Wednesday, September 16, 2009

NWT - Heb. 9:27 - "Once For All Time"


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

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

Heb. 9:27 - "Once For All Time"

Mantey next attacks "the addition of `for all time' in Heb. 9:27 when nothing in the Greek New Testament supports it."

But the equally rabid trinitarian scholar, W. E. Vine, says (of the NT Greek word hapax that was translated "once for all time" by the NWT) in his An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, p. 809: "1. Hapax denotes a. once, one time.... b. once for all, of what is of perpetual validity, not requiring repetition."

Like so many words (in NT Greek and OT Hebrew as well as in English) hapax has more than one meaning. Either the a. or the b. definition is an honest translation of the Greek word hapax!

Look at these trinitarian translations of hapax:

Heb. 9:26 - "He has appeared once and for all" [hapax] - Jerusalem Bible, NJB, GNB, TEV, NEB, Phillips.
- "once for all" [hapax] - NAB (1970), NAB (1991), RSV, NRSV, REB.

Heb. 9:27 - "reserved for men to die once for all" [hapax] - MLB.
- "Destined that men die only once" [hapax] - JB, NJB, Living Bible.

Heb. 9:28 - "Christ sacrificed once for all" [hapax] - MLB.
- "Christ died only once" [hapax] - JB, NJB, LB.

Jude 3 - "once and for all" [hapax] - NEB, JB, NJB, GNB, TEV, Phillips.
- "once for all" [hapax] - RSV, NRSV, REB, NASB, NAB, NAB (1991), Mo, MLB, LB.
Also note John 10:38 which does not even have the word hapax, but TEV adds "once and for all" anyway!

Yes, even the trinitarian standard, The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 1986, Zondervan, Vol. 2, pp. 717, 718, tells us hapax means

"once in the sense of an event that cannot be repeated. It is so used of the sacrificial death of Christ (Heb. 9:26 ff; 1 Pet. 3:18).... The author of Heb. sees the death of Christ as the once-and-for-all [hapax] sacrifice" - p. 717.

And "Jude 3 urges its readers `to contend for the faith which was once for all [hapax] delivered to the saints.'" - p. 718.

A final note on hapax comes from the highly trinitarian (and highly anti-Watchtower Society) "cult" expert Dr. Walter Martin. This "born-again" spokesman likes to quote Dr. Mantey in an attempt to show the "mistranslations" and "perversions" of God's Word by the Watchtower Society. Interestingly, Martin himself interprets hapax in Jude 3 as "once for all time":

" `...contend earnestly for the faith once [hapax] delivered to the saints,' that's King James, but the [NT] Greek is a little better," says Martin. "The Greek says, `... put up a stiff fight for the faith once for all time [hapax] delivered to the saints.'" - Introduction to the Cults, cassette tape recording by Dr. Walter Martin, 1980. - Compare Jude :3 NWT.

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