Last Update: September 30, 2006

John 17:3 - Who is The Only True God?


I have recently has a Jehovah's Witness put forward the following challenge:
"(John 17:1-3) 17 Jesus spoke these things, and, raising his eyes to heaven, he said: “Father, the 
hour has come; glorify your son, that your son may glorify you, 2 according as you have given him 
authority over all flesh, that, as regards the whole [number] whom you have given him, he may 
give them everlasting life. 3 This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only 
true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ. 

Most translations here use the expression “the only true God” with reference to the Father. NE 
reads“who alone art truly God.” He cannot be “the only true God,” the one “who alone [is] truly 
God,” if there are two others who are God to the same degree as he is, can he? Any others referred 
to as “gods” must be either false or merely a reflection of the true God.

If the Trinity were true, it should be clearly and consistently presented in the Bible. Why? Because, 
as the apostles affirmed, the Bible is God’s revelation of himself to mankind. And since we need to 
know God to worship him acceptably, the Bible should be clear in telling us just who he is." (4)
First, the Bible is very clear in telling us who Jesus is and that He is God.  I cannot imagine any doctrine 
more clearly presented in scripture. To repeat the details would make this a very long document, thus 
for the purposes of keeping this document short, I will simply recommend that the reader check out these 
documents which provide consider information and references from scripture which show without any 
possibility of doubt, that Jesus is God.
1) Is Jesus God? by Tom Smith
2) Is Jesus God? by Larry Mitchell
3) Who is Jesus? by Tom Smith
4) The Trinity by Larry Mitchell
These documents are not exhaustive on the evidence for the deity of Jesus. Indeed, the evidence is so 
overwhelming from Genesis through to Revelation that I doubt that anyone in their lifetime to write
a book which could exhaustively document the evidence for the deity of Jesus from scripture alone.
Now to the verse mentioned in this quote - let's look at what John 17:1-3 has to say.
John 17:1-4
17:1 Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: "Father, the hour has come. 
Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2 as You have given Him authority over all 
flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 3 And this is eternal life, 
that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 
Interestingly, the person who posted this message did not carry on to the next two verses, which read:
John 17:4-5
4 I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. 5 And 
now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the 
world was.
Note that Jesus and the Father shared the same glory together before the world began. Jesus is therefore 
not, as the Watchtower Society claims, a created being. Indeed, it was Jesus who created everything that is:
Col 1:16-18
16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, 
whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and 
for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 
John 17:3 says that God is the only true God. This raises a question. The Watchtower Society translates 
John 1:1 as follows:
"In [the] Beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god" (1)
If God the Father is the only true God, and Jesus is a god, then the Jehovah's witnesses have a bit of a 
quandry. Is Jesus there a false god? There interpretation of these verses are contradictory. On the other 
hand, scripture is clear that God is a trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Here we have no problem in 
saying that there is one true God, and that  Jesus is God.
Scripture is clear.
(1) New Word Translation (NWT), Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, 1961
(2) Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by Permission. All rights 
(3) Reasoning from the Scripture with the Jehovah Witnesses, Ron Rhodes, Harvest House Publishers, 1993
(4) Message from "hOPE12"on, Christianity Board, Sept 30, 2006. Note: The exact name of the person is not know due to
the option of anonymity on this site and the person has chosen to keep their identity hidden.		
  • Additional Resources


    Questions for Jehovah's Witnesses who Love the Truth

    This book was written by a man and his wife who were formerly devoted Jehovah's Witnesses. He worked at the Watchtower headquarters. Over time, there were some questions that began to trouble him, and it was these questions which eventually caused him to accept the truth and leave the Watchtower Society. In this book, he put forward the questions which caused him to leave, along with photocopies of the evidence which demonstrates that what he says is true, and completes the picture with answers to those questions. This is an excellent book to provide to a Jehovah's Witnesses who loves truth and is willing to investigate the facts.


    Reasoning from the Scriptures Jehovah's Witnesses

    For those who have had to deal with the knock on the door and were not sure what it is that Jehovah's Witnesses actually believe and how to refute them, this book will be a major help in not only clearly refuting the false teachings but also in witnessing to the truth of gospel found in scripture.

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