Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Index of Links and Pages that Defend the New World Translation

(Scoll down for Scripture List; For the Index to ALL topics, click here.)


Analuo/Releasing    Apollumi - "destroy" / "annihilate"    Asiarches  


Baptism for Dead    Ben Kedar    Biased? (NWT)   


Choosing a Modern Translation    Coptic    Colwell's study of various translations


Despotes / "Sovereign Lord"    Diakonos/Minister    "Dungy idols" / "gullilum" 


Epiphaneia / Jesus' future return    Estin / "is" or "means"?    Exercise Faith/Believe


Features (of the NWT) 


"God" or "a god"? (Cnts)    "God" or "a god"? (Zndvn)  


Holy Ones  


I AM    "In" (translating)    Inspired Expression    "Is" or "Means"?   


"Jehovah" in the NT (Zndvn)    "Jehovah" in the NT (Cnts' List)    Jesus as "Theos" in the New Testament     


Kharis: "Undeserved Kindness"    Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures    Keras Soterias    Kolasis-Cutting Off


Lynn Lundquist's Criticisms (Response to)


MAGI - "Wise men" or "Astrologers"?    "Magic-practicing priests"    "Man"    Monogenes (only begotten)  


"Other" (Adding)  


Parousia-Presence   "Peculiar Translations"    Pneuma/Spirit    Psyche/soul 




SFBT Index  Sharp's Rule (Zndvn)   Sharp's Rule (Cntss)   SMV Conclusion   


Tasso   "Too Literal" (Zndvn)   Too Literal (Cnts)  Torture Stake vs Cross   "Torture Stake" Stauros   Trinity Index


Unnamed Translators  




Weights & Measures    Words Omitted    Worship / Proskyneo

(For the Scripture Index to ALL topics, click here.)

Gen. 1:2 (Ruach)

Gen 7:15

Gen 8:21

Gen 16:12

Gen 17:4

Gen 21:9

Judges 14:3

Job 6:6: "marshmallow" 

Ps 1:2

Ps. 90:2 (Yalad)

Prov. 11:16

Isa. 9:6

Isa 58:1

Jeremiah 10:10 ".. is in truth God"

Joel 2:32 

Hab. 1:12

Zech. 3:2 NWT 'add' the words "the angel of"?

Zech 12:10 

Zech 12:10/Jn 19:37 

Mal 3:8

Mt. 5:18 "hews" / "sooner would"

Mt. 5:44 "agapate" / "continue to love"

Mt 6:17

Mt. 6:27 (Cubit / Lifespan)

Matthew 27:52, 53 - resurrection?

Mt. 28:19

Mark 1:4 "baptism [in symbol] of repentance"?

Luke 12:42 "discreet" in the NWT is 'phronimos'

Luke 20:29 "Sovereign Lord"

Luke 23:43 

Jn 1:1 (A Number of Trinitaran Translations and Scholars Admit "a god")

Jn 1:1 NWT 

Jn 1:1 NWT Make Up Rule?  

Jn 1:1 Mrtn  

Jn 1:18 "only-begotten god/son" 

Jn 14:14  

Jn 17:3 "Taking in Knowledge"

John 17:5 (para) 

John 17:21 "are in union with me."  

John 20:28 "My God"

Acts 2:17 "some of" (apo);  "Every sort" (pas)

Acts 2:42 "..to taking of meals.."

Acts 4:24 "Sovereign Lord"

Acts 5:3 "play false"

Acts 5:42 "from house to house"

Acts 10:36 'others'

Acts 20:28

Rom. 8:27 (phronema) (INDNWT);   Rom. 8:27 - Why is the Greek word translated differently in the NWT? (Jehovah's Witnesses United)

Rom 9:5 

Romans 10:9,10: "homologeo"

Rom 10:13  

Rom. 13:1

1 Cor 2:7

1 Cor. 10:4 - "that rock-mass meant the Christ"

1 Cor 14:12-16 

1 Cor. 15:2 "being saved"

2 Cor. 5:1 (exomen)

2 Cor.13:14 "the sharing in"

Ephesians 2:8, 9

Eph. 4:12 (katartismos)

Phil 2:6 "Other"  

Col 1:16 "Other" 

Col. 2:9 "fullness of the divine quality"

2 Thess. 2:15 "Tradition"

2 Thess. 3:6 "Tradition"

Tit 2:13  

Heb. 1:6

Heb 1:8  

Heb 9:27 

1 Peter 1:11 "spirit of Christ."

1 Pet 2:3 (DNWT)   1 Peter 2:3 ("Lord") (INDNWT)

1 Pet 3:15 

2 Pet 1:1

1 John 5:7  

1 Jn 5:20 "True God"  

Rev. 1:1 (eshmanen)

Revelation 1:9 "bearing witness to Jesus." (INDNWT)

Rev. 3:14

Revelation 5:10 and "EPI": "On" or "Over"?;  What does 'epi' mean? (JWQ&A); 

Rev. 6:10 "Sovereign Lord"

Rev 13:1

Revelation 1:9 "bearing witness to Jesus." New World Translation

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Revelation 1:9 "bearing witness to Jesus." New World Translation (INDNWT)

Psalm 34:8 and 1 Peter 2:3 ("Lord") New World Translation

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Psalm 34:8 and 1 Peter 2:3 ("Lord") New World Translation (INDNWT)

1 Peter 1:11 "spirit of Christ." New World Translation

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1 Peter 1:11 "spirit of Christ." New World Translation (INDNWT)

Ephesians 2:8, 9 New World Translation

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Ephesians 2:8, 9 New World Translation (INDNWT)

1 Cor. 15:2 "being saved" New World Translation

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1 Cor. 15:2 "being saved" New World Translation (INDNWT)

"the sharing in" - 2 Cor.13:14

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2 Cor.13:14 "the sharing in" (INDNWT)

1 Cor. 10:4 - "that rock-mass meant the Christ" New World Translation

Despite the complaints about the NWT translating the Greek petra as "rock-mass", we see The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Zondervan Publ., Vol. 3, p. 381, declaring that petra can mean "a mass of rock," and that this held true for the writers of the Septuagint (which was quoted in many places in the NT), p. 381.

And W. E. Vine tells us precisely that

"PETRA (petra) denotes a mass of rock, as distinct from petros, a detached stone or boulder, or a stone that might be thrown or easily moved." - An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, p. 974.

Vine also gives Matt. 16:18 as an example of petra used as a metaphor for Christ ["rock-mass"] which is contrasted with the metaphorical word-play petros ["rock" or "Peter"] for the Apostle Peter! (Compare the correct translation of Matt. 16:18 in the NWT with most other translations - also cf. Matt. 7:24.) Also notice the "strange" translations of petra at Matt. 27:60 in NAB (1970) and GNB!

"petra denotes a large `rock,' but also a `cliff' or `rocky mountain chain.' .... petros is more often used for smaller rocks, stones, or pebbles." - p. 834, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Kittel and Friedrich, abridged and translated by G. W. Bromiley, Eerdmans Publ., 1992 reprint.

We even find A. T. Robertson admitting in his discussion of Matt. 16: 18:

"On this rock … [petra] Jesus says, a ledge or cliff of rock like that in 7:24 on which the wise man built his house. Petros is usually a smaller detachment of this massive ledge." – p. 131, Word Pictures in the New Testament, vol. 1, Broadman Press.
And we have the following notes found in C.B. Williams' New Testament in the Language of the People and in the New American Standard Bible:

16:18 – "…your name from now on is to be Peter, Rock, and on a massive rock like this [note e] I will build my church" - Note e: `A different word from the word trans. Peter [petros]; i.e., petra, a massive rock, meaning faith in the Christ, the Son of God.'- CBW.

16:18 – "…you are Peter [note 1], and upon this rock [note 2] I will build My church" – Note 1: `Gr., Petros, a stone.' And note 2: `Gr., petra, large rock, bedrock.' – NASB, Reference Edition, Foundation Press, 1975.

Also see:

1 Cor. 10:4 - "that rock-mass meant the Christ" New World Translation (INDNWT)

Rom. 13:1 - "authorities stand placed in their relative positions by God." New World Translation

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Rom. 13:1 - "authorities stand placed in their relative positions by God." New World Translation (INDNWT)

Romans 10:9,10: "homologeo" - New World Translation

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Romans 10:9,10: "homologeo" - New World Translation (INDNWT)

ROMANS 8:27 and Phronema - New World Translation

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New World Translation, ROMANS 8:27 and Phronema (INDNWT)

Acts 10:36 New World Translation: "Why is 'others' added? To imply Jesus is not Lord of God."

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Acts 10:36 New World Translation: "Why is 'others' added? To imply Jesus is not Lord of God." (INDNWT)

ACTS 5:42 "from house to house" New World Translation

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ACTS 5:42 "from house to house" New World Translation (INDNWT)

Acts 5:3 "play false" - New World Translation

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Acts 5:3 "play false" - New World Translation (INDNWT)

"..to taking of meals.." - Acts 2:42 New World Translation

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"..to taking of meals.." -  Acts 2:42 New World Translation (INDNWT)

Acts 2:17 " I shall pour out some of my spirit upon EVERY SORT (pas) of flesh." New World Translation

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Acts 2:17 " I shall pour out some of my spirit upon EVERY SORT (pas) of flesh." New World Translation (INDNWT)

Acts 2:17 - "Pour out my Spirit" or "pour out SOME OF (apo) my spirit"? NWT

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Acts 2:17 - "Pour out my Spirit" or "pour out SOME OF (apo) my spirit"? (INDNWT)

"every sort" (pas) (INDNWT)

Also see:
Is the Holy Spirit really a thing that can be poured out into portions? (SFBT)

John 17:21 "Are in me" changed to "are in union with me." - New World Translation?

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John 17:21 "Are in me" changed to "are in union with me." - New World Translation? (INDNWT)

"Baptism of repentance" or "baptism [in symbol] of repentance"? - Mark 1:4

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"Baptism of repentance" or "baptism [in symbol] of repentance"? - Mark 1:4 (INDNWT)

MAGI - "Wise men" or "Astrologers"?

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MAGI - "Wise men" or "Astrologers"? (INDNWT)

Why does the New World Translation 'add' the words, within square brackets, "the angel of" at Zechariah 3:2?

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Why does the New World Translation 'add' the words, within square brackets, "the angel of" at Zechariah 3:2? (INDNWT)

Jeremiah 10:10 ".. is in truth God"

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Jeremiah 10:10 ".. is in truth God" (INDNWT)

Job 6:6: "marshmallow" New World Translation

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Job 6:6: "marshmallow" New World Translation (INDNWT)

Genesis 1:2 New World Translation: "..and God's active force (ruach) was moving to and fro..."

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Genesis 1:2 New World Translation: "..and God's active force (ruach) was moving to and fro..." (INDNWT)

Hebrew "gullilum" - "dungy idols" - New World Translation

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Hebrew "gullilum" - "dungy idols" - New World Translation (INDNWT)

"...And he sent forth his angel and presented it in signs (eshmanen)...." - Revelation 1:1 New World Translation

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"...And he sent forth his angel and presented it in signs (eshmanen)...." - Revelation 1:1 New World Translation (INDNWT)

"We are to have (exomen) a building from God, a house not made with hands....." - 2 Corinthians 5:1

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"We are to have (exomen) a building from God, a house not made with hands....." - 2 Corinthians 5:1 (INDNWT)

"with a view to the readjustment (katartismos) of the holy ones,....." - Ephesians 4.12; New World Translation

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"with a view to the readjustment (katartismos) of the holy ones,....." - Ephesians 4.12; New World Translation (INDNWT)

Why has the New World Translation translated Greek "agapate" as "continue to love" at Matt. 5:44?

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Why has the NWT translated greek "agapate" as "continue to love" at Mt. 5:44? (INDNWT)

Why has the New World Translation translated Greek "hews" as "sooner would" rather than as simply "until" as in most other translations at Matt. 5:18?

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Why has the New World Translation translated Greek "hews" as "sooner would" rather than as simply "until" as in most other translations at Matt. 5:18? (INDNWT)

Response to Lynn Lundquist's Criticisms

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Response to Lynn Lundquist's Criticisms (INDNWT)

Para (John 17:5)

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ELOHIM - Plural 'God' (See Footnote #2) (Examining the Trinity)

A short exchange on PARA of John 17:5 (INDNWT)

Apollumi - "destroy" / "annihilate"

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Apollumi - "destroy" / "annihilate" (INDNWT)

The 'Johannine Comma' - 1 John 5:7 - Links to Information

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The 'Johannine Comma' - 1 John 5:7 (INDNWT)

But Your Bible's Been Changed! (From God's Word)

Newton proved that the words in 1 John 5:7 were spurious... (Pastor Russell)

1 John 5:7 (KJV) (Examining the Trinity)

How does the accuracy of the New World Translation Bible compare to other translations? (SFBT)

1 John 5:7 proof of the Trinity? (SFBT)

"Word" and 1 John 5:7, KJV ("Oneness") (JWQ&A)

"Jehovah" in the New Testament (end notes) (SFBT, 10th par. end note #1, 10th par. "Zondervan" ) (SFBT)

The New World Translation and Revelation 5:10 - "EPI": "On" or "Over"?

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Revelation 5:10 and "EPI": "On" or "Over"? (INDNWT)

Why does the New World Translation at Colossians 2:9 state that in Jesus "all the fullness of the divine quality dwells bodily," where as other translations state that in Jesus "dwells the fullness of Deity or the Godhead?'"

At Colossians 2:9 the word in the Greek that the New World Translation renders "divine quality" is theótes, and this is the only use of the word in the Christian Greek Scriptures. The same is true of a similar Greek word, theiótes, which appears only at Romans 1:20, and which the New World Translation there renders "Godship," as follows: "For his invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world's creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship, so that they are inexcusable."The way these two words have been rendered in the New World Translation has given rise to the charge that the New World Bible Translation Committee let their religious beliefs influence them. That charge is true, but they did not do so wrongly, or unduly. The meaning that is to be given to these two Greek words depends upon what the entire Bible has to say about Jehovah God and Jesus Christ.

How so? In that there is basis for translating these words either as "Deity," "Divinity" or "Godhead" and so attributing personality to them, or as "Divine Nature," "divine quality," "Godship," and having them merely denote qualities. Thus those who believe in the trinity will attach personality to these words, whereas those who do not will render them as qualities in view of the way God and Christ are described in the Scriptures and so as to harmonize the words with the rest of God's Word. This emphasizes the fact that one simply cannot properly and accurately translate the Bible unless one clearly understands its teachings.

That the New World Bible Translation Committee were perfectly right in rendering these words the way they did is apparent from what Greek authorities have to say about them. Thus Parkhurst's A Greek and English Lexicon (1845) defines theiótes as "Godhead" (page 261) and theótes as "Deity, godhead, divine nature" (page 264). Note the definition "divine nature" as well as "Godhead."

Liddell and Scott's A Greek-English Lexicon, in its new ninth edition, completed in 1940 and reprinted in 1948, Volume I, defines the two terms in the light of ancient usages apart from the Scriptures. Theiótes it defines as "divine nature, divinity" (page 788). Theótes it defines in exactly the same way, as "divinity, divine nature," and then cites as an example Colossians 2:9. In this connection it shows that the similar Greek expression, dia theóteta, means "for religious reasons" (page 792).

Thus the New World Translation is fully justified in rendering Colossians 2:9 to show that Christ has in him all the fullness, not of God himself, the Deity, the Godhead, but of the divine quality dwelling bodily, and this in behalf of the spiritual body of Christ, so that this body of Christ's followers is possessed of a fullness by means of him: "It is in [Christ] that all the fullness of the divine quality dwells bodily. And so you [Christians] are possessed of a fullness by means of him, who is the head of all government and authority."-Col. 2:9, 10.

It is also of interest to note that both Weymouth and An American Translation render the passage, "the fullness of God's nature."

To get an objective view of the matter, in exploring questions such as these it is best to use the nonsectarian and nonreligious Hebrew-English and Greek-English dictionaries, instead of those that have been produced by some religious denomination." - Watchtower, August 1st, 1962, pages 479, 480

The following is an excerpt from the two volume encyclopedia Insight on the Scriptures (WTB&TS):

"Then, at Colossians 2:9 the apostle Paul says that in Christ "all the fullness of the divine quality [form of the·o´tes] dwells bodily." Here, again, some translations read "Godhead" or "deity," which Trinitarians interpret to mean that God personally dwells in Christ. (KJ, NE, RS, NAB) However, Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon defines the·o´tes in basically the same way it does thei·o´tes, as meaning "divinity, divine nature." (P. 792) The Syriac Peshitta and the Latin Vulgate render this word as "divinity." Thus, here too, there is a solid basis for rendering thei·o´tes as referring to quality, not personality.

A consideration of the context of Colossians 2:9 clearly shows that having "divinity," or "divine nature," does not make Christ the same as God the Almighty. In the preceding chapter, Paul says: "God saw good for all fullness to dwell in him." (Col 1:19) Thus, all fullness dwells in Christ because it "pleased the Father" (KJ, Dy), because it was "by God's own choice." (NE) So the fullness of "divinity" that dwells in Christ is his as a result of a decision made by the Father. Further showing that having such "fullness" does not make Christ the same person as Almighty God is the fact that Paul later speaks of Christ as being "seated at the right hand of God."-Col 3:1.

Considering the immediate context of Colossians 2:9, it is noted that in verse 8, Christians are warned against being misled by those who advocate philosophy and human tradition. They are also told that "carefully concealed in [Christ] are all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge," and they are urged to "go on walking in union with him, rooted and being built up in him and being stabilized in the faith." (Col 2:3, 6, 7) In addition, verses 13 to 15 explain that they are made alive through faith, being released from the Law covenant. Paul's argument, therefore, is that Christians do not need the Law (which was removed by means of Christ) or human philosophy and tradition. They have all they need, a precious "fullness," in Christ. -Col 2:10-12." (Vol. 1, page 629)

For MUCH more, see:
Does Col. 2:9 prove that Jesus is God? (SFBT)

Col. 2:9 - "Fulness of Deity" (Examining the Trinity)

"Theotes simply does not literally mean "godhead," and the use of "godhead" by the KJV translators was not intended as some would understand it today..." (JWQ&A)

"The Fullness of the Divine Quality" in Colossians 2:9 (Bible Translation and Study)

Jesus as "Theos" in the New Testament

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Jesus as "Theos" in the New Testament (INDNWT)

Does the New testament call Jesus God? (INDNWT)

Choosing a Modern Translation

WHY should there be modern Bible translations? Are not the old ones, such as the King James and the Douay versions, good enough? They are good, no doubt, and have helped countless numbers to have faith in God and in his Word, the Bible. But could there be better translations?

Yes, there could be, and there are better translations of the Bible than the King James and Douay versions, and that for a number of reasons. Admittedly, it would be difficult to find an English translation of more literary beauty than the King James. Yet, as has been well noted: "The first duty of a translator is to convey as clearly as he can what the original author wrote. He should not try to inject a rhetorical quality . . . which belong[s] more truly to the first Elizabethan age in England than to the Hebrew originals. . . . It would certainly be dangerous to give the form of the translation precedence over the meaning."

One reason why modern translations may be better than such old ones as the King James of 1611 is that the English language itself has changed over the years. For example, to "let" used to mean to "hinder". Today the meaning usually attached to the expression is just the opposite, to "permit". (2 Thess. 2:7) Likewise, to "prevent" used to mean to "go before" or to "precede". Today it means to "keep from happening." (1 Thess. 4:15) "Conversation" used to mean "conduct."Today it most often refers to talking with another. (Phil. 1:27) And for most persons today "shambles" does not refer to a "meat market," as it used to, but to a "scene of destruction."- 1 Cor. 10:25.

The progress made in understanding the Greek in which the Christian Scriptures were written has also made possible better translations. Ancient papyrus writings have been found that showed the everyday use of certain words not well understood. Thus "Raca" was simply thought to mean "a vain fellow," but that did not fit in with the severe condemnation of its use by Jesus. (Matt. 5:22, AV margin) Now, however, because of the discovery of a papyrus letter, scholar E. Goodspeed has said that ""Raca was a foul name " which one sometimes heard on the lips of foul-mouthed people but never saw in print." The New World Translation renders it "an unspeakable word of contempt."

Another example is that of the verb ape'kho, translated "have" in older translations, but which means "to have in full," being used "as a technical expression in drawing up a receipt," as stated in Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words. So Jesus, in condemning those who hypocritically make a showing of their charity, said that they "are having their reward in full." That is absolutely all they will ever get, the praise of men, which was just what they wanted.- Matt. 6:2.

Modern translations often clarify the sense of figures of speech used by the Hebrews or Greeks but with which we may not be familiar. Thus 1 Peter 1:13 (AV) reads "gird up the loins of your mind." Far more understandable to modern-day readers, however, is the rendering, "brace up your minds for activity."- NW.

Especially helpful in improving translations of the Bible has been the finding of older manuscripts. At the time of the translation of the King James Version only a few Greek manuscripts were available and these were of rather late origin. But since then many fine vellum manuscripts of the collected Scriptures have come to light, some going back as far as the fourth century of our Common Era. Also papyrus manuscripts and fragments have been uncovered that date back to the third and even the second centuries C.E. Usually, the older the copy, the less likely it is to have suffered changes from copying.
And not to be overlooked is the factor of an improved understanding of God's Word. This has come about even as foretold. "The path of the righteous ones is like the bright light that is getting lighter and lighter until the day is firmly established." (Prov. 4:18) The better God's purposes are understood, the more accurately the Word of God can be translated.


Regarding the translator of the Bible into English, it has well been said that his chief responsibility is to render the Biblical meaning as accurately as possible into appropriate English.

This is a position that hardly can be argued against, and yet comparatively few translators have acted in accord with it in regard to the distinctive name of God, Jehovah. In the Hebrew Scriptures this is represented by the Tetragrammaton, that is, the "four-letter word" YHWH. There is no question as to its importance, for not only does it occur more than 6,900 times, but the Creator is referred to by it more than by all other designations used in those Scriptures.

The importance of the name Jehovah was highlighted in the Preface to the American Standard Version, 1901, which, among other things, stated: "This Memorial Name, explained in Ex. iii. 14, 15, and emphasized as such over and over in the original text of the Old Testament, designates God as the personal God, . . . the Friend of his people; . . . the ever living Helper . . . This personal name, with its wealth of sacred associations, is now restored to the place in the sacred text to which it has an unquestionable claim."

Though stated almost seventy years ago, its position is affirmed by one of the latest scholarly translations, The Jerusalem Bible. Although many of its footnotes savor of higher criticism, this translation restores God's name to its rightful place, but preferring the form "Yahweh." The Editor's Foreword states, among other things: "It is not without hesitation that this accurate form has been used, and no doubt those who may care to use this translation of the Psalms can substitute the traditional "the Lord" . On the other hand, this would be to lose much of the flavour and meaning of the originals. For example, to say "The Lord is God" is surely a tautology [needless repetition or redundancy], as to say "Yahweh is God" is not."

Of all the many modern translations of the Bible into English, few indeed are accurate in this matter. Among those few are Rotherham's Emphasised Bible, which translation also uses the form "Yahweh," and Young's Literal Translation of the Holy Bible, the American Standard Version and the New World Translation, which use the form "Jehovah."


While the virtue of consistency cannot be pressed too far in the matter of Bible translation, it does appear that many translations do not give enough thought to this factor or let their religious prejudices interfere. As has been well observed, "There must be consistency in the translation of technical words with a rather sharply fixed content of meaning, not allowing translation to blur the distinctions carried by different words in the original. In the New Testament there is a distinction between "Hades" and "Gehenna". The former is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew "Sheol," the world of the dead; the latter is the final place of punishment for the wicked."- Why So Many Bibles, American Bible Society.

However, some translations, such as Today's English Version, The New Testament in the Language of Today (by W. F. Beck), and that by Monsignor Knox are doubly inconsistent in that they use more than one English word to translate 'Hai'des',one of these being "hell"; and they translate both Ge'enna and Hai'des by the English word "hell". Among those that are consistent in this matter are the American Standard Version and the New World Translation.- Matt. 5:22; 10:28. Lack of consistency is also shown on the part of many translators in failing to distinguish between dou'los, meaning a purchased slave, and dia'konos, meaning servant or minister. In the Scriptures Christians are referred to as slaves because they have been bought with a price; so they are slaves to Jehovah God and Jesus Christ their Masters. They are not mere hired servants, free to quit whenever they please. Apparently many translators do not like the sound of the word "slave," but Bible writers had a reason for using it instead of servant." Among the few that are consistent in this regard are C. B. Williams New Testament in the Language of the People and the New World Translation.- Rom. 1:1; 1 Cor. 7:23. The foregoing are but a few of the many examples that could be cited to show how Bible translators at times are inconsistent. They also show the value of consistency if the reader is to get the sense of what was originally written.


Bible translation is by no means easy. In ever so many instances the merits of a certain rendering are relative. By that is meant that the evidence is not unequivocal. Thus a goodly number of the oldest and best manuscripts may read a certain way, while a lesser number, but still highly regarded manuscripts, read another way.

However, at times translators betray unfaithfulness to the original text. For example, the Catholic Confraternity version has Jesus asking his mother, at the time of the wedding feast in Cana, "What wouldst thou have me do, woman?" This is just the opposite of the way Roman Catholic Monsignor Knox renders the text: "Nay, woman, why dost thou trouble me with that?" Obviously the Confraternity let religious bias influence its rendering.-John 2:4.

Concerning the Bible translator Phillips we are told that he disregards "the first, second and last rule of the translator: that he be faithful to the original. Why is it necessary, for example, for him to translate in Luke 24:49, "Now I hand over to you the [command] of [my] Father," when the clear meaning of the text is, "And I myself will send upon you what my Father has promised?" The reference to the future coming of the Lord in 2 Timothy 4:8 "to all who have loved his appearing" is lost in "to all [those] who have loved what they have seen of him."" Then after listing other examples, this criticism goes on to say: "Other examples could be cited, but these are sufficient."- Why So Many Bibles.

Another modern translation that can be charged with a lack of faithfulness to the original is Moffatt's New Translation of the Bible. Time and again he arranges chapters and verses in a way to suit himself in both the Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian Greek Scriptures. Particularly is what he does with the book of Isaiah open to censure, rearranging the chapters and verses to suit himself. The Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah, going back, as it does, about a thousand years earlier than the accepted Masoretic text, leaves Dr. Moffatt without any justification whatever for such rearranging of Isaiah. This makes it difficult to find certain Bible texts.


At times the conscientious translator may feel justified in adding a word or two to make the meaning clear. However, there is always the danger, when this is done, of misleading the reader. Thus in an attempt to aid the reader the translator of Today's English Version replaced "he" with "Christ" at 1 John 3:2. However, in this he erred, for Jehovah God and not Jesus Christ is here referred to, even as is clear from the preceding verse 1 John 3:1. Likewise at 1 Timothy 6:15, he added "God" to the text and so misleads the reader since the apostle was speaking about Christ's being the happy and only Potentate . . . the King of those who rule as kings and Lord of those who rule as lords."- Compare 1Tim. 6 verse 14.

Where done in keeping with the context and free from religious bias, such renderings can be very helpful. Thus Matthew 26:26 ( NW ) reads, "This means my body," for this is obviously what Jesus meant, since he still had his own body and so the bread could not literally have been his body. Likewise when koima'omai, a word used to refer to sleeping, is used to refer to death, the New World Translation ordinarily reads "he fell asleep [in death]," as at Acts 7:60. The brackets show that "in death" does not appear in the original.

This same translation is also quite helpful when rendering the word ky'rios, which means "lord" or "master." Whenever the context indicates that Jehovah God is referred to, it will render ky'rios as "Jehovah." Is this too radical? No, for in every instance except one such is also found to be the way a number of Hebrew versions have rendered ky'rios.(Matt. 1:20, 22) Especially is the name Jehovah fitting in the Christian Greek Scriptures when these quote from the Hebrew Scriptures where "Jehovah" is used.-Matt. 3:3; 4:7, 10.

Today the English Bible student has many modern translations from which to choose. By far the greater number, however, consist of only the Christian Greek Scriptures. Some of these translations have become quite popular by reason of their smooth flow of language and many apt turns of speech or felicitous expressions. However, as seen from the above examples, these are prone to err by taking too many liberties, because of misunderstanding or due to religious bias. Since accuracy and dependability are the most important requirements of a modern Bible translation it would seem that a largely literal translation is to be preferred, especially by readers who have faith that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. Which translation do you think is the most desirable for you?

[Footnotes] To be consistent, however, AS should have left Tar'tar'os untranslated, instead of translating it "hell."- 2 Pet. 2:4. - Watchtower, 1969, pp 328-31

Also see:
HOW CAN YOU CHOOSE A GOOD BIBLE TRANSLATION? (WBTS; Online Watchtower Article, 5/1/08)

The Greek word KHARIS: "Undeserved Kindness"- New World Translation

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The Greek word KHARIS: "Undeserved Kindness"- New World Translation (INDNWT)

"Make Disciples of People of All the Nations"- Matthew 28:19 New World Translation

"GO THEREFORE and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit.” This is how the New World Translation renders Jesus’ command at Matthew 28:19. This rendering has, however, been criticized. One religious pamphlet, for example, claims: “The only translation allowed by the Greek text is: ‘Make disciples of all the nations!’” Is this true?

This rendering, “Make disciples of all nations,” appears in many Bible versions and is a literal translation of the Greek. So, what basis is there for the reading, “Make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them”? The context. The expression “baptizing them” clearly refers to individuals, not nations. German scholar Hans Bruns states: “The [word] ‘them’ does not refer to the nations (the Greek makes a clear distinction), but to the people in the nations.”

Further, the way Jesus’ command was carried out should be considered. Regarding the ministry of Paul and Barnabas in Derbe, a city in Asia Minor, we read: “After declaring the good news to that city and making quite a few disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch.” (Acts 14:21) Note that Paul and Barnabas made disciples, not of the city of Derbe, but of some of the people of Derbe.

Similarly, concerning the time of the end, the book of Revelation foretold, not that whole nations would serve God, but that “a great crowd . . . out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues” would do so. (Revelation 7:9) Thus, the New World Translation stands vindicated as a reliable translation of ‘all Scripture, inspired of God.’-2 Timothy 3:16. (w98 1/1 29)

Why does the rendering of Proverbs 11:16 in the New World Translation differ from some other translations, and how is this verse to be understood?

According to the New World Translation, Proverbs 11:16 reads: "A woman of charm is the one that takes hold of glory; but the tyrants, for their part, take hold of riches."

This is a careful rendering of the verse as preserved in the Hebrew Masoretic text, and it is similarly translated in many other modern versions.- Revised Standard Version, The Jerusalem Bible, Moffatt, Darby.

Yet, because of having difficulty understanding this verse, some Bible translators have attempted to make it plainer. They have done so after the pattern of the Septuagint Version, an early translation from Hebrew into Greek. In the following quotation from that version we italicize the portion that is not rendered from the Hebrew text: "A gracious wife brings glory to her husband: but a woman hating righteousness is a theme of dishonour. The slothful come to want: but the diligent [footnote, "manly"] support themselves with wealth."- Proverbs 11:16, Bagster's Septuagint Version.

Today's English Version and the Catholic New American Bible are two recent versions in the English language that expand the verse in this way. The German-language Gottingeri Bibelwerk does also, but says: "The Greek translation that we have followed has added two lines and thereby made two distinct and separate proverbs, both of which convey a clear thought; whether they are in agreement with the original text, however, is still questionable."- Volume 16, page 51

There is, though, no need to follow a "questionable" rendering. The sense of this verse can be understood from the Hebrew text, such as the Biblia Hebraica by Rudolf Kittel upon which the New World Translation is based. The verse draws a contrast between the enduring glory that a godly woman may obtain and the transitory riches that a tyrant acquires.

The Bible shows that practical wisdom, thinking ability and proper use of the tongue contribute to a person's value and charm. (Proverbs 3:21, 22; 4:7-9; 22:11; Psalm 45:1, 2) Certainly that can be true of a woman, as we can see from Abigail, the wife of foolish Nabal. Though she was "good in discretion and beautiful in form," David particularly praised Abigail for her "sensibleness."- 1 Samuel 25:3, 33.

Any godly woman who acquires true charm through wisdom, sensibleness and wise use of her tongue will receive "glory." She will achieve "glory" in the eyes of her husband, if married, and be well spoken of by others. This reflects well on and brings "glory" to the entire family. Nor need hers be a fleeting glory. Proverbs 22:1 says: "A name is to be chosen rather than abundant riches; favor is better than even silver and gold." The good name of a true worshiper has permanent value in the eyes of our God and Life-Giver.- See Acts 9:36-39.

Contrast that with a tyrant, as the proverb does. The Scriptures categorize tyrants with "wicked men" and men who are "adversaries" of those worshiping Jehovah God. (Job 6:23; 27:13) Tyrants " have not set God in front of them."(Psalm 54:3) Such a man, by suppressing and taking advantage of the innocent, may "pile up silver like dust itself." Yet at any time he may lie down and not arise. Or any day that he opens his eyes may be his last. Then all his wealth and accomplishment amount to nothing.- Job 27:16, 19; compare Luke 12:16-21.

Though a tyrant may have taken hold of riches and trust in these, his confidence is misplaced. Later in the same chapter of Proverbs we read: "The one trusting in his riches- he himself will fall."-Proverbs 11:28.

Hence, Proverbs 11:16 should bring home to us an important lesson. The tyrant's riches, which may seem to be a mark of success in this world, have no lasting value with God. It is possible, though, to win His approval. The "glory" gained by those who fear God- well illustrated by Christian women- can bring endless blessing.- 1 Peter 3:1-6. - Watchtower, 1982, 5/1 31, "Questions from Readers"

How the NWT consistently distinguishes between the five different words the inspired Hebrew writers used for "man."

"HOW does God view man? His Word tells us: “Look! The nations are as a drop from a bucket; and as the film of dust on the scales they have been accounted. . . . There is One who is dwelling above the circle of the earth, the dwellers in which are as grasshoppers.”—Isa. 40:15, 22.

Truly, when we consider the matchless Personality, the glorious Person, the exalted position, the eternal existence and the sovereign authority of Jehovah God, the Creator, we must marvel as did the psalmist that He takes note of us.—Ps. 144:3.

Scriptural expressions such as these, showing how God views man, might be multiplied, but our interest at this time is in a certain unique way by which he also reveals this truth to us. And how is that? By the different words used in the Hebrew Scriptures in referring to man.

In the English language “man” simply means man. But in Hebrew a number of different words are used, each viewing man from a certain standpoint. Of these, the four main ones are ish, meaning simply man; adám, meaning human or earthling; enósh, meaning weak or mortal; and geber, meaning a physically strong or able-bodied man.

Many translators ignore the different shades of meaning that these words have, but when we once become aware of them we are struck with the care that the Hebrew Scripture writers time and again exercised in choosing just the right word when they wanted to make a point. For example, most translations render Psalm 8:4 quite like the Revised Standard Version does: “What is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou dost care for him?” Now the Hebrew word most logically translated “man” is ish, but in writing this psalm David did not use ish in either instance. He was making a contrast between Jehovah God the Creator and his creature, mere man, and so he wrote: “What is enósh . . . and adám?” Or, as rendered by the New World Translation, one of the few English translations doing justice to these fine shades of meaning: “What is mortal man that you keep him in mind, and the son of earthling man that you take care of him?” Yes, compared with the almighty, immortal, divine Spirit, what is this weak mortal creature made of earth, that He should take account of him?


Ish, together with its plural form anashím (which at times also serves as the plural of enósh), has primarily the thought of “man,” or a person, an individual. It has no such overtones as human, mortal or able-bodied, although inherent in it is the thought of strength as of a male. The word ish does not appear in the Scriptures until after the word for woman, ishsháh—a man with a womb—appears, for in the strictest sense of the word only then did an ish become apparent; before that he was called the human, adám. When in the Hebrew Scriptures man is mentioned in relation to woman or sexual intercourse, invariably ish is used, some seventy times in all, although the word for “male” is zakhár and occurs seventy-nine times from Genesis 1:27 onward. Typical is Leviticus, chapter 20, dealing with God’s law regarding sex relations.

Ish, with its emphasis on the person, the individual, is the choice of Bible writers when writing about a “man of God,” and a “man of discernment.” When Nathan confronted King David with his sin, Nathan used this word. Did he say, “You yourself are the”—mortal? human? able-bodied man? No, but, “You yourself are [the one] the man!”—Josh. 14:6; Prov. 10:23; 2 Sam. 12:7.

There are times when the other words for “man” simply would not be appropriate. Thus when the psalmist foretold that the names of those of the body of Christ who gain heavenly glory would be known he could use only ish. “‘Each and every one was born in her.’ . . . Jehovah himself will declare, when recording the peoples: ‘This is one who was born there.’” Also Moses, when exulting over Jehovah’s victory at the Red Sea, could not have referred to Jehovah as a weak mortal or a human earthling, and so had to use ish to convey his thought, even as rendered in the New World Translation: “Jehovah is a manly person of war.”—Ps. 87:5, 6; Ex. 15:3.


Adám, the human, the earthling, is the choice whenever Hebrew Scripture writers make reference to the creation of man: “I myself have made the earth and have created even man [the human] upon it.” Adám does not denote maleness any more than human does, and so we read that Adam, that is, the human, earthling man, called the first human pair, the ish and ishsháh, the man and the woman.—Isa. 45:12; Gen. 5:1, 2; 6:7; Deut. 4:32; Eccl. 7:29.

Adám, the human, is almost without exception also the word preferred when man is mentioned in the same breath with the lower animals or beasts. This coupling appears in the accounts of creation, the Deluge, the plagues of Egypt and the seventy-year desolation. The psalmist praises Jehovah God for preserving both adám (human) and beast. And it is the human that is shown to be like the beast by the Congregator: “For there is an eventuality as respects the sons of mankind [adám] and an eventuality as respects the beast, and they have the same eventuality. As the one dies, so the other dies; and they all have but one spirit, so that there is no superiority of the man [human, adám] over the beast, for everything is vanity.”—Gen. 1:26; 6:7; Ex. 8:17; Jer. 33:10; Ps. 36:6; Eccl. 3:19-21.

Fittingly, adám, the earthling, human, is also the choice when speaking of the general characteristics of humankind: “The inclination of the heart of man is bad from his youth up.” “There is no man that does not sin.” “Man, born of woman, is short-lived and glutted with agitation.” “Surely every earthling man . . . is nothing but an exhalation,” a breath. “There is no man having power over the spirit to restrain the spirit,” that is, to keep from dying. “I well know, O Jehovah, that to earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man [ish, to one] who is walking even to direct his step.”—Gen. 8:21; 1 Ki. 8:46; Job 14:1; Ps. 39:5; Eccl. 8:8; Jer. 10:23.

Even as adám sets man apart from the lower animals, so it also calls attention to man’s inferiority to the Creator, Jehovah God. Thus Moses was told that no human could see God and live. Samuel was reminded that a human can see only the outside, but God can see the heart. David prayed that he might not fall into human hands but into God’s hands, for having numbered the fighting men of his nation presumptuously. The temple of Solomon, David said, was to be built, not for humans, but for God. Jehoshaphat counseled the judges to remember that they were judging, not for humans, but for God. Elihu refused to give flattering titles to mere humans.—Ex. 33:20; 1 Sam. 16:7; 1 Chron. 21:13; 29:1; 2 Chron. 19:6; Job 32:21.

The psalmist twice asked why the great Creator should take note of mere humans; also, he said that, though certain ones were “gods,” they would die like earthling man. The fear of humans brings a snare, but he that trusts in Jehovah will be safe. Why go down to Egypt for help? The Egyptians are not spirits but mere humans, earthlings. And to highlight the seriousness of the selfishness of the priests in Malachi’s day, God asked: “Will earthling man rob God?”—Ps. 8:4; 144:3; 82:7; Prov. 29:25; Isa. 31:3; Mal. 3:8.


The thought behind enósh, weak or mortal, shows, for one thing, that the Hebrew Scripture writers had no illusions about man’s being immortal. How could they, since they received their “theology,” not from pagan sources, but from God himself, who made plain man’s mortal nature both by warning him of death in the event he sinned and by sentencing him, after he had sinned, to return to the dust from which man had been taken.—Gen. 2:17; 3:19.

Enósh always has an unfavorable connotation and, therefore, is never used in a complimentary sense. Fittingly, it is frequently coupled with adám, human, when man is contrasted with his immortal Maker, Jehovah God. Psalms 8:4 and Ps 144:3 are typical of this coupling of enósh with adám when contrasting man with God. Thus also Moses wrote: “You make mortal man [enósh] go back to crushed matter, and you say: ‘Go back, you sons of men [adám].’” Because of the wickedness of man God warned that he would make ‘enósh scarcer than refined gold and adám scarcer than the gold of Ophir.’ Putting both enósh and adám in their places are the words of Jehovah to Isaiah: “I myself am the One that is comforting you people. Who are you that you should be afraid of a mortal man [enósh] that will die, and of a son of mankind [adám] that will be rendered as mere green grass? And that you should forget Jehovah your Maker, the One stretching out the heavens and laying the foundation of the earth.”—Ps. 90:3; Isa. 13:12; 51:12, 13.

Particularly in the book of Job, which features God’s sovereignty in contrast to man’s puniness, is enósh a favorite term when making this point: “How can mortal man be in the right in a case with God?” “What is mortal man that you should rear him, and that you should set your heart upon him?” “Do you [Jehovah] have eyes of flesh, or is it as a mortal man sees that you see? Are your days like the days of mortal man, or your years just like the days of an able-bodied man?” “As one trifles with mortal man will you trifle with [God]? “ “God is much more than mortal man.”—Job 9:2; 7:17; 10:4, 5; 13:9; 33:12.

From his prayers we can see that David had a like keen appreciation: “Do arise, O Jehovah! Let not mortal man prove superior in strength.” “Judge the fatherless boy and the crushed one, that mortal man who is of the earth may no more cause trembling.” “As for mortal man, his days are like those of green grass.”—Ps. 9:19; 10:18; 103:15.


The term geber means one able-bodied, well-developed, physically strong, that is, a mighty one in the case of a man. While it has complimentary implications, the way it is used by the Hebrew Scripture writers keeps man cognizant of his inferior relationship to his Maker, Jehovah God. Thus we find that, when at last Jehovah God called patient Job to account because of his mistaken view of things, God twice addressed Job, not as a mere ish, a mere adám or a mere enósh, but he used the term geber: “Gird up your loins, please, like an able-bodied man, and let me question you, and you inform me,” since you were so sure of yourself as not to justify me! How fitting!—Job 38:3; 40:7.

Pharaoh, when beginning to yield under the impact of the plagues, at first only granted permission for the able-bodied men to go into the wilderness to worship. And when the Israelites finally left Egypt we read that 600,000 able-bodied men, above twenty years old and able to fight, left Egypt together with their little ones.—Ex. 10:11; 12:37.

Because an able-bodied man is inclined to be “self-assuming,” trusting in his own strength, he is repeatedly singled out for reminders of the folly of such a mental attitude: “Here is the able-bodied man that does not put God as his fortress.” “What able-bodied man is there alive who will not see death?” “An able-bodied man dies and lies vanquished.” Yes, “cursed is the able-bodied man who puts his trust,” not in Jehovah, but in what is, after all, a mere “earthling man [adám].”—Hab. 2:5; Ps. 52:7; 89:48; Job 14:10; Jer. 17:5.

Geber is frequently used to drive home a point by way of contrast. Thus the psalmist complains: “I have become like an able-bodied man without strength.” It would not have made much of a point had he said he became like a weak mortal, an enósh, because such a one does not have strength to begin with! Making the same point, Solomon observed that it is not good that “an able-bodied man should transgress over a mere piece of bread.” There might be an excuse for an enósh to do so, but certainly not a geber. The bad news he received caused Jeremiah’s bones to shake like “an able-bodied man whom wine has overcome,” hence a violent shaking. He also stressed the wretchedness of the men of Israel by employing this term: “Why is it that I have seen every able-bodied man with his hands upon his loins like a female that is giving birth, and all faces have turned pale?” Yes, this was serious when even able-bodied men, not mere enósh or weak mortals, were affected in this way!—Ps. 88:4; Prov. 28:21; Jer. 23:9; 30:6.

Logically we are told that “one wise in strength is,” not an adám, ish or enósh, but a geber, “an able-bodied man.” A wise geber trusts not in his own strength but in Jehovah: “Blessed is the able-bodied man who puts his trust in Jehovah, and whose confidence Jehovah has become.”—Prov. 24:5; Jer. 17:7.

Truly, to note the way “man” is used in the Hebrew Scriptures strengthens our faith and helps us to get God’s view on man. It is wholesomely instructive to our maintaining our proper relationship with our Creator and gaining his approval and blessing." - The Watchtower, 1962, January 15th, pages 56-59

EPIPHANEIA in the NT with reference to Jesus' future return in glory

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EPIPHANEIA in the NT with reference to Jesus' future return in glory (INDNWT)

Worship / Proskyneo

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Worship (as used in Scripture) (Examining the Trinity)

Worship or Obeisance? (Bible Translation and Study)

PROSKYNEO-Always "Worship"? (In Defense of The New World Translation)

Heb. 1:6 - "Let all the angels of God worship him [Jesus]." (JWQ&A)

Heb. 1:6 "All angels of God worship him" KJV (SFBT)

Why does the New World Translation render Psalm 90:2 so differently from other translations? (Yalad)

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Why does the New World Translation render Psalm 90:2 so differently from other translations? (INDNWT)

DESPOTES which the NWT renders "Sovereign Lord" at Luke 2:29, Acts 4:24 and Rev.6:10

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DESPOTES which the NWT renders "Sovereign Lord" at Luke 2:29, Acts 4:24 and Rev.6:10 (INDNWT)

What is the authority for the use of the expression "magic-practicing priests" New World Translation of the books of Genesis, Exodus and Daniel? (hhartumim')

The Hebrew word translated "magic-practicing priest" in Genesis, Exodus and Daniel, as, for instance, in Genesis 41:8, is hhartumim'. This word is defined by the Lexicon in Old Testament Books by Koehler and Baumgartner, Volume I, page 333, column 1, as "epithet of magic practicing priests," and it shows the ancient derivation of the word. It also suggests rendering the word in translations as "soothsayer priests". This lexicon was published in completion in 1951.

This rendering of the New World Translation is therefore both literal and explicit, in keeping with its being a literal translation. - Taken from The Watchtower 1961 5/15 320

This Hebrew word ocurrs, always in the plural, at Gen.41:8, 24; Ex.7:11, 22; 8:7, 18, 19; 9:11(twice); Dan.1:20; 2:2, 10, 27; 4:7, 9; 5:11. The New Revised Standard Version(1989) and the King James version(1611) translates it as "magicians."

The NIV Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible states under this word: "Hartom; from harah...engraving tool. Magician. Always occurs in the plural form. Denotes Egyptian and Babylonian sages who practiced sorcery."- Old Testament Lexical Aids, p. 1517, AMG Publishers, 1996.

The New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis: "soothsayer priest, possibly an Egyp[tian] loan word." Volume 2, page 273, Paternoster Press, UK, 1997.

Strongs Number: 2748

Goodrick/Kohlenberger: 3033

Some New World Translation "Features"

There are also many other features that recommend the New World Translation to Bible lovers. One of these is that, in keeping with the Hebrew and Greek verbs, it consistently distinguishes between a single act or a repeated one, a continual one. Those translations such as the King James, which do not recognize such differences, have the apostle John contradicting himself. How so? In that at 1 John 2:1 he says "If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father." But at 1 John 3:6 we read: " Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not." But the New World Translation makes this all clear, for at 1 John 2:1 it reads: "If anyone does commit a sin, we have a helper with the Father." Whereas at 1 John 3:6 it reads:"Everyone remaining in union with him does not practice sin."

Similarly at Luke 11:5-10 Jesus uses an illustration to drive home the point that we must persevere in prayer. So he does not simply say that if we "ask," "seek" and " knock" God will answer us but that "everyone asking receives, and everyone seeking finds and to everyone knocking it will be opened." Hence, continuous action is indicated.

Additionally, the New World Translation distinguishes between the adjective kalos, which means fine, excellent, superb, choice, and agathos, which chiefly means that which is morally good. So, at John 10:2-16, Jesus did not speak of himself as merely a good shepherd, but as a fine, excellent, superb shepherd.

The New World Translation also recommends itself in its uniquely distinguishing between the five Hebrew words usually indiscriminately translated "man". There is a difference in the meaning of these words, and Hebrew Scripture writers recognized the difference. Thus, in keeping with the original meaning, the New World Translation renders adam as "earthling man," referring to man as a creature of the earth. Enosh it renders as "mortal man" ; this emphasizes man's puny, weak state. Geber it renders as "able-bodied man," for the Hebrew word indicates a powerful man. Ish it renders simply as man," as distinguished from ishah, woman, or simply a person; and zakar it renders as "male," for it is generally used with regard to sex relations. - From The Watchtower, 1982, 3/15, p.27

Matthew 27:52, 53 - Was there a resurrection from the dead at the time of Jesus' death?

WAS there a resurrection from the dead at the time of Jesus’ death? Many Bible commentators so hold. They base their belief upon Matthew 27:52, 53. In the Revised Standard Version (the Roman Catholic Confraternity Version is almost identical), these verses read: “The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.”

According to the Roman Catholic Commentary on holy Scripture, the earthquake, mentioned in the previous verse, split open the rocky tombs to prepare the exit of the bodies, which were not resurrected until after Christ’s resurrection. But let it be noted that this is not what the text actually states, in either Roman Catholic or Protestant versions.

Regarding these verses one of the foremost Protestant Bible commentaries, that by Adam Clarke, states: “It is difficult to account for the transaction mentioned in verses 52 and 53. Some have thought that these two verses have been introduced into the text of Matthew from the gospel of the Nazarenes, others think the simple meaning is this:—by the earthquake several bodies that had been buried were thrown up and exposed to view, and continued above ground till after Christ’s resurrection, and were seen by many persons in the city. Why the graves should be opened on Friday, and the bodies not raised to life till the following Sunday, is difficult to be conceived. The place is extremely obscure.”

Another Bible commentator, Dr. Jenks, says regarding these verses: “This matter is not related as fully as our curiosity could wish. . . . We may raise inquiries concerning it which we cannot resolve.” Other Bible commentators express themselves similarly.

Could the event mentioned in these two verses have indeed been the beginning of the resurrection of the dead of which Jesus spoke as recorded at John 5:28, 29? No, for Jesus said that all those in the memorial tombs would come forth either to a resurrection of life or to a resurrection of judgment. Since the account says that these were “saints” or “holy ones,” they would have been raised to a resurrection of life. Were they? Hardly, or they would still be living today, even as Jesus has kept on living since his resurrection to life.—Rev. 1:18.

That is why we read that “Christ has been raised up from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep in death.” “He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that he might become the one who is first in all things.” These holy ones, therefore, could not have been resurrected with the prospect of endless life before Jesus was.—1 Cor. 15:20; Col. 1:18.

They could not even have been resurrected to life right after Jesus was, as suggested by some, because Paul shows that the Christian holy ones will be resurrected and receive their reward “in that day,” when “the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel’s voice and with God’s trumpet.” Paul did not even write this until many years after Jesus had been resurrected, and it was to be fulfilled far in the future.—2 Tim. 4:8; 1 Thess. 4:16.

Then could it be that these were pre-Christian holy ones, destined for life, not in heaven, but on earth? If so, they still could not have received their resurrection at the time Jesus did, because Paul wrote regarding them: “All these, although they had witness borne to them through their faith, did not get the fulfillment of the promise, as God foresaw something better for us, in order that they might not be made perfect apart from us.” Had these been resurrected to life then, they would have been made perfect apart from “us,” the Christian holy ones.—Heb. 11:39, 40.


Besides, nowhere in the Scriptures do we read that the bodies of the dead will be raised up; even though the so-called Apostles’ Creed does teach the resurrection of the human body. The “dead,” yes, but not the “dead bodies.” Dead persons will be resurrected in God’s due time, and they will be given a suitable body; they will have the same personality. Note the clear reasoning of the apostle Paul on this matter in regard to the resurrection of the Christian holy ones: “‘How are the dead to be raised up? Yes, with what kind of body are they coming?’ . . . What you sow is not made alive unless first it dies; and as for what you sow, you sow, not the body that will develop, but a bare grain, . . . but God gives it a body just as it has pleased him . . . So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised up in incorruption. . . . It is sown a physical body, it is raised up a spiritual body. . . . flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s kingdom, neither does corruption inherit incorruption.”—1 Cor. 15:35-38, 42-44, 50.

Since the Bible does not teach the raising of the human body in either the first resurrection or in the one to follow, the fact that bodies here were raised would prove that it could not have been the beginning of either of these resurrections. At the most it would be merely a temporary resurrection of some faithful Jews who quite likely had recently died. Their resurrection, therefore, would not have been any different from the resurrection experienced by Jesus’ friend Lazarus and others like him.

But even this supposition must be ruled out in view of these questions: If the graves were opened up when Jesus died, why did the bodies of the holy ones have to wait until after Jesus was resurrected to come out of the tombs and appear to many? There was an earthquake when Jesus was raised; why could they not have waited for it? To whom did these bodies appear? Was their resurrection in competition with that of Jesus, who appeared on the third day to his disciples? What was the purpose of their appearance? What did they call attention to or talk about? Did their resurrection enhance or add anything to that of Jesus or prove a verification of his resurrection? How is it that such an unusual event is not mentioned elsewhere in the Christian Greek Scriptures? Besides, why did not the apostle Paul call attention to their resurrection in his argument, at First Corinthians 15, that there is a resurrection of the dead? If many had been resurrected and seen by many, such would have been common knowledge and Paul would have mentioned the fact.

A reasonable solution to this problem is given by the rendering of the verses in question in the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures. While a literal translation, it puts clarity of thought ahead of literalness. It reads: “And the memorial tombs were opened and many bodies of the holy ones that had fallen asleep were thrown up, (and persons, coming out from among the memorial tombs after his being raised up, entered into the holy city,) and they became visible to many people.” From this translation it is evident that this was no resurrection of “sleeping saints” but merely a throwing of bodies out of their tombs by the earthquake that attended Jesus’ death.

Nor is the New World Translation alone in rendering these verses thus. A modern German translation reads quite similarly: “Tombs were laid open, and many bodies of those buried were tossed upright. In this posture they projected from the graves and were seen by many who passed by the place on their way back to the city.”—Matt. 27:52, 53.

An incident quite similar to this took place in Ecuador in 1949. There the dead are usually buried in large burial vaults, shelf upon shelf and vault upon vault. An earthquake cracked open these vaults, ejecting many dead bodies, which had to be buried at once to prevent a plague from breaking out.

What is the basis for these renderings? First of all, let it be noted that the pronoun “they” (Matt. 27:53, RS) could not refer to the “bodies,” because all pronouns in the Greek have gender and “they” is in the masculine, whereas “bodies” is in the neuter gender. Nor could “they” refer to the “holy ones,” for the text does not say that the holy ones were raised but merely that their bodies were raised or thrown up. Further, even the most ancient manuscripts are not in agreement with one another as to the reading of this text. The Sinaitic omits the words “and the memorial tombs were opened” and “entered.”

In view of all the questions that these texts raise, their contradictory reading and the variations in them found in the most ancient manuscripts, another alternative may not be ruled out altogether. And what is that? That these verses were not written by Matthew himself but added by an early copying hand. This position seems to find further support in the fact that the particular Greek word for “resurrection” (RS) used here, égersis, occurs nowhere else in the Christian Greek Scriptures. Also, here is the only use of the expression “the saints,” “holy ones,” in all the Gospels, it first appearing after Pentecost. The fact that these verses are found in the apocryphal Gospel of the Nazarenes but not in any of the other canonical Gospels further makes these verses suspect. Incidentally, this Gospel by the Nazarenes was held by some to have been Matthew’s original Gospel in Hebrew, which he later translated into Greek. It resembles his canonical Gospel quite closely except that it begins without the genealogy.

We cannot escape it, verses 52 and 53 of Matthew, chapter 27, are ambiguous. In fact, they are among the most difficult verses to translate of the entire Christian Greek Scriptures. Because of their ambiguity no one can dogmatically state just how they should be rendered. What governs the translation of texts such as these where there is an ambiguity in the original text therefore is not textual criticism, because it is frustrated by the ambiguity. Rather, exegesis, or Bible interpretation of the meaning intended by the original writer, will have to govern. The way each translator would therefore render such texts would depend upon his understanding of the rest of the Scriptures. The Scriptural facts above set out dictate how they must be rendered to be consistent with the rest of the Bible. - From the w61 1/1 28-30

Why does the NWT give preference to the word "tradition" at 2 Thess. 3:6 and at 2 Thess. 2:15?

In 2 Thessalonians 3:6 the Moffatt translation reads in part: " instead of following the rule you received from us." Other versions read "direction," "commandments," "teaching," and " instruction". Why does the New World Translation give preference to the word "tradition" in this text as also at 2 Thessalonians 2:15?

The New World Translation endeavors to be consistent in its renderings. In keeping with the rule noted in the Foreword of the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures ,as far as possible it uses just one English word to render one original Greek word into English. The Greek word here is par'edosis, which has the thought of a transmitted precept. It is the same word as is used at Matthew 15:6, where Jesus told his religious opposers that they made the Word of God void by reason of their tradition. While the word "tradition" is frequently used in contrast to Bible truth handed down in writing, it is not limited to such precepts. The use of the word here as well as at 2 Thessalonians 2:15 shows that there is a valid tradition by the apostles, which tradition was committed to writing under inspiration. This, of course, differs from uninspired tradition, tradition that invalidates God's Word.

Thus the New World Translation, in rendering par'edosis "tradition" at 2 Thessalonians 2:15 and 2Th 3:6, has remained faithful to its rule. It has not let the opprobrium usually attached to the term "tradition" by sincere and enlightened Bible students cause it to use another word in this and its related text. This is in contrast to the Diaglott, which has been so influenced. In the interlinear translation It uses the word "tradition" in both verses, but in its English text it chose to use the word "instruction." The Revised Standard Version, however, uses the word "tradition," even as does the American Standard Version. - Taken from The Watchtower, Question from Readers, May 1st, 1961, pp.287/8.