Answers to 'objections' raised regarding the NWT Defense site
We are often sent certain 'objections' about this sites content. We will re-produce these objections and attempt to answer them. In this way we hope that readers can refer to this page before they send us their objections and hoping of course that their initial objections will have been answered on this page. This page, of necessity, will be added to from time to time.
1)The 'partial use' of scholarly quotations.
2)Some objections to using the form of the Divine name "Jehovah" rather than an "accurate, original" form.
3)Did the New World Translation "translate" the words KURIOS and QEOS as "Jehovah"?
1)The 'partial use' of scholarly quotations:
That some of the scholars quoted on this site have been quoted only partially and not fully and that this means these same scholars have been somehow mis-used or their comments mis-applied. That to quote them fully would show sometimes the complete opposite of what this sites use of them is trying to show.
Example: Quoting A.T.Robertson regarding his comments upon Matthew 28:19, often cited as a trinitarian 'proof text' or at least evidence for that doctrine.
This site, in a discussion of Matthew 28:19, quotes him as saying: "The use of name ([Greek] onoma ) here is a common one in the Septuagint and the papyri for power or authority."
This is taken from his Word Pictures in the New Testament, (Vol. I, p. 245) in which we can read(the above words placed in bold):
"All the nations (panta ta ethne). Not just the Jews scattered among the Gentiles, but the Gentiles themselves in every land. And not by making Jews of them, though this point is not made plain here. It will take time for the disciples to grow into this Magna Charta of the missionary propaganda. But here is the world program of the Risen Christ and it should not be forgotten by those who seek to foreshorten it all by saying that Jesus expected his second coming to be very soon, even within the lifetime of those who heard. He did promise to come, but he has never named the date. Meanwhile we are to be ready for his coming at any time and to look for it joyfully. But we are to leave that to the Father and push on the campaign for world conquest. This program includes making disciples or learners (mathe»teusate) such as they were themselves. That means evangelism in the fullest sense and not merely revival meetings. Baptism in (eis, not into) the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, in the name of the Trinity. Objection is raised to this language in the mouth of Jesus as too theological and as not a genuine part of the Gospel of Matthew for the same reason. See note on Mat.11:27, where Jesus speaks of the Father and the Son as here. But it is all to no purpose. There is a chapter devoted to this subject in my The Christ of the Logia in which the genuineness of these words is proven. The name of Jesus is the essential part of it as is shown in the Acts. Trine immersion is not taught as the Greek Church holds and practices, baptism in the name of the Father, then of the Son, then of the Holy Spirit. The use of name (onoma) here is a common one in the Septuagint and the papyri for power or authority. For the use of eis with onoma in the sense here employed, not meaning into, See note on Mat.10:41. (cf. alsoMat.12:41)."
As we can see, Robertson thinks
that this scripture supports the belief that God is a "trinity"
of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. So, can he be quoted at all
by those who do not share this belief that Jesus' words
are 'trinitarian'? The answer is Yes!
For can we see anything that Robertson stated regarding the trinity and Matthew 28:19 where he did not "let the scriptures speak for [itself]"?(This is what someone asked us to do and in the same e-mail raised this objection against our using Robertson regarding Matthew 28:19). Our contention is that Robertson, however good a Greek expert he may have been and we do not deny this, is reading his theological pre-suppositions into that passage- not that he is gaining that teaching from that passage.
As for why we need not quote him in full. It is for the above reason but also that Robertson, although he is guilty of reading into Matthew 28:19 far more than what it actually says, even adding to it, he is correct when he states "The use of name(onoma)here is a common one in the Septuagint and the papyri for power or authority." When he stated that he was not reading into that passage anything that that same passage does not contain. He is quoted because of his being recognised as an 'expert' or authority in Biblical Greek.
His remarks there had specifically to do with what? As to the import of the one word ONOMA from usage in the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures and extra-biblical usage, the papyri. And in doing so he was stating a fact. To quote a scholar where he is correct and not quoting in toto is a common and acceptable practice. That is called conceding. You may concede that a particular person, work or group is correct in one aspect, area or subject they have discussed or commented upon without having to accept everything else that they say on that same aspect, area or subject. It has to be faced that although Robertson was a "giant in his field" in regards to Biblical Greek his writings are biased toward the doctrine of the Trinity. So one must be aware and wary when reading any of his writings. When he writes unbiasedly upon the Greek, one should sit up and listen for he spent his many years in the study of the Greek of the Bible. But that does not mean that Robertson hasn't been 'guilty' of coming to that same Greek with a priori that the trinity is true and placing comments of faith and interpretation that agrees with this doctrine between demonstrably correct and informative facts about the Greek and it's grammar. Simply put, one can quote Robertson when he comments simply on the Greek without having to include everything else he states especially if it is, and even because of, being 'tainted' with a biased reading of the trinity into those same.
For someone who would agree with the above and in a review of Robertson's Word Pictures, calling it subjective and interwoven with Robertson's Baptist theology please go here. Mr G.S.Dykes states from the outset of his review: "Robertson is one of the best Greek grammarians of the 20th century. His large grammar will forever remain a standard reference, but this work is marred via his theological views, views which are everywhere injected into his text. Hence it is a very subjective work. If this is kept in mind by each reader, then some good use can be made of the work.-italics ours.
Yes, it has been quite correct for this site to quote Robertson at the place we have because we are simply making "some good use" of his work. We reserve the right to reject Robertson's theological comments as anyone else has who also chooses to make "some good use" of this work.
Hence we feel that this common objection often raised by those reading the pages on this site and sending us this objection is met with, explained and refuted. This objection has no good reason to be held.
2)Some objections to using the form of the Divine name "Jehovah" rather than an "accurate, original" form.
The following 4 'objections' were put to us.
"If the authors[of the NWT as seen from
the 1969 KIT introduction]feel that Yahweh is the more correct
pronunciation of God's name, should they not have used that form
notwithstanding people's familiarity with Jehovah"?
Not if communicating to an English audience is of paramount importance in an English translation, whether it is a literal(formal equivalent)or a paraphrase(dynamic equivalent)one. Most names in the Bible have been transliterated and God's name is not an exception. It has been shown that the original was not "Yahweh" but a trisyllabic one "Yehowah." Jehovah then would be a transliteration of the original. One can see at once how well the English form preserves the Hebrew four letters YHWH in English. The name "Jehovah" then would be the best form for a an English Bible to use as it would mean something to, be meaningful to, the readers and hearers of it in English. Just as there are more 'correct' or 'accurate' names(closer to the actual original form) for other persons in the Bible but those names that are familiar to the English ear and eye are used so with the form "Jehovah". As Bruce Metzger rightly says, the form "Yahweh" is "utterly un-English."-The Bible in Translation - Ancient and English Versions, p.128.-italics ours.
"God expects us to make our best effort at
being true to truth notwithstanding the popularity of other
things, isn't this so?"
Yes, but using a form of the name which has become so familiarised is not being 'un-truthful' just as it is not being 'un-truthful' to use names such as "Jeremiah" or "Isaiah" which are also not the original forms for these persons. Also, would it have been God's desire that when His Word, the Bible, was to be translated into other languages for the benefit of those who did not understand Hebrew or Greek, which languages differed with the original languages in which His Word was first written in, to preserve in those same the exact same phenomes which in most modern languages are the abstract contrastive sound units that are postulated for a description of the sound system of the language? There is no indication that this was to be God's desire. Indeed, when God Himself confused the "tongues" of post-flood Man he set the scene for his name to be known with different phenomes, hence, by a different pronounciation and form than originally He was called by.
"Since there was no 'J' nor 'V' in the
Tetragrammaton, how could JHVH preserve the original form?"
Because of the origin of these consonants. They were originally pronounced as a "Y" and a "W" and are still so pronounced on the european continent. Knowing this means that the form "Jehovah" does indeed "preserve" the four letters of the Divine name, YHWH, as they are represented in English language characters.
"I feel that even though we may pronounce the names of all the bible prophets and characters wrongly, when it comes to pronouncing God's name and the name of His son, only the original should suffice. What do you think?"
We think that pronouncing the name of the Son as "Jesus," whilst it is not the original, is as acceptable as using "Jehovah" for the name of His God. As recent scholarship has argued, God's name was, very probably, originally pronounced as "Yehowah"(or very similiar)- a form that contains three syllables like "Jehovah" and not two as with "Yahweh," This is another reason not to have used "Yahweh" when the New World Translation first came out in 1950 as this supposed form would have been regarded as "inaccurate" and "incorrect" just two or so decades later! As no one has yet to 'object' to the form of "Jesus"(which means "Jah Saves" or "Jah is [our] Salvation"- "Jah" being short for "Jehovah")for God's Son, likewise no real 'objection' can be made against any translator, if that is their wish, to use the form "Jehovah" for God.
In fact, considering the above facts, "Jehovah" is, after all, the best form for the name of God in an English translation of the Bible and hence the best form the NWT Translation Committee could have used!
3)Did the New World Translation "translate" the words KURIOS and QEOS as "Jehovah"?-No!
One person asked on the NWT Defense Guestbook why the New World Translation "translated" the Greek words KURIOS[lord/master] and QEOS[G/god]as "Jehovah" at times when these words undoubtedly mean "Lord" and "God" respectively?
Firstly, the page that discuss the reasons why
the name "Jehovah" appears in both the 'Old Testament'
and the 'New Testament' portions of the New World Translation
are given on this site and we refer our readers to that page.
However, it ought to be pointed out that the New World
Translation does not "translate" KURIOS
and QEOS as "Jehovah" as our guestbook visitor naively
Rather, the NWT Translation Committee came to the decision that the 'New Testament' has been tampered with and from early on in the 2nd century. One such 'tampering' was to remove the Divine Name just as was certainly done to later copies(after the 1st century C.E.)of the LXX(Septuagint)translation of the Hebrew Scriptures('Old Testament')which translation did originally contain that name in Hebrew characters and, which, the 'New Testament' authors used when quoting from the 'Old Testament'. Hence, the NWT Translation Committee decided to incorporate the Name "Jehovah" where they believe the original 'New Testament' writers used it. This stance by the NWT Translation Committee is by no means unique. Many 19th century N.T. translations produced by Christendom's missionaries also used a proper name for God as has numerous Hebrew translations of the New Testament. We also recommnend our readers to obtain the article "The Tetragram And The New Testament." in the Journal of Biblical Literature 96/1(1977) 63-83 by George Howard, of the University of Georgia. He argues very strongly for a theory that the original New Testament did contain the Divine Name and in Hebrew characters, YHWH.
Obviously, the Greek texts(e.g., the Westcott and Hort Greek text)upon which the New World Translation is based upon has been considered texts that reflect a later 'New Testament' corpus where 'tampering' with the original autographs had taken place(as Howard argues). One should be grateful for the stance the NWT Translation Committee has taken because it is the only major Bible translation of the 20th century to have done so and hence more than any other translation has brought this issue out into the 'open' and, hence, engendered much learned discussion of this matter and so some re-learning has taken place which re-learning has helped remove certain 'established' beliefs that were not based upon certain facts(e.g. Of the LXX mss that are extant all those of the B.C.E era and into the 1st century contain the Name. This is the translation the authors of the New Testament knew and used in their quotations. Hence, the old arguement that the NT authors followed the practice of the LXX translators of using substitutes for the Name no longer holds.)
This then, that is, the "incorporating" the Divine Name into the 'New Testament"' portion of the New World Translation then is not a case of "translating" the words KURIOS(lord or master)or QEOS(God or god) as if the NWT Translation Committee gave "Jehovah" as a meaning for those words. They did not as the above hopefully explains.