Thursday, November 25, 2010

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

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

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"* (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!


* 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...."?

For more concerning Rom. 9:5, see:
Is Rom. 9:5 really proof that Jesus is God? - " ... Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen." - KJV  (SFBT)

ROMANS 9:5: Is the Christ here "God"? (IDNWT)

"God Over All" in Romans 9:5: Translation Issues and Theological Import (JW United)

"The Coptic text of Romans 9:5 has some ambiguity, it appears to be less so than the Greek, and points clearly to two entities -- Christ and God" (Sahidic Coptic Insight on NT Verses)

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