Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New World Translation 2013 Revision

NWT2013_Silver

The RNWT

On October 5th the Jehovah’s Witnesses Watchtower Society announced that a revised New World Translation was being foisted upon the world. This “Silver Sword” is the first revision in nearly 30 years. “The 1961, 1981 and 1984 editions were more of updates than revisions. But the 2013 edition changes a considerable number of renderings from the 1984 edition, and its purpose has been altered from being exacting to being useful in the ministry.”*

Changes include the dropping of passages deemed too wordy (reducing the total word count by about 13%). Wordiness was not the only thing that changed though – the long and short conclusions to Mark, and John 7:53-8:11 as well as Matthew 17:21; 18:11; 23:14; Mark 7:16; 9:44, 46; 11:26; 15:28; Luke 17:36; 23:17; John 5:4; Acts 8:37; 15:34; 24:7; 28:29; and Romans 16:24 were taken out completely. Also the Watchtower inserted themselves (the “governing body”) into the chapter heading for Acts 15 (in the “no blood” section, naturally):

NWT2013_Acts15summary

Several word choice changes were made as well, but more interesting for orthodox Christians are the verses that the Watchtower distorted to avoid the clear biblical teaching that Jesus Christ is God incarnate. The primary victims are John 1 and 8, Colossians 1, and Hebrews 1 (see Jesus In the Hands of the New World Translation for why they are problematic). To keep commentary brief I will say that basically nothing has changed in the John and Hebrews passages – same old, same old.

John

John 1 still inconsistently translates the same word for “God” as “a god” or “god” when referencing Jesus:

NWT2013_Jn1

John 8:58 is still translated “I have been” (this time, at least, they did not embarrass themselves with phony Greek tenses in the footnotes):

NWT2013_Jn8

Hebrews

Hebrews 1 still inconsistently translates “worship” as “obeisance” and “LORD” instead of “Jehovah” with reference to Jesus (and his throne is still, somehow, God):

NWT2013_Heb1

They did, however, manage to remove their embarrassing sequence of cross-references that still showed Jesus to be Jehovah. You see, Hebrews 1:6 is a quote of Ps. 97:7 which is referring to Jehovah, and the 1984 NWT’s cross-referent at Ps.97:7 pointed to Hebrews 1:6! They tried to hide this by making the cross-referent at Heb. 1:6 point to Dt. 32:43 – but (Oops!) it is also referring to Jehovah! So they just dropped these for the 2013 revision.

1984to2013NWTHebcrossrefs

Colossians

The book of Colossians, though, went through a shocking revision (not so much shocking for its dishonesty, but for its historically infamous dishonesty). Besides the “torture stake” they insist was the original “cross” (cf. John 19:6 in the 1984 and 2013 editions), the NWT editors returned to their initial error in the original edition by adding the word “other” in several places to Colossians 1 without indicating the addition by use of brackets:

NWT2013_Col1

One JW apologist had this to say about the removal of brackets: “they produced the edition without brackets, which I appreciated in that it took away the questions about those bracketed portions. . . . I think it establishes an important point in regard to the organization’s critics: whether you go on the left side or the right, or straight down the middle, or backwards, they don’t care, because they’ll find fault with how your shoe laces are tied, and if there were nothing they could twist, they would make it up. (In fact, they still do anyway.)” Apparently accurate Bible translation is pointless if its critics won’t be satisfied either way.

Well, at least we critics aren’t “mentally diseased” for pointing this out any more (1 Timothy 6:3-4). So we have that going for us, which is nice.

Revelation

I was glad to see that the Watchtower continues to miss the verse in Revelation 5 that says ALL creation WORSHIPS Jesus:

NWT2013_Rev5The failed prophetic year of 1914 makes its reappearance as well – apparently 100 years is a “short time” on Watchtower computation (one wonders how many of the 144,000 could possibly be left, though):

NWT2013_Rev12Ill

Conclusion

As near as I can tell the revised NWT (RNWT?) poses no more threats to orthodox Christianity than previous versions have, with the exception of the removal of the brackets around the words “other” in Colossians 1. But knowing this ahead of time is actually an advantage to the trained apologist. For it is telling that the Jehovah’s Witnesses must distort the biblical text to shoehorn in their heretical doctrines.

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68 thoughts on “Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New World Translation 2013 Revision

  1. Pingback: Jesus In the Hands of the New World Translation | Soul Device

  2. John 1:1 and the Word was a god. NWT
    Acts 12:22  …”“it is the voice of a god,”” KJ Same sentence structure as John 1:1, yet Christendom’s bible’s have no trouble adding the indefinite article there.

  3. 7Daniel –

    There is no Greek indefinite article, so it is always an “addition” when it appears in NT translations – that’s not the issue. The problem is introducing theological error by changing the meaning of the original. It makes little interpretational or theological difference whether or not the indefinite article is added to Acts 12:22 – either way the people are claiming that deity is speaking. Which deity is not at issue. Adding it to John 1 completely changes the meaning of the text. “Christendom’s bible’s” [sic] do not reflect the heretical theological bias that the NWT claims to be free from (as evidenced on the main NWT article here).

  4. Doug, I agree with you that adding/or not the indefinite article changes the meaning of John 1:1. That is at the heart of the discussion. Adding “a” is correct for that sentence structure as evidenced by placing “a” in Acts 12:22. It does matter which deity is being addressed, God (Jehovah) or a god. Please take a few minutes to look this research I’ve done on the subject.

  5. I looked at your “research.” Tell me, while you were looking up all these Bible references, I am curious how you managed to misrepresent the only citation you give in support of “a god” for John 1:1. Here is how you put it:

    John 1:1 – “a god was the Word” – W. E. Vine p. 490, An Expository Dictionary of the New Testament.

    I wonder, did you not bother to read the entire sentence? Here is what Vines actually says here about theos, specifically in John 1:1 – ““a god was the Word,” is entirely misleading.

    Why is Vines even bringing this up? Here’s the whole quote:

    “it is usual to employ the article with a proper name, when mentioned a second time. There are, of course, exceptions to this, as when the absence of the article serves to lay stress upon, or give precision to, the character or nature of what is expressed in the noun. A notable instance of this is in John 1:1, “and the Word was God”; here a double stress is on theos, by the absence of the article and by the emphatic position. To translate it literally, “a god was the Word,” is entirely misleading.

    Vines is saying that the absence of the definite article emphasizes the deity of the Word! To translate it with the indefinite article (which is not “literally”, actually, since there is no indefinite article in Greek) is entirely misleading! Now, I am not arguing for Vine’s (it’s not a standard lexicon, after all – more like a commentary on a dictionary), but you have misrepresented what it says with your partial citation.

  6. As to research, I recommend you go to the early Church (the one you got the Bible from) and listen to what they have to say about this tired old Arian heresy that the false prophets of the Watchtower have been trying to resurrect for the last century.

  7. Doug, thank you for making my point for me! “Vines is saying that the absence of the definite article emphasizes the deity of the Word!” The Deity of The Word, not his identity. (a god, not The God.) You are correct. “a god was The Word.” is NOT a literal translation, but it a correct one. As for as researching the early church, are you talking about before or after the apostasy?

  8. The apostasy never happened (Mt. 16-18), and how could you trust a Bible defined by an apostate Church to critique the church?

  9. YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS! (It took me a few minutes to stop laughing) Every informed person on the subject knows Christendom has been over run with pagan teachings. Please read those links I posted. I didn’t get the point of your scripture siting, Mt chap. 16-18?

  10. The history of the early church is actually rife with fighting pagan teachings as anyone outside 19th century apocalyptic cults knows.

    If you don’t get the Mt. 16-18 reference then let me walk you through it. Jesus said “I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” He said the Church would be built on Peter and that he had the keys (binding and loosing power of Heaven). By he time you get to chapter 18 it is clear that the apostolic Church has been given this power. So, put it all together: Christ’s Church is the one founded on Peter and the apostles with the power to speak for Heaven and this Church will never be overcome. The Watchtower narrative requires that the Church failed until some “Bible students” (i.e., 19th Century Americans ignorant of the original languages or doctrinal history) took the Bible that the apostate Church gave them and figured out that the Church had been wrong pretty much the whole time (all the while making one false prediction after another). Such an idea is so ridiculous as to not even be funny except that it’s been believed.

  11. Thank you Doug, I absolutely agree with your postings. I noticed the Revised NWT again leaves out who the translators are. It’s incredible how easily WT followers swallow whatever the WT feeds them without question.

  12. There are many Trinitarian scholars that will at least admit that John 1:1 can be grammatically translated as “the Word was a god”, or the “the Word was divine.” The popular Moffat’s and the Goodspeed’s An American Translation, both use the phrase “was divine” in translation John 1:1. Regarding the phrase “was a god”, NT Greek scholars have admitted the following:
    Professor CH Dodd, who was one of the translators of the NEB and REB says :”A possible translation [for John 1:1c] … would be, `The Word was a god.’ As a word-for-word translation it cannot be faulted.” – Technical Papers for the Bible Translator, vol. 28, Jan. 1977. The reason Prof. Dodd still rejects “a god” as the actual meaning intended by John is simply because it upsets his Trinitarian interpretations of John’s book!
    Trinitarian NT scholar Professor Murray J. Harris also admits that grammatically John 1:1c may be properly translated, ‘the Word was a god,’ but his trinitarian bias makes him claim that “John’s monotheism” will not allow such an interpretation. – p. 60, Jesus as God, Baker Book House, 1992.

    Dr. William Barclay is usually quoting as condemning the NWT rendition of John 1:1 in a personal letter he wrote to a colleague back in 1955, stating the John 1:1 can never be grammatically translated as the NWT. However, in a subsequent letter to another individual he admitted the following:
    “You could translate [John 1:1c], so far as the Greek goes: `the Word was a God’; but it seems obvious that this is so much against the whole of the rest of the New Testament that it is wrong.” – p. 205, Ever yours, edited by C. L. Rawlins, Labarum Publ., 1985.

    Professor Jason David BeDuhn correctly concludes, “Grammatically, John 1:1 is not a difficult verse to translate. It follows familiar, ordinary structures of Greek expression. A lexical (‘interlinear’) translation of the controversial clause would read: ‘And a god was the Word.’ A minimal literal (‘formal equivalence’) translation would rearrange the word order to match proper English expression: ‘And the Word was a god.’ The preponderance of evidence, from Greek grammar, from literary context, and from cultural environment, supports this translation….” – p. 132, Truth in Translation, University Press of America, 2003.

    Catholic theologian John J. McKenzie, S. J., contends in his Dictionary of the Bible: “Jn 1:1 should rigorously be translated `the word was with the God (equals the Father), and the word was a divine being.'” – p. 317, Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1965, published with Catholic Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur.

    Trinitarian Dr. Robert Young admits that a more literal translation of John 1:1c is “and a God[2] (i.e. a Divine Being) was the Word” – p. 54, (`New Covenant’ section), Young’s Concise Critical Bible Commentary, Baker Book House, 1977 printing

    The fact the John 1:1 can be grammatically translated as the “the Word was a god”, or “the word was divine”, explains why the NWT, the Emphatic Diaglott (interlinear reading), Smiths-Goodspeed (An American Translation), Moffat’s translation, and others. In addition those renderings are not only grammatically correct, but they also agree with the context of John Chapter 1, which is completely un-Trinitarian. Verses 1 & 2 say the “the Word was WITH God”, so the word cannot be The God he was with. John 1:3, as many Bible accurately translate say “THROUGH him all things were made”, meaning Someone used him to create the Word, or as the GNB says “through Him God made all things”. Verse 14 says that the “Word became flesh” and “we HAVE SEEN HIM”. Jesus, the Word was made human and was SEEN. Yet verse 18 clearly says “NO MAN HAS EVER SEEN GOD”. Jesus was SEEN, God was NOT Seen. Jesus is NOT God. Verse 34 the apostle John testifies not to a mysterious, twisted Trinity, which was unknown to the Jews at that time…he instead says “And I have seen, and have borne witness that this is the Son of God”. Yes, Jesus is the Son OF God, not God himself!!! I agree with the apostle John. In verse 36 he adds “36and he looked upon Jesus as he walked, and saith, Behold, the Lamb of God!” He said behold the “Lamb OF God”, NOT “BEHOLD God”!! Since no man has never actually seen God himself, but Jesus, the Son of God was seen. Because of the clear context of John chapter 1, many Bible translations rendered John 1:1 similarly to the NWT. I will list just a few, mainly English verisons:

    1808 “and the Word was a god” – Thomas Belsham The New Testament, in An Improved Version, Upon the Basis of Archbishop Newcome’s New Translation: With a Corrected Text , London.
    1864 “and a god was the Word” (left hand column interlinear reading) The Emphatic Diaglott by Benjamin Wilson, New York and London..
    1935 “and the Word was divine” – The Bible—An American Translation, by John M. P. Smith and Edgar J. Goodspeed, Chicago.
    1955 “so the Word was divine” – The Authentic New Testament, by Hugh J. Schonfield, Aberdeen.
    1978 “and godlike sort was the Logos” – Das Evangelium nach Johannes, by Johannes Schneider, Berlin.
    1822 “and the Word was a god.” – The New Testament in Greek and English (A. Kneeland, 1822.);
    1863 “and the Word was a god.” – A Literal Translation Of The New Testament (Herman Heinfetter [Pseudonym of Frederick Parker], 1863);
    1885 “and the Word was a god.” – Concise Commentary On The Holy Bible (R. Young, 1885);
    1879 “and the Word was a god.” – Das Evangelium nach Johannes (J. Becker, 1979);
    1911 “and the Word was a god.” – The Coptic Version of the N.T. (G. W. Horner, 1911);
    1958 “and the Word was a god.” – The New Testament of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Anointed” (J. L. Tomanec, 1958);
    1829 “and the Word was a god.” – The Monotessaron; or, The Gospel History According to the Four Evangelists (J. S. Thompson, 1829);
    1975 “and the Word was a god.” – Das Evangelium nach Johannes (S. Schulz, 1975);
    1975 “and a god (or, of a divine kind) was the Word” Das Evangelium nach Johnnes, by Siegfried Schulz, Göttingen, Germany.
    1970, 1989 The Revised English Bible reads: “…and what God was, the Word was.” (notice this version does not say WHO God was, the Word was, but WHAT God was the Word was…meaning, as I understand it, that the Word was a mighty spirit being like God, prior to becoming flesh or human on earth as verse 14 says.)

  13. The word other is generally added to different Bible verses in other translations of the Bible to reflect what the text says in English. Jason BeDuhn, a Greek scholar, supports the NWT rendering of Col. 1:15-17, stating it is correct. (See his book Truth In Translation). Compare the flwg. text with different Bible versions. Some will add the word “other” or “else” to the text to clarify the meaning of the text. The same is true with the NWT rendering of Col. 1:16-17. It is not required, as other prior to the NWT released understood the text obviously met Jesus created all OTHER things, since Jesus as the “Firstborn OF CREATION”, is part of created things. It is just understood.
    Luke 13:2 in the KJV reads “And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?” Yet, the NIV and other versions add the word OTHER for clarification. Luke 13:2 says in the NIV “He asked them, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans?” The word “OTHER” or “ELSE” is also added in the NIV (and various versions) in these texts:

    Matt. 26:35

    And all the other disciples said the same.

    Mark 12:43

    this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.

    Luke 3:19

    And all the other disciples said the same.

    Luke 11:42

    you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs.

    Luke 13:2

    Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way?

    Luke 13:4

    do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem?

    Acts 16:32

    Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.

    1 Cor. 6:18

    All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.

    2 Cor. 9:13

    your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.

    1 Thess. 3:12

    May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else.

    1 Thess. 5:15

    always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.

    In all of the above occurrences, the New International Version has used words such as ‘other’ or ‘else’ to complete the sense in English.[4] This does not mean that they are adding to God’s word, they are simply making explicit or clear what was already there in the Greek text. Thus, it is by no means wrong to translate pas as ‘all other,’ where that is what is implied by the context. The NWT rendition is correct in adding the word OTHER in Col.1:16-17 as well.

  14. It’s not clarification to promote falsehood. Only IF Jesus belongs with these “other” items in Colossians is the addition legitimate. because he does not, it isn’t. BTW, The NIV is biased as well (see how it handles the term “tradition”) – and probbaly all translations are to some extent. But only the NWT specifically proclaims itse;f to be free from it. And that’s the point – the NWT is a biased translation. Just own up to it.

  15. David,

    First I have seen WAY too many out of context quotes from the Watchtower to believe any list like this without seeing it for myself. A middle schooler would get slammed for the kind of work the Watchtower tries to pull.

    Second – let’s say adding “a” is grammatically possible – so what? Polytheism follows from this addition just as well as anti-trinitarianism. Lots of things are “possible” with languages, which is why one does not determine orthodox theology by playing around with “possible” biblical translations.

    The NWT is inconsistent and heretically biased, and that was my point in the article – not to prove orthodox theology with proof texts. Only a distorted version of the Enlightenment “ad fontes” principle, far removed from true Tradition and history, make these kinds of grammatical considerations even seem to have that potential. The Church teaches what Christ taught it, and it cannot fail (Mt. 16-18). The Church has taught the divinity of Christ from day one. No 19th Century uneducated apocalyptic Bible study group can change that, and neither can the false prophetic organization that arose from it. Church history is not on your side. Christian Tradition is not on your side. The original languages are AT BEST not always 100% against your side. Good luck with that.

  16. Hi Doug

    The ONLY inconsistent place that I know of in the NWT is the rending of the Greek word “proskuneo” This word should never be rendered as worship in ANY Bible. there are 6 different Greek words that Bibles render as worship. Some of the them actually mean “religous worship”

    “proskuneo” should always be rendered with its Greek meaning in mind as per Stongs Greek Lexicon “meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand); to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage” This word was used used to show homage or respect to men and beings of superior rank.

    In all cases where “proskuneo” is used if the word “obeisance” SHOULD be used, OR, the phrase “bow before”. or show honor or equivalent SHOULD be used the true meaning and flavor of the Geek writer is seen. If “religious worship” or “religous homage” was intended the best words are latreuo and sebomai

    2 examples from the KJV of latreuo (The numbers in refer to Strongs word index)

    Ac 7:42 Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness?
    Ac 24:14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:

    2 examples of sebomai

    Mt 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
    Mr 7:7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

    So as far as I am concerned ALL Bibles that render “proskuneo” as worship do their readers a disfavor.

  17. Hello again Doug

    back up the page on “December 8, 2013 at 1:16 am” you said …. ” It’s not clarification to promote falsehood. Only IF Jesus belongs with these “other” items in Colossians is the addition legitimate. because he does not”

    Now it is nice to know that you can see the point … ” Only IF Jesus belongs with these “other” items” … That is the point here, does the Bible teach that Jesus is part of the “other” If the Bible shows that Jesus is part of the group called creation then the clarification is legitimate. However you make the assertion here with out any back uo evidence that Jesus is not part of the group called creation you simply said .. “because he does not (belong to that group)”

    In another post i made on one of your pages. I discussed the context of that chapter, The context shows that Jesus must be included in the “other” (creation) because if he is not included in that group then the chapter is teaching he (Jesus) created the Father.

    The context of the chapter must be taken into consideration.

  18. Zoe Says:

    On their web site JW.org in the 1984 NWT Acts 2: 32 and 1 Thessalonians 4:14 refer to Jesus as God in both scriptures it clearly says “Jesus God” , however it has changed in the 2013 edition wonder why? They have no problem in citing “Jehovah God” . 1 Thessalonians 4:16 is their claim trying to prove Jesus as “Michael the acrhangel” when verse 14 it clearly refer to him as “Jesus God.” This is a lesson to be learned can not hid the Living Word the Truth, translate Original Christian- Greek translations as is or leave it alone!

  19. It is very sad to say that a magazine can have so much hold over someone’s brain….but indeed the fake, made-up, Watchtower does! I wish we could save all of the people that are following it! Their defenses are nothing but responses that they are taught out of the Watchtower. It’s a standard response everytime that I guarantee is in some book of the JW’s. The thing that gets me too is that they are always throwing the “pagan” response back at us. Try researching just WHAT ALL has “pagan” origins. You will find tons including wearing a tie and celebrating anniversaries! That would put a damper on the witnesses for sure…because if your not wearing a tie to the meeting or out in field service…then you are just a loser. Lord help us be a light for these people! They need you so bad. I wish I had a magic wand or something so I could make them see! Make them see that we have one true King and that is Jesus!

  20. Hi all
    Just like to share some thoughts on John1:1

    UNDERSTANDING JOHN 1:1

    King James reads
    ‘In the beginning was the Word’

    and the Word was with God,

    and the Word was God.’

    Apparent Contradiction:

    3rd line conflicts with 2nd line

    How can be the Word be the same God he is described as being with?

    The sentence is talking of two persons, the 1st person can not be the
    2nd person.

    Lets Convert John 1:1 to a simpler way:

    In the room was the Boy

    and the Boy was with the Man’

    and the Boy was Man

    Explanation

    This describes the nature of the Boy not his identity, He shares

    humanity with the man he is with.

    Same with John 1:1 it describes the nature of the Word not his
    Identity. He shares divinity with the God he is with.

    Another Example

    In the room was the student,

    and the student was with (The) Teacher,

    and the student was (a) Teacher.

    To make sense the indefinite article (a) or the definite article (The) has to be added between ‘was’ and ‘teacher’ to make it read either “the student was the Teacher or the student was a teacher

    The 3rd line is describing the nature or quality of the student. He could be a teacher but not the Teacher he was in the room with.

    The student himself was a student like his instructor but not greater.
    Compare what Jesus said John 14:28, 10:36, 8:28-29 and Luke 6:40.

    I am not trying promote or denigrate any religion I’m just trying to help all get a better understanding of John 1:1.

  21. Dudley,

    The 3rd line does not conflict with the 2nd line because God (the Father) and God (the Son aka the Word) are two different persons who share the same nature and thus can both be called “God” without any problem. Your “simplification” is an equivocation on the word “man” – in the first use it means an individual male and in the second it means human nature. That is not an acceptable solution. The second “example” is actually not “another” as instead of equivocation it makes there be two persons with two roles – thus it is not analogous to either John 1:1 nor to your “simplification” of it. Rather, it assumes the heresy that the Son is not God or is some lesser “god.”

  22. If it were John’s intent to say The Word was The God, why didn’t he just say so, “And The Word was The God.”, using the definite article. But he didn’t.

  23. “God” is not the name of a person – it is a title typically denoting deity (note also that biblical Greek was not a Christian invention – the words “theos” and “logos” both existed before Christianity did). The personal names of the persons of God are often left to the context. The Son was with the Father.

  24. I am not big on trying to discover unstated authorial intentions. What I do know is that John’s immediate disciples did not take this verse to indicate that Jesus was not God. I do not have enough confidence in my intellect to question John’s words nor to doubt the teachings of his disciples (not to mention 2,000 years of Christian orthodoxy). Heretics always value their own opinions more highly than God’s Church – thus proving that even their faith is not faithful (http://www.newadvent.org/summa/3011.htm#article1).

    Ignatius was a disciple of the apostle John and bishop of Antioch. He opens his first epistle by telling the Ephesian church it is “united and elect in a true passion, by the will of the Father and of Jesus Christ our God,” and commends them for “. . . having your hearts kindled in the blood of God” (Letter to Ephesians, I) He notes that, “There is one Physician who is possessed both of flesh and spirit; both made and not made; God existing in flesh; true life in death; both of Mary and of God; first possible and then impossible,— even Jesus Christ our Lord” (VII). Then, in a passage discussing Jesus, he commends his readers to “do all things as knowing that He dwelleth in us, to the end that we may be His temples and He Himself may be in us as our God” (XV). Later when the conception of Jesus is discussed, Ignatius notes that, “our God, Jesus the Christ, was conceived in the womb by Mary according to a dispensation, of the seed of David but also of the Holy Ghost” (XVIII). Near the end of the letter, Ignatius explains the effect of the birth and death of Jesus. “From that time forward every sorcery and every spell was dissolved, the ignorance of wickedness vanished away, the ancient kingdom pulled down, when GOD appeared in the likeness of man unto the newness of everlasting life” (XIX). Similar writings can be found in his letter to the Romans, Smyrnaeans, and to Polycarp.

    Polycarp himself was another disciple of the apostle John. In his writing, he tells the Philippians they can “gain great advantage” by reading the letters of Ignatius (Letter to the Philippians, 13:2), and prays that God would “grant unto you a lot with and portion among His saints, and to us with you, and to all that are under heaven, who shall believe on our Lord and God Jesus Christ and on His Father that raised Him from the dead (Letter to the Philippians, 12:2).

    Irenaeus was a pupil of Polycarp. He asserts that, “the Word, who existed in the beginning with God, by whom all things were made, who was also always present with mankind, was in these last days, according to the time appointed by the Father, united to His own workmanship, inasmuch as He became a man liable to suffering, [it follows] that every objection is set aside of those who say, ‘If our Lord was born at that time, Christ had therefore no previous existence.’ For I have shown that the Son of God did not then begin to exist, being with the Father from the beginning; but when He became incarnate, and was made man, He commenced afresh the long line of human beings” (Against Heresies, III.XVIII.1). He even cites John as the source of this belief: “John knew the one and the same Word of God, and that He was the only begotten, and that He became incarnate for our salvation, Jesus Christ our Lord, I have sufficiently proved from the word of John himself.” (Against Heresies, III.XVI.2).

  25. Hi all
    Thanks, for all your kind comments,I knew i wasn’t going to be universally accepted. It is controversial ! Not what I said, but about what John1:1says.

    Doug, you quoted

    “God” is not the name of a person – it is a title typically denoting deity (note also that biblical Greek was not a Christian invention – the words “theos” and “logos” both existed before Christianity did). The personal names of the persons of God are often left to the context. The Son was with the Father.

    This is my point exactly! though the words God, Father, Word, and Son are all titles or roles and not personal names.

    Perhaps the verse could be simplified like this.

    ‘In the beginning was the Word’

    and the Word was with (the)Father,

    and the Word was (the) Father or (a) Father)

    We Know Jesus was never The Father. ( Remember Jesus said The Father was greater than Him Jn28:14 NIV)

    So it would have to read: ‘the Word was (a) Father ??’‘

    So in effect He could not be the same Father He was in the beginning with. (and to quote daniel7 above its a mystery)

    To me the verse is simply describing the characteristic of the Word being of the family of God, being Godlike,
    Divine,of God-kind. I don’t see how any of these terms would be demeaning to God or Jesus. However if you feel differently about that,That’s fine it will always be a contentious issue. I’m not here to Judge. If you want to believe it to means “The” God. That’s fine too. But until i see something clearer on this I remain of the same opinion.
    Thanks again for all your thoughts
    Cheers!

  26. Dudley,

    Your “simplifications” are always skewed to reflect your error in thinking. You are assigning the persons of God to the wrong referent. John 1:1 is expressing the difficult idea that Jesus is both God and yet with God because he is God in essence but differs in person from God the Father (the only person of God the Jews were familiar with). What it “seems to you” is not in concert with what John’s disciples and the entirety of orthodox Christianity teaches. I appreciate that you are trying to express your thinking in a humble manner, but is it ever humble to think you understand Scripture better than those taught by John directly as well as the Church?

  27. Hi Doug,

    Thanks for your reply.

    For a while I thought I’m not going to reply because now we’re venturing into the field of philosophy expounded by Aristotle. Basically, according to Wikipedia,’ essence is the attribute or set of attributes that make an entity or substance what it fundamentally is, and which it has by necessity, and without which it loses its identity. ‘

    If this is the meaning of essence your referring too, then the answer would quite simply have been for John to include the definite article, so the verse reads “ and the word was (the) GOD. And there after I don’t have a problem at accepting your view. However, since the definite article is absent.
    John is obviously trying to tell us some think different.
    The ‘Word’ is the subject I thought and John is telling us things about the “Word” Where He was,
    and what he was like. He was like God having the same qualities, being of the same substance but not The God. So I don’t see how I had the wrong referent.

    Cheers

  28. Dudley,

    Since philosophical and historical considerations do not seem to be able to dislodge your intuitions perhaps this will help. Your problem is that you are reading something into the use of the greek definite article that simply is not there. The Greek definite article has many funcitons – many of which do not even track with English usage (examples). So what seems “obvious” to you is really not.

    There are dozens and dozens of uses of theos without the definite article but which even JW’s think is referring to THE God. These can be found in the same context as John 1:1 itself (e.g., John 1:6, 12-13, 18) and elsewhere in John’s gospel (e.g., 3:21; 8:54; 16:30; 16:30; 19:7), as well as other writings of John (e.g., 1 John 3:1-2; 2 John 1:3, 9).

    In fact, there are verses where theos appears both with and without the definite article in the same context, yet without any change in meaning (e.g., John 3:2; 13:3; 1 John 4:12; Romans 1:21; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 8-10; 1 Peter 4:10-11).

    Moreover, there are certain passages where ho theos is applied to Jesus himself (e.g., Matthew 1:22-23; John 20:17, 26-29; Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1)!

    However “obvious” it may seem to you, your intuition about what the verse means based on the definite article is unfounded. And even if it were relevant, it would only show that your view is, at best, merely possible. But in that case the historical understanding (that began in John’s day with his own disciples!) is also against you.

    I have provided you with theological, historical, and linguistic counter-arguments you your view. If you have anything to offer in response other than just more restatements of what you think is “obvious,” feel free to respond.

  29. Hi Doug
    Appreciate your reply

    Great Reference to the study on ‘the Article” haven’t got into yet but I like the layout etc. Is this your work? And is it available for download?

    With Jn1:1
    I’ve been looking at this without a preconceived idea of the Trinity for I don’t believe the early Christians had any concept of it otherwise we would have it in the scriptures. Its only after the scriptures were written this belief began to develop. And I think many of the translators though their efforts are meant to be objective, were influence by their own preconceived beliefs. Believing their way is the absolute right way and slanting their renderings to reflect that idea. (e.g. the watchtower society).

    Now here are a couple of explanations of Jn1:1 that seem to bring my point home.(not about wts)

    Bishop Westcott,
    “It is necessarily without the article (the’os not ho the’os) inasmuch as it describes the nature of the Word and does not identify His Person.”
    Catholic theologian John J. McKenzie, S. J., contends in his Dictionary of the Bible: “Jn 1:1 should rigorously be translated `the word was with the God (equals the Father), and the word was a divine being.’” – p. 317, Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1965, published with Catholic Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur.

    This sums it up nicely two Catholic Scholar bringing out what John seems to be saying .This scripture does not explicitly say he is ‘the’ God.

    Following on from John 1:1 the context seems to indicates this Divine being (the Word)
    Jesus emptying him self of those divine attributes to take on the lesser role of a human. There fore all scripture thereafter depending on context would refer to him in that role. After his glorification He would take those attributes back again and be given a name that is above every other name so that even Gods angels will worship Him.
    I appreciate your thought that my thoughts are, at best, possible that’s helps me see that all is not nonsense, thanks for that!
    I think the subject has been discussed enough, regardless of what we believe, there will always be some contentious issues However May the love of God and his Christ help us rise above them and see the greater picture of Gods Love towards us all.

    Enjoy life

  30. Greek does have a word that Greek writers sometimes uses in the sense of an indefinite article, a rough equivalent to our indefinite ‘a’ in a sentence. The word heis (English: “one”) was used in that sense from time to time in various Greek texts. That word, of course, was not present in John 1:1.

    Additionally, the preverbal predicate nominative should not be rendered with the English indefinite article even though some translators have mistakenly done so over the years. This form of predicate is making an assertion about the nature of the subject rather than either identifying or describing the substance of the subject, both of which the predicate in the Greek text does not do.

    “The Word was divine” or “the Word had the nature of God” or even “what God was the Word was” are more accurate representations of the underlying meaning than most English translations. The problem is that English does not have a meaning for the word God that precisely mirrors the ways in which the noun is used in Greek. Even Ecclesiastical and Modern Greek lost the distinctions over time.

  31. As an afterthought, there was one other thing I wanted to point out. The RNWT continues in the tradition of omitting the name of Christ from 1 Corinthians 10:9, even though the Greek texts which they consulted and which update Westcott and Hort, the Greek text that formed the basis of the original revision, all state with the newest and most up-to-date manuscripts evidence that the word Christ should be in that passage rather than Jehovah.

    Not only do the majority of manuscripts put Christ there rather than the “Lord” that allows them to use Jehovah there, the very oldest manuscript and most all of the earliest linguistic versions also have Christ there rather than Lord.

    The real reason why that passage was not changed is that if they put Christ there where it belongs, the passage would lend itself to identifying Christ as the Jehovah of Numbers 21:4-7. This they cannot allow for rather obvious reasons.

  32. No problem. There are more examples as well. Here is an additional example of Jesus being identified as Jehovah by John. In the Gospel of John, there is a passage that reads as follows:

    39 The reason why they were not able to believe is that again Isaiah said: 40 “He has blinded their eyes and has made their hearts hard, so that they would not see with their eyes and understand with their hearts and turn around and I heal them.” 41 Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory, and he spoke about him.

    (John 12:39-41, RNWT [or, NWT-E])

    Now, notice what is said about what it was that Isaiah said and why he said it. Isaiah saw the glory of Jesus, according to John. The interesting thing is that the passage that John quotes is the Septuagint version of Isaiah 6:10. So, John was saying that Isaiah said what he did in Isaiah 6:10 because he saw the glory of Jesus (that is the context of the entire passage, after all). But, whose glory did Isaiah say he saw? Isaiah writes of the event:

    6 In the year that King Uz·zi′ah died, I saw Jehovah sitting on a lofty and elevated throne, and the skirts of his robe filled the temple. 2 Seraphs were standing above him; each had six wings. Each covered his face with two and covered his feet with two, and each of them would fly about with two.
    3 And one called to the other:
    “Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah
    of armies.
    The whole earth is filled
    with his glory.”
    4 And the pivots of the thresholds quivered at the sound of the shouting, and the house was filled with smoke.
    5 Then I said: “Woe to me!
    I am as good as dead,
    For I am a man of unclean
    lips,
    And I live among a people
    of unclean lips;
    For my eyes have seen the
    King, Jehovah of armies
    himself!”
    (Isaiah 6:1-5, RNWT [or, NWT-E])

    The Septuagint version of this same passage also does not mention the “skirts of his robe” filling the temple but rather his glory filling the temple. In any case, it is clear that Isaiah had just seen Jehovah of armies himself, and that he had seen his glory. Isaiah then followed that up with a few more vents and the material in verse 10 that John refers to as referring to Isaiah having seen the glory of Jesus. Thus, John very apparently believed that Jesus was the Lord Jehovah himself!

    It is very useful to point out John 1:18 to Witnesses as well.

    18 No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten god who is at the Father’s side is the one who has explained Him.

    (John 1:18, RNWT [or, NWT-E])

    Now here is the thing, John as rendered above states that at that time the Father had not been seen but Isaiah states clearly that Jehovah of armies himself was seen by Isaiah. So, either we have a contradiction or we see that the Jehovah whom Isaiah saw had to have been the Son, as John interprets the Isaiah passages to reveal.

  33. Hi,
    I thought I had posted these comments previously,

    Just read your thoughts on the translating of 1cor.10:9 of the RNWT.
    The Scripture is not conclusive.
    The context leaves it to the translator to supply the meaning of which ‘Lord’ is to be used.

    John Gills Exposition say the adding of ‘him’ in the Arabic version would add force to the apostles reasoning. Look at his reasoning he is saying Christ was the angel, he is the Jehovah.(see below)
    This is to assume that Christ and Jehovah is an angel and Christ is Jehovah. If this is what is meant than the applying of Jehovah at 1cor.10:9 would be equally acceptable. Who ever translates it is going to be bias towards,what one believes as true. It is left in the hands of the translator to render the word the way he/she believes is correct.

    John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible1 Cor 10:9

    The Arabic version adds “him”, meaning Christ, which is a right interpretation of the text; otherwise there would be no force in the apostle’s reasoning; for Christ was the angel that went before the Israelites in the wilderness, the angel of God’s presence, that bore, and carried, and saved them; he is the Jehovah they tempted at Massah and Meribah, and elsewhere, and God they spake against at this place referred to; hence it is clear that our Lord existed before his incarnation, and that he is truly and properly God; the Alexandrian copy reads, “neither let us tempt God”, and so the Ethiopic version: “and were destroyed of serpents”; fiery ones, which were sent among them by the Lord Christ, they tempted and spoke against, which bit them, and of these bites many of them died. This might lead to the consideration, of the original cause of man’s sin and fall, and the ruin of human nature, by the means of a serpent; and may be an emblem of the future destruction of the wicked, which will be everlasting fire, prepared for the devil, the old serpent, and his angels.

    John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible1 Cor 10:9
    Cheers

  34. No, it is not left up to the translator. The differences are in manuscript readings and so-called “master text” readings. The vast majority of Greek manuscripts and versions read “Christ” here in 1 Corinthians 10:9. One manuscript reads “God” there. A few read “Lord” there. The majority, however, read “Christ,” as does the very oldest Greek manuscript of Pauline epistles in existence. This manuscript, P46, was written by a professional scribe.

    The latest so-called “master texts” read “Christ” here based on further research in the field of textual criticism. Change from “Lord” to “Christ” (or especially from “God” to “Christ”) cannot be explained as well as can a change from “Christ” to “Lord.” “Christ” also is the oldest reading and the most difficult reading, which also commends the reading. It is the reading supported by the ancient Versions as well, for their earlier Greek exemplars also had the “Christ” reading in 1 Corinthians 10:9.

    The evidence supports much more strongly the “Christ” reading, which is why the so-called “master texts” have moved in that direction. The change from “Christ” to “Lord” is a corruption, as far as the evidence taken as a whole shows.

    It is easy to see how that might be done accidentally as well as being done intentionally. Originally, sacred names were written with two or three letters with a line drawn either over or below the letters. They were abbreviations called Nomina Sacra. A malformed Chi would look to a copyist to be a Kappa, and “Christ” would become “Lord.” It would be the difference between XN and KN in the copy, which is how the names would have been written in most of the oldest manuscripts.

    One reason for changing from “Christ” to “Lord” would be a perceived difficulty in reading the passage and being aware of the Septuagint passage of Numbers 21:7 that uses the word for “Lord.” A scribe might then try to harmonize or deliberately change the perceived difficulty in order to erase the difficulty. This, unfortunately, would erase the original idea of Paul that Jehovah is Christ, an idea that agrees with John’s meaning and with the meaning of the author of Hebrews.

    Another reason for the change would, as mentioned above, be a simple corruption due to a malformed letter in a prior exemplar. But, in the case of P46, which was written by a professional scribe, Nomina Sacra of the words for “Christ” and “Spirit” were written with three letters in Corinthians (“Christ” was written like XRN in 1 Corinthians 10:9 by the scribe of P46), whereas the words “God” and “Lord” were written using only two letters. It would be much harder for such a malformed letter Chi to be misread as Kappa, or for “Christ” to be mistaken for “Lord” there. This makes this manuscript a very powerful and very old witness to the textual reading of “Christ” in the passage.

    The evidence leans most strongly toward the “the Christ” (it is definite in the Greek text) reading. There is only one set of related ways to translate that, and these ways are as follows: “the Messiah,” “the Anointed One,” “the Christ” or “Christ,” in 1 Corinthians 10:9.

  35. In an above post, I wrote: “One manuscript reads ‘God’ there.”

    I should have written: “A couple manuscripts read ‘God’ there.”

    Just thought I would correct and clarify what I should have written.

    Further clarification also is necessary in that I needed to add that one of a number of ways to determine which of a number of readings is more likely to be the correct and original reading is whether or not a particular reading best explains the existence of the variant readings.

    In the case of the Christ reading in 1 Corinthians 10:9, the Christ reading best explains the existence of the variant readings God and Lord. This also lends additional weight to the Christ reading being more likely the original reading in this passage than would be either Lord or God.

    For more information, see the discussion of 1 Corinthians 10:9 in Metzger’s “A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Second Edition.”

  36. Hi,

    Thanks for your sincere thoughts. I did some research on P46 tried to find an interlinear of the verse in question but to no avail. The best I could find was on Wikipedia under P46. While it was not an interlinear it showed the Greek and a translation of 2Cor.11:33-12:9.

    However, while doing the research I came across a ref. To the book “Truth in Translation Accuracy and Bias in English Translations of the New Testament” by Jason David BeDuhn. Apparently he is not one of Jehovahs’ Witnesses, but he seems to be defending them, but on reading most of the book I could see he wasn’t. He makes a lot of sense explaining how the original Greek should be translated. He seems to be contradicting the things you and Doug have been saying. Have you guys read this book? If you have, what have you found to be objectionable and Why? Is he really being naive or is stating the truth? I was able to download a copy to read which I’d be happy to send for your perusal.

    Thanks for taking the time, answering my questions
    for the love of truth

    Duds

  37. Dudley,

    You aren’t going to be able to find an interlinear text with P46. You either have to be able to read the manuscript or you cannot read it. You can read translations thereof–of portions, at least–scattered around the Internet and in various books, but then these would be translations and not the actual Greek text in that oldest manuscript collection of Pauline Letters. Here is a direct link to the P46 manuscript page containing 1 Corinthians 10:9.

    http://www.csntm.org/manuscript/zoomify/GA_P46?image=P46_049b_w.jpg&page=15#viewer

    The text I was discussing is in the fourth line up from the bottom edge of the extant papyrus. The papyrus is slightly damaged here so you will need to look at it and then zoom in on the word as much as you can to see clearly what letters are there.

    It is a Nomina Sacra so you are looking at the word with a line over the letters. Part of the word that reads “let us put to the test” is broken off but the portion of the line with the Christ reading can be seen. In the middle of the extant line you will see the word TON, followed by the Nomina Sacra form of Christon (looks like the English letters XPN (it actually is composed of the Greek letters Chi-Rho-Nu) with a line drawn over it).

    Get a really close look and compare it with other letters on the same page. You will see the word “Christ” there, declined in the nominative case to match the definite article of the object (“the”). Translating that text “the Lord” or “Jehovah,” and not “the Christ,” “the Anointed One,” or “the Messiah” would be a biased translation. Period. It might be different if one is basing one’s translation on an older, out-of-date “master text” but the weight of the evidence points more strongly to the “Christ” reading as being the original reading that explains all the others that derived from it.

    As to DeBuhn’s book that you mention, I have not yet read it. One day I hope to get to reading it. However, please be specific as to wherein he is contradicting what I have written above about the Christ reading. It would be interesting to see whether he is relying on material that is stale, old, and moldy, in making his arguments.

  38. Dudley,

    I forgot to inform you to click the seventh image on the top row. The image collection viewer does not always take you directly to the correct image in some cases, in some browsers. If it does not in your browser window, you will need to click the seventh image on the top row and then zoom in to see what it is that I am talking about. If I can be of further assistance in helping you to find the line of text in the correct image that I mentioned, let me know.

  39. Thanks Guys
    Ive just finished reading DeBuhn Book (about 15min ago). its the best book I’ve read that helps understanding the original meaning of the Greek.He gives the NWT plenty for thought by their inserting the name of Jehovah in the NWT While at the same time commends it as being one of the best today. While they have a Bible that remains accurate to the sense of the original Greek they have the worst interpretations of Gods prophesies.
    Will let you know on following up on your directives.
    Cheers Dudley

  40. Thanks for posting the close-up of the relevant words in the passage. As anyone can see the word is the abbreviation for “Christ” in 1 Corinthians 10:9, which would make a lot of sense even with the context of the first few verses of chapter 10.

  41. The problem is that they use the name Jehovah inconsistently in the NWT in a couple places and also render predicates incorrectly and/or inconsistently in places. There are Hebrew versions of the New Testament that have Christ in a couple places in which the Watchtower put Jehovah.

    Their rendering of John 4:24 is incorrect, although other translations have rendered the first part of the verse the same way. The Greek predicate does not identify a person or describe the composition of the subject. “God is a Spirit” should be rendered as “God is Spirit.” Otherwise, you have the passage as an attempt to describe the “substance” of God. That it not its meaning.

    Saying that “the Word was a god” is the same kind of thing. “God is the preverbal predicate nominative. (In John 4:24 the verb is implied, which also would be preverbal if it were there). In Greek, there are sometimes multiple ways of saying the same thing, and the position of the verb often has much to say about the meaning based upon its placement.

    In John 1:1c the passage is making an assertion regarding the nature of the Word but it is neither identifying him nor describing his composition. “The Word was a god” identifies. By rendering the passage in this way we violate the very intent of the meaning of the Greek. The NWT, in all of its incarnations including the recent revision, violates that sense.

    Yes, it is true that a few other translations in the past have also violated the sense. But, that does not make it right. Bibles that translate it as “the Word was divine” are not complete violations of the sense and should not have been included by the Watchtower in their lists of Bibles that translate it a certain way in order to justify the way they did it in theirs.

    I shall have to take a gander at BeBuhn’s book sooner than later, I suppose.

  42. They also managed to replace the word nakedness with lie with in Leviticus 18:6-19 giving the impression that it’s okay to see all the mentioned people naked as long as you don’t sleep with them.
    But I noticed they could not replace it in Exodus 20:26 or Genesis 9:21-24

  43. While I take issue with a number of renderings in this new revision of the New World Translation, they actually have the right idea there. Exposing one’s nakedness is a Hebrew euphemism both for sexual relations and for shame. It has nothing to do with it being OK to see a person’s nakedness so long as one does not sleep with the person you see, or even with exposing peoples’ nakedness not being OK.

    It here addresses various forms of bringing shame on the family by having illicit sexual relations. Take a close look at verse 14. In that verse, sleeping with your aunt-in-law is like exposing your uncle’s nakedness. It would bring shame to your uncle.

    Notice also in the new revision that they have footnotes calling attention to the literal rendering, so they really aren’t hiding anything here in the verses you mention.

  44. DCPyle, First, thank you for sharing your knowledge. But re Carolyn’s comment. Is your (fascinating and plausible) metaphorical reading necessary? I.e. cannot her literal understanding be taken as a self-evident conservative interpretation? Genesis 9:20ff is a case of non-metaphorical exposed nakedness that I take as juridical reference for the other loci. Respectfully,

  45. Yes, my reading of the passage is necessary in this case. Here is why: Doing proper exegesis starts with the Hebrew text. One then uses a lexicon to check the various senses of the meanings of words. One generally takes the primary definition and usage unless the context or other consideration requires doing otherwise. One also takes into consideration the actual grammatical and structural usage in the logical units of thought and both internal and external context of a given passage in question. It is important to look not only at the definition of a word but also how it is used in a logical unit of thought.

    In the case of the passage in Genesis 9:20ff, it does refer to literally seeing nakedness. It is the same with Exodus 20:26. This also is a literal case of nakedness being exposed to the steps of the altar.

    In the passages in Leviticus, on the other hand, literal nakedness is not the situation there. We can be sure of that because of how it puts the words grammatically and how it refers to sleeping with one person as an act of exposing the nakedness of another person married to the actual person with whom the act actually was committed. One does not literally expose one’s uncle’s nakedness by sleeping with his wife. That, right there, is a major key to understanding the meaning.

    The usage in Genesis 9:20ff and Exodus 20:26, and how the term is used in Leviticus 18, are different, and the usage is figurative in the Leviticus passages under discussion. Thus, the ‘metaphorical’ is much more likely correct than is a literal approach. It would be eisegesis rather than exegesis to take Genesis 9:20 and interpret Leviticus 18 thereby, because the actual usage of the word in question is different.

  46. Just a note on John 1:1 and the non-existence of an indefinite article in Greek. Although it is true that Greek doesn’t have an indefinite article (in the oldest Greek texts there wasn’t even a “definite” article), Greek does, in fact, have words and phraseology that function as an indefinite article even if none literally existed in Greek. It is the word heis, meaning “one” and it has been used in some Greek texts as carrying the sense of an indefinite article. It is rare but it has occurred. In other cases, the word tis functions in this way and this is far more frequent in occurrence than use of the word heis in an indefinite sense. Tis in this sense is widely known but heis not so much, although other grammarians and lexicon authors acknowledge this meaning of heis in certain passages of the Greek New Testament.

    See discussion of heis as carrying the indefinite sense of tis, and even in some cases replacing tis in functioning as an indefinite article in some Greek texts, in Moulton’s translation of Winer’s Greek Grammar, here:

    https://archive.org/stream/atreatiseongram00moulgoog#page/n168/mode/2up/

    See also pages 96-97 of a PDF version of an updated edition of Moulton’s Grammar of New Testament Greek, for further confirmation, here:

    http://faculty.gordon.edu/hu/bi/ted_hildebrandt/new_testament_greek/text/moulton-grammarntgreek.pdf

    Assuming this indefinite sense of heis being correct in a rare few places (such as Matthew 8:19 and others), a passage in James actually can be translated in this way because grammatically heis is used in the way in which the word is used in texts that have it function as carrying an indefinite meaning. That passage worded in most Bibles like: “Do you believe there is one God? You do well” actually in such a case may be translated, “Do you believe that there is a God? You do well.” I am certain many would disagree but the actual, main point of this exercise follows.

    Be that as it may, nothing like these appear in the text of John 1:1. If the words heis or tis had been there the only possible translations would have been “…and the Word was one God” or “and the Word was a god.” But, again, such is not the case in John 1:1c. If the Greek had not had a preverbal predicate nominative there, it also could have been translated as “a god” but such also isn’t the case. There is a preverbal predicate nominative there.

    Some few have mistakenly assumed that the passage can be rendered in some sense of “…and a god was the Word” or “and the Word was a god” but that is because they seem to misunderstand the function of the Greek predicate in such a passage as this. Why is it that those few are in actuality wrong? Simply this: The form of preverbal predicate nominative in John 1:1 neither identifies nor describes composition of substance. Translating the passage “…and the Word was a god” is an attempt at identification, which is not what this kind of predicate would do. It is making an assertion regarding the nature of the Word and no more here.

    It neither identifies the Word as another god nor states that the Word is composed of a substance called “God.” It simply states that the Word had the nature of Deity or was Divine, and nothing more. It, as it were, “puts the smackdown” on both Arius and Athanasius (although there are those on both sides of the argument who would deny this on the basis of personal theology).

  47. Thanks for this interesting lexical argument. I have no illusions that the issue of Christ’s divinity will be settled by grammar, but it’s always interesting. Christianity teaches that Jesus Christ is God, not because some people found a Bible and looked up the terms in a pagan lexicon, but because that is the tradition they inherited from the apostles.

  48. Apostolic Tradition indeed was part of the equation, but even that was debated by various in the day. However, during the debates over the nature of God, considerable attention was given to the meaning of words as well as usage in the Greek texts of the New Testament. They even had to make up a word to support the conclusions they came to during those debates in the Councils. But I wholeheartedly agree that Jesus is God. Detailed study of the grammar and vocabulary of the Greek New Testament confirms that well enough for me. One really has to go in-depth into explaining it all away and twisting the writings of others in trying to support their opposing views on that subject.

  49. Agreed. I was mostly pointing that out as a followup to some things I said earlier. Even if someone were to find a grammatical point in the JW’s / Arian’s side it would make little difference. By the time text criticism, comparative languages, innovation, canon, etc. comes into play the Church just wins again. 🙂

  50. Wow!
    One Question, refering to Heb 1.6, there Paul says that ” But… he says: …”. Seen your knowledge, could you explain to me, where in the bible is it written that sentence? I cant find it what Paul says that is said…

    Thanks.

  51. Fanecatrix – Sorry, I am not clear on what you are asking. The 1984 NWT’s cross-referent at Ps.97:7 pointed to Hebrews 1:6, but the cross-referent at Heb. 1:6 pointed to Dt. 32:43. Are you trying to see how this is a quote? For more on the Psalams used here see THIS LINK.

  52. You won’t find that line in the Old Testament because the Greek of that line was written by the author of Hebrews. It is not part of the quote but a phrase that introduces the quote that follows in verse 6b. The actual quote is from Psalm 96:7 and/or from Deuteronomy 32:43 in the Greek. The quotations from the Psalms in Hebrews come from the Greek Old Testament version of the Psalms.

    The original reading was “gods” and “sons of God” in both the Hebrew and in the Greek versions of these passages, but these were later changed in Greek to “angels” and probably back-inserted into Hebrews by later scribes like a passage from 2nd century Theodotion finds its way into the first century Gospel of John. No manuscripts of the New Testament are extant that contain the original reading that would have been in Hebrews as a quotation from the older version of the Greek Old Testament. Alternatively, it is possible that scribes predating the New Testament changed the phraseology of the text and the author of Hebrews was unaware of the older reading.

    The line that read “and let all gods worship him” was entirely removed from the Hebrew text of Deuteronomy 32:43 by later scribes along with a word and another line. The oldest reading in the Hebrew had six lines of text rather than four, as we now see it in printed Masoretic texts of the Hebrew Bible. One manuscript among the Dead Sea Scrolls preserves the older reading. If I could insert pictures in my post I could show it to you.

  53. In John 20:28 Thomas says to Jesus, “My Lord and my o theos.” Hebrews 1:8 says of the Son, “thy throne, o theos, is forever and ever.” St. Paul says in 1 Cor 8:4-6 that those that are called gods are idols of the human imagination, and nothing in the world. If the Word is ‘a god’ in John 1:1, then it is a mere idol of men’s imaginations, and nothing in the world. But no, the Word dwelling within the bosom of the Father (Jn 1:18) is “the power and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor 1:24). Is God’s power and wisdom created or uncreated? If created, then there was a time when God lacked for power and wisdom. The Son is the ‘Word of eternal life’ (1 Jn 1:1-2), which comes forth from the Father (Jn 8:42) and gives life to the world (Jn 6:33). The Word of eternal life which dwells within the bosom of the Father did not begin to exist in time, else God did not always have eternal life dwelling in his person. The Son of God is said also in the original Greek of Hebrews 1:2 to have been the ‘maker of the ages (aiones).’ Time’s Maker has no beginning. For if the Son had a beginning, time is his mover, and not he its mover. And this again indicates him to be God the Word and Wisdom of the Father that made all things, including times and ages. Do we deny that the Father’s Wisdom is eternal? But it says of the Son, “thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail,” signifying his eternity. The blasphemies which flow from the Witnesses’ desire to reduce the Word and Wisdom of God to one of the things in creation are endless.

  54. Good calls! Thanks. A whole list of “ho theos” correlations with Christ would be a good addition to this discussion.

  55. To start with, rendering the passage as “a god” does violence to the sense of the Greek text. I agree there. Where I take small issue is with the use of ho theos to make a theological argument when it is a mere function of grammar in many passages of scripture. We also have to be careful when making theological pronouncements regarding the text of Hebrews 1:8 without the context of the verses directly following. Ho theos in Hebrews 1:8 is considered a vocative expression, which a translator would render “O God” or “Oh God.” But, catch what the next passage says regarding the person identified as “O God,” namely, that “God, your God has anointed you…”

    How does the person addressed as “O God” have a God? It says to the person addressed as “O God” that his God has anointed him, and so forth. And, what do we make of passages that speak of the God of gods? Are these making references to merely idols, or to other beings given the title of gods? Take the parallel phrases God of gods, King of kings, and Lord of lords. In the case of King of kings and Lord of lords, it is pretty obvious that kings and lords are real beings that exist, or God could be neither King of kings nor Lord of lords. When we see “God of gods” standing alone or in parallel it seems to be referring not to idols but to some kind of real beings over which God is God. There are other, real kings, or God could not be the King of kings, just as is the case with Lord of lords. Likewise, God is the God of gods because there really are some type of beings referred to as gods in the underlying texts rather than mere idols of human imagination.

    In the case of Paul’s quotation from 1 Corinthians, we have to take that within the context of the Greek-speaking world in which Paul wrote. The Greek gods were all idols of some sort or another (with the exception of some philosophical constructs). But, the authors of the Old Testament would have had little to no concept of the Greek idol-gods until making contact with Greek civilization in a meaningful and influential way, such as during the Maccabean Era. We also have the older readings of Deuteronomy and other passages that have reference to gods doing one thing or another, such as worship and so forth, that would seem to support such a construct of thought as an understanding of some kind of beings called “gods” existing.

    In the case of the Hebrews 1:2 passage, the word that can be translated “age” or “ages” also can mean “world” or “worlds” which it does in various places with Jewish influence. Surely such a Jewish influence must be taken into account in a text written with Jews in mind. So we really cannot make a theological case on the timelessness of the Word of God on such a passage this, particularly when Old Testament passages refer to Wisdom being the beginning of God’s creation and to Messiah as having origins like appears in the Hebrew of Micah 5:2.

    We especially need to be careful with what it means to be “in the bosom of the Father” as the Greek word indicates more a position of familial intimacy such as sitting on a father’s lap and leaning on the breast, as well as a locational sense of inserting something into one’s close at close proximity to the chest. A good example of such is as to how the Septuagint portrays what Moses does when he puts his hands into his clothes against his chest. Moses does not stick his hand literally into his chest where his internal organs are located are but into his clothes next to the chest.

    We must be careful to let the text speak to us rather than inserting our own understanding into the passages by carefully examining usage and context. Jehovah’s Witnesses often omit such care as do many who try to take in hand the task of analyzing the beliefs of others using Strong’s Concordance or other suchlike tools.

  56. The second paragraph in your writing indicates that governing Body is added to the text. It is added as an outline. Kind of misleading on your part.

  57. The second paragraph in your writing indicates that governing Body is added to the text. It is added as an outline. Kind of misleading on your part. Entered the wrong email address. please respond to this.

  58. Steve,

    I am not sure why this is misleading or how it could be construed as my claim that this change was made to the biblical text. I specifically said, “Also the Watchtower inserted themselves (the “governing body”) into the chapter heading for Acts 15.” I even included a picture showing that it was a chapter heading and not the text.

  59. I don’t necessarily see such a comment as misleading. Those outlines at the front tend to influence interpretation of the attached text. So, if one reads the outline that uses the phrase “governing body”, and then reads the passage, in the back of the mind the reader might be thinking “governing body” while the reader reads the text. I can see that as a way to influence a reader that direction.

    It isn’t quite as bad as inserting “God’s Active Force” directly into a passage but still can influence a reader into thinking that they had a governing body like that in the modern Watchtower (or, whatever they call it these days since they fragmented operations a bit ago).

  60. Ezra,

    Would you care to back up your claim? I’d be interested to see how my report on exactly what was done was misleading. In particular, I wrote, “the Watchtower inserted themselves (the “governing body”) into the chapter heading for Acts 15.” So I ask again, how is specifically stating what was done misleading? Maybe since Steve will not respond, you will?

  61. I found nothing really misleading at all about this webpage, Ezra. I have just about every edition of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures from the first edition to the current edition and can confirm what he says about it is accurate.

    And, I can do more than that. It is claimed to be a faithful translation by the Watchtower. I know for myself that it most certainly is not. A translation that omits words that are translatable can be considered not to be a translation faithful to the meaning of the Greek. For instance, take a look at your Kingdom Interlinear in your JW app on your phone. Turn to John 14:14. Notice the tiny omission of a translatable word in the New World Translation? Why would they do that?

    The Greek text of Westcott and Hort has a word meaning ‘me’ in a passage concerning asking Jesus for things. The Watchtower omits the word, which means that the NWT isn’t faithful to the meaning of the Greek. That looks very theologically biased because the Watchtower absolutely refuses to believe that any kind of request to Jesus, as would require prayer, could be possible, but only to their concept of Jehovah God. Prayer to Jesus is verboten in Watchtower practice and teaching, and you know it. So, how do you ask Jesus for anything? The only way to do that is via prayer, now isn’t it? So, what do the Watchtower need to do? They omit the translation, thus no longer being faithful to the meaning of the Greek text used by their translators.

    Now, don’t try to bring older translations into it. They were based on differing Greek texts, such as the Textus Receptus. The Greek text contained the word. It should have been translated. If the word is part of the meaning, and the translation of the word is omitted, how on earth is the translation faithful to the Greek? And, it gets worse than this! For instance, take 1 Corinthians 15:29. Regardless of how this passage may be taken as to precise meaning, this passage is significant because it seems to agree with the Deuterocanonical text 2 Maccabees 12:44 that the dead can be benefited.

    How do the Watchtower handle a passage like that? They make a fake, unsupported translation that definitely isn’t faithful to the meaning of the Greek! They translate part of that passage, rendering, “for the purpose of being dead ones.” Really??? They even go so far as to miscite the Liddell and Scott Greek-English Lexicon to support their position. And, miscite they did! You see, there are a few ways to get out of the Greek the meaning of “for the purpose of” in that passage. One way is that the accusative case is to be used. It isn’t. The prepositional phrases are in the genitive case. Another way is to have the accusative case and the preposition eis. Not only is the case in the genitive, there is no preposition eis anywhere in that passage! Another way is to have the word huper/hyper in the genitive case. They also cite the lexicon to that effect and it does say that. However, where the Watchtower is very misleading in that is that in order for it to have that leaning, the lexicon shows that one must have an infinitive with that preposition in order to have the meaning “for the purpose of” in that passage. There isn’t one! So, the Greek most certainly does NOT say “for the purpose of being” and so the translation is not only unfaithful, it is blatantly and patently false.

    Another Watchtower position is that man does not have a spirit that can exist outside of the body at death. But, Hebrews 12:9 compares God with earthly fathers, and states that earthly fathers are fathers of our flesh, whereas God is the Father of our spirits. In other words, no matter the precise understanding of the passage under one’s theological predilections, the passage definitely gives the implication that we have actual spirits. How does the Watchtower handle that one? They translate: “the Father of our spiritual life.” Is that faithful to the meaning of the Greek? Nope! The meaning of the Greek has “the Father of the spirits (of us).” In order for the passage to mean “the Father of our spiritual life” it must read one of four ways, as follows: zoes pneumatikes, tes zoes pneumatikes, zoes tes pneumatikes (rare but possible), or tes zoes tes pneumatikes.

    In no case is the sentence phrased this way in the Greek! You can confirm this for yourself by again checking your Kingdom Interlinear’s Greek text. The Greek phrase (omitting iota subscript because it likely won’t show up after I post this) is, to patri ton pneumaton (the last word and its article are plural) and it’s literal translation is “the Father of the spirits” if you leave out the “of us” textual implication from the context. Either way, that NWT translation isn’t faithful to the meaning of the text. And, I can go on with more. I’d be glad to discuss these and other text with you in more depth, if you wish. 🙂

    But, in no case did I find Doug’s page misleading.

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