why do witnesses call the new testament "greek scriptures"?

by in a new york bethel minute 18 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • blondie

    The WTS explanation:


    w95 3/1 p. 19 "Old Testament" or "Hebrew Scriptures"—Which? ***

    TODAY it is a common practice in Christendom to use the terms "Old Testament" and "New Testament" to describe the Hebrew/Aramaic and Greek language parts of the Bible. But is there any Biblical basis for using these terms? And for what reasons do Jehovah’s Witnesses generally avoid using them in their publications?

    True, 2 Corinthians 3:14, according to the King James Version as well as some other older translations, such as the German Septembertestament, Martin Luther’s first translation (1522), may appear to support this practice. In the King James Version, this verse reads: "But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which veil is done away in Christ."

    However, is the apostle speaking here about the 39 books that are commonly called the "Old Testament"? The Greek word here translated "testament" is di·a·the´ke. The famous German theological encyclopedia Theologische Realenzyklopädie, commenting on 2 Corinthians 3:14, says that ‘the reading of the old di·a·the´ke’ in that verse is the same as ‘reading Moses’ in the following verse. Hence, it says, ‘the old di·a·the´ke’ stands for the Law of Moses, or at most, the Pentateuch. It certainly does not stand for the entire pre-Christian body of inspired Scripture.

    The apostle is referring to only a part of the Hebrew Scriptures, the old Law covenant, which was recorded by Moses in the Pentateuch; he is not referring to the Hebrew and Aramaic Scriptures in their entirety. Furthermore, he does not mean that the inspired Christian writings of the first century C.E. constitute a "new testament," since this term occurs nowhere in the Bible.

    It is also to be noted that the Greek word di·a·the´ke that Paul here used actually means "covenant." (For further information see New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures—With References, Appendix 7E, page 1585, published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., 1984.) Many modern translations therefore correctly read "old covenant" rather than "old testament."

    In this connection, the "National Catholic Reporter" stated: "The term ‘Old Testament’ inevitably creates an atmosphere of inferiority and outdatedness." But the Bible is really one work, and no part is outdated, or "old." Its message is consistent from the first book in the Hebrew part to the last book in the Greek part. (Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17) So we have valid reasons to avoid these terms that are based on incorrect assumptions, and we prefer to use the more correct terms "Hebrew Scriptures" and "Christian Greek Scriptures."

  • Hellrider

    Very true. I have for a long time felt that the JW-religion has nothing do with christianity, it is a corrupted form of judaism. For example, what is the "blood law" without the OT (oh, excuse me, "hebrew scriptures", lol). Anyway, how they get around Pauls words on this issue, I do not know. In Pauls view, the coventant from the OT is dissolved with the coming of Jesus Christ. What was once a lwa written on paper, means nothing anymore, because the law had, after Christ, been written in the hearts of christians. This is all over Pauls letters. How they get around that, I do not know.

  • Honesty

    It makes them feel so special and set aside for sacred service when their idol, the Faithful Slave coins a new phrase for them. As far as I'm concerned, the whole idea is based on control and containment.

    I dropped their terminology as fast as I could when I left the cult because from the moment I first said 586 BC instead of 607 BCE I could feel the freedom. Using C.E. and B.C.E. helps secularise Biblical history and also takes the Lord right out of a discussion.

  • jwfacts

    I agree with 70006, it was to distance themselves from Christendom, each time a Christian says OT it is identifies them as of Satans system.

    Another point is also possibly that they dont want the OT to sound old. JWs are strongly based around OT illustations, Mosaic principles etc so they want to make the Hebrew Scriptures sound as important as the Greek ones.

  • seattleniceguy

    As seven006 points out, it is an important part of the indotrination process to create an isolated language group. It creates a sense of in-the-group-ness. Here's a quote from an excellent article about the indoctrination process (http://members.aol.com/beyondjw/indoct.htm):

    Witness speech features round-about statements, "code" words, idiomatic phrases, and a few neologisms. It would be impossible to pose as a Witness without learning their argot -- your ruse would be detected moments after you opened your mouth.

    This is not particularly remarkable. Linguists recognize what they call a "speech community", which encompasses a variety of people who express themselves in a similar manner. The community does not have to inhabit a single location.

    The stability of the Witness' speech community is strengthened by the literature. Certain expressions "come into vogue", while others are relegated to the dustbin. During the 1960's, for example, Witnesses would not refer to their group as a "religion" but preferred the term "nation". The term "church" was also considered improper. Several decades later, these terms have been restored to respectability.

    Only somebody who is actively involved with the Witnesses can keep up to date with the latest trends in Witness-Speak. By regularly reading the literature and attending their meetings, one can infer which expressions are "in" and which are "out".


  • seven006

    The last ones to realize they are in a cult, are the ones who are in a cult. I think many will realize it sooner than later.


  • hamsterbait

    "OLD TESTAMENT" and "NEW TESTAMENT" are from the medieval english for a sworn oath or covenant. (hence the terms testimony, last will and testament)

    As such it simply means the scriptures inspired by God to the Jews, for the instruction and tutoring to Christ, those under the "Old Testament" or "Old Covenant". Those for christians are written during the period of the "New Testament" or "New Covenant."

    One American scholar quoted in the "All Scripture" book said that as the bible is a unified book, it makes little sense to separate it into old and new testaments. The terms came into general usage after the 1611 Authorized Version.


  • Sunspot
    The watchtower needs to redefine as much as possible in minds of their converts. It’s just the process of setting them apart from anyone else.

    How true!

    As with everything else they touch---they have to make it "different" somehow.

    The last ones to realize they are in a cult, are the ones who are in a cult. I think many will realize it sooner than later.

    Funny....I never thought of it this way, but you are right on target!

  • Frannie Banannie
    Frannie Banannie
    It’s just the process of setting them apart from anyone else. Cults have to do this to completely brainwash their followers to buy into the rest of their crap.

    Yeah, what Dave said. Just like the English who colonized the North American continent felt the need to travel on the opposite side of the road from their ancestors, wave b'bye with their fingers curled down, instead of up and call a flutterby a butterfly (etc.), as a means of setting themselves apart and independent of their ancestry, so has the WTS heirarchy used sometimes uncontestable terminology to set themselves and their followers apart from the "world."

    Additionally, by not referring to the OT as such, it makes it easier to slide the facts past the noses of the unobservant that certain portions of the scriptures like the 8th Chapter of John wherein the story of Jesus saving the adultress from stoning is IN FINE PRINT in their NWT (more room for hate, less for mercy, eh?).....as well as many words in their translations being changed from their original definitions and meanings and verbal tenses......just compare the Greek Interlinear as it is written in the original language.....to the immediate verbatim translation into English immediately below the Greek text.......then look at the re-written (for "clarity") English verses in the outside margins of the pages......THEN go to their NWT and see what the final outcome of the original Greek content AND context is.....in some cases the differences really made me angry.


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