Response to Lynn Lundquist's
On www.tetragrammaton.org/yourwordistruth.htm, Lynn Lundquist (hereafter 'LL') has made a number of comments about two essays in the book Your Word is Truth, Essays in Celebration of the 50th Anniversaryof the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (1950, 1953), Edited by Anthony Byatt and Hal Flemings. published 2004. (Referred to as YWIT)
This response is to LL's comments on chapter 8, 'Distinguishing the 'Lords': Does Jesus Take Jehovah's Name?' LL's page numbers will be cited out of the total of 13 dealing with my essay, to identify what is being discussed.
Page 3. Option 4, is really option 2 rephrased, for the result would be the same for the reader.
Page 4. The paragraph quoted from the middle of page 112 of YWIT may appear to be "predetermined", but in fact was the conclusion reached not only from this study, but from previous ones, and simply placed at the beginning of that section for sake of clarity. Note the opening sentence on page 114 which states this: "We now need to examine in some detail the usage of the Christian Greek Scriptures with reference to the title 'Lord' to determine to whom it applies, and what we learn from this." It then starts from Matthew 22:44 and parallels, and reasons through many verses in Acts and Luke, Paul's writings etc. To give a wider confirmation, the chart prepared by John Reid has been reproduced from the Expository Times.
Page 4. Manuscript evidence does not determine many Greek words having a breadth of meaning covered by a number of English words. On page 21 of YWIT the example is given of biblion usually rendered 'scroll', but at times as 'certificate' and 'book', according to context. The complete meaning is 'a written document, scroll or book.' It is not the "theological bias of the translator" that determines the rendering, but rather the context.
Page 5. If there is any doubt about the definition of pantokrator in Arndt and Gingrich, add to it Kittel TDNT Volume 3 page 915, "Under LXX influence, and hence not indicative of a change in primitive Christianity, kurios ho theos ho pantokrator is used in Rev. 1:8 ..." (underlining added). Jesus Christ is nowhere mentioned. Then Vine's Expository Dictionary, p.22 under 'Almighty' states "used of God only, and is found, in the Epistles, only in 2 Cor. 6:18, ... elsewhere only in the Apocalypse, nine times." Again no mention of Jesus Christ. Also similarly in Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon p.476. To add at the end that 'only of God' is "supportive" of the deity of Jesus, is indeed to introduce a theological position and bias.
Page 6. LL here clearly maintains that God's Word is intentionally ambiguous. He does not appear to have read the conclusions of scholars about ambiguity, given especially on pages 165-166. He stated at the beginning that the other chapters of YWIT were "outside the concern of our own books." (p.2) But chapter 9 follows on from chapter 8, and is very relevant, especially the section from page 155 to 172 dealing with the New Testament or Christian Greek Scriptures. So let us summarise one or two of the points made. Why does LL admit that 'master', 'sir' and 'owner' are admissible translations of kurios "when they bear little visible relationship to the word 'lord'. Why does he not condemn these other words as not to be found in the Greek text?" (YWIT 109) Note too the statement on page 119 from Professor I.H.Marshall, that Paul's quotations from the O.T. use 'Lord' for God "almost exclusively... so that there is little risk of confusion." Then a noted trinitarian, Arthur Wainwright is quoted, that despite many O.T. ideas and quotations being transferred to Jesus Christ for him to be the agent of their fulfilment, "it must not be assumed that he was openly and directly identified with Yahweh, (for) other passages stress the difference between the Lord and God." On page 129 recall the very statement of LL himself about conveying the sense of the original texts. He states on p.184 of his book, "all languages have a means of restoring precision (the very word used here on p6) lost in indistinct meaning. Generally speaking, the context of the word - or in some cases, grammatical structure - can be used to reinstate precision." Is he now contradicting his own argument?
On page 165 of YWIT there is another
appropriate comment by Professor Marshall, followed by one from
Professor F.F.Bruce on Acts 2:34 that the first kurios
is anarthrous, and so "represents Heb. Yahweh, while the
second represents Heb. 'adon. The identity of the two kurioi
is thus kept distinct." LL seems to take scant notice of
this practice of using or not using the article to distinguish
the Lords, but Ray Pritz, head of the Bible Society in Israel
points out on page 112 that this was the solution generally
followed in the Septuagint; "to render Adonai as ho
kyrios (the Lord) and YHVH as simply kyrios without
the definite article." On page 156 reference is made to
Matthew 1:20,22,24 in the Newberry Bible, where kurios
has a marginal note that the Hebrew is 'Jehovah'. Also the
definite article printed in this text is in italics in verses 20
and 24 to show it is added, but most KJV texts do NOT do this.
What about verse 22, which is not in italics? Checking the 27th
edition of the Nestle/Aland Greek text, we find the definite
article should also be omitted there, and the apparatus lists
most major Mss to support this. Page 156 of YWIT then mentions
the carefully executed Darby translation, still used extensively
by The Brethren today, where the definite article is placed in
brackets if it is not in the original Greek. So this method,
although not perfectly applied at all times, does clearly show
both intention and desire of the original writers to distinguish
to whom kurios refers. On page 157 David Stern's Jewish
N.T. is referred to, where the margin also identified
Jehovah where appropriate, with the comment from his Preface p.xxiv,
"translators should decide the true meaning of a word and
render that meaning clearly."
Page 7. LL needs to explain more exactly why he says that even if he allows that all 237 references are to Jehovah, "then the argument for the so called 'deity of Jesus' would be that much stronger." What does he mean when he states that this is so when quotations "can be applied to Jesus?" Many of the attributes of Jesus are to be identified with Jehovah, for Jesus is "the exact representation of his very being" (Heb.1:3), and this point has been clearly expressed on pages 128/9 of YWIT. Add to this the work and authority Jesus has been given by his Father, much of this evidenced in the way those Hebrew Scripture quotations were fulfilled in Jesus. Yet notice on page 129 the distinctions still so very prominent. Jesus is now made 'Lord of Lords' but "he is never 'God of gods' (Deut 10:17, Ps. 136:2, Dan.2:47)." How does LL explain that away? Then notice the thought from the Translator's N.T. (p.522), about radiating or reflecting the glory of God in Hebrews 1:3: "as the sun's rays shine out from the sun and convey its light and heat to the earth, so Christ conveys the glory of God to men." The sun is the origin of those rays, but the rays are the agent of transfer of that glory. This important distinction between originator/source and agent/mediator is especially emphasised in YWIT p.118, 129-131. We particularly draw LL's attention to p130, and the summary of points 1 to 6 there, including the use of the dia phrase in 1 Cor. 8:6, and the quotation from Dr. Garvie. This does not just refer to the time when Jesus was a man on the earth. This is all shown to be correct by the endorsements of Werner Foerster, Dr. Shirley Case and the outstanding French scholar L. Cerfaux given on pages 131/2. J20 is merely one of the many J references cited, and is no more or less important than any of the others, for they are all intended to be viewed independently as cumulative for any one quotation. In referring us to Greg Stafford's book, LL needs to remember that it was Greg who asked us to include a refutation of LL's book, and so YWIT should be viewed as an updating of Greg's assessment.
LL then cites 1 Peter 3:15 as an example to bear out his argument. He often refers to the evidence of the Greek Mss, but he does not seem to understand how to read the textual apparatus that presents that evidence. Here he does not notice the tenor of the footnote in the NWT Reference Bible. It cites the Textus Receptus reading "the Lord God" which B.M.Metzger's Editorial Committee (A Textual Commentary on the Greek N.T.) shows to be entirely rejected by the best Mss. Then the nine J versions all use the combination 'Jehovah God', showing how they too were influenced by the TR reading of 'God' and so naturally assumed that 'Lord' must refer to Jehovah. By not placing Jehovah in the text the NWT Committee confirmed this rejected reading, but gave the evidence so that readers would be aware of it. It is necessary to be very careful in correctly interpreting footnote apparatus according to the canons of the best textual criticism, which the NWT Committee used here. Now looking at Peter's argument in this chapter we note Professor A.T.Robertson's comment on verse 15, "An adaptation to Christ of Isa. 8:13." (Word Pictures in the N.T. Vol.6, p114) What does he mean by 'adaptation'? We have many examples of this by N.T. writers. Take Paul's insertion of Christ into Romans 10:6-8 by adapting the quotation from Deut. 30:12-14 which had no thought of Christ in it, and Romans 10:18 quoting Psalm 19: 4 - the animate creation is adapted by Paul from the inanimate. Context is also very important, and here The Expositor's Greek Testament (Vol.5 p67), asks us to compare 3:6 where Sarah called Abraham 'lord'. Peter in this chapter is talking about various aspects of subjection, respect, honour, fellow feeling, restraint and sanctity. We are to sanctify Christ as Lord with the same sense that Sarah viewed Abraham. But the harmony of all the rest of Scripture is also to be remembered, so EGT adds, "elsewhere in N.T. it belongs to God to sanctify Christ and men." So appropriately the chapter goes on in v.18 that Christ leads us to God, and finally v.22, that although invested with great authority, he is still seated at God's right hand.
Page 8. LL next cites 1 Peter 2:3 on similar lines, but he makes no mention of the NWT Reference Bible footnote from Professor Hort's commentary on First Peter. After explaining just what LL has said, Hort continues, "It would be rash however to conclude that he meant to identify Jehovah with Christ. No such identification can be clearly made out in the N.T. St. Peter is not here making a formal quotation, but merely borrowing O.T. language, and applying it in his own manner." He then goes on to show how the Son reflects the same qualities of the Father, especially that of kindness. This is also quoted in YWIT page 121, followed by a similar view from the Cambridge Greek Testament going over on to page 122. It is interesting that E.G.Selwyn in his commentary on First Peter, uses the same word that Robertson did for 1 Peter 3:15, namely "the phrase is adapted from Ps. 34:8." (p.156) So Peter uses many other parts of this Psalm, adapting them to his argument in his letter.
Page 8/9. LL summarises the issue into "two opposite points of view", (1) that the Son was created by the Father, and (2) that the Son is eternal. He feels this results in two differing ways of using the name Jehovah and applying it to Jesus Christ. If the Son is indeed eternal, then he needs to show the Scriptural evidence of that, and we cannot proceed from this point until that evidence is shown to be valid. In the essay making up YWIT chapter five (p65 to 82), on Proverbs 8:22, Nelson Herle Jnr has given abundant testimony linked with Colossians 1:15 and Revelation 3:14 that the Logos was God's created son, so LL needs to refute this to establish his argument. But it is not the context "within the Christian Scripture alone which determines" the application, but rather the entire Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation, which is what Nelson Herle uses. In determining the relationship between Father and Son the entire Word of God must be evaluated, and all the evidence adduced. The result is said by some to be a 'theological position' but in reality if it closely follows what the Scriptures say it can truly be said to be the 'Scriptural position' without use of creed or church father or tradition. It resembles the way the textual critic uses the evidence of the Mss. If the external evidence is evenly balanced and therefore not decisive, he turns to internal evidence to see if the general style or tenor of the writer can help in making a decision. So in looking at quotations from the Hebrew Scriptures, we need to see how the Christian writers use them, and our examples under page 7 second paragraph from Romans chapter 10 well illustrate this. So there are many more clues to the accurate meaning than LL would seem to admit, and there are very few ambiguities that remain.
Page 9/10. LL uses the example of Greek manuscript texts, and the possibility of multiple meanings being resolved by context and logic. This is quite true, and we are therefore urged to 'reason on the Scriptures' (Acts 17:2,3). But in looking at those manuscripts in the first place, sound principles of textual criticism need to be used to resolve most problems. Consider 1 Timothy 3:16 where there are three variant readings as to the one "manifest in flesh" - God - who - which. The Ms evidence in favour of hos (who) is extensive, plus versions and fathers, whereas only a few witnesses support 'which'. The reading theos is not attested before the fourth century, and appears in Codex Sinaiticus as a scribal correction of the twelfth century added above the line. When we consider the internal evidence, and look for the more difficult reading, we would not expect a scribe to substitute the relative 'who' for 'God' if that was the original reading, especially when there is no antecedent, nor could we think how 'God' could become the neuter relative 'which'. On the other hand, we could see how the omission of one letter could alter 'who' into 'which', whilst accidentally or deliberately the uncial letters OC could get a line placed above them, and another small line through the O to turn it into a theta, so that it would appear to be the contraction for theos. Codex Alexandrinus is thought to give evidence of these additions by a later hand. The evidence in full is set out by F.J.A.Hort in Volume 2 of The N.T. in the Original Greek under 'Notes on Select Readings'. Thus we solve the problem by the evidence, plus reason and logic as set out by the principles of Textual Criticism built upon careful analysis established through more than 150 years.
To those who do not understand Textual Criticism this must all seem quite complex, and obviously some of the subjects in YWIT are detailed and complex, but then Peter admitted that some of Paul's deep writings were hard to understand. (2 Peter 3:15,16) There is hardly a more complex doctrine than the Trinity, and without it a whole host of Scriptures read very simply and are straight forward in their meaning. For 1 Timothy 3:16 theology does not need to come into it, but the result could be said to have a 'theological' consequence, since the reading theos gave support to the doctrine of the Trinity. Similarly the correct understanding of the distinctions in kurios can have a theological consequence. LL would like to ignore distinctions when it suits him by, for example, glossing over whether the definite article is used with it or not. Where he admits such a distinction exists in the use of the original quotation, as with Matthew 22:44 and parallels etc., from Psalm 110, he then does not apply what this teaches in other places. So he fails to arrive at a consistent conclusion on the various applications of kurios. The purpose of setting out in detail in YWIT p.124 to 127 all the instances LL disputed, is to show that for each example there is good reason either from the Hebrew Scriptures, or the related context, or the nature and style of the LXX phrase used, (confirmed by observations in many cases of scholars who are not Jehovah's Witnesses), that this internal evidence clearly establishes the IDENTITY of kurios as having reference to the Father, Jehovah God and not Jesus Christ. There then simply remains the question of how best to indicate that in the translation.
Page 11. LL here twice uses the word 'conjecture' and that no evidence is available. But if he turns to YWIT p.155 to 159 he will see some of those 'telltale traces' referred to on p.127, including Jesus own references to his Father's name. These cannot simply be dismissed, and he is still faced with the question of avoiding ambiguity and establishing IDENTITY. No question about it, kurios is used to refer to both the Father, Jehovah God, and also to his Son Jesus Christ. How is LL going to make it clear to the reader of his translation when the Christian Scripture is talking about the first, and when it is talking about the second? The failed system of many translations has left most readers unaware of any distinction. Only in the clearest examples, such as Matthew 22:44 do they get a slight clue from the King James AV. "The LORD said unto my Lord..." (with Berkeley, NLT), and even this is brought down to 'Lord' and 'Lord' in the ERV, RSV, NRSV, NEB, REB, NIV, TEV, Beck, C.B.Williams and CEV to name but a few; 'LORD/LORD in NASB, Lord/lord in Goodspeed, NAB, Lord/Lord in Phillips, and Lord/Lord in Moffatt. The comment by William Taylor in YWIT p.154 sums it all up when a child may say, "Mama, what's the matter with my Bible?" The question of making identity clear so as to avoid ambiguity has been highlighted in YWIT p.110, 124, 165/166 and 168, where note the quotations from some of the scholars supporting this On p.123/4 the foreword of the first edition of the NWT of the Christian Scriptures is quoted.
Pages 12/13. Here my four points on procedure are followed by quotations from the 1984 NWT Reference Bible for comparison. LL then tries to make out a difference, and that this is how I would wish they had proceeded. He bandies words! Which 'Lord' is meant and avoiding ambiguity parallels the NWT's "determined the identity". The reference to not using 'God' to translate kurios when the Father is intended is a general rule. In the four instances where the CGS text has theos and it is translated as 'Jehovah' in the NWT is because these were very definite quotations (put into column 1 by LL in his chart), where the original Hebrew clearly also used 'Jehovah'. My point 4 is at the end of the method outlined, and clearly uses the same word 'confirm' for the rendering already chosen. So where are these differences that LL tries to make out?
Once again the same point is laboured by LL. No "predetermined theology" is taken to the text. The original quotation, phrase or allusion is what is examined to determine its referent, and frequent footnotes are added to give explanations where necessary. Of how many other modern translations can you say they do that? LL continues to confuse his preoccupation with 'theology', and we have shown by listing all 125 of his instances that IDENTITY is clearly established (often backed up by outside scholars), and so there is very little ambiguity to blur matters. To say that "many of these passages are inherently ambiguous in the Greek text" is tantamount to saying that the inspiration of the Scriptures is doubtful and faulty! Then comes more repetition, so we repeat, show the evidence that the Son is eternal, and reply to Nelson Herle's YWIT chapter 5 on Proverbs 8:22, Colossians 1:15 and Revelation 3:14.
In his final paragraph LL makes the most
telling admission of all! He states, "One who believes that
the Father and Jesus are eternally equal does not need to make
that distinction (between which 'Lord' is being identified)."
So he admits that his theology about the relationship of
Father and Son gets in the way of his reading what the text
actually says! So LL would not even bother to check the plain
words of Scripture, particularly the context, as my essay was
careful to do from Matthew 22:44 onwards. He ignores the
intention of the authors to distinguish them by means of the use
or lack of the definite article, even though in practice this was
not perfectly achieved. It was often the target of scribes who
altered the text to make it fit their theology, and is testified
to by B.D.Ehrman in his book The Orthodox Corruption of
Scripture. On page 272, note 39 refers to these quotations
from Psalm 110, and Professor Ehrman says, "In none of the
Synoptic accounts, and possibly not in the original text of Acts
, is the article used with the first occurrence of kurios,
despite the fact that the context indicates that this is God
himself speaking to the kurios (of David). Possibly in
order to clarify the relationship of the two kurioi,
that is, in order to solidify the point orthodox interpreters
would draw from the context, numerous scribes from early times
supplied the article in each case." So LL really fails to
examine the whole question without bias, whereas the NWT
Committee did not consider the theology, but sought to find out what
the Hebrew Scriptures said.
17th September 2005.
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