which Translation Now?

by enoughisenough 45 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • slimboyfat

    I think there’s evidence on both sides and it depends how you weigh the evidence. It’s a bit like the “did grandpa wear a hat?” question. There are photos of grandpa from the 1960s and he’s not wearing a hat in any of the photos, but unfortunately there are no photos of grandpa from the 1930s when he was a young man. Did grandpa wear a hat in the 1930s? Since there are no photos of grandpa wearing a hat you could say “there is no evidence” that he ever wore a hat. But we have plenty of photos of other young men in the 1930s and it seems that they routinely wore hats in that period. You can either dig your heels in and say there is no evidence grandpa ever wore a hat, or you can acknowledge that, while there are no photos of grandpa wearing a hat, men in the 1930s generally did wear hats, and there’s lots of evidence for that, and so it’s reasonable to draw the conclusion that it’s more likely than not that grandpa wore a hat in the 1930s, even if there are no actual photos of him ever wearing a hat.

    Similarly, there may not be any New Testament manuscripts with the divine name, but we do know that the divine name was used in Bible texts at the time when the New Testament was written. So it does seem reasonable to draw the conclusion that the New Testament authors would have followed contemporary practice and included the divine name in their texts.

    That’s just the starting point. Corroborating that conclusion I would argue that the large number of variants around instances of kyrios in the New Testament, plus the fact that a lot of passages make better sense with the divine name included, add support to the idea that the divine name was in the original. The best example of this is the frequent quotation of Psalm 110 in the NT that probably originally read, “Jehovah said to my Lord, sit at my right hand”, that later led to the confusing rendering when the divine name was removed: “The Lord said to my lord, sit at my right hand”.

  • Wonderment

    There is this axiomatic principle that when someone quotes a literary source, one must not replace names appearing in such works with surrogates or titles by the author's whim.

    Can you imagine the uproar if leading news websites did so in a customary way? We would quickly lose any respect toward them. (In modern times some exceptions are made when victims of crimes are involved.)

    Let's say we decided to remove the most common names in the Bible, like Abraham, David, Moses, Jesus, Jehovah, etc, we'll end up, not only with a heavily tampered version, but with a highly inaccurate and confusing narrative.

    I get that adding Jehovah to the New Testament requires some faith, however, it is not incongruous to do so. In fact, I am amazed at the number of scholars (trinitarian at that) who find it necessary in their works to use the Divine Name in their explanations of many NT passages. It is like there is no way to clarify certain Scriptures unless the Name is brought up into the discussion. These scholars find that adding Jehovah (or, Yahweh) in their arguments is an asset in the understanding of certain Scriptures.

    On the other hand, we find some posters here mocking God's name (like saying Geehovah for Jehovah), or get all worked up every time someone here uses it. They say there is no evidence whatsoever that the Divine Name appeared in the NT. Some even say with 100% certainty that it never was there, as if they were alive back in NT times. Others prefer to dwell on the mispronunciation of Jehovah's name, oblivious to the fact that almost all Bible names are pronounced differently today than when originally written. I see no effort from them trying to pronounce Jesus' name as it was pronounced through Greek-land during the first few centuries, nor in Hebrew. In fact, we can't be 100% certain how ancient Bible names were accurately pronounced back then.

    The thing is that these same posters do not shriek at all when the Divine Name is REMOVED from the Old Testament where there IS evidence. By such actions they expose themselves for who they really are...individuals who harbor no desire to have their names written in God's "book of remembrance."

    Mal 3.16 says: At that time those who fear Jehovah spoke with one another, each one with his companion, and Jehovah kept paying attention and listening. And a book of remembrance was written before him for those fearing Jehovah and for those meditating on his name.

  • jhine

    I do not mock God's name . I take it very seriously. I would be very upset if the Tetragramaton was removed from the OT . I don't know any Christian who wouldn't be . The OT is the story of Yahweh's relationship with His chosen people. It also points to the coming of The Messiah . If the Divine Name was originally used in the NT why have no manuscripts been found with it in ? Non JW answers only please. How do serious scholars account for it's seeming disappearance?

    I'm not categorically saying that it wasn't there but , to me , until proof is found then it's an open question .


  • slimboyfat

    What does “non JW answers only” mean?

    The fullest explanation of the removal of the divine name from the New Testament is in George Howard’s article that you can read here in full.


    Also see the explanations in the books by Frank Shaw and David Trobisch

    Shaw, F. The earliest non-mystical Jewish use of Iao. Contributions to biblical exegesis and theology, 70. Peeters, 2014.

    Trobisch, David. The first edition of the New Testament. Oxford University Press, 2000.

    Good post Wonderment 👍

  • BoogerMan

    The NWT wrongly/falsely attributes God's name (Jehovah) to the meaning of Hebrews 13:15:

    w03 5/1 pp. 28-29 - “...the fruit of lips which make public declaration to [God’s] name.” (Hebrews 13:15)

    Not one scripture instructs Christians to "make public declaration to God’s name," whereas dozens of scriptures exhort the proclamation/declaration of Jesus' name.

    As such, the scripture - in context - should be read thus:

    (Hebrews 13:15) "Through him (Jesus) let us always offer to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of our lips that make public declaration to his (Jesus') name."

  • Earnest

    Boogerman : The NWT wrongly/falsely attributes God's name (Jehovah) to the meaning of Hebrews 13:15

    As this thread is about translation it should be noted that the NWT does not attribute any meaning to "his name" in Hebrews 13:15. It just reads "... the fruit of lips which makes public declaration to his name."

    The Watchtower article with which you disagree indicates it is referring to God's name, but it has nothing to do with translation. However, since vs 15 talks about offering God a sacrifice of praise, and vs 16 says that God is well-pleased with such sacrifices, it is quite reasonable to conclude that the sacrifice is made "to [God's] name".

  • vienne

    Earnest said:

    "The Watchtower article with which you disagree indicates it is referring to God's name, but it has nothing to do with translation. However, since vs 15 talks about offering God a sacrifice of praise, and vs 16 says that God is well-pleased with such sacrifices, it is quite reasonable to conclude that the sacrifice is made 'to [God's] name."

    Absolutely correct. The Pulpit Commentary observes that the author of Hebrews [Traditionally believed to be Paul] uses a phrase that designates the "voluntary peace offering" under the Law. Those offerings were made to Jehovah/Yahweh. The phrase is also used of voluntary thank-offerings. [M. R. Vincent: Word Studies]. So Paul suggests that "confessing his name" is praise made to and about Jehovah the one to whom sacrifices are made. Our praise replaces the animal sacrifices of the Old Law. But the sacrifice continues to be made to God.

    Simple grammar verifies that God is meant. To whom does the possessive pronoun "his" [αὐτοῦ] refer? We must refer it to its immediate antecedent, God.

  • ThomasMore

    If I claimed to have an original manuscrpt ot the NT and it had God's personal name in it, others would claim I was a liar and it was a forgery.

    If I claim that the personal name of God has merely been added to the NT by modern translators, then others will accuse me of being a man with no faith.

    Honestly, I don't know if it was ever there or not. I just know that he is being referred to by many passages and that is enought for me. I won't be worked up either way.

    I do however take umbrage at translators who massage passages in an attempt to establish a doctrinal narrative. They cannot be excused and frankly - I don't think they will.

  • Wonderment

    vienne: I like elements of the New World Translation. But my "go to" bible is "The Bible from 26 Translations."

    I too have the '26 Translations Bible,' but I hardly ever use it. It is helpful if one does not have many versions at hand. Even so, I find the authors were not that good with the limited selections they chose to publish. It appears to be doctrinally slanted, no less. However, I see others appreciate it more than I do.

    jhine: I use the NIV as well. It's our " pew Bible " as in the one available for folk to use during services to follow the readings if they wish to.

    I do like the NIV! It has a good balance between the highly literal and idiomatic versions.

    Vidqun: I like the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB), English Standard Version (ESV) and New English Translation (NET) - all with footnotes.

    Nice versions to have (Evangelical)! But why leave out the Catholic or Jewish version?

    Slim: New Revised Standard Version.

    The go-to academic version.

    truth_b_known: I have the NIV and the Douay-Rheims translations. I would like a Jerusalem Bible.

    The Douay-Rheims and the JB are definitely useful to have.

    dropoffyourkeylee: I found the J B Phillips NT, though a paraphrase, to be an eye opener in understanding what the letters of Paul were all about.

    Nice readable version! J.B. Phillips surely made a mark during the last century.


    One version of the Bible I have found more useful than I initially realized is this one: The [expanded] Bible, by Thomas Nelson, Inc. (Brackets theirs.) This version surprised me, since the first time I saw it I was not impressed at all. Nonetheless, I bought it, and as time went by, it has proven surprisingly helpful. I find it more useful than the Amplified Bible.

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  • ThomasMore

    Excellent Wonderment!

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