Sunday, August 27, 2017

Who Really is the Power of God?

We have been asked the question, evidently with thought of finding support for the trinity dogma, "Who really is the power of God in the Scriptures?"

The expression "power of God" appears in the World English Bible version 12 times. (Matthew 22:29; Mark 12:24; Luke 22:69; Acts 8:10; Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:18,24; 2:5; 2 Corinthians 6:7; 13:4; 2 Timothy 1:8; 1 Peter 1:5) It is used in various ways and applied variously as to how it is represented. It is most often applied as "it", not a "who". Of course, God's power is mentioned many other times in the Bible, but I have only presented the exact expression as it appears in English as "power of God."

Matthew 22:29 - But Jesus answered them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God."

Mark 12:24 Jesus answered them, “Isn’t this because you are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God?"

Here Jesus was speaking the Sadducees who tried to trick him regarding the resurrection. Jesus does not apply the expression "the power of God" as being a "who."

Some may claim that Jesus was speaking of himself as being the "power of God"; if this is so, then it would only mean that Jesus is the instrument of God's power, and it would further mean that he recognized God as being only one person. Such would harmonize with 1 Corinthians 8:6.

Luke 22:69 From now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.”

Here Jesus applies the expression "power of God", not as being a "who", but rather as related to his position relative to that power. Again, he does not represent "power of God" as being a "who." Additionally, it is obvious that Jesus believed "God" to be only one person, and that he was to sit at the right hand of power with that one person.

Acts 8:10 to whom they all listened, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is that great power of God.”

Here the people of Samaria are quoted and they do apply the expression "power of God" to a man: Simon the sorcerer. It should be obvious, however, that they were using the Greek form transliterated as "estin" (Strong's #1510)  -- is -- in the sense of representation.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the Good News of Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes; for the Jew first, and also for the Greek.

Paul here does not apply the expression to a "who" but to a "what", stating that the "Good News" is (Greek, transliterated, estin) the power of God, for a purpose, that is, for salvation. Again, it should be apparent that the Greek word "estin" is used in the sense of representation of God's power in what is being spoken of. It should also be obvious that Paul believed that "God" is only one person, and that "Christ" is the one anointed by that one person who is "God".

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are dying, but to us who are saved it is the power of God.

Here Paul again uses the Greek word transliterated a "estin" in representative sense. "It" refers to the "word", which in turn is referring Paul's preaching concerning the cross (not the instrument, but the act of crucifixion that took place on the instrument).

Again, one may claim that the Word here is Jesus, although it is highly unlikely that Paul meant this. Obviously, Paul is using the term "word" to signify the message of Christ's dying on the cross, not that Jesus is the word itself.

Additionally, it should also be noted that Paul is using the term "word" as being the instrument of God's power, not that it literally is God's power.

1 Corinthians 1:23-24 - but we preach Christ crucified; a stumbling block to Jews, and foolishness to Greeks, [24] but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.

1 Corinthians 1:23
heemeis de keerussomen christon estaurwmenon
1473_7 1161 2784 5547 4717
ioudaiois men skandalon ethnesin de mwrian
2453 3303 4625 1484 1161 3472

1 Corinthians 1:24
autois de tois kleetois ioudaiois te kai
0846_93 1161 3588 2822 2453 5037 2532
helleesin christon theou dunamin kai theou sophian
1672 5547 2316 1411 2532 2316 4678 -- Westcott & Hort Interlinear.

This is only place that one might consider a "who" as being referring to as the "power of God", although in the Greek it does not actually say that. Additionally, there is not a form of the Greek word "eimi" (is - Strong's 1510) in either 1 Corinthians 1:23 or 1 Corinthians 1:24, so translators add "is" where they believe it should be. Nevertheless, adding "is" into the verse in the way it appears in the World English (and many other translations) would be representative of the preaching of Christ, which is understood in verse 24 by what is said in verse 23. In other words, to those who believe, the preaching of Christ does not represent "foolishness" nor a "stumblingblock", but rather it represents the power of God and wisdom of God.

Again, it is obvious that Paul believed "God" to be one person, and that Christ is the one anointed by that one person who is God.

2 Corinthians 13:4 For he was crucified through weakness, yet he lives through the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we will live with him through the power of God toward you.

In this verse, Jesus is said to living through (out of) the power of God, and also the saints are spoken of living through (out of) the same power of God. In this verse Jesus is not spoken of as being the power of God, and certainly not as being "God", but rather Jesus' being alive is due to the power of God. Indeed, it should be very obvious here that Paul believed that "God" is one person, and that Jesus' life is dependent on the power of that one person who is God.

2 Timothy 1:7-9 World English Bible (WEB)

7 For God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control. 8 Therefore don’t be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner; but endure hardship for the Good News according to the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in [Strong's 1722, instrumental, "by means of"] Christ Jesus before times eternal.

Here we find salvation connected to the expression "power of God". "God" in this expression is referring not to Jesus, but rather to only one person: the God and Father of Jesus, since Jesus is distinguished from "God" in verse 9.

1 Peter 1:5 who by [instrumental Strong's #1722, by means of] the power of God are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Here Peter does not apply the expression "power of God" as "who" but simply refers to it as the instrument the saints use for protection through faith.

Of course, what we do not find in any of these verses (or anywhere else in the entire Bible) is any idea that God is more than one person, or that Jesus is a person of God; indeed, throughout these verses God is only one person.

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