The word "worship"

by Matt_fs 13 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Matt_fs

    Hey Folks,

    Im new to the forum, although I have been here reading it for the last few months. Ill give you a breif history of myself before I go on to asking my question. I grew up with a JW and his wife living in my parents basement suite. I was only 11 at the time but I grew up in a Christian family. Well me and my buddy the JW downstairs got along really well, he always had me down for pizza and video games etc. Then we started talking religion. Ya real fair eh, a 26 year old talking to an 11 year old about JW doctrine. Well I was young and he showed me things in my own bible that made the trinity seem like it was false. To make a long story short I followed their doctrine till i was 21 arguing for the last 10 years with my family how JW's are right etc etc, till I decided to take their advice and look into the watchtower history. After learning about their predictions and doctrine changes I knew the Watchower was not led by God. Now I am still really close with my JW buddy, but I am starting to talk to him about things he hasnt been told about in the bible, and here is where my question lies.

    We have been talking about the word "worship" in the bible, and I pointed out that since 1954 when the NWT came out, they have changed the word worship to obeisance only when referring to Jesus. I pretty much stumped him on this and I was shocked he didnt have an answer for me, but he came back to me with an answer. His answer was that in the greek the actual word was "obeisance" and that the word "proskuneo" (sp?) really meant obeisance rather than worship. He also mentioned that proskuneo has different meanings though spelled the same, could mean something different. EX) I duck down to hide when I was about to shoot the duck. His example was trying to show me that even though a word was spelled the same, it could have a different meaning. Basically Im just wondering if anyone has other info on this, how can I refute what he is saying, and maybe come back with some hard info that may stump him again.



  • Kristofer

    Hey Matt,

    In my experience, they showed me a place in the Old Testament where proskuneo was used on another man, to show that it must be obeisance. However, what they showed me was from a English translation of a Hebrew translation of a Greek translation that was translated from Hebrew.
    I didn't see it as very reliable.
    However, they were unable to show me ANYWHERE in the NEW TESTAMENT where proskuneo was used for a man.

    However, I would simply make the point that it is academically safer in any situation to base your translation from the RULE, NOT the EXCEPTION. You can't pick and choose where you want to translate the word obeisance and where you want to translate it as worship. If we are consistent with our translation, we end up seeing that Jesus is worshipped by people and that God commands his angels to worship him.

    You'll also note that a few times, people did proskuneo unto Peter and Paul and Angels where they all told them to STOP! because they were only Angels and men. And it would be a sin to do so. However, Jesus never refused. You could ask were people attempting to worship Peter, Paul and the angels? or were they just paying obeisance to them.

    Be aware, they will try to find any exception to support their translation and understanding of the Bible no matter how much of a stetch and no matter how obscure. You can just tell them you aren't comfortable basing your faith on the EXCEPTION to the RULE.

    I hope this helps.

  • carla
  • Matt_fs

    Thats great help, thank you. I guess im just a little confused with what the word proskuneo should actually be translated as. If I were to ask a greek scholar, would they say worship or obeisance?



  • serendipity

    Welcome Matt!

  • poppers

    Hi Matt. I don't have an answer for you, but I just wanted to welcome you to JWD.

  • SirNose586
    His answer was that in the greek the actual word was "obeisance" and that the word "proskuneo" (sp?) really meant obeisance rather than worship. He also mentioned that proskuneo has different meanings though spelled the same, could mean something different. EX) I duck down to hide when I was about to shoot the duck.

    He gave you a bad analogy, probably from a Watchtower issue.

    Whereas obeisance has the denotation of a courtesy or act of deference, proskuneo means more than that. Vine's Expository Dictionary explains that it's frequently rendered as "worship." It's an act of homage or reverence. Strong's Greek Lexicon explains that it is not just merely crouching, but fawning. You are prostrating yourself. It is worship. Both of those references support the rendering of "worship," not merely "obeisance."

    Ask your friend, "Are false idols done obeisance to, or worshipped?" He will probably say worshipped (and even if he does say "they are done obeisance," how can you show courtesy to a lifeless object?). Then you can tell him false idols received proskuneo at Acts 7:43.

    Your friend will go running back to a Watchtower article to make himself feel better. But at least you have respected sources on your side.

  • Matt_fs

    yes SirNose, thats what I am looking for, I am looking for questions like that to make him actually think if Jesus was worshipped or not. Any other questions like that would be great.



  • Narkissos

    Welcome Matt

    I for one think this is not the best point to argue against the WT doctrine. Of course one can point out the formal inconsistency of the current NWT which translates "worship" when the object is "God" (or the devil, Matthew 4//) and "pay obeisance to" when the object is Jesus. However, the fact is that proskuneô per se doesn't mean "worship," neither in the Greek OT (LXX Genesis 18:2; 19:1; 23:7 etc.) nor in the NT. It basically describes a concrete gesture of bowing down or prostrating, and only the context (to a god or to a human) can show whether it implies "worship" or "obeisance" (as the meaning of the concrete gesture, or as the metaphorical meaning of the verb itself when no concrete gesture is implied). In the Gospels, when a perfect stranger proskunei to "Jesus" to ask him something the simple flow of the narrative requires nothing more than an act of respect. Actually "worship" at this level of the narrative would make no sense, although the believer may read "worship" at a deeper level (just as when Jesus "saves/heals" somebody the believing reader may understand "salvation" at a religious level). That "worship" is not necessarily implied in the NT use of proskuneô appears, for instance, in Revelation 3:9, which is addressed to the "angel of the church in Philadelphia": "I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but are lying--I will make them come and bow down (proskunèsousin) before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you."

  • gumby

    Poor Trinitarians.....and they try so hard too.


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