The Divine Name in the NT: Some Reflections

by Let go of fear 54 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • dropoffyourkeylee

    I haven't been able to get through all the previous posts, and I am not an expert, but everyone is entitled to an opinion, and here is mine.

    The WT maintains that the divine name was pronounced in the first century and was pronounced by Jesus and apostles. They maintain that the practice of pronouncing 'kyrios' or a substitute word came in after the first century. To support this they point to existing early copies of the LXX which contain the tetragrammaton in Hebrew characters, embedded within the Greek text. To me this is actually evidence against their position, and indicates that the copyist thought the tetragrammaton so sacred that he had to reproduce it unchanged and untranslated. One of the early church authors, I forget which one, even commented on how some people reading the LXX would pronounce the word 'pipi' because the Hebrew tetragrammaton letters resemble the greek letters pi,iota, pi, iota. So I think the evidence does not support the WT view, but rather supports the prevailing belief that pronunciation of the divine name ceased much earlier, in the couple of centuries B.C.

    So it follows that inserting the Name in the NT is presumptuous and simply wrong. It would be different if there were even one NT copy that had the Name, but there isn't (so far).

  • jhine

    I'm back l Before anyone asks - no , it has not taken the beautician this long to make me gorgeous ( I wish ) .

    Lgof I will give one example . Colossians CH 1 vs 16 reads :

    " For by him all things were created , things in heaven and on earth ,visible and invisible , whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities , ALL things were created by him and for him "

    Capitals by me

    Now that is a pretty comprehensive list . Everything created thing was created by Jesus . He is not on the list .He was not created .

    But the.WT says that Jesus was created so they.put.the word " other " in there . The WT version is :

    " For by him all other things were created ....etc " and " all other things were created by him and for him "

    That version includes Jesus with.things created which the original does not .

    You do not sound like a JW apologist , asking questions and wanting explanations is something we should all do .


  • FayeDunaway
    Yes they blatantly changed the meaning of that scripture by adding a word 'other' when it is completely not there, or even suggested, by the Greek. The old nwt at least had the word other in parentheses, the revised doesn't even include parentheses. Lgof I have a busy weekend ahead and dont have time to do much research on this. When I was doing research years ago, I found many sites that had a list of scriptures where the NWT changes the text to minimize the role of jesus, and there are I believe 160 instances where the NWT NT includes 'jehovah' where it is actually possibly jesus who 'the lord' could have referred to.
  • Let go of fear
    Let go of fear
    @IslandMan and Phizzy: I certainly agree that Romans 14:8 is an example where the NWT probably oversteps its reach in wanting to use the divine name. I've already mentioned in previous posts that I do not agree with ALL of the instances of "Jehovah" in the NT that the NWT incorporates. However, there are also many instances in the NT text where there is no quotation of the OT but where it is quite clear the "kyrios" in reference is God, and not Christ. A good example of this is James 5:10, 11, where there is no quotation of scripture but the writer if making reference to events discussed in the OT. Hence, the "kyrios" here is unquestionably Jehovah. So what's a translator to do in these circumstances? One possible solution is footnotes, stating something along the lines of "It is the understanding of the translator that "lord" in this passage is Jehovah/Yahweh" That way we could solve the problem of the translator going to far with trying to distinguish "the lords." I wish the NWT would have done something like this.
  • jhine

    Lgof , yes I agree in the James reference it would be Yahweh who is the Lord , but as it is obvious why change how it is written ? Any one with a knowledge of the Bible would understand the discussion so why does the WT have to do anything ?

    I know that might seem picky but it is indicative to me of the attitude of the WT that someone could not possibly cope with reading the Bible without their help .They just have to tell you what to think , because the average person obviously cannot think for his or herself.

    That developed into a mini rant , sorry , but as I said if the meaning is clear to you and to me as it is why must they do anything ?


  • Phizzy

    It is a small step from "translating" what is in the extant manuscripts to using eisegesis, a trap the WT have fallen into a number of times, if indeed it is a trap and not deliberate.

    If they were honest students of the Bible the JW Org would produce their own Commentaries on each book, and listen to the suggestions of the Scholars who are expert on the particular book or books.

    The problem with this is that their peculiar Theology and exegesis would crumble beneath the onslaught of derision that their interpretations would engender.

    They have not got the bottle to stand up to the scrutiny of real Bible Scholars.

  • Let go of fear
    Let go of fear
    @Phizzy: I'm not sure what aspects of JW theology you have in mind, but I opened this discussion with the purpose of discussing the divine name in the NT. In that regard, any biblical reference guide for "kyrios" will at some point mention that it is used in greek manuscripts as a representation of YHWH. There is no debate among "real bible scholars" about that fact. What IS in question is A) How do we understand the difference between the "lords" (kyrios) as used in the NT and b) if it is clear that the "lord" in a particular passage is Jehovah/Yahweh (such as when OT is quoted), does the translator have a right to use the NAME instead of simply the "title"? Most biblical scholars, from what I can tell, would definitely object to the use in any NT translation of YHWH, especially when it is not part of a direct quote of OT. I agree with these scholars. But I also happen sympathize with the NWT's attempt at providing clarification, as imperfect and inconsistent as it can be. As I've already mentioned several times before, I do think there is a "third way" of sorts that would balance faithfulness to the original MS with attempts to clarify the text. For example, instead of using Jah in the main text, use footnotes instead to make a point that the translator believes "the lord" in a given passage refers to Jah. Or, perhaps just use the good old OT technique of placing LORD in all caps, at least in places where there is direct OT references.
  • Island Man
    Island Man

    My thought on the use of the divine name in the NT is as follows:

    Assuming that God exists and the JWs are correct about "apostate christians" removing the name from the early NT manuscripts and replacing it with "Lord"; my question would be this:

    If the use of the name of God in the NT was so important then why didn't God see to it that it was preserved in the NT? It's his name, for crying out loud! Why should I be so worried about restoring it when he obviously didn't care enough about it to ensure its preservation in the first place? I mean, not even in one manuscript?!!

    It is claimed that God accurately preserved the bible down through the centuries. Well, if he truly did not see to it that something as important as his personal name was preserved in the NT . . . what else did he allow "apostate christians" to remove or add in very early on without leaving a single manuscript of the original uncorrupted text to expose the tampering? So you see by allowing his name to be removed without so much as a trace, he is giving people just cause to doubt the claim that the bible was accurately preserved.

    What if . . . God deliberately ensured that his name was removed or not included in the NT for a good reason? What if . . . the NT is really not inspired of God? What if christianity is nothing but an apostate fraud? That would explain why God saw to it that his personal name was never written in the document or was subsequently removed without a trace. Maybe he's giving a clue that these books are not his? If the God of the OT exists, that would be my best bet as to why he would allow the name to be removed or ensure that it was not included to begin with - that christianity is really an apostasy from Judaism and the complete absence of the divine name from the NT is by divine providence.

    Whatever the case, it is not the responsibility of the translator to emend the text by guessing which kyrios refers to "Jehovah" and which one refers to Jesus. The job of the translator is to translate, period. Kyrios = "Lord", period. The translator should faithfully and accurately translate the text he has available to him and let God take up his legal case against those who removed the name early on - it is their sin and not the translators' responsibility. It is not the job of the translator to attempt to correct it because the translator is not an inspired bible writer. By attempting to correct it, it is virtually inevitable that the translator will introduce further errors like Watchtower has done.

  • Crazyguy

    The Name of the old testament God is never mentioned in the NT because they were writing about the evolution of Jesus starting out as the son of god and then becoming an almighty god. Jesus becomes the Alpha and Omega read the last couple of chapters of Revelations. This is almost an exact copy of what happens with the Babylonian gods Ea/Enki and his son Marduk. Marduk rises up among the gods and battles and defeats the dragon Tiamat. Jesus as we know does the same. In another story very similar involving the orginal gods of the Israelites Baal Hadad son of El also defeats a dragon Lotan goes on to defeat the god of the underworld called death Mot. Jesus also defeats death as well.

    Both Hadad and Marduk get promoted by doing these acts, Marduk becomes king of the gods lord of lord the alpha and omega. He too becomes creator of the earth by cutting open Tiamat and making part of her the heavens and part of her the earth.

    So the Jesus story is not about a trinity but a copy of the Marduk story, Jesus being elevated Just like Marduk was. No where does Marduk become his father neither does Hadad become EL.

    More proof of this is in the old testament stories of Noah's flood and the Tower of Babel. In both stories its Enki/Ea Marduk's father that warns Gilgamesh/Noah and confuses the language at Babel.

  • Phizzy

    Dear LGOF, first off, thanks for the Thread, I am sure it will be educational for JW's who read it. The aspect of JW theology that is pertinent to this is their insistence that Jesus/ the Christ is simply a created son of god, which may be a valid conclusion if you simply read their "Translation".

    But in the original if one reads "Lord" without WT/JW specs on, and with due thought to the context, it is plain that the Title is being applied to Jesus Christ on a number of occasions, so according to your theory he is plainly being called Yahweh ?

    Of course it comes down to exegesis, Kurios is used of a number of people in the N.T who are plainly not gods, so is perhaps more of an adjective. But in the instances I am thinking of it is plainly a Noun, and Jesus uses it as a Title for himself a number of times in Matthew.

    What is without doubt to me is that after the resurrection the Disciples discerned the deity of Christ, hence the words of Thomas in John 20v28 "My Lord and my God".

    Despite the pathetic "explanations" of this expression of new found faith and understanding, (New Light LOL) to try to nullify it, both by the WT/JW org and other non-Trinitarian sects, the meaning is unequivocal.

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