: What do you make of Matthew 1:23:
: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him "Immanuel" which means "God with us". Here clearly being spoken of Jesus is says "God with us" 'God' being 'Ho Theos' in the Greek. Literally "With us THE GOD".
As usual, things are not as straightforward as they might seem. My NIV Study Bible cross references Matthew 1:23 to Isaiah 7:14; 8:8, 10. Let's see how the translation is done in the NIV, the Septuagint, and several other references. The references and my abbreviations are:
The NIV Interlinear Hebrew-English Old Testament, Edited by John Kohlenberger (NIVIHEOT)
Analytical Key to the Old Testament, Vol. 4, John Joseph Owens (AKOT)
The Septuagint with Apocrypha: Greek and English, Sir Lancelot C. L. Brenton (Brenton)
New International Version (NIV)
New Jerusalem Bible (NJB)
The Amplified Bible (Amplified)
New Living Translation (NLT)
The James Moffatt Translation (Moffatt)
Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
The Revised English Bible (REB)
Tanakh - The Holy Scriptures (from Jewish Publication Society) (Tanakh)
The New Testament: An Expanded Translation by Kenneth Wuest (Wuest)
Note in the following scriptures how translators have rendered the passages in a number of different ways:
kai kalesousin to onoma autou emmanouel,ho estin methermeneuomenon meth hemwn ho theos (Greek text)
and they-will-call the name of-him immanuel, which is being-translated with us the god (literal)
whom they will call Immanuel. a name which means `God-is-with-us' (NJB)
and they shall call His name Emmanuel--which, when translated, means, God with us. (Amplified)
and he will be called Immanuel (meaning, God is with us). (NLT)
and his name is to be called Immanuel (which may be translated, God is with us). (Moffatt)
and they will call him `Immanu El." (The name means, God is with us.") (CJB)
`... and he shall be called Emmanuel,' a name which means `God is with us'. (REB)
and they shall call His name Emmanuel (which being interpreted is, With us is God). (Wuest)
Note in the following that the Hebrew words translated as "Immanuel" or "God (is) with us" are exactly the same in each verse. Also note that Hebrew often does not explicitly use a verb in a sentence; the verb is implied.
`imanwu 'el (Hebrew)
and-shall-call his-name Immanuel (AKOT)
and-she-will-call name-of-him Immanu El (NIVIHEOT)
kai kaleseis to onoma autou emmanouel (LXX)
and thou shalt call his name Emmanuel (Brenton)
and will call him Immanuel (NIV)
whom she will call Immanuel. (NJB)
shall call his name Immanuel [God with us]. (Amplified)
will call him Immanuel--`God is with us.' (NLT)
shall ... call his name `Immanuel' (God is with us). (Moffatt)
will ... name him `Immanu El [God is with us]. (CJB)
and call him Immanuel. (REB)
Let her name him Immanuel. (Tanakh)
`imanwu 'el (Hebrew)
will-fill the-breadth-of your-land O Immanuel (AKOT)
fullness-of breadth-of land-of-you Immanu El (NIVIHEOT)
plerwsai to platos tes khwros sou, meth hemwn ho theos (LXX)
shall fill the breadth of thy land, O God with us (Brenton)
cover the breadth of your land, O Immanuel (NIV)
cover the whole extent of your country, Immanuel! (NJB)
shall fill the breadth of Your land, O Immanuel [Messiah, God is with us]! (Amplified)
It will submerge Immanuel's land from one end to the other. (NLT)
shall cover the country from side to side; for "God is with us." (Moffatt)
"... will fill the whole expanse of the land." God is with us! [Hebrew: `immanu El] (CJB)
the whole expanse of the land will be filled, for God is with us. (REB)
But with us is God, whose wings are spread as wide as your land is broad! (Tanakh)
`imanwu 'el (Hebrew)
but-it-will-not-stand for God is with us (Immanuel) (AKOT)
but-not he-will-stand for with-us God (NIVIHEOT)
ou me emmeine en umin, hoti meth hemwn ho theos (LXX)
it shall not stand among you: for God is with us (Brenton)
it will not stand, for God is with us (NIV)
it will not come about! For God is with us! (NJB)
but it will not stand, for God is with us [Immanuel]! (Amplified)
and then die! For God is with us! (NLT)
it never shall prevail: for "God is with us." (Moffatt)
but it won't happen; because God is with us [Hebrew: `immanu El]. (CJB)
it will not be carried out; for God is with us. (REB)
it shall not succeed. For with us is God! (Tanakh)
A Handbook On The Gospel of Matthew (by Barclay M. Newman and Philip C. Stine, UBS Handbook Series, United Bible Societies, 1988, pp. 27-28) comments on certain details of the proper translation of Matthew 1:23:
More important for Matthew, however, is the significance of the name Emmanuel, which means "God is with us." . . . The phrase his name shall be called is impersonal here and not imperative, as the similar phrase was in verse 21. Called means "named," so translators should find the natural, impersonal way of saying, "He will be named." Perhaps "They (or, one) will name him," or "His name will be," or "People will call him."
Emmanuel should be written as a name, not translated here.
Since the phrase which means, God with us is not part of the quotation from the prophet, many translators will find it necessary to begin a new sentence: "This name means `God is with us' " or "The meaning of this name is `God with us.' "
Many other translations not listed above use "God with us" in Matthew 1:23 and use "Immanuel" in Isaiah 7:14. Some have a marginal note or footnote for the latter, saying something like "That is, God is with us
" (RSV) or "which means, `God with us' " (NASB).
Given all of the above, several things are clear to me:
1. The meaning of the Hebrew `imanwu 'el is "God is with us" in Isaiah 8:10. All translators I am aware of agree.
2. Some translators interpret `imanwu 'el in Isaiah 8:8 as a name, while others interpret it as a verb phrase.
3. In Isaiah 7:14 `imanwu 'el is definitely a name because the rest of the verse specifically calls it a name.
4. It is certain that `imanwu 'el means "God is with us" when it is used as a phrase such as in 8:10 and 8:8.
5. It is a matter of personal interpretation whether `imanwu 'el means "God with us" or "God is with us" when it is used as a name as in 7:14.
It therefore follows that, because Matthew 1:23 is directly quoting Isaiah 7:14, it is a matter of personal opinion whether the Greek means "God with us" or "God is with us". However, because of the clear meaning of Isaiah 8:10, and the fact that if in 8:8 the word is interpreted as a verb phrase rather than a name it must mean "God is with us", it seems to me that the most consistent stance is to always interpret the phrase or name to mean "God is with us". Anyone who feels that "God with us" is justified in any passage, given the clear meaning of Isaiah 8:10, should be prepared to defend his opinion.
This is somewhat like trying to figure out the meaning of the name "Sitting Bull" when you don't understand how Indian names work. Does it mean, "The Bull Is Sitting"? How about, "the bearer of this name is like a bull that is sitting"? How about, "the bearer of this name is a sitting bull"?
I understand perfectly that the intent of many translators, and their readers, in claiming that "God with us" is definitely the only correct meaning in Matthew 1:23, is to obtain an argument in favor of the Trinity. The implication is that the name "God with us" applied to Jesus means that Jesus is literally God with us. Well, that phrase has something of that implication in English, but certainly not in Greek or Hebrew. The phrase "God is with us" has much less of that implication, and so Trinitarians don't like it because it means they have one less bullet in their arsenal of argumentation. To me this is not difficult. It's like asking whether the name "Sitting Bull" implies that the Indian is literally a bull. Obviously the answer is no. Similarly, I think that "God is with us" applied to Jesus does not imply that Jesus is God.
: And also about John 20:28:
I haven't considered this scripture much. It certainly raises some problems for non-trinitarians, but then, there are ways to get around the obvious implications, just as trinitarians have ways to get around various scriptures that have clear implications that God is exclusively "the Father". Note that I'm saying "get around" euphemistically.
: I know that original transcripts do not contain capital vs lower case but in translation it is proper to use the languages gramatical cases for words.
In principle you're right, but in practice there are cases where grammar alone is not enough to decide what the capitalization should be. Sometimes even the local context is not even enough. In such cases translators rely on their overall understanding of the Bible to decide.
: If there is a dispute over the capitalization of a particular word we can talk. Otherwise the words still say the same thing regardless of capitalization.
Well, no. In some languages capitalization is irrelvant, but in English the difference between "God" and "god" is huge.
: I don't believe that the Bible denies that there are other gods. ...
Given my previous discussion, I'm not sure what your point is.