The Trinity Delusion: I TIMOTHY 3:16 "Great is the mystery of godliness. God was manifested in the flesh." KJV The Trinitarian Claim Trinitarians claim this verse identifies Yahshuah as "Elohim" because it says "Elohim was manifested in the flesh." Examination of the Evidence Modern translations do not read, "Elohim" at 1 Timothy 3:16. Trinitarians make this particular claim by quoting from the King James Version. Despite the fact that scholars agree that the KJV reading is a corruption, Trinitarians, even those who normally do not read the KJV, continue to cherry-pick this verse from the KJV. When the Christological controversies were occurring in the fourth century, we do not see even one solitary person making a reference to this passage as evidence for the deity of Christ. This undeniably proves it was unknown to them. If indeed 1 Timothy 3:16 really said "God was manifest in the flesh," we can most definitely be sure this passage would have most been brought forward as "Exhibit A." Yet, not one soul mentions it even though this passage more than any other would have supported the teaching that the incarnate Christ was "God." But the facts remain as they are and it was never mentioned once in the myriads of documentation that exist illustrating what was argued in these debates. There is a good reason that no one in the fourth century church ever mentioned the passage. The word "God" did not appear in 1 Timothy 3:16 until much later. It first appeared in manuscripts after Trinitarian dogma was fully developed and canonized and is an obvious later alteration. The oldest and best manuscripts do not have the word "God" (theos) in 1 Timothy 3:16 which is why modern Bible translations do not have the word "God" at 1 Timothy 3:16 either. 1. Contemporary Trinitarian Translation Scholars Now because this verse is known to be a scribal error, contemporary Trinitarian Greek scholars, who have access to numerous manuscripts, have not been able to perpetuate this error any longer into English translations, despite the passions of some who desire the word "God" to appear in this verse at the expense of truth. Let us look at some of the major translations of this passage and note how Trinitarian Greek scholars themselves acknowledged the scribal error: "He appeared in a body" (NIV) "He who was manifested in the flesh" (ASV) "He who was revealed in the flesh" (NASB) "He was manifested in the flesh" (RSV) "Which was manifested in the flesh" (Douey-Rheims) "Who was manifested in the flesh" (NAB)" Quite plainly, Trinitarian translation scholars are admitting this version of the verse is not authentic. One then wonders why Trinitarians so often continue to appeal to it. 2. Ho, Hos & Theos If we entertain all possibilities, the remote and the more certain, there are actually three possibilities in this text: ho ("which"), hos ("who"), and "theos ("God/deity"). The first two are attested in early manuscripts. Thus one must look elsewhere to find which one is the one Paul originally wrote. 3. One Small Pen Stroke We actually have a pretty likely idea how this corruption happened. Scribal copyists routinely used a contracted form of the Greek word for "God" called a "nomina sacra" that was used at a very early date in Christian history for sacred names. The Greek word for "God" is theos written in the Greek alphabet as qeoV, or QEOS. The copyist abbreviations correspondingly took the form qV, or QS, with an faint overscore line stroke over the abbreviation (see Figure 1). These strokes would often become quite faint in the copies. Now the Greek word for "who" is the word hos which is written in Greek as oV, or OS. Now notice the similarity between these two words QS, and OS, and also remember they were written by hand and would not be written so perfectly and distinctly as the typed letters on this page. With the exception of one penstroke, the Omicron (O) and Theta (Q) are nearly identical. It would be very easy to make a mistake here when copying from one manuscript to another and if that is what happened then it would be excusable. But it would also be very easy for an overzealous scribe to suppose he was doing God a favor and execute a forgery here by changing the manuscript and the handwritten O (Omicron) into a Q (Theta) with a stroke of his pen and thereby completely change the meaning of the verse. It would be also easy to change the word ho to theos by adding a stroke and an "s." And it would be far more difficult to do it the other way around without getting caught (removing the stroke). There is also evidence that ink may have bled through the other side of the media and made it appear to a copyist to read QS because the bleeding ink added what appeared to be a line where OS had been written. Whether or not it was an honest copying mistake or a forgery, it is very likely that the error was produced in this manner. 4. The Manuscript Evidence 5. Patristic Witness 6. The Internal Evidence a. The Greek Grammar The internal evidence also reveals the truth of the matter. First, the passage does not say "in the flesh" with a definite article but simply "in flesh." The word eusebias translated as "godliness" is difficult to translate into English with a word that exacts the Greek intention. The word "godliness" is a justified translation of the word and it is about as good as we can do with the selection of English words we have available. However, it does tend to overstranslate the Greek scope of the word. This is a common problem when translating from one language to another. The Greek word does not precisely mean what the English word "godly" tends to convey but it means something like reverent piety in a worshipful sense. The Greek words for "God" and "godliness" which are theos and eusebias are not related word cognates as they are in English. This can also tend to be misleading to English readers who might errantly conclude the word "godliness" in this passage is intended to correlate with the word "God". However, in Greek the word eusebias and theos do not bear that correlation. Also, in Greek the English words "who" and "which" are not really different words. There were also no sentence ending periods in the Greek text. If the word "which" is the proper rendering, the passage actually says in the Greek, "great is the mystery of godliness which was manifested in flesh, justified in spirit..." However, if the word "God" is used we have an abrubt break in the flow of the sentence, "great is the mystery of godliness. God was manifest in flesh, justified in spirit..." The rendering which uses the word "who" or "which" is much smoother and natural. Not only so, it is typical Pauline style to compose run-on sentences.