  This will differ depending on the worldview of the unbeliever who is attacking the authority and preservation of the New Testament i.e. a Muslim is inconsistent to use Bart Erhman and other liberal scholars to attack the New Testament text and claim it is corrupted when the Quran affirms that the Injil is revealed by Allah and commands Christians to judge by what Allah has revealed therein (Surah 5:47).  James White gives a useful summary of a presuppositional response to liberal views attacking the inerrancy and authority of the New Testament: Myth, Allegory, and Parable: the Presuppositions of John Dominic Crossan

and the Jesus Seminar and Their Importance to Reformed Baptist Theology and Apologetics, Reformed Baptist Theological Review (3:1, January, 2006),

“Theories concerning the inter-relationship and dating of the hypothetical “Cross Gospel” and “Q,” together with Mark, Luke, Matthew, and John, are absolutely fundamental to Dr. Crossan’s position. And yet, those hypothetical conclusions are based on hypothetical reconstructions that are likewise based on presupposed concepts of divine consistency and of what could and could not happen in history and of what Jesus could and could not be like. When we examine the canonical texts without Dr. Crossan’s presuppositions, agreeing with their authors in allowing for the reality of divine activity and revelation, and leaving open the possibility that the texts might just partake of something outside the ordinary, we find a great deal of reason to view them in a completely different light, place them far closer to the events they narrate. And we also find them to be far more amenable to harmonization as one would naturally expect from multiple sources recording for us the words and deeds of Jesus. I assert that the presuppositions exercised by Dr. Crossan and the Jesus Seminar begin by precluding the viewpoint of Jesus espoused by the authors of the gospels themselves and believed by Christians down through the centuries. If you accept his starting place, the debate is over because no possible evidence could be presented in defense of the thesis[1].”

We must remember that there are no brute facts, all evidence is interpreted through one’s worldview, so the reliability of the New Testament is no different, we must challenge the presuppositions of the unbeliever, their basis for denying the inspiration and preservation of the New Testament.  Also as Paul clearly states in Romans 1:21 that the unbeliever’s suppression of the truth is a moral suppression not an intellectual suppression due to a lack of evidence,

“They reject His [Christ’s] claims on their lives, but since they wish to maintain some kind of connection to “Christianity,” they seek to modify Him [Christ] instead of openly rejecting His teachings and claims. It would be akin to a child who is in rebellion against his father: instead of saying “I refuse to do what my father says,” he says instead, “That man really isn’t my father; furthermore, he did not really tell me to clean up my room—that was a metaphor indicating that I should really play outside longer and no longer wash my hands before I eat.” No matter how much scholarly erudition one layers on top of rebellion, rebellion is still the act of a rebel[2]”.

Ultimately the position advocated by Dr. Crossan and others involved with the Jesus Seminar cannot come to any objective conclusion due to their subjective presuppositions.  They have to borrow from the Christian worldview to come to any objective conclusion concerning Christ, but then they reject all objective sources of authority (the OT & NT), relying on Gnostic gospels and other sources that are unreliable to hide their suppression of the truth and avoidance to submit to Christ’s lordship.

I want to give a brief overview of some key general Unitarian presuppositions because apart from directly addressing these presuppositions when you witness to a Unitarian you won’t make much progress in defending the biblical doctrine of the Trinity and Deity of Christ.  There are two major presuppositions that all Unitarians have in common.  The first is that a difference in function implies a difference in being, so based on this Unitarian presupposition if the Son cannot do everything that the Father does then he cannot be divine,

“That is, they [Unitarians] assume there cannot possibly be any differentiation in the persons of the Trinity without introducing an automatic inferiority on the part of those who do something “different” than the Father.  Any difference in function, they assume, results in an inferiority of nature.  To put it simply, they assume a Unitarian view of God (as opposed to the Trinitarian view), and assume that God could never do what He has revealed He has done in the work of redemption[3]”.

This also misses the mark in defining what the Trinitarian position is since the distinction is made in systematic theologies between the ontological Trinity, that all 3 persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are fully divine, they are fully God in their being/essence.  For example the Father predestines the atoning work of the Son, the Son atones for the sins of the elect as a propitiation, and the Holy Spirit convicts sinners of their sin and applies the benefits of redemption such as regenerating the hearts of sinners.  The different roles of each member does not in any way undermine their attributes or the fact that each person does not function in isolation from the other members of the Trinity i.e. creation is a triune act of God (Genesis 1:1-2, Colossians 1:13-17).

The second primary Unitarian presupposition is that their arguments are circular; they assume God is Unitarian and use that to attack the doctrine of the Trinity,

“When you dig past the rhetoric and really examine the best writings against the Christian confession of the Trinity and the deity of Christ, you find that these arguments are circular at their core.  They assume that Yahweh is uni-personal, or unitarian, and then use that assumption to attack and deny all evidence to the contrary[4]”. 

I’ll begin with the Gospel of Mark first since it is often assumed to have the lowest Christology out of the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke).  I’ll examine Jesus’ Title as Son of man and respond to the Unitarian abuse of Mark 13:32, that the Son doesn’t know the hour of the final judgment, therefore he cannot be divine.  The Messianic title, Son of Man goes back to the Messianic Prophecy in Daniel 7:13.  Development of the Son of Man messianic title in the OT & Intertestamental period is thoroughly document by Warfield, demonstrating that the NT use of Daniel 7:13 is not a novel interpretation of this messianic prophecy, but is in continuity with development in the OT and intertestamental period,

“Speaking of the conception embodied in the title ‘Son of Man’ by our Lord as reported in the Gospels, Charles (The Book of Enoch, pp. 312–317) argues that it included in it all the ideas suggested by the Servant of Jehovah of Isaiah, and therefore so far commends Bartlet’s construction (Expositor, Dec. 1892). Says Charles (p. 316): “This transformed conception of the Son of Man is thus permeated throughout by the Isaian conception of the Servant of Jehovah; but though the Enochic conception is fundamentally transformed, the transcendent claims underlying it are not for a moment forgotten.” If we may be permitted to find the preadumbration (foreshasowing) of the “transcendent” element of this conception, not in Enoch but in the O. T. representation of the Advent of Jehovah, Charles’ conception of the Messianic ideal of our Lord, for the expression of which He chose the term ‘Son of Man,’ seems to us generally just. It is—for whatever reason—essentially a synthesis of the three lines of prediction embodied in the Isaianic “Servant of Jehovah,” the Danielic “Son of Man,” and the general O. T. “Advent of Jehovah,” along with which the other lines of prophecy—such as those embodied in the “Davidic King”—also find their place[5]”.

The functions of the Son of Man in the Gospels also demonstrate that this title is not given to a mere human; it presupposes divinity to execute the economic functions associated with it.  In Mark 2 Jesus challenges the Pharisees and demonstrates his divinity by not only healing a paralytic, but also forgiving him of his sins (Mark 2:9-10), the Pharisees understood Jesus’ claim to be able to forgive sins as blasphemy because only God can forgive sins (Mark 2:7).  Another function of the Son of Man is judge of the world, in Mark 14:62, Mark records Christ’s claim to be both the Son of Man prophesied in Daniel 7:13, and the Lord at God’s right hand in Psalm 110, combining both Messianic prophesies, whereas the other synoptic Gospels either cite Daniel 7:13 or Psalm 110, but not both as Mark does.  Mark also records Jesus clearly quoting from Daniel 7:13 in Mark 13:26, another reference to the final judgment, where Christ presides as judge.  Mark also records in Mark 8:38 that whoever is ashamed of him at the final judgment will be condemned at the final judgment.  Last is the reference to the Son of man as Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28); Jesus is responding to the Pharisees who accuse his disciples of breaking the Sabbath for picking heads of grain on the Sabbath (Mark 2:23).  Jesus uses the example of David eating from the bread consecrated for the priests as he was fleeing from Saul (Mark 2:26 citing 1 Samuel 21:1).  Jesus responds not only confronting the Pharisees erroneous view of the Sabbath (mark 2:27), but also by declaring his lordship of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28).  The Sabbath was not merely an event where God rested after creating everything in the space of 7 days, but also encompasses God’s royal enthronement over creation, demonstrating his sovereign dominion over creation[6].

Mark 13:32 and its parallel passages in the synoptic Gospels are commonly cited by Unitarians to deny the deity of Christ.  Mark 13:32, “But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone[7]”.  The first important observation regarding this passage is the three distinct classes defined: man, angels, and God, but Jesus is placed above the angels, this at the outset would undermine the Muslim position since Jesus being a mere prophet could not be above the angels.  The Greek syntax in this passage also sets Jesus apart from the class of angels, so this cannot be a reference alluding to Jesus being the incarnation of Michael the archangel as Jehovah’s Witnesses affirm.  Robert Reymond and B.B. Warfield expand upon this view demonstrating how this passage affirms rather than denies the deity of Christ,

“Jesus speaks in this passage (verse 37; 25:31), which Danielic figure, as we have noted earlier, is supernatural, even divine in character; and third, coming as the phrase “not even the Son” does after the reference to angels, Jesus places himself, on an ascending scale of rank, above the angels of heaven, the highest of all created beings, who are significantly marked out here as supramundane (see Matthew’s “of heaven,” Mark’s “in heaven”). Clearly, he classifies himself with the Father rather than with the angelic class, inasmuch as elsewhere he represents himself as the Lord of the angels whose commands the angels obey (Matt 13:41, 49; 24:31; 25:31; see Heb 1:4–14)[8]”.

“In any possible interpretation of the passage, He separates Himself from the “angels in heaven” (note the enhancing definition of locality, carrying with it the sense of the exaltation of these angels above all that is earthly) as belonging to a different class from them, and that a superior class. To Jesus as He is reported, and presumably to Mark reporting Him, we see, Jesus “the Son” stands as definitely and as incomparably above the category of angels, the highest of God’s creatures, as to the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, whose argument may be taken as a commentary upon this passage (Heb 1:4, 2:8). Nor is this passage singular in Mark in exalting Jesus in dignity and authority above the angels. Already in the account of the temptation at the opening of His ministry we find the angels signalized as ministering to Him (1:13), and elsewhere they appear as His subordinates swelling His train (8:38) or His servants obeying His behests (13:27, “He shall send the angels”)[9]”.

When this passage is understood in its context and using the hermeneutical rule of letting scripture interpret scripture letting more clear statements interpret difficult statements in scripture related to the same teaching[10], it is clear that this passage cannot be understood to deny the deity of Christ, and Unitarians cannot consistently interpret this passage as denying the Deity of Christ with the clear testimony of the rest of scripture regarding Christ and his position above the angels and similar passages.  The second observation is that this passage affirms both natures of Christ, that he is in a class set apart from the angels, therefore Divine, but he also has a human nature, which is why the verse states that he does not know the hour, so this verse testifies to both natures of Christ and should not be understood as only referring to one of Christ’s natures,

“As in the case of the last category above, I would submit that we find Christ designating himself in terms of what he is as divine (“the Son” of “the Father”), but then what he predicates of himself, namely, ignorance as to the day and hour of his return in heavenly splendor, is true of him in terms of what he is as human, though it is not true of him in terms of what he is as divine. As the God-man, he is simultaneously omniscient as God (in company with the other persons of the Godhead) and ignorant of some things as man (in company with the other persons of the human race)[11]”.

I will briefly address John 1:1 since it is frequently misinterpreted by Unitarians, although I would recommend using other passages to defend the deity of Christ when witnessing to a Jehovah’s Witness since they already have a preprogrammed response to objections it is better to use other less commonly cited passages for the deity of Christ i.e. Romans 9:5, Philippians 2:6-11.  Out of necessity to properly interpret this passage I need to discuss some aspects of the Greek grammar of the passage, which I will transliterate, and leave the more technical elements in the footnotes[12].  The word logos, translated “word” has a significant OT background as in Psalm 33:6, “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host[13],” and in the Targums (Aramaic Jewish paraphrases of the OT) the word of Yahweh is used synonymously with Yahweh, this is no mere divine plane of God as Unitarians understand the logos to be.  The Greek word ēn translated as “was”, which occurs three times in John 1:1 is significant to the identity of the word because the tense of this verb, the imperfect, expresses continuous action in the past, as opposed to verse three where John uses the word egeneto “came into being” (John 1:3), a verb in the aorist to denote a point of origin, which John uses to describe everything that came into being through the Word, the Word is eternal unlike creation.  In the next clause John states that the word was pros ton theon “with God, literally face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12)[14]”.  This does not imply that John is advocating polytheism which he would reject given his monotheistic presuppositions (Deuteronomy 6:4-9), so John presupposes a plurality of divine persons not a plurality of divine beings.  The last crucial element for properly interpreting John 1:1 is the meaning of theos “God” in the third clause and the significance that it occurs without the definite article.  We cannot read our understanding of English grammar and translate this as the word was a god, as the New World Translation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses does revealing their ignorance of Greek.  The word theos without the article is used by John to describe the quality of the word[15].  Another point on identifying the indefinite theos is the fact that if someone insists that it should be translated “a god”, then the Father must be identified as “a god”, which no Unitarian would want to advocate, since John 1:6, 12, 13, and 18 use theos without the definite article.  Here is a chart to help explain the Greek grammar for John 1:1c:

The top column is a transliteration of the Greek (spelling the Greek with the English alphabet) with the corresponding English translation for each word and its grammatical relationship to the sentence i.e. Subject, verb, or direct object:

kai theos en ho logos
(and) (God-PN) (was-to be verb) (the word-S)

English Translation: And the Word was God

S = Subject; PN = Predicate Nominative, Direct Object of a to be verb i.e.

     I   am a student
(Subject) (Verb-to be)      (Predicate Nominative)

The Predicate nominative further describes the subject i.e. I am a student, employee, etc; student and employee give a description of the subject “I”.

A key passage to use when witnessing to Jehovah’s Witnesses from the Gospel of John is John 12:37-41.  To identify whose glory John is referring to in John 12:41, we need to briefly examine the OT citations, in verse 38 John is quoting from Isaiah 53:1, the Jews unbelief after seeing Jesus’ miracles is a fulfillment of Isaiah 53:1.  In John 12:40, John is citing from Isaiah 6:9-11, Isaiah’s Temple vision of Yahweh, so in verse 41, the “his glory” is referring to Christ who John identifies with the fulfillment of both passages from Isaiah.  This chart shows John 12:41 in Greek and an English Translation (1st top column) compared with the LXX of Isaiah 6:1 and an English translation (remaining two columns) to show the parallel between the two passages (the verb to see is highlighted in blue and the word for glory in red to show the parallels between the Greek and an English translation) [I inserted the color coded charts using the clipping tool, click on them to enlarge the image since wordpress wouldn’t let me copy and paste a color coded chart directly into a blog post]

John 12, Isaiah 6 chart
“You are My witnesses,” declares the Lord, “And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.[21]”Isaiah saw the glory of Yahweh in the temple, and John says that Isaiah saw the glory of Jesus, “If the apostles themselves did not hesitate to apply to the Lord Jesus such unique and distinctive passages that can only meaningfully be applied to deity, to the Lord Jesus, how can we fail to give Him the same honor in recognizing Him for who He truly is[20]”.

The last part of the Christology of the Gospel of John that is important to understand is the I AM statements of Jesus (John 8:58, 13:19, 18:5-6).  These statements go back to the book of Isaiah in passages such as Isaiah 43:10,

“I am he” is the translation of the Hebrew phrase: ‘ănī hū’, which the LXX translates as egō eimi (highlighted in blue in the chart below), the same statement used by Jesus in the I AM statements.  These I am statements occur throughout the Trial of the False Gods in Isaiah 40-45, and are directly used by Jesus claiming equality with Yahweh (Is. 43:25, 51:12, 52:6)[22].

I am, exodus 3,14, hebrew and greek

I am, Isaiah to John
“The vast majority of translators see, as do many commentators, that there is a clear differentiation being made here between the derivative existence of Abraham and the eternal existence of the Lord Christ.  Many scholars rightly point out the same contrasting verbs as seen in the prologue of John as well as the same kind of differentiation found in the Septuagint Greek rendering of Psalm 90:2.  They also recognize that the response of the Jews would be rather strong if it was simply a claim of preexistence.  The oft-repeated charge of blasphemy as found in John makes this clear.  Rather, the usage of a term used by God himself (as will be shown later) would be sufficient to bring the response of verse 59, where the Jews pick up stones so as to kill Him[33]”.James White explains the justification for translating John 8:58 as “before Abraham was, I am,” rather than “before Abraham was, I have been” as the New World Translation of Jehovah’s Witnesses translates this verse,

To show this comparison with John 1:1-3, which cannot be seen in English because the two Greek verbs are translated by the same English verb, to be, I have made this chart highlighting the two different verbs to show the difference in English of how Jesus is making a distinction between himself and Abraham ( I have highlighted the Greek verb eimi translated “to be” in Blue and its English equivalent, and the Greek verb ginomai typically translated “to be, become” in red and its English translation to show this distinction in John’s specific word choice)

John 1,1-3

John 12 & John 1

From the chart you can see that the Greek verb that is highlighted in blue is specifically used by John to distinguish the uncreated Word of God, the person of Christ (John 1:1-2), from the rest of creation (John 1:3), which is described using the red verb.  John uses this same distinction in John 8:58 using the red verb to describe Abraham’s finite existence contrasted with the use of the blue verb to describe Christ’s eternal existence.

[1] James R. White, “Myth, Allegory, and Parable: the Presuppositions of John Dominic Crossan

and the Jesus Seminar and Their Importance to Reformed Baptist Theology and Apologetics,” RBTR 3:1( January, 2006):169-170

[2] ibid, 172

[3] James White: the Forgotten Trinity, 67

[4] Ibid, 67

[5] Benjamin B. Warfield, The Lord of Glory: a Study of the Designations of Our Lord in the New Testament with Especial Reference to His Deity (New York: American Tract Society, 1907), 55

[6] “A corollary of the completion of work is the resting of the worker—that is another meaning of God’s Sabbath. The effortless fiat character of the work of the six days forestalls any misconception of the Creator as a wearied workman who must recoup his spent strength on the seventh day. (The highly anthropomorphic “was refreshed” of Exod 31:17 certainly does not intend to suggest otherwise, nor does “he rested” in Exod 20:11.) The Creator’s Sabbath rest is much more a matter of taking satisfaction and delight in his consummated building. So it is with the Wisdom-figure in the architectural delineation of creation in Proverbs 8 (see vv. 30f.).  But this rest of God may be more specifically understood as a royal kind of resting. The royal nature of the rest follows from the royal nature of the work. God created the heaven and the earth to be his cosmic palace and accordingly his resting is an occupying of his palace, a royal session. The dawning of the Sabbath witnesses a new enthronement of Elohim”.  Meredith G. Kline, Kingdom Prologue: Genesis Foundations for a Covenantal Worldview (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2006), 34; Kline expands on this motif citing other OT passages which develop this motif further i.e. Isaiah 61:1 cited in the NT by Acts 7:49 & Psalm 132.

[7] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Mk 13:32

[8] Robert L. Reymond, Jesus, Divine Messiah: The New and Old Testament Witness (Fearn, UK: Christian Focus Publications, 2003), 215–216

[9] Benjamin B. Warfield, The Lord of Glory: a Study of the Designations of Our Lord in the New Testament with Especial Reference to His Deity (New York: American Tract Society, 1907), 37; Warfield also references Meyer commenting on the Greek syntax of this passage for further support of his position, “Note,” says Meyer, “the climax—the angels, the Son, the Father.” A. J. Mason (Conditions of our Lord’s Life on Earth, 120), on the other hand, thinks “there is no express triple ascent, from men to angels, from angels to the Son”—but the οὐδὲ—οὐδέ is in a sort parenthetical: “None knoweth—no not the angels in heaven, nor yet the Son—except the Father.” “All the same,” he adds, “the sentence is a climax, and a pointed one. Our Lord does not say (what would have been good Greek) οὐδὲ οἱ ἄγγελοι οὔτε υἱός, as if the Son were in the same class of beings with the angels in heaven, only the highest of them. He says οὐδὲ—οὐδέ; as if to say, ‘You might suppose that the secret was only a secret from those on earth; but it is kept a secret even from those in heaven. You might suppose that the secret was only a secret for created beings, but it is a secret for the uncreated Son Himself. The Father alone knows it.’ ” Cf. Swete: “No one … not even … nor yet.” Dalman, Words, p. 194, arbitrarily supposes that the closing words, “nor the Son but the Father only,” may be an accretion, while Zeller (Z. für w. Th., 1865, p. 308), on the ground of this ascription to Christ of a superangelic nature wishes to assign Mark to the second century (see Meyer’s reply, Mk. and Lk., E. T., i, 205 note). From all which it is at least clear that the passage confessedly assigns a superhuman nature to Jesus.Ibid, 23

[10] analogia scripturae

[11] Robert L. Reymond, Jesus, Divine Messiah: The New and Old Testament Witness (Fearn, UK: Christian Focus Publications, 2003), 217–218

[12] James White has a useful blog article discussing John 1:1 that gives a useful overview of the passage: http://vintage.aomin.org/JOHN1_1.html

[13] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Ps 33:6

[14] “Jn 1.1: ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν (and the word was with God), where the translation which has been institutionalized, ‘with’, does not do full justice to this use of the preposition to mean face-to-face presence;1 cf. 1 Thess. 3.4; Mk 14.49; and 2 Cor. 5.8: μᾶλλον ἐκδημῆσαι ἐκ τοῦ σώματος καὶ ἐνδημῆσαι πρὸς τὸν κύριον (rather to be away from the body and to be at home with [standing before] the Lord).”  Stanley E. Porter, Idioms of the Greek New Testament (Sheffield: JSOT, 1999), 173; [1, See Harris, ‘Prepositions’, pp. 1204-1205]

[15] This is a predicate nominative construction, θεὸς is the predicate nominative of the verb ἦν describing the quality of ὁ λόγος, “There is a balance between the Word’s deity, which was already present in the beginning (ἐν ἀρχῇ … θεὸς ἦν [1:1], and his humanity, which was added later (σὰρξ ἐγένετο [1:14]). The grammatical structure of these two statements mirrors each other; both emphasize the nature of the Word, rather than his identity. But θεός was his nature from eternity (hence, εἰμί is used), while σάρξ was added at the incarnation (hence, γίνομαι is used).  Such an option does not at all impugn the deity of Christ. Rather, it stresses that, although the person of Christ is not the person of the Father, their essence is identical. Possible translations are as follows: “What God was, the Word was” (NEB), or “the Word was divine” (a modified Moffatt). In this second translation, “divine” is acceptable only if it is a term that can be applied only to true deity. However, in modern English, we use it with reference to angels, theologians, even a meal! Thus “divine” could be misleading in an English translation. The idea of a qualitative θεός here is that the Word had all the attributes and qualities that “the God” (of 1:1b) had. In other words, he shared the essence of the Father, though they differed in person. The construction the evangelist chose to express this idea was the most concise way he could have stated that the Word was God and yet was distinct from the Father31” Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 269; 31 “Although I believe that θεός in 1:1c is qualitative, I think the simplest and most straightforward translation is, “and the Word was God.” It may be better to clearly affirm the NT teaching of the deity of Christ and then explain that he is not the Father, than to sound ambiguous on his deity and explain that he is God but is not the Father”.  Ibid, 269

[16] Kurt Aland et al., Novum Testamentum Graece, 28th Edition (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2012), Jn 12:41

[17] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Jn 12:41

[18] Septuaginta: With Morphology, electronic ed. (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1979), Is 6:1

[19] Rick Brannan et al., eds., The Lexham English Septuagint (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012), Is 6:1

[20] James White, The Forgotten Trinity: Recovering the Heart of Christian Belief (MN: Bethany House Publishers, 1998),138

[21] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Is 43:10

[22] Technically Exodus 3:14 translated by the LXX does not support the I AM statements as commonly used, Ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ὤν “I am that I am” not ἐγώ εἰμι “I am” as in Isaiah 43:10 be careful on this point since some well read Jehovah’s Witnesses and Unitarians will be aware of this if you cite Exodus 3:14 as the basis for Jesus’ I AM statements.  Here is the argument presented in the Kingdom Interlinear Translation (Jehovah’s Witness interlinear Bible with the Greek Test and their New World Translation), “Further attempting to identify Jesus with Jehovah, some try to use Exodus 3:14 (LXX) which reads: Ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ὤν (E-go’ ei-mi ho on), which means “I am the Being,” or “I am the Existing One.”  This attempt cannot be sustained because the expression in Exodus 3:14 is different from the expression in John 8:58.  Throughout the Christian Greek Scriptures Jehovah and Jesus are never identified as being the same person”. The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures (PA; Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1985), 1146

In response to this objection it is better to see the I AM statements as developing through the OT beginning in Exodus 3:14 (especially since the Hebrew uses the verb hāyāh, which is equivalent to the Greek verb eimi both meaning  “to be”) and by examining the development of the I AM statements throughout the Old Testament, and importantly as it is most clearly testified by Isaiah demonstrates that there is sufficient basis to see John’s use of the I AM

[23] Biblia Hebraica Westmonasteriensis with Westminster Hebrew Morphology 4.18 (J. Alan Groves Center for Advanced Biblical Research, 2013), Ex 3:14

[24] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Ex 3:14.

[25] Septuaginta: With Morphology, electronic ed. (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1979), Ex 3:14

l Gk. Mōusēs

m Heb. reads, “I am who I am,” “I will be who I will be,” or even “I cause to be what I cause to be”

[26] Rick Brannan et al., eds., The Lexham English Septuagint (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012), Ex 3:14

[27] Biblia Hebraica Westmonasteriensis with Westminster Hebrew Morphology 4.18 (J. Alan Groves Center for Advanced Biblical Research, 2013), Is 43:25

[28] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Is 43:25

[29] Septuaginta: With Morphology, electronic ed. (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1979), Is 43:25

[30] Rick Brannan et al., eds., The Lexham English Septuagint (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012), Is 43:25

[31] Kurt Aland et al., Novum Testamentum Graece, 28th Edition (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2012), Jn 8:58

[32] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Jn 8:58

[33] James White, The Forgotten Trinity (MN: Bethany House Publishers, 1998), 97; Here is Wallace’s detailed exposition of John 8:58 and response to Jehovah’s Witness arguments:“The text reads: πρὶν Ἀβραὰμ γενέσθαι ἐγὼ εἰμί (“before Abraham was, I am”). On this text, Dennis Light wrote an article in defense of the New World Translation in the Bible Collector (July–December, 1971). In his article he discusses ἐγὼ εἰμί, which the New World Translation renders, “I have been.” Light defends this translation by saying, “The Greek verb eimi, literally present tense, must be viewed as a historical present, because of being preceded by the aorist infinitive clause referring to Abraham’s past” (p. 8). This argument has several flaws in it: (1) The fact that the present tense follows an aorist infinitive has nothing to do with how it should be rendered. In fact, historical presents are usually wedged in between aorist (or imperfect) indicatives, not infinitives. (2) If this is a historical present, it is apparently the only historical present in the NT that uses the equative verb εἰμί. The burden of proof, therefore, lies with one who sees εἰμί as ever being used as a historical present. (3) If this is a historical present, it is apparently the only historical present in the NT that is in other than the third person.47The translators of the New World Translation understand the implications of ἐγὼ εἰμί here, for in the footnote to this text in the NWT, they reveal their motive for seeing this as a historical present: “It is not the same as ὁ ὤν (ho ohń, meaning ‘The Being’ or ‘The I Am’) at Exodus 3:14, LXX.” In effect, this is a negative admission that if ἐγὼ εἰμί is not a historical present, then Jesus is here claiming to be the one who spoke to Moses at the burning bush, the I AM, the eternally existing One, Yahweh (cf. Exod 3:14 in the LXX, ἐγὼ εἰμι ὁ ὤν).”  Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 530–531.

47 (Footnote from Wallace quote above) “To be sure, εἰμί is sometimes considered to be a historical present as is the first person verb, but most reject these identifications in the passages suggested. (Cf. the treatments of this issue in R. L. Shive, “The Historical Present in the New Testament,” and D. B. Wallace, “John 5, 2 and the Date of the Fourth Gospel,” Bib 71 [1990] 177–205.) A proper syntactical approach must be based on legitimate, undisputed examples. Disputed examples must fit into the contours of such clear instances or be judged suspect. This is not to say that it is impossible for εἰμί to be a historical present in, say, John 8:58. But it is to say that the burden of proof rests with the one who makes such a claim. Unfortunately, a typical approach to grammar in such disputed passages is (a) to locate a category of usage that fits one’s preconceived views, and (b) to ignore the semantic situation of the category and to argue on the basis of context (which must be construed) and ingenuity. Context, of course, has its rather large place in exegesis—larger for the most part than grammar—but our contention is that grammar is often relegated to a mere pool of options” Ibid, 530