Psalm 34:8 and 1 Peter 2:3 New World Translation
Question from a Reader:
"Concerning the NWT. Why did you[NWT] do not respect your own policy about the name of Jehovah God? You[NWT] take a verse of Psalm 34:8. Normally you must write Jehovah !! No Lord ! Why did you change your policy?"
We believe that your question is: Why does the New
World Translation have "Lord" at 1 Peter 2:3 rather
than "Jehovah" when Peter was drawing upon Ps.34:8
where the divine name, YHWH, occurs? 1 Peter 2:3 reads in the New
World Translation: "provided you have tasted that the
Lord is kind." The context(vv.4-6) makes clear that the
"Lord" here is the Lord Jesus Christ.
The answer lies in that Peter was not making a formal quotation but "...merely borrowing O.T. language, and employing it in his own manner."- The First Epistle of St Peter, F.J.A.Hort, London, 1898, p.104.
See also 1 Peter, World Biblical Commentary, J. Ramsay Micheals, Word Books, 1988, p.90, par.3. We are rightly informed there that Peter is alluding to Psalm 34:8 and giving it "his own metaphorical context, with a new application of [hO KYRIOS] to Jesus Christ..."(italics ours). Hence, no English translation at 1 Peter 2:3 uses quotation marks as if Peter was actually making a formal quotation as he did, for instance, at 1 Peter 2:6 where he introduces an 'Old Testament' saying by the words "For it is contained in scripture." He then makes a formal quotation from Isaiah 28:16 and asserts an identity of the "stone," that Jehovah promised to lay in "Zion," with Jesus Christ himself. However, Peter, in 1st 2:3 has "adapted" Psalm 34:8 which in the original "it means God(Jehovah), as usual in the LXX." and applied it to the Christ -The First Epistle of St. Peter, E.G.Selwyn, London, Macmillan & Co. Ltd, 1947, pp.156, 157.(italics ours)
We might note that "the whole Psalm was present to St Peter throughout the Epistle"(C.Bigg, The Epistles of St Peter and St Jude, The International Critical Commentary). For these reasons Peter's 'use' or application of Psalm 34:8 towards Jesus Christ is not "nearly an exact quotation" as some have claimed in their attempt to prove the identity of Jesus as Jehovah(Why You Should Believe in the Trinity, R.M.Bowman, Jr. p.109)
Hope this helps to explain why the NWT
Translation Committee in this instance did not go against it's
"policy" of employing the name, Jehovah, when the 'New
Testament' writers quoted from the 'Old Testament' where the
divine name occurred. One must always look at the context
of the author of a New Testament writing and judge whether the
referent is Jehovah or one that Jehovah is using in the capacity
of his representative. In the case before us it is that the
KHRESTOS ("kindness") of the Father (Jehovah) is
revealed specifically through Jesus Christ.(Cp.Titus 3:4-6)
One might come across confessions such as we read at 1 Cor.12:3 which tells us that "Jesus is Lord" or at Philippians 2:11 that "Jesus Christ is Lord." But such N.T. confessions should not make us think the writers were telling us that Jesus Christ was or is "Jehovah." It is as Floyd V. Filson states: "In general the titles[such as "Lord"] used of [Jesus Christ] are not attempts to describe his nature or person but to express the greatness and effectiveness of his work in redeeming men and bringing them to God. Since his work fulfils the promises of Scripture, it is not surprising to find it described almost entirely in terms provided by Scripture. Some of the terms, such as Lord.....were already used in pagan circles and so were useful in expressing Christ's significance to Gentiles, but the Old Testament roots of a true and adequate understanding of Jesus were never forgotten."- A New Testament History, SCM Press, 1965 British edition, page 314.
And of course, Peter makes an explicit distinction between the Lord Jesus Christ and God[Jehovah] Himself throughout his epistles. Cp 1 Peter 5:10,11. Yes, as Peter stated: "To him [Jehovah God, not the Christ] be the might forever. Amen." Only God the Father was Jehovah for the apostle Peter.