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Is God Capitalized?


Bible translations usually capitalize the word god, but in the Greek, these words are generic nouns, not proper terms as usually thought. 


The words christ, lord, and god were not capitalized in the Greek manuscripts (since they are not proper names).  In fact, these words normally indicate the office, or function, rather than a proper name.  Therefore, when they are used in their generic sense, they should not be capitalized.


So, how should one write about Jesus and God?  Current convention capitalizes the word god (God), and the word christ (Christ), plus all the pronouns and descriptive adjectives relating to them. 


We are well-aware of the current convention, and we have no wish to offend readers, nor make them uncomfortable.  And, we certainly intend no offense to the diety.  At the same time, we would like to be true to the scriptures as written.  So, should we capitalize, or not?


After wrestling with this issue, we have reached a compromise.  When the word "christ" is used as part of a person's title (ie. Jesus, the Christ, Christ Jesus), it will be capitalized.  We will also capitalize "christ" when the word is used as a stand-in for the person's name (i.e., when Paul used Christ as a shortened version for Jesus, the Christ, referring to the specific christ named Jesus).  We choose not to capitalize the pronouns and descriptive adjectives.


In a similar vein, Greek grammar also used the definite article when referring to the invisible god.  For some reason, the definite article has been carelessly omitted in English translations, as if it did not matter.  However, it matters very much if one is to correctly understand the scriptures.  We have explained this in various studies, especially in our book, The No-Name God.


Again, we have reached a compromise.  Throughout our various books and articles, we use two methods for  referring to the invisible creator god. In some studies, we use a capitalized God extensively.  In other studies, we rely more on a capitalized, italic expression, The God.  We sometimes use both expressions in the same study.  Again, we choose not to capitalize the pronouns and descriptive adjectives referring to The God.


We have followed this approach because we believe that the scriptures, if read as written, will reveal why these nouns were used as common, or generic, nouns and not as proper nouns, or names.  We hope this decision will not prove too offensive to the religious sensibilities of our readers.  It is certainly not our intent to offend anyone, but to help readers understand the true meaning of the scriptures.





October 2009