Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Inspired Expression (1 John 4:1-6)

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

Inspired Expression (1 John 4:1-6)

Bowman again refers to the NWT translation of 1 Cor. 14:12-16, this time disparaging the treatment of the word "spirit" (see 1 Cor. 14:12-16 / "Gifts of the spirit"). 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!

Also see:
NWT - Criticism by Zondervan's So Many Versions? - "Rock-mass"; "Holy Ones"; and "Inspired Expression" (DNWT)

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