Sunday, November 10, 2019

Should One Trust The New World Translation?

Okay Everbody, I have mentioned that for some time I walked with the Jehovah's Witnesses.  However, God called me out of their organization and led me onto another path which has been a great benefit to me and enabled my growth as a Christian in the liberty of Christ.  During that time I did believe that their New World Translation was the best and most accurate one on earth, to be trusted implicitly.  But a funny thing happened on the way out the door.

I started learning the Biblical languages to honor a vow I made to myself even before I got involved with the Witnesses as a teenager.  At the time I'd found out that the King James Bible had thousands of errors in it, and, no, it wasn't a Witness who pointed that out to me, it was a fellow young Baptist who was a member of a conservative Baptist Church, much as I was at the time.  I promised myself that I would learn the Bible Languages so no translator would stand between me and God's word.  But my journey would take me first through disbelief, the occult world, and then Jehovah's Witnesses.  Believe it or not, I am thankful to God for all those experiences as I believe all had a part towards preparing me for my spot in the Bride of Christ.  But I digress.

So, I exited the Witnesses by fading out.  So, now what to do.  My self-study of Koine was starting to bear fruit and I was beginning to read the New Testament using the Master Text by Farstad and Hodges.  that reading left my understanding of God changed in important ways from what I was taught in the Watchtower.  I grasped his love for mankind in general and the Church into which I've been enrolled in Heaven in particular.  I've since grown.

Now, we all know the scholarly community condemns the New World Translation heartily and give people plenty of reasons not to trust it, some right, some wrong, such as John 1:1 where the NWT is correct and they are wrong.  The NWT uses "torture stake" instead of "cross,"  It inserts the word "other" in Colossians 1:17 which does not appear in the Greek Text, and inserts God's Holy name, Jehovah, into the New Testament even though it doesn't appear anywhere in the Greek Text and so on and so forth.   I could go on and on giving examples the scholars put forward for not trusting the New World Translation (NWT).  But why should I ever do that when there is only one reason I need and you as well?

When the Watchtower put out their CD Rom library I received it as eagerly as every one of my brothers and sisters did.  I loaded it up on my computer and started reading the 1950 watchtowers as I know some others did.  When I got to September I was in for a major shock!  This has been scrubbed from the Watchtower indexes with the first mention of the reasons for a new translation being listed as 32 years later in the 1983 Watchtower.  But it can be found right here on their website of

Scroll down to Paragraph 9 in the article:

"9 We acknowledge our debt to all the Bible versions which we have used in attaining to what truth of God’s Word we enjoy today. We do not discourage the use of any of these Bible versions, but shall ourselves go on making suitable use of them. However, during all our years of using these versions down to the latest of them, we have found them defective. In one or another vital respect they are inconsistent or unsatisfactory, infected with religious traditions or worldly philosophy and hence not in harmony with the sacred truths which Jehovah God has restored to his devoted people who call upon his name and seek to serve him with one accord. Especially has this been true in the case of the Christian Greek Scriptures, which throw light and place proper interpretation upon the ancient Hebrew Scriptures. More and more the need has been felt for a translation in modern speech, in harmony with revealed truth, and yet furnishing us the basis for gaining further truth by faithfully presenting the sense of the original writings; a translation just as understandable to modern readers as the original writings of Christ’s disciples were understandable to the simple, plain, common, lowly readers of their day. Jesus reminded us that our heavenly Father knows the needs of his children before they ever ask him. How has he made provision for us in this need which we now keenly feel?" (underlining and Font color mine)

That is the only time the Watchtower has ever been candid and honest about why they produced The New World Translation, period.  That in effect was an admission that they wanted a Bible which conformed to their own doctrine instead of a truly accurate one to inform their doctrine.  If their doctrine were correct all they would need was one which was accurate and could be easily defended against all comers.  But, instead, they openly admitted to producing one which bowed down to their teaching instead of the other way around, the proper way.

Any time I see anything which smells of that written to explain why a translation was produced I immediately go on guard against it and I couldn't do any differently with the NWT.  I did mention that there is much in it I agree with.  I know that Frederic Franz was trained by New York Rabbis in Hebrew and they remained available to him for any question on the Tanakh or their beliefs and practices.  I have that from two very different sources.  And it is reflected in the quality of his work with the OT.  The NWT actually clears up some of the apparent contradictions found in other Bibles.  However, that doesn't make it a trustworthy Bible.  Even in the Old Testament of that translation, one can find passages which reflect the theology instead of the Hebrew.  And that is sad.

So, the New World Translation of The Holy Scriptures is a Bible that cannot be trusted and should be used with care.  And it is condemned out of their own mouth, not ours.  that is why I don't trust it and no one else should either.  We don't need to go combing through it looking for the bias, they've already done that for us, all we need to do is go right here on their own website and go to paragraph 9 of the article.

If you like this please share it on your social websites, blogs, etc.  Let's get the word out as far and wide as we can.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

God's Name In Christian Manuscripts.

Only a Jehovah's Witness who is also grounded in Hebrew could come close to imagining my feelings when I received the above image of Rev. 8-9a in my email from a friend of mine who checks around the net for newly published manuscripts online.  It is from the Sloanne Collection in the Brittish Library and is Manuscript 237.  It is from the 16th century but shows evidence of coming from a much more ancient line as it has Gods name in it, which no Jew would've dared insert had it not already been in the copy they were working from.  This image also clarifies the Greek because it makes it clear that in that passage Yehovah is invoking both his name and its meaning, the one who "is, was, and will be, and come, the Almighty."  Perhaps somebody can send the link to Dr. Rolf Furuli, who I'm sure will like this post about Christian manuscripts which contain God's name, and have it written out as "Yehovah."

The manuscript is incomplete, however, what appears to b the rest of it has been located, though, that will have to wait for another time.  I don't have the credentials for ready access to many new discoveries and count on being in the good graces of some who do and they make their living as academics who have to publish.  So I can't always share unless I am a discoverer myself or share that honor with somebody who will let me, or have permission.  Recently, a number of manuscripts in several different styles of Hebrew writing were discovered and except for the one above where I didn't need it I've been given permission to share them with my friends. 
The manuscripts are from a number of collections and I can't identify them all.  But they include two of the Gospels, partials from John and Luke and complete copies of Jude and James  The partial Gospels are in the Vatican Library and the other two in other collections.  All are medieval to the 17th century, but oh what they have for us and what they imply!  All but John contain the Divine name.  I know there are some will argue against this, but that alone argues for two things, a Hebrew origin for most of the New Testament and that early Christians did use God's name, including when they wrote.  So:

The above image is the first page of Luke from the Vatican Library.  The manuscript only contains the first 35 verses of Luke's Gospel and in a way is one of the most telling.  That's because in those 35 verses it uses God's name, written out completely as Yehovah, 13 times.  That makes it the one which uses God's name the most freely.  This manuscript was found in a bin made up of pages which fell out of their manuscripts while being consulted.

And this one is from the book of James in Hebrew in Rashi script making it possibly the oldest manuscript of the lot.  God's name, written as Yehovah, is circled in red.

The questions is, what is Gods name doing there in those manuscripts and how did they get in there?  Most scholars would say that the "translators" put them there on theological grounds.  But that also leads to the question of how did they now to put the holems there given the trouble Jewish scribes went to hiding them?

Could it be that the scribes for these manuscripts were copying from much older manuscripts from much older lines of manuscripts?  Jewish scribes would not have dared to remove the name from the text as they copied.  Even the Shem Tov line of Matthew uses a shortened from of the name, a double yod, for the name in the places it occurred in the early manuscripts of that book.

We know that Matthew was originally written in Hebrew by the apostle.  And we have a line of manuscripts, the Shem Tov, which may descend from the original, though in places that line was "corrected" to conform with the Greek manuscripts.  The NT was translated into Aramaic at an early time, so it is likely the same happened to those books of Greek authorship into Hebrew as well since Christians in the Levant did speak Hebrew.  These manuscripts, just like the Shem Tov Matthew, may tell us that God's holy name was used by Christians in the early days and was written in the NT by the authors of the NT.