James 1:27, Widows, Orphans, Religion - Worship

by berrygerry 5 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • berrygerry

    What bothered me in the past few years prior to departure was the lack of caring for widows and orphans.

    Two days ago, I discovered that James 1:27 uses the word religion - even though the Reference Bible has it as a footnote, as does the gray Bible.

    There was a study article in 1991 which boasts that the NWT is consistent in translating thre·skeiʹa all 4 times as "form of worship," whereas other translations also use "worship" at Col. 2:18. (Check the context and Greek - NWT is quite off.)

    The article does not refer one to Vine's, which is usually the go-to reference book.

    Vine's has a good explanation of the translated word "religion."

    1 question and 1 point:

    - Is the refusal to translate James 1:27 as "religion" a carry-over from Rutherford's days when religion was a snare and a racket? (EVERY translation on BibleHub uses "religion.")

    - Usually, the WTS emphasizes the order of entry in a verse as consequential. Eg., Jesus prayed about God's name FIRST, etc.

    So, James mentions orphans and widows first, and, as an add-on, keep without spot.

    Search WT Library for articles using James 1:27 and orphans.

    Scant. Token drivel about "remember our single moms."

    Now search for James 1:27 and "spot"

    Endless FOG.

    (If they were smarter marketers in their attempt to mimic McDonald's Happy Meal, they would actually institute some form of orphan program. Much greater retention rate.)

  • Bobcat

    θρησκεία (threskeia, noun, Strong's # 2356) is used at Acts 26:5; Col 2:18; Jas 1:26, 27 (for those who want to look its use over).

    BDAG (Bauer's 3rd edition lexicon, 1995) defines it as, "expression of devotion to transcendent beings, esp. as it expresses itself in cultic rites, worship." AMG's Greek dictionary gives it an infinitive definition, "to worship God."

    BDAG also lists θρησκεῷ (threskeuo, verb), but this isn't used in the NT.

    Both words are derived from θρησκὸς (threskos, adjective, # 2357) which is used in the NT only at Jas 1:26. BDAG defines that as "religious." AMG's Greek dictionary adds "devout" and "pious."

    So the NWT's renderings of "form of worship" for 2356 and "formal worshiper" for #2357 ("worshiper of God" for #2357 in the rNWT) fits within the range of meaning given in BDAG.

    BDAG is pretty much the gold standard in Greek lexicons. Vine's is a bit dated, but still useful. But I think you are fairly correct in regard to the WT's use of the term "religion." The WT has its own 'religious' vocabulary to which they have nuanced various words. And "religion" and "religious" are often relegated to those outside of WTdom. So their non-use of "religion" or "religious" in a context discussing how Christians should act would seem to fit their MO.

    In connection with attention (or lack thereof) given to "orphans and widows," I would posit that here is where the WT's demand for counting field service time is at the root of the problem. It has the effect of forcing people to spend their time where they know it will be counted (counted by the WT, that is), even though the text at James 1:26, 27 shows that caring for "orphans and widows" has a priority with God.


  • prologos
    wt also has given "widows and orphans" a symbolic, "spiritual" meaning, Those in the world are like widows, without god, whose god, like a husbandly protector has "died", --or "spiritual" orphans, outside the organisation, the wt "mother".-- Going in the field service, and reporting , cures those ills, fulfills James' requirements
  • LV101

    They don't even care for their own adherents unless they are of the clergy class within then it's unreal what they do.

    Bothered me immensely the lack of neighborly support for widows, orphans - anyone. All I heard was negative smart aleck remarks about all the worldly orgs that help the poor and underprivileged that I was a part of.

  • a watcher
    a watcher
    The number of needy sisters in the congregations is just overwhelming. I help the handful that I can, but have to let the rest go.
  • Bobcat
    a watcher
    The number of needy sisters in the congregations is just overwhelming. I help the handful that I can . . .
    I was reviewing some older posts. I meant to commend you for this.

    On a note from my post above, I mentioned that the counting of FS time has the effect of moving congregation members to spend their time where it would be counted - in the ministry, versus spending more time with "orphans and widows."

    But in addition, WT dogma or interpretation also has an adverse effect on the time spent with "orphans and widows" within the congregation. For example, in the 'Sheep & Goats' parable of Mt 25:31-46, Jesus commends the sheep for having ministered to him when he was "hungry . . . thirsty . . . a stranger . . . naked . . . sick . . . [and] in prison." Jesus then goes on to say that they did this to him when they did this to "one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine" (NET).

    WT dogma asserts that "one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine" only refers to an anointed Christian," of which there are only 144,000. And most of them are long gone. And of those that remain, the only ones you can be sure of are the GB.

    Thus, their own (enforced) dogma steals support away from the very ones who are being described. They are actually worse than the "goats" who simply admit to ignorance of such situations ("When did we see you . . ." - Mt 25:44)

    For anyone interested in experimenting with the effect WT terminology has had on its members, try using the terms "WT religion" or "Jehovah's Witness religion" or "our religion" within the Kingdom Hall and amongst JWs. I'm guessing that if you are not a JW, this 'misuse' of terminology will be excused as simple ignorance. But if you are already a JW it will be seen as an indication of one's starting to distance themselves from the WT, in the same way using terms like "bulletin board" and "New Testament" and "crucify" would be seen.


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