Slight Differance, Big Change Ephesians 4:1-16 and the NWT

by drew sagan 16 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • peacefulpete

    18 You have (AH) ascended on high, You have (AI) led captive Your captives;

    You have received gifts of men, even among the rebellious also, that the LORD God may dwell there.

    18. The chariots of God are two myriads of burning fire , two thousand angels guiding them ; the presence of the Lord rests on them, on the mountain of Sinai, in holiness.

    19. You ascended to the firmament, O prophet Moses ; you captured captives, you taught the words of Torah , you gave gifts to the sons of men, and even the stubborn who are converted turn in repentance

    Here Moses is the one giving gifts not God. Interestingly the Talmud also involves Moses in this passage through midrash but retains the idea of God receiving gifts like the LXX as M.T. read. Quite simply put it was an interpretation free-for-all. Paul was simply spinning the passage in a useful way to make his argument like the writer of this passage in the Targums had. For him it was Jesus not Moses who ascended and he gave gifts to men, just ignoring the following part about rebels. The Syriac (Christian) Peshitta 68:18 reads much like Ephesians but this is likely because of the spin in Ephesisans.

  • jwfacts

    The footnote to Eph 4:8 says

    Lit., "to the men."

    If you replaced the NWT with the text presented in each footnote you would have a farily accurate translation. It is a shame few JW's ever look at them.

  • Narkissos

    I guess (?) the NWT rendering of Ephesians 4:8 may result from a (completely unwarranted) will to harmonise it formally with v. 11f, where the apostles, prophets, etc. are the objects (accusative) of the "giving," hence likely the gifts themselves (instead of the written Torah to which the gifts are identified in targumic interpretation, as peacefulpete pointed out). As a result the dative in v. 8 is unnaturally severed from the verb didômi (give something to somebody) and taken as a simple qualification of the accusative dômata, "gifts" (whence "gifts in men"). However, what is naturally expected with a dative after didômi is the recipient of the gift. It is quite unlikely that any Greek-speaking reader would have understood it the WT way.

    Stepping back from this detail, to the core of drew sagan's discussion, one must acknowledge that Ephesians offers the closest match to both the Catholic notion of "church" and the JW notion of "organisation". Unlike the earlier Pauline epistles, the "church" is no longer a local gathering; Jesus is no longer the whole body but its "head". A sort of functional hierarchy, focusing on teaching roles, is emphasised.

  • peacefulpete

    I should perhaps have made clear that Paul (who ever he was) was not the author of Ephesians. I just used the name as shorthand for "The author of the liturgy that was ammended into a letter addressed to the Laodiceans later changed to the Ephesians".

  • cyberguy

    As you point out Drew, the NWT (incorrectly) associates the “gifts” as “men,” rather than with the abilities that such “men” were given, as implied in every translation that I looked at thus far. However, as others have mentioned, I don’t see any support for an “organization” in these verses regardless of translation.

    Drew, as you know, JW’s attack non-JW beliefs such as the Trinity, by saying that since the word “Trinity” isn’t found in the Bible, the Bible doesn’t teach it! Well, by the same line of reasoning, where is an “Organization” in the Bible? How about “Governing Body?” I’m sure we could come up with a huge list of JW-expressions and jargon that isn’t in the Bible. How ironic!

  • sass_my_frass

    Good one Drew.

    'Gifts in men'... heh I'm reminded of a Married With Children scene; Al Bundy's birthday; Peg walks into the bedroom in a lingerie and says 'here is your present'. Al says 'aw c'mon, how do you expect me to get excited when you just keep wrapping up the same okd thing year after year'.

  • Flash


    11 And he gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelizers, some as shepherds and teachers, 12 with a view to the readjustment of the holy ones, for ministerial work, for the building up of the body of the Christ,

    So does this verse mean that an R&F evangelizer can readjust the holy ones views? If that's the case, then that means that someone who has the "earthly hope" has every scriptural right to point out blunders to the "annointed".
    That's what I get from it. Funny how some of this stuff slips past us. Its a "Check and Balance."

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