Wednesday, September 16, 2009

NWT - Rev. 3:14


Attacks on the Scholarship and Honesty Of the Translators of the New World Translation

The late Dr. Julius Mantey, noted NT Greek scholar and strong trinitarian, allegedly wrote a powerful attack against the accuracy and honesty of the NWT. We will look at all the points raised concerning the NWT in a July 1974 letter to the Watchtower Society attributed to Mantey which anti-Watchtower writers are fond of reproducing and quoting.


Rev. 3:14

Mantey next berates the NWT's "mistranslating arche tes ktisoos" as "beginning of the creation" at Rev. 3:14 even though this is the literal rendering of the NT Greek. But how do most trinitarian Bible translations themselves translate Rev. 3:14 ? - The KJV has "beginning of the creation." So do the NKJV; ASV; NASB; RSV; MLB (1969 ed.); Douay; Byington; Darby; Lamsa; Lattimore (1979); New Century Version; Phillips; Rotherham; Third Millenium Bible; Webster; Revised Webster (1995); Wesley's New Testament; Weymouth; and ISV NT.

How is it, then, that the NWT is "mistranslating ... as `beginning of the creation'"?

While we are discussing Rev. 3:14, we might as well note that certain anti-Watchtower writers (evidently not Mantey, however) have condemned the NWT rendering of the genitive noun theou at Rev. 3:14 ("the creation by God"). This genitive noun, like most genitives, can be (and usually is) translated with the word "of" preceding it. Therefore, theou is usually translated "of God." So, at Rev. 3:14, most translations read: "the beginning of the creation of God." Certainly this is a grammatically correct translation, but it does allow a potential ambiguity. Grammatically it could mean "the creation belonging to God," or "everything created by God," or even, "God himself being created" !

For example, notice how the genitive noun at Acts 1:22 causes difficulties with its usual rendering of "baptism of John." This rendering leads many readers to believe that John's own baptism (by some other baptizer) is being spoken of here. Instead, many (if not all) Bible scholars believe the intended meaning here is a baptism performed by John! Therefore, some respected trinitarian translations have used the equally honest (and much clearer, in this case) rendering of "baptism by John" (or its clear equivalent): LB, NEB, REB, JB, NJB, AT, CBW, and translations by Phillips, and Rotherham.

Also notice that the genitive form of "Jesus Christ" at Rev. 1:1 can be properly rendered as "by Jesus Christ" (rather than "of Jesus Christ" as in KJV, ASV, etc.): Mo, AT, and Beck's The New Testament in the Language of Today, 1964 ed. - see p. 236, So Many Versions?, Zondervan, 1983.

We can also find the genitive theou (as at Rev. 3:14 itself) at 1 Tim. 4:4 ("creation of God") is rendered "everything created by God" in the RSV, NASB, NRSV, NAB [1991] (or its equivalent: NEB, REB, JB, NJB, CBW, AT, NIV, NAB [1970], etc.)

And "taught of God" (theou as found at Rev. 3:14 itself) at John 6:45 is properly rendered "taught by God" in RSV, NRSV, NIV, JB, NJB, NEB, REB, AT, MLB, NAB (1970), NAB (1991), GNB, TEV, Mo, CBW.

Surely no honest Bible scholar can condemn the same rendering by the NWT at Rev. 3:14!

Also see:
Revelation 3:14 "...the beginning of the creation by God." (INDNWT)

VIDEO - "The Beginning of God's Creation" (A grammatical and historical consideration of Revelation 3:14.) (SFBT; Video from Scriptural Truths);

BWF - 'Beginning,' 'Wisdom,' and 'Firstborn' (Examining the Trinity);

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