John-1-1-Colossians-1-16-all-other-things - Part 2
Have you ever tried translating from one language to another? I ask, because I get the impression that the process of translation is foreign to you.No. Have you? You made some assertions in your OP. I simply stated my viewpoint. No need to attack. My view is simple: If it isn't in the original languages, then insertion is inappropriate. This applies to any translation, NWT or otherwise. I have spent the better part of the last four years researching stuff like this. The NWT is not alone in erroneous translations, but since they claim to be the most accurate, they should expect to be criticized at the highest level. As a person raised as a JW and having spent more than 40 years in the religion, I have had to take a hard look at every aspect of the things I was taught, including the translation that I once held most dear.
Don't get me wrong. I do not throw away the entire NWT because some verses are incorrect. But, I have to acknowledge that the NWT DOES have a lot of bias in it, more so that many other translations, which you refer to as "trinitarian versions."
Four years ago, I would have argued as hard as you, and I would have thrown out the same strawman arguments you're using. But, today, I wouldn't be quite so anxious to defend this position, and I'm certainly not going to say I'm 100% right. I've been 100% right for my whole life. Until I found out I wasn't. So, take this with a grain of salt. My view is my view based on my own research and conclusions. If you want to go on with the idea that "other" is completely valid in 1 Col 1:16, I have no problem with that. I simply do not share the same view any longer.
@Wonderment thank you for your reply
jw-verite: The problem with adding "other" in Colossians is that it contradicts all other scriptures saying that ALL things where created by Jesus. So Jesus could not create himself could he? Cf. John 1:2; 1:10; 1 Co 8:6; Heb 1:2 In all these verses there is no "other". If everything was created by Jesus then Jesus was not created. As simple as that...
First,thank you for your input. It is appreciated.
The Scriptures that you mentioned (Cf. John 1:2; 1:10; 1 Co 8:6; Heb 1:2) do not literally say that Jesus is "the Source" of creation. They indicate that Jesus was "the mediator" of creation. Notice those Scriptures carefully make use of the Greek prepositions "dia" ("through him") instead of "ex" ("out of" him) when referencing Jesus' role in creation. Is this significant?
Newman & Nida, two scholars (Trinitarians) who worked closely with the American Bible Society, observe:
“The Greek phrase through him indicates that the Word was the agent in creation, but at the same time the context clearly implies that God is the ultimate source of creation …Similar expressions are found in Paul's writings and in the Letter to the Hebrews … The Greek text indicates clearly that the Word was the instrument or agency employed by God in the creation.” (A Translator's Handbook on the Gospel of John, Newman & Nida, p. 10.)
Jesus serving the role of "mediatorship" in the process of creation is not biblically depicted as offensive. (1 Tim. 2.5, Christ: "one mediator between God and men") On the contrary, Scripture states that Jesus is "the firstborn of all creation"; "the beginning of the creation of God." (Col. 1.15; Rev.3.14) Hence, "all" living creatures (excluding God) in the universe are commanded to "bow down" before Christ. (1 Cor. 15.27; Hebrews 1.6) These Scriptures rather than contradicting the explained view in the article, they support it. If Jesus as "mediator" is someone other than "God and men," why would "God" then not be "theSource of creation" instead of Jesus? The Scriptures do make a difference between God and Christ: "Christ is seated at the right hand of God." (Col. 3.1) Why is "God" always, and not Christ, at the center of it all?
I agree with you but the fact that Jesus is Mediator does not prove that He has been created. Did God need to create His own Word ? I don't think so. His Word is intimately linked to Him, in Him.
Look at Genesis 1, how did God create all things ? "God said...", "God said...", "God said..." so this is the way He created all things, by his own Word !
Psalms 33:6 : "By the word of Jehovah the heavens were made"
Psalms 33:9 : "For he spoke, and it came to be"
Relate this with John 1 and Colossians 1 and you can understand what I mean.
So I think that the Word of God belongs to him from all eternity. It is part of Him. It didn't need to be created. Note that we can use the same reasoning with the "wisdom" of Proverbs 8.
Concerning the "first born of all creation", the greek word "arche" does not necessarily imply a creation but is related to the position of superiority or "leadership" of Jesus over the creation.
Verse 18 tends to confirm this by saying : "And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy." (NIV)
jw-verite: In all these verses there is no "other". If everything was created by Jesus then Jesus was not created. As simple as that...
This statement could suggest that God is "powerless" to employ a dear one close to him in the process of creation, if he so wishes. Isn't he almighty? God can imbue anyone he wishes with lofty powers. As noted in the article, the "everything" does not require biblically speaking, that Jesus himself was excluded from being created. Christ is "the beginning ofthe creation of God." Not the ""beginner." (Rev. 3.14) Christ is ‘of creation.’ Even Jesus said that ‘God created the first human pair.’ (Matt. 19.4) He could say that because he acknowledged "God" is the source of it all. In fact, Jesus own existence was due to God. In John 6.57, he states: "I live because of the Father." An "eternal" creator would never issue those words. Would he?
This is pure speculation. The Word of God lives because of God that seems logical but as said before this does not imply that God needed to create his own Word.
(excuse my english but i'm French )
leaving-quietly: No. Have you? You made some assertions in your OP. I simply stated my viewpoint. No need to attack. My view is simple: If it isn't in the original languages, then insertion is inappropriate. This applies to any translation, NWT or otherwise.
Please be advised that "attack" is not my intention. Sorry if I gave you that impression. But unless someone has done some translation work from one language to another it is difficult for the person to understand that consistent word-for-word translation does not produce the best results. Yes, I have done some translation work, not on the professional level, but enough to tackle lengthy material into another language. When I started, my tendency was to translate word-for-word, and that didn't go too well. With time, I improved the process. Now, when I do translation work for someone, I first try to grasp the goal of the writer, then use his wording as much as possible. But in the end, I have to consider how would someone most naturally say the phrase I'm working on into the target language. The whole adaptive process demands that words be added or removed as needed.
Proverbs and sayings are difficult to translate, since they are often unique in the first language and not in the second. In fact, in some cases, one must adapt the saying by using a totally different one that has the same meaning in the receptor language. Even book and movie titles are frequently changed to a new one which makes more sense in the second language than the original ever could, even when there is a corresponding word for it. Take a look at how the WT Society adapts book titles, for instance, into other languages.
If the translator wants to do justice to the original work, he or she must first consider how literal or free the translation will likely be. I am assuming the translator fully understands the original document. Once started, the translator has to consider if the ongoing work is accurate and sounds completely natural in the second language.
You insist that adding "other" is totally wrong at Col 1.16. To be honest, as you pointed out, it is not required in the translation of the verse. The context already places Christ under God in the epistle. At the same time, it is not absurd to include it. Why? Because Paul made it clear in 1 Corinthian 15.27 that in the meaning of the Greek word pan'ta, "God" was to not to be included in the "all things" being subjected to Christ. Applying his own reasoning at Col. 1.16, Paul could say that "through Christ all things were created." Pan'ta can indeed include the meaning of inclusion or exclusion depending on the context. In other words, God was not to be included in the "all things" subjected to Christ, nor would Paul ever intimate that "God" was created by Christ. The epistle puts God over Christ throughout. This would mean that Christ could be included within the creative acts of God. Just one verse earlier, Paul said that Christ was "the firstborn of all creation." Of the phrase, even the staunch trinitarian Willilam Barclay admitted in his Commentary: "‘If we want to keep both the temporal sense and honour combined we would translate the phrase: ‘He was begotten before all creation.’"
Although many individuals like to poke fun at the WT Society's translation methods, the truth is that the WT corporation has done more translation work through the years than most commercial entities on the planet. And experience still counts!
You can eat ALL THINGS there are in the house OR
You can eat ALL OTHER THINGS there are in the house.
The second makes an exclusion. The first encompasses all, everything.
It bible translators believe they need to add or remove a word, for whatever reason, they should explain it with a proper footnote so the reader understands what has been done and can decide if he agrees or not.
In this particular case, I can only see that in the NWT it was done inconsistently. Therefore it looks like a bias, pushing an agenda.
Let's be aware that the true original letters do not exist. All we have to base our translations on are some 5000 manuscripts that are copies of a copy of a copy etc. In other words, it is most misleading if a translation claims it is the most accurate translation because it is very close to the original text. There are no original texts. period.
I believe that about all translations are biased, because a translator has to make choices when translating phrases or words that do not exist (anymore) in the current language etc. The choices the translator makes are bases on his knowledge and intentions. As long as choices are explained, I do not mind that much. In the end, it is the message in the bible that counts. Often the context explains what is meant.
If one is really interested in an more unnoticed bias in the NWT, read and compare John 1:4
NWT reads:by means of him was life, and the life was the light of men
New International Version
In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
New Living Translation
The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.
English Standard Version
In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
Berean Study Bible
In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.
Berean Literal Bible
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
New American Standard Bible
In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.
King James Bible
In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
Holman Christian Standard Bible
Life was in Him, and that life was the light of men.
International Standard Version
In him was life, and that life brought light to humanity.
In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind.
Aramaic Bible in Plain English
In him was The Life and The Life is The Light of men.
About all translations show that Jesus has LIFE IN HIM, that HE can give LIFE. The NWT gives the impression that life was passed through Jesus, like a delivery guy.
jw-rerite: Concerning the "first born of all creation", the greek word "arche" does not necessarily imply a creation but is related to the position of superiority or "leadership" of Jesus over the creation.
Am I supposed to accept based on your reasoning that "the firstborn from among the dead" meant Jesus was never "dead" That he was just "over" the dead?
And am I supposed to accept based on your reasoning that "the firstborn from among the dead" meant Jesus was the first one to be dead ? No of course ! The first one to be resurrected ? Neither....
The verse explains itself :
And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
The point is not to be the first one chronologically but to be the "preeminent", to have the "first place" (greek proteuo)
Please be advised that "attack" is not my intention. Sorry if I gave you that impression.
Thank you for saying that. I did get that impression. It is often modus operandi that JWs use where they start attacking the person in order to avoid the actual issue being discussed, especially when backed into a corner. I sort of felt like that was happening (not that I backed you into a corner... far from it... I'm not seeking to win any argument... just stating my position on this particular matter.)
You insist that adding "other" is totally wrong at Col 1.16. To be honest, as you pointed out, it is not required in the translation of the verse. The context already places Christ under God in the epistle. At the same time, it is not absurd to include it.
@menrov makes a valid point.It bible translators believe they need to add or remove a word, for whatever reason, they should explain it with a proper footnote so the reader understands what has been done and can decide if he agrees or not.
I would accept this in a translation. It's one of the reasons I like the NET Bible, even though it is not the best translation. They have tons of footnotes explaining various ways something can be translated. In the case of Col 1:16 in the revised NWT, there is no footnote at all and "other" is not in brackets, misleading the reader to think that it was in the original text. In Rbi8, there is a footnote, but it has nothing to do with why it's there. There are brackets around "other", which is at least something because they explain in the Introduction: "Single brackets [ ] enclose words inserted to complete the sense in the English text. Double brackets [[ ]] suggest interpolations (insertions of foreign material) in the original text." No such thing exists in the revised NWT.
As far as Bible translation goes, there are different methods of translating that basically fall into one of two camps: exegetical or eisegetical.
"While exegesis is the process of drawing out the meaning from a text in accordance with the context and discoverable meaning of its author, eisegesis occurs when a reader imposes his or her interpretation into and onto the text." (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eisegesis)
The NWT was translated in an eisegetical method. The bias of the JW religion shows throughout. I am NOT saying it's entirely wrong, just as I'm not saying that all JW doctrines are wrong. Some are. Some aren't. I AM saying they have decided to impose their own doctrinal beliefs into the translation, which is why they strongly frown on the use of other translations in their meetings. They quote from other translations when it suits them. If I were to start using the ESV or the NIV or some other translation at the meetings, I'd get a stern talking to by the elders. Of that, you can be sure.
Col 1:16 really is an example of eisegesis in translation. I happened to personally agree with this particular teaching, but I do not agree that it belongs in the translated text. At least, as @menrov wisely suggested, not without a footnote explaining why they put it there.
If you get some time, you may want to view this video. It's lengthy, almost an hour. But I found it fascinating as he describes the various purposes of Bible translation. I don't necessarily agree with his conclusion, but the video is somewhat informative: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYc2KjRKlKU
I keep hearing how the NWT is more biased than other versions. All versions of the Bible show personal bias to a certain degree. The amount of bias varies from version to version. I keep seeing lists presented by various posters (of versions that show translators generally agreeing with each other) with the apparent purpose of pointing out how the NWT by being different is wrong.
What the posters don't seem to grasp is that, generally speaking, these versions are Evangelical versions which show a similar pattern in translation practices. They equally show in varying degrees the same Protestant beliefs. The result is like asking 12 ardent JWs to translate the Bible for us, and the likely result of the experiment will produce similar theology and wording throughout. This product cannot logically be used to prove that a single Catholic, Jewish or other version is "biased" compared to the Protestant ones.
Why? Simply because they all have issues. All versions have issues. Just like every individual has personal issues to deal with. The religious groups themselves have issues. Perfection is not found in any individual or group, whether that be a person or a translation product.
Hate can blind us from seeing our imperfect actions and magnify everyone else's faults. Leaving the JW organization have freed us from a harsh religious environment with its slanted view of things. But then, some ex-JWs in their desesperation for religious guidance, seek such from Christendom's cornucopia of religious variance. Having the majority view behind us for support provides reassurance, it seems.
Make no mistake. We have to be just as selective with all the stuff out there just as we had to be with all the weird stuff coming out of New York. We cannot take anything or everything from mainstream churches for granted. Every doctrine should be carefully analyzed for its source. I am not saying doing all this is easy. The process poses a challenge, but quoting 10 experts from one single source does not necessarily prove a point.
Wonderment , as I have said before all scripture has to be taken in context with all other scripture . The WT adds the word other in those specific verses to indicate that Jesus was created and this can then fit in with their teaching that Jesus was really Michael the Archangel ?
They say that God created Michael , then Michael created all other things , however verse after verse of the OT states that Jehovah God ALONE created the heavens and the earth .
I was with some Witnesses yesterday and we actually read some verses from various psalms saying just that . They just didn't think that this totally contradicted the Michael teaching .
Psalm 136 , " to him alone who does great wonders "
Psalm 8 " when I consider your heavens ,
the work of your fingers ,
the moon and stars
which you have set in place "
" He set the earth on it's foundations .."
" where were you when I laid the earth's foundation ?"
So where is Michael in all of this ? Nowhere . Therefore to insert other into the NT to support their teaching that Jesus / Michael was created is wrong .
Lots of other things can be brought into this but would make the discussion too complicated .
Paul deliberately made that statement about Christ creating all things that were created to counter the same arguments then that the WT are making now .
jhine: Paul deliberately made that statement about Christ creating all things that were created to counter the same arguments then that the WT are making now.
Not quite! I think you are looking at this from the mainstream trinitarian angle. Try to look at it from the Judeo-Christian angle.
The "God" of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was the "God" of the Hebrew people. He was acknowledged as the Almighty. Back in the time of the prophets, surrounding nations of Israel worshipped many false gods, idols made by human hands. The Promised Messiah was still in the future as Israel's savior. The Messiah was not seen as a threat to the God of the Hebrews. The Messiah was to be sent by God for a saving purpose, not to take over God's place. When pagan nations challenged the God of the Hebrews, the prophets made clear that their God Jehovah was superior to all the other gods. God "alone" created the heavens and the earth, and everything in it, not the useless pagan idols. The Messiah was not in scope at the time in that sense. Why bring the Messiah into the creative process to complicate things before the pagans. Also, pagan nations worshipped a multiple number of gods, many being triads of gods, unlike the monotheistic Hebrews who only worshipped one God Jehovah.
But as promised, the only hope for Jewish salvation depended on the appearance of the Messiah, which God Almighty had promised through Abraham's descendants.
Thousands of years later, the Messiah shows up as "Jesus" the Savior of the world. However, the Jewish people were long entrenched in the mosaic code of law. To recognize Jesus as the Promised Christ required faith, and trickled revelations from Christ himself, in addition to powerful works by the holy spirit. Even with Jesus' miracles and other displays of God's might, most Jews ignored Christ as their Savior because they were expecting a quick liberation from the Roman forces. Jesus' followers kept the preaching work by spreading strong arguments that Christ was far superior to both the mosaic system and the Greek way of thinking. Greek philosophy was a strong force to be reckoned with, and so many were lured by it.
In that setting, it was convenient to exalt Christ to a degree they had never seen before. Christ was just not any human walking about, he was ‘the only-begotten Son of God.’ In fact, he was there "in the beginning with God [not God]." (John 1.2) Who else could one say that of? No other! Jesus was so "mighty" (divine; a god) that he was described as an "exact replica" of God, as a version described him at Heb. 1.3. He was ‘embodied with divine authority and power.’ (Col 2.9; Acts 10.38) The Greeks were very philosophical on the subject of creation.
Many Greco-Roman philosophers said that all things were held by together by Zeus or by the Logos, divine reason, emphasizing the unity of the cosmos. In Stoic thought, Wisdom existed before all things and through it God created and then shaped the world. Many Jewish writers, including Philo, gave angels a role in creation. In this backdrop of Greek-Judeo-Christian thinking, Paul set out to clear some matters.
Jesus was bigger and higher than any of these attention-grabbers. Imagine their response when Paul told the Greek gentiles that it was through Christ that God created everything. Paul never said that creation came out (Greek: "ex") from Christ as the source. Instead, Paul said that the source of creation was God (Greek: "ex," out of ), and through (Greek: "dia") Christ did all things, visible and invisible. That would put Christ above anything else within their mental comprehension. Paul would never complicate matters further by introducing a mix of "trinitarian" concepts of the gentiles with the recent Judeo-Christian doctrine of Christ being explained as ‘the way to God.’ (John 14.6)
“The Greek phrase through him indicates that the Word was the agent in creation, but at the same time the context clearly implies that God is the ultimate source of creation … Similar expressions are found in Paul's writings and in the Letter to the Hebrews … The Greek text indicates clearly that the Word was the instrument or agency employed by God in the creation.” (A Translator's Handbook on the Gospel of John, Newman & Nida, p. 10.)
Paul described Christ as seating "at the right hand of God." (Col. 3.1) It would be so strange to have Paul argue that ‘Christ was next to God,’ and at the same time claim that Christ is the Sovereign Creator (as Trinitarians want to believe), when "God" is the one being depicted throughout Colossians, at the center of it all.