Thursday, September 17, 2009



Bowman's Attacks on the NWT (the New World Translation, the Bible translation by Jehovah's Witnesses) in his Understanding Jehovah's Witnesses

Bowman claims in Chapter 4 of his book:

"the NWT is filled with faulty translations designed to make the Bible fit Jehovah's Witness doctrine. It is therefore legitimate to say ... that the NWT is doctrinally biased." - p. 65, Understanding Jehovah's Witnesses, Baker Book House, 1991.

What Bowman apparently means by "doctrinally biased" is that the NWT translates passages that may have more than one possible interpretation in a way that does not support the trinity doctrine (or certain other "orthodox" doctrines of modern Christendom). Just because he supports some of these doctrines (particularly the trinity doctrine) does not make them true. Jehovah's Witnesses have determined through proper, honest scholarship that a number of these teachings are actually unscriptural additions by scholars and philosophers made hundreds of years after the deaths of Christ and his Apostles. - See the HIST; CREEDS; ISRAEL; IMAGE; etc. study papers.

For JW's to choose honest alternate translations and interpretations which refute these unscriptural doctrinal additions or questionable translations may make them biased, in a sense, but it certainly does not make them dishonest or guilty of "faulty translations"!

Being "biased" does not necessarily make a person dishonest or unscholarly. Being biased against illegal drug usage and drug pushers does not make you a villain. Being biased against abortion or biased against having children out of wedlock or adultery, etc., does not automatically make you wrong, dishonest, unscholarly, or evil! We are all biased in many ways and often in good, proper ways.

All Bibles are doctrinally biased in their translations. I doubt, for example, that you will easily find one for sale today which is not strongly biased toward a trinity doctrine. That is, when more than one honest rendering exists for a particular verse, these Bibles will purposely choose the one which best presents evidence for a trinity. This is solely because of the tradition of a three-persons-in-one-God trinity doctrine which was officially begun by the Roman Catholic Church in the 4th century A. D. (hundreds of years after the deaths of Christ, his Apostles, and the inspired Bible writers) and continues down to today in 99% of the churches of Christendom.

This trinitarian doctrinal bias is not based on proper scriptural evidence (see the IMAGE; CHART; PRIMER; I-AM; PHIL; etc. study papers). It is not based on proper historical evidence (see ISRAEL; HIST; and CREEDS study papers). It is not just "doctrinal bias," it is unsupported doctrinal bias.

So for the NWT to be virtually the only Bible to be consistently translated with its properly-supported bias for a single-person God is certainly not dishonest or false! For example:

Zechariah 12:10

Jehovah speaks: "...they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son" - Zech.12:10, KJV; cf. NKJV, NIV, NASB, NEB, REB, ASV, AB, KJIIV, ETRV, Douay, Beck, Rotherham, Lamsa.

This scripture is interpreted by many trinitarians as meaning that, since Jesus was "pierced" by the Jews, then Jehovah God is Jesus.

However, many other scholars admit that an alternate reading is undoubtedly the correct one:
"...when they look upon him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him" - RSV. Also in agreement with this rendering are NRSV; GNB; MLB; NAB (1970); NAB (1991); LB; Mo; AT; JB; NJB; NLV; BBE; and Byington. (ASV says in a footnote for "me" in Zech. 12:10: "According to some MSS. [manuscripts], `him'." Also see Rotherham footnote.)

Even the context tells us that the latter rendering is the correct one. Notice that after saying that they will look upon me (or him) God continues with "they shall mourn for him"! Notice how the KJV contradicts itself here. The "me" in the first half simply does not agree with the "him" of the second half. Since there has never been any question about the accuracy of "him" in the second half, the disputed word of the first half (which has evidence for both renderings - see ASV and Rotherham footnotes) must also be properly rendered as "him" (or "the one").

The testimony of the first Christian writers (the 'Ante-Nicene Fathers': all those who wrote before the Roman Catholic council of Nicaea in 325 A. D. which began the official introduction of a trinity doctrine into Christendom) confirms the non-trinitarian meaning of Zechariah 12:10 ("him"). Ignatius, Irenaeus, and Tertullian (repeatedly) rendered Zech. 12:10 as "him whom they pierced"! This is especially significant because trinitarians themselves claim these particular early Christians (including Origen who doesn't quote Zech. 12:10 at all in his existing writings) are the very ones who began the development the trinity doctrine for Christendom!

If any of the earliest Christian writers, then, would use a trinitarian interpretation here, it would certainly be these three. Since they do not do so (nor do any others), it must mean that the source for the 'look upon me' translation originated sometime later than the time of Ignatius, Irenaeus, and Tertullian (early 3rd century A. D.)!

The OT Greek Septuagint uses "me" (in existing copies, at least - 4th century A.D. and later), but it is significantly different from the Hebrew text: "They shall look upon me, because they have mocked me, and they shall make lamentation for him, as for a beloved [friend], and they shall grieve intensely, as for a firstborn [son]." - Zech. 12:10, Septuagint, Zondervan, 1976 printing. In other words, (1) they will look upon God whom they have mocked [not "pierced"] as their judgment arrives and (2) they will mourn Christ. The two are not the same person here, nor the same God!

"The [Hebrew] text of Zech. 12:10 is corrupt. The [Greek] LXX text reads: ... ('they shall look upon me whom they have treated spitefully') .... The text in [Jn 19:37] does not follow the LXX; but it has also avoided the impossible ['me'] of the Hebrew text." - p. 195, John 2, Ernst Haenchen, Fortress Press, 1984.

The JPS translation of Zech 12:10 in Tanakh (NJV) also reveals that the text of Zech 12:10 is corrupt.

The NJV (New Jewish Version or Tanakh published by the Jewish Publication Society) is highly praised for its accuracy by noted trinitarian Bible scholars Sakae Kubo and Walter F. Specht in their popular book So Many Versions? which analyzes and critiques modern Bibles:

"The NJV is a monument to careful scholarship .... It ranks as one of the best translations of the Hebrew Bible [the Old Testament] available." - p. 143, SMV, Zondervan Publ..

A footnote in Tanakh says that the Hebrew sometimes rendered "when they look upon" is "uncertain." Although it uses the pronoun "me," it renders Zech 12:10,

"they shall lament to Me about those who are slain, wailing over them as over a favorite son and showing bitter grief as over a first-born." - Jewish Publication Society, 1985.

But most important of all, compare John 19:37 (even in the KJV) where this scripture has been quoted by John! All translations show John here translating Zech. 12:10 as "They shall look upon him whom they pierced." So we have this Apostle and inspired Bible writer telling us plainly (and undisputed even by trinitarian scholars) that Zechariah 12:10 should read: "They shall look upon him (not 'me')." Therefore, Jehovah is speaking in Zech. 12:10 of someone else who will be pierced - not himself!

So why do so many Bibles (many of them are the most modern, most-respected trinitarian Bibles today), despite proof to the contrary, continue to mistranslate this verse? Doctrinal bias based on unsupported church tradition!

The question is not who is biased. All Bibles are biased. The proper question is: Which Bible is more in line with the originally-intended truth? Who is properly biased?

On p. 66 Bowman begins his "exposure" of the "faulty translations" of the "doctrinally biased" NWT:

"There are several types of mistranslations in the NWT. In this chapter I can ... draw attention to some of the most common and unfortunate." He then completes the chapter by examining the following "types of mistranslations in the NWT": (1) Adding Other, (2) Other Additions, (3) Words Omitted, (4) Translating In, (5) Only Believe?, (6) No Spirit, (7) Words for God.

But before we examine Bowman's "expose'" of the NWT, let's see his evaluation of one of the most respected NT Greek Bible scholars and Bible translators of modern times. That is Edgar J. Goodspeed, the translator of the New Testament portion of An American Translation (AT).

On p. 126 of his Understanding Jehovah's Witnesses Bowman states:

"Edgar J. Goodspeed was without question one of America's finest Greek scholars." [Bowman also notes that Goodspeed was a trinitarian Christian - p. 129.]

I think it would be fair to say, then, that Bowman would acknowledge the translations by famed trinitarian Goodspeed in his An American Translation (AT) as honest, scholarly translations.

Here, then, are Bowman's attacks on the NWT:
(1) Adding Other

[After the usual trinitarian criticism of the NWT's rendering of Col. 1:16-20 (with `[other]' added) - see the NWT study paper, pp. 7-10, `Martin's Criticism' - he continues:]

...the NWT does this same thing in several other passages as well (Acts 10:36; Rom.
8:32; Phil. 2:9). In Romans 8:32, the word other is not even placed in brackets, contrary to the work's stated practice. - p. 66.

(1) At Acts 10:36, which literally says, "He sent the word to the sons of Israel declaring good news of peace through Jesus Christ; this [one] is lord of all," we see that a number of respected trinitarian scholars interpret this as meaning "Jesus is lord of all [but not of the Father]." In other words "Jesus is lord of all others."

This is shown in the NIVSB by the footnote which says: "Lord of all. Lord of both Jew and Gentile." This interpretation by these respected trinitarian scholars clearly shows that Jesus is being called the Lord of all humans, not Lord of God himself (and not even necessarily Lord of the angels although other scriptures show that he has this lordship also) - - but Lord of all others!

The very trinitarian TEV by the American Bible Society renders Acts 10:36-
"... through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all men." - third edition, 1971.

Again it is clear what these trinitarian translators believe this scripture is saying: Jesus is the Lord (not of God, nor even the angels as far as this scripture reveals), but of men. Since it is translated as excluding God himself by these trinitarian scholars, it is just as acceptable to render it as "Lord of all [others]" which would also exclude God himself, (but could include all others, including the angels).

Also the popular translation by trinitarian J. B. Phillips translates this as -
"... through Jesus Christ - he is the Lord of us all." - 1960.

This also includes all men, but excludes God (and even his angels, apparently). So we find once again that the NWT should certainly not be condemned for also excluding God (alone) here by rendering Acts 10:36 as "Lord of all [others]."

The very trinitarian Living Bible (LB) renders this verse -
"through Jesus the Messiah, who is lord of all creation." - Tyndale House Publ., 1971.

This is a paraphrase Bible, but nevertheless it shows what these trinitarian translators and scholars believe was actually intended by the original wording. And that is that God was excluded from the category of those over whom Jesus is Lord! (Although angels would also be included with this wording.) The meaning, therefore, is essentially the same as the NWT's!

And, finally, how does Bowman-praised Dr. Goodspeed render it?

"... through Jesus Christ. He is Lord of us all." - AT, University of Chicago Press, 1975 ed.

(2) At Ro. 8:32 we also find 'other' or its equivalent (e.g., else) added in NRSV; REB; NAB (`91); CBW; and LB. (And there are no italics or brackets in these respected trinitarian translations! - The Amplified Bible adds 'other' with brackets, however.)

(3) And at Phil. 2:9 in Dr. Goodspeed's AT, we find the word `others' (without italics or brackets) has been honestly added to the text: "given him the name above all others" (Also, JB; NJB; NAB [`70]; CBW; GNB; TEV; CEV; LB; ETRV; NLV; GodsWord; ISV NT; Weymouth; and Beck [NT].)

How is it, then, that Dr. Goodspeed is praised by Bowman (and others) as "without question one of America's finest Greek scholars" while the NWT is to be condemned for its translation which is essentially the same as Dr. Goodspeed's (and other trinitarian translators and scholars)??

(2) Other Additions

.... In 1 Corinthians 14:12-16 the phrase 'gift of the' is added in brackets five times, changing "spirit" to "[gift of the] spirit." - p. 67.

Here is the NWT rendering for 1 Corinthians 14:12-16:

"...since you are zealously desirous of [gifts of the] spirit, .... (12) .... it is my [gift of the] spirit that is praying, .... (14) .... I will pray with the [gift of the] spirit, .... I will sing praise with the [gift of the] spirit, .... (15) .... Otherwise, if you offer praise with a [gift of the] spirit ....(16)"

And here are some respected trinitarian renderings: - KJV (1 Cor. 14:12, `spiritual gifts'); NIV (14:12, `spiritual gifts'); NRSV (14:12, `spiritual gifts'); NEB (14:12, `gifts of the Spirit'); REB (14:12, `gifts of the Spirit'); JB (14:12, `spiritual gifts'); NJB (`spiritual powers'); NAB, 1970 ed. (14:12, `spiritual gifts'); GNB (14:12, `gifts of the Spirit'); MLB (14:12, `spiritual gifts'); ETRV (14:12, `spiritual gifts'); NLV (14:12, `gifts from the Holy Spirit'); LB (14:12, `special gifts from the Holy Spirit'); BBE (14:12, `the things which the Spirit gives'); Young's (14:12, `spiritual gifts'); Webster's (14:12, `spiritual gifts'); Weymouth (14:12, `spiritual gifts').

And here is the translation by Goodspeed in his AT:

"...since you are ambitious for spiritual endowments, .... (12) .... it is my spirit that prays, .... (14) .... I will pray ecstatically, .... I will sing ecstatically, .... (15) .... For if you utter blessings in ecstatic speech .... (16)"

So highly-praised trinitarian scholar Goodspeed has changed the literal "spirit" to "spiritual endowments" (equivalent to the NWT "[gifts of the] spirit) and "ecstatically" (two times) and "ecstatic speech" (all basically equivalent to "[gifts of the] spirit")! Furthermore, he has not even used brackets (as the NWT did) or italics to indicate additions, either!

(3) Words Omitted

The NWT occasionally omits key words when to include them may contradict Jehovah's Witness doctrine. The most glaring example is Romans 8:1: "Therefore those in union with Christ Jesus have no condemnation," which omits the word now. This omission is evidently motivated by the fact that the Witnesses do not believe anyone can claim now to be free of condemnation.

Also notable is Colossians 1:19: "because [God] saw good for all fullness to dwell in him." Here the little word the is omitted before fullness. This is significant, because in the NWT rendering "all fullness" is ambiguous, whereas "all the fullness" clearly refers to the fullness of God's own being (compare Col. 2:9).

John 14:14 should also be mentioned. In the NWT this reads: "If YOU ask anything in my name, I will do it." The Greek text in the KIT [Kingdom Interlinear Translation], however, has me after ask, so that it should be translated: "If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it." It is true that some later Greek manuscripts omitted this word, but most of the earlier ones included it, and most modern editions of the Greek New Testament include it. At the very least, the NWT ought to have mentioned this reading in a note. - pp. 67-68.

But JB, NJB, CBW, NEB, NLV, and BBE also omit the word 'now' at Romans 8:1.

And the very trinitarian KJV; JB; NJB; Douay; NAB (`70); MKJV (Green); Lattimore; and Webster's also omit 'the' before 'fullness' in Col. 1:19.

And, again, at John 14:14 'me' is omitted after 'ask' in the following trinitarian Bibles: KJV; NKJV; ASV; RSV; JB; NEB; REB; MLB; LB; AB; CBW; NLV; LITV; MKJV (Green); Darby; Webster's; and Young's.

Many of them do not mention an alternate reading of 'me' in a note! And, likewise, many of the Bibles which do translate "ask me" in this verse do not mention an alternate reading without 'me'!!

This is a disputed text. There exists manuscript evidence that 'me' may not have been used by the original writer.

However, there is no such dispute about John 16:23 where John wrote: "... whatever you ask the Father for, he will give you in my name." We should ask the Father (not the Son) in Jesus' name. Therefore 'me' at John 14:14 is even more in doubt.

Bowman has access to a copy of (and is quite familiar with) the 1984 NWT Reference Bible. He repeatedly quotes from it and refers to notes in it in both this 1991 publication (Understanding Jehovah's Witnesses) and his 1989 publication, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jesus Christ, and the Gospel of John.

Yes, the 1984 NWT Reference Bible (which does have notes, of course) says in a footnote for John 14:14:

14* "Ask," ADIt and in agreement with 15:16 and 16:23; P66 [Aleph] BWVgSy(h,p), "ask me."

So for Bowman to pretend here that the NWT does not even mention that some Greek manuscripts have the word 'me' in this verse is simply inexcusable!


(4) Translating In

Here Bowman admits that the Greek preposition en, which is commonly translated into English as "in," has a number of different meanings. However, he insists that the NWT is often being dishonest when it translates using those other established meanings:

For instance, in 1 John 5:20 the NWT reads in part: "And we are in union with [en] the true one, by means of [en] his Son Jesus Christ." Reading this translation one would never suspect that "in union with" and "by means of" translate the same simple Greek preposition. ....

Again in Colossians 2:6-12 "in him" and "in whom" (en auto, en ho) becomes "in union with him" (v. 6), "in him" (vv. 7, 9), "by means of him" (v. 10), and "by relationship with him" (vv. 11, 12). These variations serve no useful purpose, undermine the unity of the passage, and obscure the passage ....

There are many other passages where in is paraphrased to avoid the otherwise clear meaning of the text. For example, in Matthew 5:19 in becomes "in relation to" so as to avoid the passage's teaching that some who disobey the Law's commandments and teach others to do so will nevertheless be accepted "in the kingdom of heaven" .... - p. 69.

So how does Goodspeed translate the two uses of en at 1 John 5:20 (where the NWT has "in union with" and "by means of")?

"and we are in union with [en] him who is true, through [en] his Son, Jesus Christ."

And yet, according to Bowman himself, trinitarian Goodspeed is a superb scholar worthy of our trust.

How is it, then, that the NWT is to be condemned for its translation which is essentially the same as Goodspeed's??

And again in Col. 2:6-12 how does Goodspeed render the preposition en?

Where the NWT translates en as "in union with him" (v. 6), Goodspeed has "in vital union with him"!

And where the NWT has "in him" (verses 7, 9), Goodspeed has "in him"!

And where the NWT has "by means of him" (v. 10), Goodspeed has "in union with him"!

And where the NWT has "by relationship with him" (v. 12), Goodspeed has "with him"!

So, again, how is it that the NWT is to be condemned for its dishonesty, bias, etc. when the much acclaimed, trinitarian, Bowman-praised Dr. Goodspeed renders it virtually the same? (Also see the IN-WITH study paper.)

And as for Matt. 5:19, Bowman's contention that the NWT has changed the meaning to "avoid the passage's teaching that some who disobey the Law's commandments and teach others to do so will nevertheless be accepted in the kingdom of heaven" is simply untrue! It is understandable why Bowman would want to believe such a thing, but it is not true. All one has to do is read the following verse, Matt. 5:20, (and many other scriptures tell us the same):

"I tell you, then, that you will be able to enter the Kingdom of heaven only if you are more faithful than the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees in doing what God requires." - Good News Bible, American Bible Society, 1978. (Cf. Matt. 7:21-27.)

Or as NT scholar W.E. Vine writes:

"it is further said that only such as do the will of God shall enter into His Kingdom, Matt. 7:21" - p. 625, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1983.


(5) Only Believe?

Bowman claims the NWT is attempting to "obscure the truth" by "the rendering of `exercise faith' instead of `believe.'"

As others have noted, to exercise faith implies more than to believe; it implies doing works on the basis of one's belief. The NWT almost always translates the Greek word for "believe" (pisteuo) as "exercise faith" when it concerns God's free pardon and justification of those who believe in Christ .... - pp. 70-71.

The word usually translated `believe' in many Bibles (pisteuo) may honestly be rendered `exercise faith,' which implies certain action on the part of the believer. For example, the highly reputed (and highly "orthodox") Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, (Abridged in One Volume) tells us:

I. The OT Legacy. OT faith corresponds to Gk. pisteuein inasmuch as both involve trust in persons and belief in words (including God and his word). The OT term, however, carries a stronger element of acknowledgment and obedience. - p. 852.

II. General Christian Usage.

1. Continuation of the OT and Jewish Tradition.
[8] b. pisteuo as "to obey." Heb. 11 stresses that to believe is to obey, as in the OT. Paul in Rom. 1:18; 1 Th. 1:8 (cf. Rom. 15:18; 16:19) shows, too, that believing means obeying. He speaks about the obedience of faith in Rom. 1:5, and cf. 10:3; 2 Cor. 9:13. - pp. 853, 854, Eerdmans Publ., 1985.

And Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, p. 511, also tells us:

[pisteuo] .... g. used especially of the faith by which a man embraces Jesus, i.e. a conviction, full of joyful trust, that Jesus is the Messiah .... conjoined with obedience to Christ - Baker Book House, 1977.

So, even some of the most respected New Testament scholars admit that pisteuo includes the idea of obedience with belief! This requires belief in and acceptance of Christ's sacrifice on our behalf and action on the part of the believer. There are many things true believers must do and must not do. Doing (or not doing the forbidden things) certainly does not earn salvation. But not acting in obedience to the word of God may well prevent you from receiving the free gift of salvation.

There is clearly and obviously an inseparable union between true faith and actions on the part of the true Christian. As James 2:14-26 tells us:

What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him? .... Even so, faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. .... You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? .... For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. - NASB.

Notice, "just as the body without spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead"! Faith and works (or active obedience to the word of God) are just as inseparable as the body and spirit are inseparable in a living man! When this faith is spoken of, then, it certainly should not be considered dishonest to translate it with that understanding: "exercise faith." (See the FAITH study paper.)


(6) No Spirit

Bowman again refers to the NWT translation of 1 Cor. 14:12-16, this time disparaging the treatment of the word "spirit" (see Other Additions above). Of course, as we have seen, others make similar translations, including Dr. Goodspeed in his AT!

Bowman continues:

Even clearer is 1 John 4:1-6. John has just stated that we know our union with God is secure "owing to the spirit which he gave us" (3:24).. The next sentence in the NWT reads: "Beloved ones, believe not every inspired expression, but test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God" (4:1). One would never suspect from this rendering that "inspired expression" translates the same Greek word (pneuma) as "spirit" in 3:24 (see also 4:2, 3, 6). John's whole point is that although the Spirit's presence assures us of God's love, we are not to believe every "spirit" that claims to be from God but test each one by the teachings its prophet espouses, "because many false prophets have gone out into the world" (4:1). The NWT obscures this point to avoid the implication that God's Spirit is a person rather than a force .... - pp. 70-71.

The rendering Bowman insists upon is: "do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God." – RSV. This would refer to the "discerning of spirits" (KJV) or "the ability to distinguish between spirits" (RSV) as spoken of at 1 Cor. 12:10. (And The NIVSB; the NASB, Ref. Ed.; The New Oxford Annotated Bible, 1977; Word Pictures in the New Testament, A.T. Robertson, p.170, Vol. 4; etc., specifically refer this scripture to 1 Jn 4:1.) But notice what the highly acclaimed The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says about this:

"Discernment of spirits" (diakrisis pneumaton, 1 Cor. 12:10; RSV "ability to distinguish between spirits") refers to the ability to evaluate either the spirits themselves or spirit-inspired utterances., pp. 603-604, Vol. 4, Eerdmans, 1988.

So how does Dr. Goodspeed render 1 John 4:1-6? Even though he renders pneuma at 1 Jn 3:24 as "Spirit" (as does the NWT), he renders it at 4:1 as: "Dear friends, do not believe every inspired utterance (pneuma), but test the utterances (pneuma - plural form) to see whether they come from God" - AT. (Also see the trinitarian CBW and LB.) Dr. Goodspeed's translation, then, is in essential agreement with the NWT!


(7) Words for God

Bowman complains of the use of "Jehovah" in the NWT New Testament, but defers its discussion until chapter 8. (See the JHVHNT study paper.)

Next Bowman tells us of another way "the NWT has systematically abused the divine names or titles is in its handling of texts in which Jesus is called God."

In nine Bible texts Jesus is definitely called God (Isa. 9:6; John 1:1,18; 20:28; Rom. 9:5; Titus 2:13; Heb. 1:8; 2 Peter 1:1; 1 John 5:20; possibly also Acts 20:28). Of these, the NWT translates four so that Jesus is not called God at all (Ro. 9:5; Titus 2:13; Heb. 1:8; 2 Peter 1:1), and two so that he is "a god" or "god" (John 1:1,18). The remaining three texts (Isa. 9:6; John 20:28; 1 John 5:20) are not mistranslated, but are interpreted so that either Jesus is not called God at all or he is called God only in some lesser sense. In short, wherever possible, the NWT translates texts that call Jesus God in such a way as to keep the text from making that identification. - pp. 71-72.

This is an excellent test of exactly who is translating and interpreting on the basis of unfounded bias (since all translations are biased in one way or another: some rightly, some wrongly).

Are the above scriptures cited by Bowman (which are often translated in a manner to show Jesus being called God in many trinitarian Bibles) really Bible texts where "Jesus is definitely called God" as Bowman declares? Or, in other words, do JW's purposely mistranslate and misinterpret these scriptures while only certain trinitarians translate them in an honest, unbiased manner? Let's see:

* * * * *

ISA. 9:6 - The NWT translates as do most trinitarian Bibles: "And his [the Messiah's] name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace." So no bias or "slanting" can honestly be blamed on this translation by trinitarians.

However, as Bowman points out, JW's do interpret this in a non-trinitarian way. They say that the word "God" in this name (which is capitalized in English only because it is part of a name - the Hebrew manuscripts had no capitalization) is to be understood in a secondary way. That is, in the same way that the inspired Bible writers called angels, human Israelite kings, judges, etc. gods (in a righteous sense - see footnotes in NIVSB for Ps. 45:6 and Ps. 82:1, 6. Also see the BOWGOD study).

Even trinitarian Bibles recognize this possibility.

Instead of "Mighty God" at Isaiah 9:6 the following trinitarian Bibles render it:

NEB - "In Battle Godlike"
REB - "Mighty Hero"
NAB ('70 & '91) - "God-Hero"
Moffatt - "a divine hero"
Byington - "Divine Champion"
NIVSB - f.n. for Ps. 45:6: "it is not unthinkable that [the king] was called 'god' as a title of
honor (cf. Isa 9:6)."

For another alternate translation of Is. 9:6 we have the rendering by the trinitarian An American Translation (AT) itself: "And his name will be called 'Wonderful counselor is God almighty, Father forever, Prince of peace.'"

We see with this translation the same understanding as found in many Israelite names: a name which glorifies the God in heaven. In other words, Isaiah, for example, was not named 'Isaiah,' which means "Jehovah Savior," to glorify himself as Jehovah! His name glorified another person, Jehovah, as Savior. In the same common Israelite manner the Messiah was named to glorify his God and Father.

If even many trinitarian translators are forced to render this traditional trinitarian "evidence" in a non-trinitarian way (many even interpreting it much like the Watchtower Society does), how is it that the NWT has "abused the divine name or titles" when it actually translates it in the traditional "trinitarian" way?

* * * * *

JOHN 1:1 - The NWT translates: "And the Word was a god."

The RSV translates: "And the Word was God." (& most other trinitarian Bibles)

As we have seen above (also see the BOWGOD study) "a god" may be used as a scripturally accurate title for angels, kings, judges and others who were appointed to represent God.

A number of respected trinitarian scholars have admitted that the literal translation of Jn 1:1c is actually "And the Word was a god":

W. E. Vine - "a god was the Word" - p. 490, An Expository Dictionary of the New Testament.

C. H. Dodd - "The Word was a god" - Technical Papers for the Bible Translator, Jan., 1977.

Murray J. Harris - "the Word was a god" - p. 60, Jesus as God, Baker Book House, 1992.

Robert Young - "and a God (i.e. a Divine Being) was the Word" - Young's Concise Critical Bible Commentary.

W. E. Vine, Prof. C. H. Dodd (Director of the New English Bible project), and Murray J. Harris admit that this ("the Word was a god") is the literal translation, but, being trinitarians, they insist that it be interpreted and translated as "and the Word was God." Why? Because of a trinitarian bias only!

Grammar and context actually verify the "a god" rendering (see DEF, HARNER, and PRIMER study papers.)

Despite pressure from other trinitarians to the contrary, even some translations by trinitarians render this verse in such a way as to cast doubt on the traditional translation:

GNB - "and he was the same as God"

NEB "and what God was, the Word was"

Mo - "the Logos [Word] was divine"

DoB - "and the word was a divine being" - John J. McKenzie, Dictionary of the Bible, 1965.

The first two, of course, are still leaning toward a trinitarian interpretation but, nevertheless, show some hesitation toward fully accepting the usual trinitarian translation. The last two by Moffatt ("probably the greatest Biblical scholar of our day") and McKenzie actually imply a non-trinitarian understanding of this particular verse.

You see, "divine" and "divine beings" apply to many persons, including God's angels!

The highly-respected trinitarian New Oxford Annotated Bible, 1977 ed. tells us, for example, in a footnote for Gen. 18:2-8 that the angels are "divine beings"!

The trinitarian Nelson's Expository Dictionary of the Old Testament calls an angel a "divine being." - p. 159.

And trinitarian Cairns explains the difference between "divine" and "deity" by admitting that strong anti-trinitarian Arius (who believed Jesus was not God) "believed that Christ was a being, created out of nothing, subordinate to the Father .... To Arius he was divine but not deity [God]." - p. 143, Christianity Through the Centuries, Zondervan,1977.

And Moffatt himself translates the literal word for "gods" at Ps. 8:5 as "divine." Here it refers to the angels! So when he again translates the word which literally means "a god" at Jn 1:1 as "divine," it should be no surprise that it can indicate another person who is a heavenly being, but not God himself!

And the Encyclopedia Britannica said about John 1:1, the Word (Logos), and "divine":

The Logos [the Word] which having been in the beginning, and with God, and "divine," had entered human life and history as the Word 'made flesh'.... But the identification of Jesus with the Logos was not tantamount to recognizing him as "God." Neither the "Word of God" in Hebrew nomenclature nor the Logos in Greek speculation was "God" though it was definitely "divine." - p. 25, Vol. 13, 14th ed.

So, how does Dr. Goodspeed, the trinitarian expert endorsed by Bowman himself, translate John 1:1? :
"And the Word was divine." - An American Translation, 19th impr., 1975.

If even respected trinitarian scholars can render Jn 1:1 "and the Word was divine," the NWT should be able to translate it even more literally as "and the Word was a god."!

* * * * *

JOHN 1:18 - The NWT translates: "the only-begotten god"

KJV translates: "the only begotten Son" (also NKJV, ASV, MKJV,
Douay, Young's, Darby, Webster, etc.)

RSV translates: "only Son" (also JB, NJB, LB, NEB, REB, BBE)

AT translates: "divine Only Son

Phillips translates: " divine and only Son"

Moffatt translates: "the divine One, the only Son"

NASB translates: "The only begotten God"

The trouble with Bowman's claims for this verse is that even many trinitarian scholars don't agree with him. Many early manuscripts have "only begotten huios (`Son')" here rather than "only begotten theos (`god/God')." Notice how many modern trinitarian translations above have "Son" here! - See the OBGOD study. This uncertainty alone certainly deflates any 'Jesus is God' idea for this scripture!

But even if we select, as JW's have, a text which uses theos here, we see that not all trinitarians are even willing to render that as "God"! Whether it is from context or from the grammatical problem that theos doesn't have the article with it (as in John 1:1 above) or some other reason, we see a number of respected trinitarians rendering this as "divine" (as in John 1:1 above)!

So, how does Dr. Goodspeed, the trinitarian expert endorsed by Bowman himself, translate John 1:18? :

"No one has ever seen God; it is the divine Only Son ... that has made him known."

* * * * *

JOHN 20:28 - Bowman admits that this scripture is correctly translated in the NWT but includes it, like Is. 9:6 and 1 John 5:20, because the Watchtower Society interprets it in a non-trinitarian way!
John 20:28 ("Thomas answered, `My Lord and MY GOD [ho kurios mou kai ho theos mou]'") is one of the favorite trinitarian "proofs" of the trinity doctrine. In fact, Dr. Walter Martin, the famed Trinity-defender and "cult-buster," calls this scripture "the greatest single testimony recorded in the Scriptures" of the "Deity of Christ." - KOTC, p. 95.

To examine it properly we should (1) discuss the context, (2) discuss the implications if "my God" was not meant to apply directly to Jesus, and (3) discuss the implications if those words were meant to be applied directly to Jesus in this verse.

(1) Thomas had said (verse :25) that unless something happened he would "not believe." What was it that Thomas refused to believe? Was it that he refused to believe that Jesus was equally God with the Father? There is certainly no hint of this before or after Thomas' statement at John 20:28.

If the disciples had learned, upon seeing the resurrected Jesus, that he was God, certainly they would have indicated this! But notice, neither before nor after receiving Holy Spirit (:22) did they kneel or do any act of worship such as one would certainly do upon becoming aware of being in the presence of God! [see WORSHIP study.]

Notice that the disciples who had seen Jesus earlier did not tell Thomas that Jesus was God (:25)! This is an incredible oversight if they had really believed they had seen God! If they had discovered that Jesus was really God when they saw him resurrected, they would certainly talk of nothing else!

If, on the other hand, they had already known that Jesus was God even before seeing his resurrected form, then Thomas, too, would have already known about it and certainly would not have meant: "Unless I see ... the print of nails [etc.] ... I will not believe [Jesus is God]."

No, the context of John 20:24, 25, and 29 shows that Thomas refused to believe that Jesus had been resurrected from the dead. (See footnote for John 20:8 in The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan, 1985: "John did not say what [the disciple who saw the empty tomb of Jesus] believed, but it must have been that Jesus was resurrected." - Also see Barclay's The Daily Study Bible Series: The Gospel of John, Revised Edition, Vol. 2, p. 267, and pp. 275, 276.)

Certainly, being resurrected from the dead does not make you God. Many other persons in the Scriptures had been resurrected from the dead before Jesus, and no one, for a moment, ever suspected them of being God! In fact, being resurrected from the dead would indicate that a person was not God, since God has always been immortal and cannot die in the first place!

Furthermore, Jesus' statements before and after Thomas' exclamation ("my Lord and my God!") show not only that Jesus wanted Thomas to believe that he had been resurrected to life but that he could not possibly be God!!

Jesus' command to Thomas to literally touch his wounds and actually see his hands proves that he meant, "See, I am the same person you saw die, but now I am alive ... be believing that I have been resurrected to life" (not, "see, these wounds prove I am God ... be believing that I am God").

Notice that the reason given for Thomas to "be believing" is that he can see Jesus' hands. Likewise, after Thomas says "My Lord and my God," Jesus reaffirms that Thomas now believes (as did the other disciples after seeing - Jn. 20:20) that Jesus has been resurrected (not that he is God) "because you have seen me" (:29).

Certainly Jesus wouldn't mean, "you believe I am God because you can see me." Instead, this is proof that Jesus, Thomas, John, and the other disciples did not believe Jesus was equally God with the Father! How? Because John himself (long after Jesus had been resurrected and seen by the Apostles) has made it manifestly clear that "no one [no human] has ever SEEN God" - 1 John 4:12, RSV. (See the SF study; also OMN 3-5.)

"For the NT God is utterly invisible (Jn. 6:46; 1 Tim. 1:17; 6:16; Col. 1:15). 'God does not become visible; He is revealed,' ... yet the resurrection narratives especially stress that the risen Christ is visible." - The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, p. 518, Vol. 3, Zondervan, 1986.

Therefore, since no man has ever directly seen God (who is the Father only - John 5:37, 6:46; 17:1, 3) but only indirectly through representations such as visions, dreams, etc., Jesus is saying: "Believe I have been resurrected and that I am obviously not God because you see me directly (and even touch me so you can be sure I'm not merely a vision or indirect representation)."

What about the rest of the context? It's obvious that Jesus did not understand Thomas to be calling him equally God with the Father in heaven. But did John, in spite of the incredible contradiction of a previous statement (like 1 John 4:12 above) at John 1:18 that "no man hath seen God at any time," somehow think that Thomas understood Jesus to be God?

Well, no other disciple of Jesus ever made a statement to him which could honestly be construed as meaning Jesus is God! So, if John had, somehow, understood Thomas' statement that way, he certainly would have provided some follow-up clarification and emphasis in his own comments.

Surely John would have shown Thomas prostrating himself before "God" and worshiping him (but he doesn't!). So how does John summarize this incident? -

"But these were written that you may believe [Believe what? That Jesus is God? Here, then, is where it should be if John really believed that!] that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God" - John 20:31, RSV.

Or, as the very trinitarian The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan, 1985, states in a footnote for this scripture:
"This whole Gospel is written to show the truth of Jesus' Messiahship and to present him as the Son of God, so that the readers may believe in him."

Obviously, neither Jesus' response, nor Thomas' responses (before and after his statement at John 20:28), nor John's summation of the event recognizes Thomas' statement to mean that Jesus is the only true God! So it is clear from context that neither Jesus, nor John, nor Thomas considered the statement at John 20:28 to mean that Jesus is equally God with the Father. (Remember this is the same Gospel account that also records Jesus' last prayer to the Father at John 17:1, 3: "Father,.... This is eternal life: to know thee who alone art truly God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." - NEB. It is obvious from this scripture alone that Jesus and the writer of the Gospel of John do not believe Jesus is equally God with the Father!)

This may be, then, one of those places where the idioms of an ancient language are not completely understood by modern translators. As the Encyclopedia Britannica puts it:

"And it is not certain that even the words Thomas addressed to Jesus (Jn. 20:28) meant what they suggest in the English version." - 14th ed., Vol. 13, p. 24.

And John M. Creed, as Professor of Divinity at the University of Cambridge, wrote:

"'my Lord and my God' (Joh. xx. 28) is still not quite the same as an address to Christ as being without qualification God, and it must be balanced by the words of the risen Christ himself ... (v. 17): ... `I ascend unto My Father and your Father, and MY GOD and your God.'" - The Divinity of Jesus Christ, J. M. Creed, p. 123.

Yes, think about that very carefully: After Jesus was resurrected, he continued to call the Father in heaven "MY God"! (Even after he was fully restored to heaven and seated at the right hand of God - Rev. 3:2; 3:12.) So if we must insist, as many trinitarians do, that the single instance of Thomas' saying "My God" in Jesus' presence, with all its uncertainties, means that Jesus is superior in every way to Thomas (in essence, eternity, authority, etc.), what do Jesus' even clearer statements that the Father is his God actually mean? - "He who conquers, ... I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, ... and my own name." - Rev. 3:12, RSV (Compare Rev. 14:1).

You can't have it both ways. If Thomas' statement can only mean that Jesus is highly superior to Thomas in all respects, then Jesus' repeated and even clearer statements that the Father is HIS God can only mean that the Father is superior to Jesus in all respects. If Thomas really understood that Jesus was equally God, it is certainly blasphemous for John and other inspired Bible writers to turn around and call the Father the God of the Christ! - Micah 5:4; 1 Cor. 11:3; 2 Cor. 11:31; Eph. 1:3,17; 1 Peter 1:3.

(2) To understand what may have really been intended by Thomas, let's first examine it as if the words were not directly applied to Jesus. Notice the parallel between 1 Samuel 20:12 (where Jonathan's words appear to be directed to David: "... Jonathan said unto David, `O LORD God of Israel, when I have sounded my father about this ....'" - KJV) and John 20:28 (where Thomas' words appear to be directed to Jesus: "Thomas answered him, `My Lord and my God!'"). - Also compare 1 Sam. 12:6, KJV, RSV, and a Hebrew interlinear.

The significant point here is that, although the scripture shows Jonathan speaking to David, it apparently literally calls him (David) "O LORD God"!! (For a straightforward literal translation see 1 Samuel 20:12 in the King James Version.) You can bet that, if modern Bible translators wanted to find "evidence" that made King David also appear to be equally God (Quadrinarians?), they would continue to translate this scripture literally (as they do John 20:28 to "prove" that Jesus is equally God)!

Instead, we see many modern translations adding words to bring out what they believe may have been originally intended. There is absolutely no reason for this addition except the translators believe from the testimony of the rest of the Bible that David is not Jehovah God. So something else must have been intended here.

Translators from about 200 B. C. (Septuagint) until now have been guessing (and disagreeing) at what was intended here. It was probably some idiom of the time such as: "I promise you in the sight of the LORD the God of Israel" - NEB, or, as found in the Septuagint: "Jonathan said unto David, `The Lord God of Israel knows that....'"

The translators of the KJV and the translators of The Holy Scriptures, Jewish Publication Society of America (JPS), 1917, decided that it was better not to guess and left it literally as: "And Jonathan said unto David, `O LORD, God of Israel - when I have sounded....'"

A significant interpretation by the NIV is, "By the LORD God of Israel" which is an oath by Jonathan meaning, probably, "I swear by the LORD God...." (cf. Tanakh translation by JPS, 1985). Perhaps the most used interpretation is: "Jehovah, the God of Israel, (be witness)...." - ASV (cf. NASB, RSV, NKJV). The very trinitarian ETRV renders it: "Jonathan said to David, `I make this promise before the Lord [Jehovah], the God of Israel. I promise that I will....'"

Since the context of John 20 (indeed, the context and testimony of the entire Bible) does not confirm the trinitarian belief that the Messiah is equally God, John 20:28 could just as honestly be translated with some addition comparable to that of 1 Sam. 20:12.

So, keeping in mind the interpretations for 1 Sam. 20:12 and the context of John 20:28 (where Jesus tells Thomas to believe, Thomas answers, and his answer convinces Jesus that Thomas finally, completely believes that he has actually returned from the dead), let's use an interpretation similar to that of 1 Samuel.

(27:) "Then he said to Thomas .... `Believe!'

(28:) "`My Lord and my God (be witness) [that I do believe now]!' Thomas said. [Or,
following the NIV example above, "I swear by my Lord and God (that I do believe)!"]

(29:) "Then Jesus told him, `You believe because you have seen me.'" - Based on the
Living Bible translation of John 20:27-29.

Another interpretation is that Thomas' words might be a doxology, or praise, such as "My Lord and my God be praised." In that sense the words would still be aimed directly at the only true God (the Father alone). This may be similar to the abbreviated doxology at Ro. 9:5 which some trinitarians take advantage of (see the AO study). That doxology is also without a critical verb and is abruptly joined to a description of Jesus. Literally, in Greek it reads: "the being over all god blessed into the ages amen." Even some trinitarian translators add the necessary words and punctuation to make this a clearly separated doxology to the Father: "May God, who rules over all, be praised for ever" - TEV.

Again, some scholars have interpreted John 20:28 as "an exclamation of astonishment" by Thomas. And, although a few modern trinitarians would like us to believe that such exclamations as this are really only modern idioms and were not used in ancient times, that is simply untrue.
For example, Theodore, Bishop of Mopsuestia (350-428) was

"an early Christian theologian, the most eminent representative of the so-called school of Antioch. .... he was held in great respect, and took part in several synods, with a reputation for orthodoxy that was never questioned." This respected Bishop of Mopsuestia was a very early trinitarian and a friend of John Chrysostom and of Cyril of Alexandria. - Encyclopedia Britannica, 14th ed., Vol. 22, p. 58.
This very early trinitarian wrote (probably in the late 300's A. D.) that Thomas' statement at John 20:28 was

"an exclamation of astonishment directed to God." - p. 535, Vol. 3, Meyer's Commentary on the New Testament (John), 1983, Hendrickson Publ.

As we know from the examples of angels, prophets, and kings, persons who represent God are sometimes addressed as God. Or as the preface in Young's Analytical Concordance to the Bible states: "What a SERVANT says or does is ascribed to the MASTER." In that sense, also, the words, "My Lord and my God" could be addressed to the only true God through his servant, Jesus Christ. - "God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first ..." - Acts 3:26, RSV.

An example of this is illustrated by the footnote for Gen. 16:7 in the trinitarian NIVSB: "... as the Lord's personal messenger who represented him and bore his credentials, the angel could speak on behalf of (and so be identified with) the One who sent him."

The Watchtower Society points to Judges 13:20-22 as an example of an explanation of this type. Here Manoah knowingly calls an angel "God"! - Compare Gen. 16:7, 13; Gen. 32:24, 30; Hosea 12:4; Judges 6:11-15, 20; and Ex. 3:2, 4-6, 16 with Acts 7:35. The Watchtower Society suggests that Thomas might have been using "God" in a similar sense at John 20:28. - See September 1, 1984 WT, p. 28. Also see pp. 919-920, Aid to Bible Understanding, 1971 ed.

We might well interpret Matt. 16:23 similarly: Jesus "said unto Peter, `Get thee behind me, Satan.'" Here Jesus apparently addresses Peter as "Satan"! But we know full well that Satan is someone else entirely. Therefore it would be reasonable to conclude that Jesus considered Peter to be (at this particular moment only) Satan's servant (unwittingly, of course) and addressed that "servant" as though actually speaking to his "master"! We certainly would need much clearer (and many repeated) instances of Peter being shown as Satan himself before we could even begin to suspect that Peter was somehow a member of some mysterious Satanic trinity in which he was absolutely equal to Satan in power, longevity of existence, authority, etc.!

It is certainly possible, then, that Thomas, upon discovering that this really was the resurrected Jesus, suddenly realized that this, then, must be a direct representative of God. As we have seen in the WORSHIP study (WORSHIP-3), the Angel of Jehovah was sometimes addressed as "God" or "Jehovah" because at that moment he perfectly spoke and performed God's will (e.g. Judges 13:21, 22). Some trinitarians even believe that Jesus was, at least at times, that Angel of Jehovah - pp. 39, 624, Today's Dictionary of the Bible. Realizing this, it would not be surprising to hear Thomas address God through this perfect representative of God: "My Lord and my God!"

I personally think, however, that this is an unlikely explanation simply because I do not believe this expression by Thomas is an address to anyone. If Thomas had said, "You are my Lord and my God," we would have reason for such a representational interpretation. Or if he had addressed Jesus with the intent of saying something further (e.g. "My Lord and my God, why have you returned to us?"), it could also be indicative of the above representational interpretation. But there is no indication of any intent by Thomas to follow up an "address" with anything further as is normally required of nouns of address. (cf. Acts 1:6; 22:8; Rev. 7:14.)

The very fact that the words of Thomas are not a complete statement show that it is probably the abbreviated form of a common expression or doxology (#2 above) and not a statement of identification such as "Jesus is my lord and my god." Whereas doxologies and other common expressions are frequently abbreviated to the point of not being complete statements (cf. Dana & Mantey, p. 149), statements of identification appear to be complete statements (certainly in the writings of John, at least), e.g., Jn 1:49, "Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel." - NASB. Cf. Jn. 6:14, 69; 7:40, 41; 9:17; 11:27; 21:7.

Furthermore, when using the term "Lord" (at least) in address to another person, a different form of the NT Greek word is used than the form found at John 20:28 (ho kurios mou).

"The vocative is the case used in addressing a person .... kurie (O Lord), thee (O God) ... are almost the only forms found in the N.T." - pp. 14, 15, The New Testament Greek Primer, Rev. Alfred Marshall, Zondervan, 1978 printing.

This is especially true of "Lord" and "my Lord" in both the Septuagint and the New Testament. Kurie, not Kurios, is the form used when addressing someone as "Lord" or "My Lord." ("God," thee, however, is not always so certain.)

We can see a good example of this vocative form, which is used in addressing a person as "Lord," at 3 Kings 1:20, 21 (1 Kings 1:20, 21 in modern English Bibles) in the ancient Greek of the Septuagint: "And you, my Lord [kurie mou ], O King ..." - 3 Kings 1:20, Septuagint. Then at 3 Kings 1:21 we see the same person (King David) being spoken about (but not addressed) in the same terms as Jn 20:28: "And it shall come to pass, when my Lord [ho kurios mou] the king shall sleep with his fathers .... - 3 Kings 1:21, Septuagint.

We also find Thomas himself, at Jn 14:5, addressing Jesus as "Lord" by using kurie. And, when addressing the angel at Rev. 7:14, John himself says kurie mou ("My Lord")! [1]

Therefore, it is probably safe to say that when John wrote down the incident with Thomas at Jn 20:28 and used the nominative form for "My Lord" [Kurios], he was not saying that Thomas was addressing Jesus as "My Lord and my God"!

(3) What if the words "My Lord and my God" were meant to be applied directly to Jesus? Then, since context clearly shows that Thomas (and John) did not mean that Jesus is equally God with the Father, the word theos ("God," "god," or "mighty one" in NT Greek) must have been meant in its accepted secondary sense of "god" or "mighty one" - see the BOWGOD study.

In the preface to Young's Analytical Concordance (in the section entitled "Hints and Helps to Bible Interpretation") it states:

"65. God - is used of ANY ONE (professedly) MIGHTY, whether truly so or not, and is applied not only to the true God, but to ... magistrates, judges, angels, prophets, etc., e.g. Exod. 7:1 ... John 1:1; 10:33, 34, 35; 20:28 ... 2 Thess. 2:4..."

Notice how this famous trinitarian, Robert Young, has listed John 20:28 as an example of "God" (or "god") being applied to someone other than the true God (as in the case of "judges, angels, prophets, etc.").

Understanding, then, the different meanings of the NT Greek word theos as it was used at the time of the Bible writers, we should also know that individual speakers of that language (even as in most languages today) used it in highly individual ways. Whereas one Bible writer might frequently use a word or phrase in its alternate meanings as it was commonly used at that time, another writer might seldom (or never) use it with that alternate meaning.

For instance, some Old Testament writers used the Hebrew word elohim ("God" or "god" - there was no capitalization or punctuation in the original Bible writings) exclusively for the only true God, Jehovah. Others apparently used it only for Jehovah and, occasionally, false gods. And still others used it in all its possible applications (including God's judges, angels, prophets, etc.). - See p. 208, Today's Dictionary of the Bible, Bethany House Publishers, 1982.

So, if we examine the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, we can see that they never use theos in its positive subordinate sense ("a god" for angels, prophets, etc.). Therefore, if one of those inspired Gospel writers were to call Jesus theos, it might honestly be considered acceptable evidence for those who want to prove that Jesus is equally God with his Father.

But of the 57 times the title theos, in all its forms (or cases), is used in the Gospel of Matthew it is always used for the only true God and is never applied to Jesus! Of the 51 times the word theos (in all forms) is used in the Gospel of Mark it is always used for the only true God and is never applied to Jesus! And of the 126 times the word theos (all forms) is used in the Gospel of Luke it is always used for the only true God and is never applied to Jesus!

But if John and the rest of the disciples present when Thomas made his statement at John 20:28 understood that statement to mean that Jesus was equally God with the Father, they must have "forgotten," because Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the very first Gospels to be written, obviously don't call him "God" in any sense of the word!

Think about that. These inspired Bible writers, who supplied the only Gospel accounts available to the first Christians (the Gospel of John was written much later) during the first 50 years of Christianity, completely ignore the "Jesus is equally God" idea! And yet most of Christendom today considers this trinity idea to be "the centrality of the Christian faith," and "of primary importance," the very "cornerstone of the Christian faith," and "vital to its [Christendom's] existence." - See the KNOW study paper.

It is highly significant, therefore, that Matthew, Mark, and Luke, when writing those very first Gospel accounts, never used theos (in any form) with its positive subordinate meanings and never applied theos (in any form) to Jesus (which would have been essential knowledge for all Christians if they had really understood Jesus as being equally God with the Father)! Since these Gospel accounts only use theos for the only true God, it is not surprising (to any non-trinitarian) that it is never used for Jesus.
John, however, is the only Gospel writer who used the word theos in all its meanings. It should not be surprising, then, that he is also the only Gospel writer who clearly applies the title theos directly to Jesus! John, like some of those ancient Hebrew Scripture writers of the Old Testament who used elohim in ALL its various meanings, used it to mean the only true God over 90% of the time. But in a very few scriptures he used it to mean "a god" in its positive, subordinate meaning. A clear instance of this is found at John 10:33-36 where Jesus quotes from and comments on Psalm 82:6.

It is certainly better to use the trinitarian-translated New English Bible (NEB) here because it obviously translates theos correctly at John 10:33 ("a god") whereas the King James Version and many other trinitarian translations do not. (See the THEON study.)

The context of John 10:33-36 (and of Psalm 82:6 from which it is quoted) and NT Greek grammar show "a god" to be the correct rendering. Young's Concise Critical Bible Commentary, p. 62, by the respected trinitarian, Dr. Robert Young, confirms this:

" '... makest thyself a god,' not `God' as in c.v. [King James Version or `Common Version'], otherwise the definite article would not have been omitted, as it is here, and in the next two verses, -- `gods .. gods,' where the title is applied to MAGISTRATES [human judges of Israel], and others ...." - Baker Book House, 1977.

The highly respected (and highly trinitarian) W. E. Vine indicates the proper rendering here:

"The word [theos] is used of Divinely appointed judges in Israel, as representing God in His authority, John 10:34" - p. 491, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words.

The very popular (and highly trinitarian) New International Version Study Bible (NIVSB), Zondervan, 1985, also admits in a footnote for Psalm 82:1,

"rulers and judges, as deputies of the heavenly King, could be given the honorific title `god' (see note on 45:6....)"

and the NIVSB footnote for Ps. 45:6 says,

"it is also possible that the [Israelite] king is addressed as `god.' .... it is not unthinkable that he was called `god' as a title of honor (cf. Isa. 9:6)."

So, in the NEB it reads:

"`We are not going to stone you for any good deed, but for your blasphemy. You, a mere man, claim to be a god.' Jesus answered, `Is it not written in your own Law, "I said: You are gods"? Those are called gods to whom the word of God was delivered - and Scripture cannot be set aside. Then why do you charge me with blasphemy because I, consecrated and sent into the world by the Father, said, "I am GOD'S SON"?'"

Not only do we see John using theos in its positive alternate meaning here, but we also see Jesus clarifying it. When some of the Jews were ready to stone him because they said he was claiming to be a god (Jesus' reply about men being called gods in the scriptures would have been nonsensical if he were replying to an accusation of being God), Jesus first pointed out that God himself had called judges of Israel gods (Ps. 82:6)!

Then he, in effect, denied that he ever used the word theos for himself (even in its God-approved alternate meaning) and said that, instead, he had merely called himself God's Son! (It's interesting that those judges or magistrates of Israel who were called gods by Jehovah himself were also called "SONS of the Most High" at Ps. 82:6, and Jesus was called "SON of the Most High God" at Mark 5:7.)

At any rate, we see John using the term theos to mean not only "God" but those chosen by God to represent him ("gods")! And since the account of Thomas' exclamation (or indeed any instance of Jesus apparently being called theos in any of the 4 Gospels) appears in only John's Gospel, it should not be too surprising to find him addressing Jesus as theos. (It would be surprising, indeed, to find Matthew, Mark, or Luke addressing him as theos, since they, unlike John, reserve the term for God alone or false gods.)

So there are a number of honest possibilities for Thomas using theos in this scripture, but context certainly rules out the trinitarian explanation.

Even the Encyclopedia Britannica, 14th ed., Vol. 13, p. 24, showed the doubt of honest Bible scholars about the usual trinitarian interpretation of John 20:28:

"And it is not certain that even the words Thomas addressed to Jesus (Jn. 20:28) meant what they suggest in the English version."

So even though we may not be certain of the exact meaning here, there is absolutely no reason to insist it must be a trinitarian meaning!

* * * * *

ROM. 9:5 - " ... Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen." - KJV.

Bowman not only insists that the KJV has the only proper translation of this verse and that it proves that Jesus is definitely called God, but that the NWT "systematically abused the divine ... titles" by mistranslating it "so that Jesus is not called God at all"! - p. 71.

This is the scripture that A Catholic Dictionary calls "the strongest statement of Christ's divinity in [the writings of] St. Paul, and, indeed, in the N[ew] T[estament]."

The Jerusalem Bible (Roman Catholic) renders it, like the equally trinitarian KJV, in such a way as to make Christ appear to be God: "Christ who is above all, God for ever blessed! Amen."

And the very trinitarian The NIV Study Bible, 1985, in a note for Ro. 9:5, calls it: "One of the clearest statements of the deity of Jesus Christ found in the entire NT, assuming the accuracy of the translation (see NIV text note)."

However, the trinitarian The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology is forced to acknowledge that even IF such a trinitarian rendering of the Greek were accurate,

"Christ would not be equated absolutely with God, but only described as being of divine nature [see the study paper on `The Definite John 1:1' (DEF)], for the word theos has no article. But this ascription of majesty does not occur anywhere else in Paul. The much more probable explanation is that the statement is a DOXOLOGY [praise] DIRECTED TO God." - Vol. 2, p. 80, Zondervan, 1986.

Even the trinitarian United Bible Societies makes the same admission:

"In fact, on the basis of the general tenor of his theology it was considered tantamount to impossible that Paul would have expressed Christ's greatness by calling him `God blessed for ever'." And, "Nowhere else in his genuine epistles does Paul ever designate ho christos [`the Christ'] as theos [`God' or `god']." - p. 522, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, United Bible Societies, 1971.

The UBS has therefore punctuated their NT Greek text in such a way as to show the separateness of Christ and God at Ro. 9:5.

And A Catholic Dictionary admits the possibility that the scripture in question is really a doxology directed to God and not to Jesus: "There is no reason in grammar or in the context which forbids us to translate `God, who is over all, be blessed for ever, Amen.'" And this statement is from the very same trinitarian reference work that calls Ro. 9:5 "the strongest statement of Christ's divinity" in the entire New Testament!! If this is the "strongest" such statement, where does that put the rest of the trinity "proof"?

Illustrating the high probability that the last part of Romans 9:5 is directed as a doxology to the Father, not to Jesus, are these translations of Ro. 9:5 found in trinitarian Bibles where the statement in question is a separate thought, a separate sentence which is not directed to Jesus:

The New American Bible (NAB), 1970 ed. - "Blessed forever be God who is over all! Amen."

The New American Bible (NAB), 1991 ed. - "God who is over all be blessed forever, Amen."

The New English Bible (NEB) - "May God, supreme above all, be blessed forever!"

Revised English Bible (REB) - "May God, supreme above all, be blessed forever!"

The Revised Standard Version (RSV) - "God who is over all be blessed for ever. Amen."

- See p. 165, So Many Versions? (SMV), Zondervan, 1983.

New Life Version (NLV) - "May God be honored and thanked forever."

Today's English Version (TEV) - "May God, who rules over all, be praised forever! Amen."

The Bible, A New Translation, (Mo) by Dr. James Moffatt - "(Blessed for evermore be the
God who is over all! Amen.)"

Easy-to-Read Version (ETRV) - "May God, who rules over all things, be praised forever"(f.n.)

An American Translation (AT) - " - God who is over all be blessed for ever!"

Yes, even Dr. Goodspeed, the trinitarian scholar praised by Bowman himself, translates Ro. 9:5 in a non-trinitarian fashion in his An American Translation!

Not only can Ro. 9:5 be interpreted as having two different statements about two different subjects (1. Jesus came to earth as an Israelite, and, 2. Bless God who is over all.), but that is almost certainly the meaning intended by Paul (compare Ro. 15:5, 6; Ro. 16:27; 2 Cor. 1:3; Gal. 1:3-5; Eph. 1:3; 1 Tim. 1:16, 17).

Some trinitarians have, instead, run these two separate statements together in such a way as to give the interpretation that they both refer to the same subject: Jesus.

But notice how the highly respected trinitarian Bible, the Revised Standard Version (RSV) renders this verse:

[An Israelite] "according to the flesh, is the Christ. God who is over all be blessed for ever. Amen."

And just how is it that the Bowman-praised trinitarian translator Dr. Goodspeed (in basic agreement with many other trinitarian translators and respected scholars) renders Ro. 9:5 as:

"from them [Israelites] physically Christ came - God who is over all be blessed forever! Amen"

while "the NWT has systematically abused the divine names or titles"[2] (according to Bowman, p. 71) by rendering Ro. 9:5 as:

"from whom the Christ [sprang] according to the flesh: God, who is over all, [be] blessed
forever. Amen."


Ro. 9:5 is simply not necessarily a trinitarian statement! And Bowman is being incredibly hypocritical and dishonest by accusing the NWT of purposely distorting and mistranslating this scripture and abusing the divine titles!

TITUS 2:13 - see 2 Peter 1:1 below.

* * * * *

HEB. 1:8 - Some trinitarians insist that Hebrews 1:8 which is addressing Jesus Christ (and Ps. 45:6 which it is quoting) must read: "Thy throne, O God, is for ever."

However, many trinitarian scholars freely admit the honest possibility of alternate, non-trinitarian interpretations and renderings for this verse.

Just the admission by so many trinitarian translators that Heb. 1:8 may be honestly translated as it is in the NWT makes any insistence by other trinitarians that this scripture is acceptable evidence for a trinity doctrine completely invalid! Even famed Southern Baptist New Testament Greek scholar and trinitarian Dr. A. T. Robertson (who is even willing to sometimes go to ridiculous - and often provably wrong - lengths to support trinitarian "proof texts") admits:

"It is not certain whether ho theos is here the vocative [`your throne, O God'] ... or ho theos is nominative (subject or predicate) with estin ('is') understood: `God is thy throne' or `Thy throne is God.' Either makes good sense." - p. 339, Vol. 5, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Broadman Press, 1960.

We also see the following statement by respected trinitarian scholars in a footnote for Ps. 45:6:

"45:6 O God. Possibly the king's throne is called God's throne because he is God's appointed regent. But it is also possible that the king himself is addressed as 'god.'" - Ps. 45:6 f.n. in the NIV Study Bible.

And we have the statement by one of the greatest scholars of Biblical Hebrew of all time, H. F. W. Gesenius. In his famous and highly respected Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Gesenius renders Ps. 45:6 [or 45:7 in some Bibles],

"thy throne shall be a divine throne." - #433.

Obviously, then, the charge sometimes made that the NWT is "not being honest or scholarly" with its rendering of Heb. 1:8 is simply untrue, and it certainly may be honestly translated "God is your throne forever."

However, there is more evidence, evidence which shows not only that Heb. 1:8 may be honestly translated "God is your throne," but, indeed, should be so translated!

Notice the context. Heb. 1:8 and 1:9 are being quoted from Ps. 45:6 and 45:7. In Ps. 45:7, speaking to the Israelite King, it says: "Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows." - RSV. Just as this makes it clear that the ancient Israelite king was not God but was anointed by God, his God, to a position above his fellows, so does Heb. 1:9, as figuratively applied to Jesus, show that he is not God, but was anointed by his God to a position above his fellows! Context, then, shows that the person addressed in Heb. 1:8 is not God, but one who worships God and was anointed by his God!

The renowned trinitarian Bible scholar, B. F. Westcott, wrote:

"The LXX [Septuagint] admits of two renderings [at Ps. 45:6, 7]: [ho theos] can be taken as a vocative in both cases (`thy throne, O God, .... therefore, O God, thy God...') or it can be taken as the subject (or the predicate) in the first case (`God is Thy throne,' or `Thy throne is God...'), and in apposition to [ho theos sou] in the second case (`Therefore God, even Thy God...') .... It is scarcely possible that [elohim] in the original can be addressed to the King. The presumption therefore is against the belief that [ho theos] is a vocative in the LXX [Septuagint]. Thus on the whole it seems BEST to adopt in the first clause the rendering: `God is thy throne' (or, `Thy throne is God'), that is, `Thy kingdom is founded upon God, the immovable Rock.'" - The Epistle to the Hebrews, London, 1889, pp. 25, 26.
For much more evidence that Heb. 1:8 is properly rendered "God is your throne" see the HEB study paper.

A. Translations of Heb. 1:8 by trinitarians:

"God is your throne" - AT (Dr. Goodspeed)
"God is thy throne" - Mo (Dr. James Moffatt)
"God is your throne" - Byington
"God is your throne" - Dr. Barclay
"God is thy throne" - Dr. Westcott
"God is thy throne" - A. T. Robertson (Alternate translation)
"God is thy throne" - Dr. Young (Alt.)
"God is thy throne" - RSV (Alt.)
"God is your throne" - NRSV (Alt.)
"God is thy throne" - NEB (Alt.)
"Thy throne is God" - ASV (Alt.)

B. Translations of Ps. 45:6 by trinitarians:

"Your Divine throne" - RSV
"Your throne is like God's throne" - NEB
"God is your throne" - Byington
"The kingdom that God has given you" - GNB
"God has enthroned you" - REB
"Your throne is from God" - NJB
"Your throne is a throne of God" - NRSV (Alt.)
"Thy throne is the throne of God" - ASV (Alt.)

Yes, again, even the trinitarian (and Bowman-approved) Dr. Goodspeed renders this the very same as the NWT:

"God is your throne forever and ever"

So, again, how is it that the NWT is to be condemned for its "dishonesty," "bias," etc. when the much-acclaimed (and Bowman-approved) trinitarian scholar Dr. Goodspeed (and many others) renders it the same?

* * * * *

2 PETER 1:1 (and Titus 2:13) - These two scriptures are frequently translated (not surprisingly) in a trinitarian manner in trinitarian Bibles. Grammatically they could be translated in two (at least) different ways: trinitarian or non-trinitarian. If a translator has a trinitarian bias, he will, understandably, render them to show a trinitarian understanding. So it is highly significant that the following trinitarian scholars have not chosen to so interpret them:

- The Greek Testament, Henry Alford, p. 421, Vol. 3. (Titus 2:13)

- Theological Investigations, Karl Rahner, pp. 136, 137, Vol. 1, 1965. (2 Peter 1:1)

- The Bible, a New Translation, Dr. James Moffatt. (Titus 2:13)

In an attempt to prove the Trinity Doctrine, trinitarian Granville Sharp made up a rule in 1798. It is often called "Sharp's Rule" by trinitarians. It says, in effect, that when in the original Greek two or more words (nouns) are joined by the word "and" they all refer to the same person if the word "the" (the article) comes before the first noun and not before the other noun(s).

For example, if we saw "the king and master of the slave" in the Greek text of the Bible, it would always mean, according to Sharp, that only one person was being called both "king" and "master."

Sharp invented this rule after he noticed this particular construction (sometimes called a "Sharp's construction") was used with "God" and "Christ" in 5 places in the NT. If he could convince others that his "rule" was true, then they would think there was finally (after 1400 years of a "trinity" tradition) some actual scriptural, grammatical proof that God and Jesus are the same "person"!

The 5 "proofs" of Jesus' Godhood according to Sharp himself are (in the literal wording of the original New Testament manuscripts):

(a) Titus 2:13: "of the great God and savior of us Christ Jesus" (Bowman's choice)

(b) 2 Pet. 1:1: "righteousness of the God of us and savior Christ Jesus" (Bowman's choice)

(c) 2 Thess. 1:12: "the grace of the God of us and Lord Jesus Christ"

(d) 1 Tim. 5:21: "in sight of the God and Christ Jesus and the chosen angels"

(e) Eph. 5:5: " the kingdom of the Christ and God"

Since the first noun ("God" in the first four scriptures) has the article ("the") with it and the following noun ("savior" in the first two scriptures) does not have the article ("the"), then (according to Sharp) God and Christ (the savior, etc.) are the same person!

There are a number of reasons why Sharp's Rule, as applied to these 5 "proofs," is invalid, but we will examine a few briefly (See the SHARP study for more details).

One important strike against it is the fact that so many respected trinitarian NT grammar experts and translators have rejected it as a valid rule - e.g., see G. B. Winer; J. H. Moulton; C. F. D. Moule; Dr. James Moffatt (see Titus 2:13; and 1 Tim. 5:21); Dr. William Barclay (see 2 Thess. 1:12).

For example, examine the following trinitarian Bible's renderings of these "Sharp's Constructions":

2 Thess. 1:12 - KJV; KJIIV; NASB; NAB (1970); MLB; LB; GNB; RSV; NRSV; NIV.


2 Tim. 4:1 - most trinitarian Bibles.

1 Tim 6:13 - all trinitarian Bibles.

These many respected Bibles, translated by expert trinitarian New Testament scholars, clearly disregard Sharp's "Rule" at these (and other) places and show two persons being spoken of!

Notice Eph. 5:5, for example. Most trinitarian Bibles translate this example of Sharp's Construction:

"in the kingdom of Christ and of God" - NEB; REB; NRSV; RSV; NAB; KJV; MLB; LB; NIV; GNB; TEV; The Amplified Bible; and Phillips. This is not the way it would be translated to show that the two descriptions were of the same person! (At the very least it would be rendered more literally as "the kingdom of the Christ and God.") Instead it clearly shows two persons!

Also, 1 Tim. 6:13 is translated in trinitarian Bibles as: "before (in the sight or presence of) God ... and before Christ Jesus...." Although Sharp's Rule insists that this should be translated to show that it is speaking of the same person, it obviously is not! Most trinitarian grammar experts clearly do not believe Sharp's Rule is a valid absolute rule!

Context alone is often enough to show that the trinitarian rendering is the least likely of the grammatically possible renderings. For example, the most popular of `Sharp's constructions' among trinitarians is 2 Peter 1:1. The `Sharp's construction' here is immediately followed by another `Sharp's construction' in verse 2. It is almost never translated in a trinitarian fashion in any trinitarian Bible. Instead, it is usually rendered like this: "the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord" - AT (Goodspeed).

 According to Sharp's Rule, however, this should be rendered "according to the knowledge of the God and Jesus our Lord" and interpreted as God and Jesus being the same person. Obviously, context shows they are not the same person here, or more trinitarians would have so translated it! Therefore, with the context of 2 Pet. 1:2, it is unlikely that 2 Pet. 1:1 immediately before it should be given an entirely different interpretation.

Of the many reasons invalidating Sharp's Rule grammatically (see SHARP study paper) there are at least two of extreme importance each of which is conclusive by itself.

(1) Prepositional Constructions (with phrases containing prepositions: "of God;" "in the Lord;" "God of...;" etc.) are known by all NT grammarians to cause uncertainty of article usage. That is, if a prepositional phrase (including genitives) is attached to a word, that word may sometimes have the article ("the") and sometimes not have it -- without changing the intended meaning! (See A. T. Robertson, pp. 780, 790, 791; C. F. D. Moule, p. 117; J. H. Moulton, pp. 175, 179-180; et al.)
This means that the NT writers sometimes wrote, for example, "The God of me" (with article) and "_God of me" (without article) with exactly the same intended meaning. The definite article ("the") was ambiguous in such cases (see the DEF study paper).

Therefore any grammatical rules which depend on the presence or absence of the article in the NT Greek must not use as examples those scriptures which use a prepositional construction attached to a word (noun) in question if they are to be used honestly and properly.

But if you examine the 5 trinitarian "proofs" above, you will see that they all use such prepositional constructions: "Of us" in (a) Titus 2:13 and (b) 2 Peter 1:1 is a "prepositional" genitive, and even "savior" itself is a genitive in both scriptures and literally means "of savior;" "Lord" in (c) 2 Thess. 1:12 is a genitive and literally means "of Lord" (as rendered in the Modern Language Bible; Living Bible; Good News Bible; Douay Version; New American Bible [1970 ed.]; and Barclay's Daily Study Bible); "Christ" in (d)1 Tim. 5:21 is a genitive and literally means "of Christ" (as in The Good News Bible [& TEV]; New American Standard Bible; Modern Language Bible; Revised Standard Version; and New Revised Standard Version); and "God" in (e) Eph 5:5 Is a genitive and literally means "of God" (as in the King James Version; Revised Standard Version; New Revised Standard Version; Living Bible; New English Bible; Revised English Bible; Modern Language Bible; New American Bible (1970 & 1991); Douay Version; New International Version; Good News Bible; and Phillips translation).

Therefore all 5 Sharp's "proofs" are invalid on the basis of prepositional constructions alone!

(2) New Testament scholars, including noted trinitarian NT grammar experts, point out that the use of proper names ("John," "Moses," "Jesus," etc.) also causes uncertain article usage in NT Greek. (A. T. Robertson, Grammar, p. 791, and Word Pictures, p. 46, Vol. IV [includes "Lord"]; C. F. D. Moule, p. 115 [includes "Lord"]; J. H. Moulton [Turner], Vol. 3, pp. 165-167; et. al.)

So not only did the NT Bible writers sometimes use the article and sometimes not use the article with the very same intended meaning with the very same proper name (e.g. "the James" and "James"), but even when the proper name is used as an appositive it also causes irregular article usage with the other associated nouns. - Robertson, pp. 760, 791.

For example, when "Jesus" and "Christ" are in apposition to each other ("Jesus Christ" or "Christ Jesus"), they are nearly always (96% of the time - see the SHARP study paper) written without the definite article in the writings of Paul regardless of "Sharp's rule" or any other grammatical/syntactical consideration!

If we examine the first 4 of the 5 "proofs" above, we see that the proper name "Jesus" is used as an appositive with the word in question in each case! In other words, "Christ Jesus" is the appositive for "savior" in Titus 2:13. This means sometimes "savior" will have "the" with it in such a situation and sometimes it won't (with no change in meaning). "Jesus Christ" is the appositive for "savior" in 2 Peter 1:1 and article usage (or non-usage) with "savior" in such circumstances is virtually meaningless. "Jesus Christ" is in apposition to (an appositive for) "Lord" in 2 Thess. 1:12. And "Jesus" is in apposition to "Christ" in 1 Tim. 5:21. These examples, therefore, are completely invalid as evidence for Jesus being God even if there were actually some validity to Sharp's "Rule" with proper examples!

And the 5th example, Eph. 5:5, is incredibly poor in context alone. Even extreme trinitarian A. T. Robertson has to admit that the "evidence" of Eph. 5:5 is doubtful - Word Pictures, Vol. 14, pp. 46 and 543. No objective person could accept it alone as real evidence of Jesus' Godhood!

Some PREPOSITIONAL examples found in NT Greek:

"The God of Abraham and _God of Isaac and _God of Jacob" - Luke 20:37.

"The God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob" - Matt. 22:32.

"James, _slave of God and _Lord Jesus Christ" - James 1:1

"By command of _God savior of us and _Christ Jesus" - 1 Tim. 1:1.

"I am the root and the offspring of David" - Rev. 22:16.

Some PROPER NAME examples found in NT Greek:

"having seen _Peter and _John" (no articles) - Acts 3:3.

"holding fast ... the Peter and the John" (both articles) - Acts 3:11.

"beholding the outspokenness of the Peter and _John" (Sharp's) - Acts 4:13.

"But the Peter and _John" (Sharp's construction) - Acts 4:19.

So we see the Bible writer who has been acknowledged as the most proficient in NT Greek (Luke) showing the great ambiguity of article usage with proper names. If we do not exclude proper names as valid examples, we would have to agree that either Luke believed Peter and John were the same person or that he was completely unaware of Sharp's Rule (or any first century equivalent)!

Although we can find such constructions as "the lord and master of the slave" where the first noun (with the definite article, `the') is the same person as the second noun (without the definite article), there is no grammatical reason that this must always be so. Such constructions as "the boy and girl" and "the President and Vice President" (found in Amendment XX [as ratified in 1933] of the Constitution of the United States of America), which refer to more than one individual, are just as grammatically correct in both English and NT Greek.

There is no reason, grammatical or contextual, that 2 Pet. 1:1 and Titus 2:13 should be rendered as many trinitarian Bibles prefer it. Even many trinitarian scholars admit this. So just how, as Bowman claims, has the NWT "systematically abused the divine names or titles ... in its handling of texts in which Jesus is called God" by translating in a completely honest manner the most probable meaning for these two scriptures?

It's one thing to prefer a certain translation of a passage. It's entirely another thing to insist that others who prefer a grammatically and contextually accurate different rendering are being dishonest!

* * * * *

1 JOHN 5:20 

1 Jn 5:20 - "his Son, Jesus Christ. This [outos] is the true [alethinos] God, and eternal life." - KJV.

"We are in union with him who is true, through his son, Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life." – AT.

"his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and life everlasting." - NWT.

Bowman complains about the interpretation of 1 John 5:20 by JW's! Obviously the translation itself is little different from most trinitarian translations.

Some trinitarians, like Bowman, actually insist that the word "this" (outos) here refers to Jesus. In other words, "[Jesus Christ] is the true God and eternal life." For example, Bowman in his Jehovah's Witnesses, Jesus Christ, and the Gospel of John states that Jesus is called

"`the true God and eternal life' ... indisputably identifying Christ as the Almighty God of the Old Testament." - p. 41, Baker Book House, 1991 printing.

I understand why trinitarians are so desperate in their search for scriptural "evidence" that they have to make it up, but this is incredibly poor!

It is obvious that grammatically the word "this" (outos) could be referring to either the Father or Jesus in this particular scripture (see the footnote for 1 John 5:20 in the very trinitarian NIV Study Bible and the comments on 1 Jn 5:20 by the extremely trinitarian scholar A. T. Robertson in his Word Pictures, Vol. VI, p. 245.). But the fact that the true God (or "the true One") has just been identified as the Father of Jesus (1 Jn 5:20, TEV and GNB) makes it highly probable that "this is the true God" refers to the Father, not Jesus.

The highly trinitarian NT scholar Murray J. Harris sums up his 13-page analysis of this scripture as follows:

"Although it is certainly possible that outos refers back to Jesus Christ, several converging lines of evidence point to `the true one,' God the Father, as the probable antecedent. This position, outos = God [Father], is held by many commentators, authors of general studies, and significantly, by those grammarians who express an opinion on the matter." - p. 253, Jesus as God, Baker Book House, 1992.

Notice how this trinitarian scholar actually admits that the probability is that the Father (not Jesus) is being called the true God here. He even tells us (and cites examples in his footnotes) that New Testament grammarians and commentators (most of them trinitarian, of course) agree!

So this single "proof" that the "true God" is a title for anyone other than the Father alone is not proof at all. The grammar alone merely makes it a possibility. The immediate context makes it highly improbable since (as in all other uses of the term) the true God (or the true one) was just identified as the Father ("We are in the one who is true as we are in his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the true God and this is eternal life." - NJB; and "We know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we know the true God. We live in union with the true God - in union with his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and this is eternal life." - TEV.).

So the immediate context makes it probable that the true God is the Father in this scripture also. If we include the context of all the uses of the `true God' in the NT, it is certain that He is the Father (whose personal name is Jehovah - Jer. 10:10, ASV; Ps. 83:18, KJV; Ex. 3:15, NEB). A quick glance at 1 Thess. 1:9 and 10, for example makes it very clear that "the true God" is the Father.

To clinch John's intended meaning at 1 John 5:20, let's look at his only other use of the term "the true God": John 17:1, 3, where, again (as in 1 Jn 5:20), he mentions Father, Son, and eternal life.

At John 17:1, 3 Jesus prays to the Father: "Father, .... this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." - New International Version (NIV). Here the Father alone is not only very clearly identified as the only true [alethinos] God, but Jesus Christ is again pointedly and specifically excluded from that identification ("and Jesus Christ whom you [the only true God] have sent")!

Notice how this respected trinitarian Bible has rendered John 17:1, 3 - "Father,....This is eternal life: to know thee who alone art truly God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." - New English Bible (NEB).

Once again we find that even many trinitarian scholars agree with the JW interpretation. So just how is it that the NWT has "abused the divine name or titles" by translating 1 John 5:20 essentially as trinitarian Bibles do and by interpreting it as many, if not most, trinitarian scholars also do? Bowman is knowingly accusing the JWs falsely!

* * * * *

ACTS 20:28 - Trinitarians, for obvious reasons, prefer this translation of Acts 20:28 -
"... to shepherd ["feed" in some translations] the church of God which He purchased with His own blood." - NASB.

This certainly seems to be excellent evidence for a "Jesus is God" doctrine.

But there are 2 major uncertainties about the proper translation of Acts 20:28. Either one of those uncertainties completely nullifies any trinitarian "evidence" proposed for this scripture!

First, even some trinitarian Bibles translate this verse, "the church of the Lord." - NEB; REB; ASV, Moffatt. Since Jesus was often referred to as "the Lord," this rendering negates any "Jesus is God" understanding for Acts 20:28.

Yes, even the popular trinitarian work The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, uses this translation for Acts 20:28 also:

"to feed the church of the Lord"! - p. 838, Vol. 2, Zondervan Publ., 1986.

And the respected, scholarly trinitarian work, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, p. 480, United Bible Societies, 1971, explains about this first uncertainty concerning the translation of Acts 20:28. Although, for obvious reasons, preferring the rendering "the church of God" at this verse, this trinitarian work admits that there is "considerable degree of doubt" about this "preferred" rendering. They admit that "The external evidence is singularly balanced between `church of God' and `church of the Lord'."

Second, even some trinitarian Bibles render this verse, "to care for the church of God which he obtained with the blood of his own Son." - RSV, 1971 ed.; NRSV; NJB; ETRV [footnote] (also see TEV and GNB).

The New Testament Greek words tou idiou follow "with the blood" in this scripture. This could be translated as "with the blood of his own." A singular noun may be understood to follow "his own." This would be referring to God's "closest relation," his only-begotten Son.

Famous trinitarian scholar J. H. Moulton says about this:

"Before leaving idios [which includes the form idiou above] something should be said about the use of [ho idios, which includes tou idiou] without a noun expressed. This occurs in Jn 1:11, 13:1; Ac 4:23; 24:23. In the papyri we find the singular used thus as a term of endearment to near relations .... In Expos. vi. iii. 277 I ventured to cite this as a possible encouragement to those (including B. Weiss) who would translate Acts 20:28 `the blood of one who was his own.'" - A Grammar of New Testament Greek, Vol. 1 (Prolegomena), 1930 ed., p. 90.

Highly respected trinitarian New Testament scholars Westcott and Hort present an alternate reason for a similar rendering:

"it is by no means impossible that YIOY [huiou, or `of the Son'] dropped out [was inadvertently left out during copying] after TOYIDIOY [tou idiou, or `of his own'] at some very early transcription affecting all existing documents. Its insertion [restoration] leaves the whole passage free from difficulty of any kind." - The New Testament in the Original Greek, Vol. 2, pp. 99, 100 of the Appendix.

And A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, p. 481, by the trinitarian United Bible Societies tells us:

"Instead of the usual meaning of dia tou haimatos tou idiou [`through the blood of the own'], it is possible that the writer of Acts intended his readers to understand the expression to mean `with the blood of his Own.' (It is not necessary to suppose, with Hort, that huiou may have dropped out after tou idiou, though palaeographically such an omission would have been easy.) This absolute use of ho idios is found in Greek papyri as a term of endearment referring to near relatives. It is possible, therefore, that `his Own' (ho idios) was a title which early Christians gave to Jesus, comparable to `the Beloved'."

Therefore, we can see that a rendering similar to RSV's "the church of God which he obtained with the blood of his own son [or `beloved']" is obviously an honest, proper rendering.

Although the UBS Committee didn't actually commit itself one way or another on this rendering of tou idiou at Acts 20:28, it did mention that

"some have thought [it] to be a slight probability that tou idiou is used here as the equivalent of tou idiou huiou [`his own Son']." - p. 481.

Obviously this includes those trinitarian scholars who translated the Revised Standard Version (1971 ed.) and Today's English Version.

Since so many respected trinitarian scholars admit the possibility (and even the probability) of such honest alternate non-trinitarian translations for Acts 20:28, this scripture can't honestly be used as proof for a trinity concept, and Bowman's insistence that it be so used is certainly misleading (at best)! And his insistence that the NWT has dishonestly translated here is certainly dishonest in itself!

* * * * *

So, honestly, is Bowman being accurate or honest when he says "the NWT has systematically abused the divine names or titles ... in its handling of texts in which Jesus is called God."?
Just how accurate and honest is Bowman's declaration that "in nine Bible texts Jesus is definitely called God (Isa 9:6; John 1:1, 18; 20:28; Rom. 9:5; Titus 2:13; Heb. 1:8; 2 Peter 1:1; 1 John 5:20; possibly also Acts 20:28)"?

If even many respected trinitarian scholars (often even Dr. Goodspeed himself) admit that the NWT non-trinitarian renderings (and interpretations) of the above 9 (or 10) Bible texts are honest renderings, only a very dishonest Bible scholar would pretend otherwise and insist that they are texts where Jesus is "definitely called God"!


1. So, when addressing a person as "Lord" or "my Lord," kurie was used. But some trinitarian scholars who refuse to give up this scripture as one of their best "proofs" say that we have to accept the nominative form of "Lord" (kurios ) as an alternate form used as a noun of address (vocative) in John.
For example, the noted (and highly trinitarian) NT Greek scholar Dr. A. T. Robertson insists that "My Lord and my God" of Jn 20:28 must be understood as nouns of address (vocatives) in order for this verse to be interpreted as a trinitarian statement as he wants. (Moule and Harris have also been noted above as adopting this "vocative" understanding.)

He tried to find some authority for claiming that "My Lord and my God" (especially "My Lord [ho kurios mou]") must be interpreted as nouns of address (vocative case nouns) even though they are truly nominative case nouns (nouns used as subjects, predicate nouns, and their appositives). However, he has managed to come up with only two examples in the entire NT in his attempt to back up this interpretation.

It is true that for some nouns the nominative form can be used as a vocative. But in the cases of kurios (translated "Lord," "master," and "sir") and didaskalos ("teacher," "instructor") the true vocative forms (kurie and didaskale) are probably always used by the NT writers when actually intended as nouns of address.

Nevertheless, Robertson points to Jn 13:13 and Rev. 4:11 (the only such "examples" he could find in the entire NT).

Most Bibles say at John 13:13, "You call me teacher [ho didaskalos] and Lord [ho kurios] and rightly so for that is what I am." - RSV, KJV, NIV, NASB, ASV, JB, NEB, LB, AT, Mo, CBW, MLB, Beck, Lattimore, Barclay (John, Vol. 2, p. 139). Or, in other words, "You say that I am your teacher and your master, and you're right. That's what I am." The sense of such a rendering is actually that of a predicate noun (nominative) or direct object (accusative), but not a noun of address (vocative).

Nevertheless, Robertson insists that this is an example of the nominative case kurios being used as a noun of address. (But compare other uses of "call me [him, her]" such as Mt 22:43, 45; Mk 12:37; Lk 20:44; 1 Pet. 3:6. - none use a noun of address. Also notice that all uses of "Satan" used in address are the vocative Satana whereas the nominative Satanas is used at Rev. 12:9 - "serpent who is called the Devil and Satan [Satanas]".)

For further evidence of this, "teacher" [didaskalos in all its forms] is used 51 times in the NT. It is clearly, indisputably used as a noun of address for a total of 31 times and always in the vocative form (didaskale).

Yes, all 6 times it is used as a noun of address in Matthew (Mt 8:19; 12:38; 19:16; 22:16; 22:24; and 22:36), it is always in the vocative form: didaskale !

All 10 times that Mark uses "teacher" as a noun of address (Mk 4:38; 9:17; 9:38; 10:17; 10:20; 10:35; 12:14; 12:19; 12:32; and 13:1), it is always in the vocative form: didaskale !

All 12 times that Luke uses "teacher" as a noun of address (Lk 3:12; 7:40; 9:38; 10:25; 11:45; 12:13; 18:18; 19:39; 20:21; 20:28; 20:39; and 21:7), it is always in the vocative form: didaskale !

And all 3 times that John clearly uses "teacher" as a noun of address (Jn 1:38; 8:4; and 20:16), it is always in the vocative form: didaskale ! (The only possible exception is Jn 13:13.)

So for certain trinitarians to say that it is used as a noun of address in the nominative form (didaskalos) one time only in the entire New Testament at John 13:13 (where the interpretation of a noun of address is highly disputable anyway) is extremely improbable at best!

And when we add the further evidence that "Lord" (kurios) is also always used in the vocative form [kurie] when it is clearly intended as a noun of address in the NT, we have really clinched the case.
Yes, after searching through the trinitarian New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible to find all the places in the New Testament where kurios and kurie are translated as nouns of address, I found a total of 111 such instances (which include "Lord," "sir," and "master"). 109 of the 111 use kurie, the vocative form! The only places kurios is sometimes translated in a way that it appears it could be a noun of address are found at John 13:13 and Rev. 4:11.

We find that the Gospel of John itself uses kurie 33 times: every time "Lord" (or "sir") is clearly meant as a noun of address (John 4:11, 15, 19, 49; 5:7; 6:34, 68; 8:11; 9:36, 38; 11:3, 12, 21, 27, 32, 34, 39; 12:21, 38; 13:6, 9, 25, 36, 37; 14:5, 8, 22; 20:15; 21:15, 16, 17, 20, 21) the only possible exception seems to be John 13:13 (examined above for use of "teacher") which also uses kurios. The only other possible exception (Rev. 4:11) outside the all-important (for the purpose of this study) Gospel of John also does not clearly intend its use of kurios as a noun of address. It probably uses it, in fact, as an appositive (which in this case would have to be the nominative case kurios).* - see RSV, NASB, ASV, NAB (`91), AB. The very best evidence, then, is that kurie was always used when "Lord" or "My Lord" was intended as a noun of address!

So, again, there is not even one valid, certain example in the entire New Testament to back up the trinitarian assertion that the nominative kurios in John 20:28 should be understood as a vocative. But there are many straightforward, indisputable examples (109 of them) to show that John 20:28 was not intended as a noun of address signifying identification.


* An appositive is a noun which follows and further identifies another noun. For example: "I saw Jim, the mailman." "The mailman" is an appositive since it follows "Jim" and further identifies him.

In NT Greek the appositive is normally in the same form as the noun it identifies. For example, in Jn 17:3 we see: "eternal life means to know you, the only true God" - GNB. Here the word "you" is in the accusative case in the NT Greek. Therefore, the word "God," which is the appositive for "you," must also be in the accusative case: theon. And when we examine John 13:14, we find: "I, your Lord and Teacher, have just washed your feet." - GNB. Here the word "I" is in the nominative case (ego) since it is the subject. Therefore, the words "Lord" and "Teacher," which are the appositives for "I" in this sentence, must also be in the nominative case: kurios and didaskalos. And, again, at Rev. 4:11 we see "Worthy art thou, our Lord and God, to receive glory ..." - RSV. Here "thou" is in the nominative case and, therefore, "Lord" and "God" as appositives of "thou" are also in the nominative case: kurios and theos.


2. This is an amazing statement from one who truly endorses "the systematic abuse of the divine name." Although he admits that YHWH is the personal name of God and may be properly pronounced in English as `Yahweh' or `Jehovah,' he, nevertheless, endorses the substitution of that name in most trinitarian Bibles as "LORD." - pp. 112, 118.

"Jehovah denotes specifically the one true God, whose people the Jews were, and who made them the guardians of his truth. .... The substitution of the word Lord is most unhappy, for it in no way represents the meaning of the sacred name." - p. 220, Smith's Bible Dictionary, Hendrickson Publ.

"The change ... which substitutes `Jehovah' for `LORD' and `GOD' (printed in small capitals) - is one which will be unwelcome to many, because of the frequency and familiarity of the terms displaced. But the American Revisers, after a careful consideration, were brought to the unanimous conviction that a Jewish superstition, which regarded the Divine Name as too sacred to be uttered, ought no longer to dominate in the English or any other version of the Old Testament.... This personal name ['Jehovah'], with its wealth of sacred associations, is now restored to the place in the sacred text to which it has an unquestionable claim." - Preface, p. iv, American Standard Version, Thomas Nelson and Sons.

"Jehovah, the special and significant name (not merely an appellative title such as Lord) by which God revealed himself to the ancient Hebrews" - p. 330, Today's Dictionary of the Bible, Bethany House Publ., 1982.

"YHWH, the personal name of God, is always translated `Yahweh' [in this publication], against the practice of the NIV in rendering it as `LORD.' On the one hand, this prevents confusion of this name with the title [`my-Lord'], for the idea of lordship is not an integral element of the name. On the other hand, perhaps the use of Yahweh in this work will encourage the reader to use the personal name of God in prayer and praise, as is intended by the most common imperative in the Scriptures, [`Hallelujah' - `praise Jehovah' (see p. 276, Today's Dictionary of the Bible)]" - pp. xxvii-xxviii, The NIV Interlinear Hebrew-English Old Testament, Vol. 1, Zondervan, 1979.

"Here is why we did not [use `Jehovah' in the NIV]: You are right that Jehovah is a distinctive name for God and ideally we should have used it. .... We are the victims of 350 years of the King James tradition. It is far better to get two million to read it - that is how many have bought it to date [1979] - and to follow the King James, than to have two thousand buy it and have the correct translation of Yahweh.... It was a hard decision, and many of our translators agree with you." - Edwin H. Palmer, Th.D., Executive Secretary for the NIV (see Tribute in foreword of the NIV Study Bible, 1985.)

"5. `Jehovah' - The name most distinctive of God as the God of Israel is Jehovah.... The meaning may with some confidence be inferred ... to be that of the simple fut[ure], yahweh, `he will be.' It does not express causation, nor existence in a metaphysical sense, but the covenant promise of the Divine presence, both at the immediate time and in the Messianic age of the future.... It is the personal name of God.... Characteristic of the OT is its insistence on the possible knowledge of God as a person; and Jehovah is His name as a person. It is illogical, certainly, that the later Hebrews should have shrunk from its pronunciation, in view of the appropriateness of the name and of the OT insistence on the personality of God, who as a person has this name. [ASV] quite correctly adopts the transliteration `Jehovah' to emphasize its significance and purpose as a personal name of God revealed." - The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, p. 1266, Vol. 2, Eerdmans, 1984.

"Jehovah" was used and praised and revered in the OT to an overwhelming degree. It was reverently used nearly 7000 times, much more than any other name in the entire Bible or any title used for God ("God," "Lord," etc.). It was declared to be of essential importance (not in a magical, superstitious sense, but as an essential ingredient in the knowledge of the only true God and in proper worship of him):

Ex. 3:15 - "Yahweh, ... this is my name for all time, and thus I am to be invoked for all generations to come." - NJB.

"Jehovah, .... This is My name FOREVER and by this I am to be remembered through all generations." - MLB.

"Jehovah ... This is my ETERNAL name, to be used throughout all generations." - LB.

This scripture alone shows us that His name is essential! Those who worship him, the witnesses of Jehovah, are commanded to know and use it. There are many other Scriptures, however. A few of them are:

1 Chron. 16:8 - "O give thanks unto Jehovah, call upon his name; Make known his doings among the peoples." - ASV.

"Give thanks to Yahweh, call his name aloud, proclaim his deeds to the peoples [`among the nations' - NAB (1991); MLB; GNB; `world' - LB]." - NJB.

"... call upon him BY his name" - The Septuagint, Zondervan Publ., 1970.

Is. 12:4 - "And in that day shall ye say, Give thanks unto Jehovah, call upon his name, declare his doings among the peoples, make mention that his name is exalted." - ASV.

"And, that day, you will say, `Praise Yahweh, invoke his name. Proclaim his deeds to the people [`nations,' RSV, NRSV, MLB, NAB (1991), GNB; `world', LB], declare his name sublime.'" - NJB.

 "call aloud upon his name" [Boate to onoma autou, literally: "call aloud his name"] - The Septuagint, Zondervan Publ., 1970.

Zeph. 3:9 - "For then will I turn to the peoples a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of Jehovah, to serve him with one consent." - ASV.

"Yes, then [the last days] I shall purge the lips of the peoples, so that all may invoke the name of Yahweh." - NJB.

Joel 2:26, 32 - "And ye ... shall praise the name of Jehovah your God .... And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of Jehovah shall be delivered." - ASV.

 "You WILL ... praise the name of Yahweh your God .... All who call on [`invoke' - REB] the name of Yahweh will be saved" - NJB.

Here, like knowing God (Jn 17:3; 2 Thess. 1:8, 9), calling on (or invoking) Jehovah's name is an essential part of the road that leads to life.

Since it is a requirement to call upon, or invoke the name Jehovah, the knowledge and use of that name IS essential (as made known in the OT at least)! And, like knowing God, "calling upon his name, Jehovah" includes much more than merely pronouncing his name aloud in prayer. But, nevertheless, it does include the knowledge and use of his personal name, Jehovah (or Yahweh).

For example, Elijah, in his famous demonstration of who the only true God is, told the priests of Baal, "Call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of Jehovah: and the God that answers by fire, let him be God." So how did the priests of Baal call on the name of their god? "And they ... called on the name of Baal ... saying `O Baal, hear us.'" And how did Elijah call on the name of Jehovah? "O Jehovah .... Hear me, O Jehovah, hear me, that this people may know that thou, Jehovah, art God.... And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said [aloud, uncoded, in plain language], `Jehovah, he is God'" - ASV, 1 Ki.18:24, 26, 36-39. - Obviously, calling on (or invoking) the name of Jehovah includes the reverent use of that only personal name of the true God!

Many other scriptures throughout the OT declare the extreme importance (to God and us) of our knowing and declaring and calling upon the name Jehovah:

Jer. 16:19, 21 - "O Jehovah ... unto thee shall the nations come from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Our fathers have inherited nought but lies ... and they will know that my name is JEHOVAH." - ASV.

Zech. 13:9 - "They shall call upon my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people; and they shall say [aloud, uncoded, in plain language], JEHOVAH is my God." - ASV.

Ezek. 39:7 - "And my holy name will I make known ... and the nations shall know that I am JEHOVAH" - ASV. "The nations will know that I am YAHWEH" - NJB.

Ps. 83:16, 18 - "Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, [O Jehovah].... that men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth." - KJV.

Ps. 135:13 - "Thy name, O Jehovah, endureth forever; Thy memorial name, O Jehovah, throughout all generations" - ASV.

We are to know and use Jehovah's name, but we must not misunderstand how extremely important it is to Him (and to us):

"You shall not misuse the name of Yahweh your God, for Yahweh will not leave unpunished anyone who misuses his name." - Ex. 20:7, NJB [also NRSV, NIV, NEB, REB, GNB, NLV, ETRV].

God certainly didn't say, "Don't ever use my Holy Name"! By direct Bible statements and commands and by the clear, thousand-fold repeated examples of all the prophets of God in the OT we know that God's Holy Name must be known and used by his people - for all generations. Instead, this Scripture shows the extreme importance of that name (would God really punish anyone who misuses his name if that name weren't extremely important?) and that it must be used in a manner that shows its great importance.

(So what do you think of the undeniable removal of God's personal name by "Christian" translators from thousands of places in the OT where the inspired Bible writers originally placed it? After all, for hundreds of translations - in the last few centuries at least - we can see the actual Hebrew OT manuscripts which the "orthodox" translators used and compare that with their actual translations which remove God's name! Honestly, isn't this a terrible misuse of his Memorial Name? Isn't this "Christian" tradition inexcusable? How can it be supported by a true witness of Jehovah? How could it even be quietly condoned? Doesn't it illustrate a basic error that the vast majority of Christendom has embraced for many centuries? The complete elimination of the name of the "Hebrew" God has been a goal of the majority of Christendom for so long that its beginning is all but lost in the mist of time (see JHVHNT study paper). But for Christendom to claim that this was the case from the very beginning of Christianity is a terrible thing to do.)

Malachi 2:2; 3:16, 17 - "Unless you listen to me and pay heed to the honouring of my name, says [Jehovah], I shall lay a curse on you .... A record was written before [Jehovah] of those who feared him and had respect for his name. They will be mine, says [Jehovah] ... and I shall spare them" - REB.
(Doesn't the removal of Jehovah's name from the thousands of places in the inspired scriptures where it was originally written display a clear lack of respect for his Holy Name? How could there be a more blatant misuse of his Name?)

I don't understand how anyone can deny the extreme importance of God's eternal, holy name in the OT nor that that name was used respectfully much more than any other name (nearly 7000 times) throughout the OT. Nor that God foretold that it would have to be known worldwide by all the nations. And that name was YHWH in the OT! Nor can I understand anyone honestly refusing to admit that YHWH simply does not translate nor transliterate, by any stretch of the imagination, into "Lord"!

Therefore, if we translate YHWH to its most probable equivalent ("He Who Will Be [With You]" - see the I AM study) or transliterate it into a possible Hebrew form ("Yahweh" or "Yahowah" - see the PRONOUNCE study paper) or even its traditional English form ("Jehovah" - to match the traditional English form of "Jesus") and leave it where it was actually placed by the inspired OT writers, that is not only good but essential.

What are we doing if we purposely change the inspired scriptures; if we purposely remove an essentially important word 7000 times from the inspired Scriptures (and add words and meanings not used nor intended in the original)? We are not just interpreting and translating, but we are actually disobeying God's clear commandments concerning his Most Holy Name and disobeying his clear commandments concerning adding to and taking away from his inspired word! How can this possibly be Christian (whether it started in the 2nd century or the 17th century)? - - - And yet that is exactly what Bowman (and the majority of Christendom's scholars) advocates and supports!

So who really "has systematically abused the divine name...."??


Note: Although Watchtower Society (WTS) research and scholarship is usually at least the equal of (and often superior to) that of other sources, I have tried to rely most heavily on other sources in Christendom itself (preferably trinitarian) or my own independent research to provide evidence disproving the anti-WTS `proof' being examined in this paper. The reason is, of course, that this paper is meant to provide evidence needed by non-Witnesses, and many of them will not accept anything written by the WTS. They truly believe it is false, even dishonest. Therefore some of the preceding information, all of which helps disprove specific anti-WTS "proofs," may be in disagreement with current WTS teachings in some specifics (especially when I have presented a number of alternates). Jehovah's Witnesses should research the most recent WTS literature on the subject or scripture in question before using this information with others. – RDB.