Romans 10:9, 10: "homologeo"
This criticism of the New World Translation we quote in full:
"Does the New World Translation give accurate translations of Bible verses which explain the requirements for salvation? [For example]Rom 10:9-10-For if you publicly declare [Gr. confess] that word in your own mouth, that Jesus is Lord, and exercise faith in your heart that God raised him up from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one exercises faith for righteousness, but with the mouth one makes public declaration [Gr. one confesses] for salvation."
Here the critic alleges that the Greek word "homologeo" rendered in many translations here as "confess" and "one confesses," Romans 10:9, 10(see for eg. KJV, NIV, RSV, TEV), has been inaccurately translated "publicly declare," and "makes public declaration."
Is this criticism warranted?
First of all, we could cite other translations that render not by "confess" but similarly to the New World Translation here.
We will quote Romans 10: 9, 10 from them in full:
"(v.9)Because if you admit
with your lips that "Jesus is Lord" and believe in
your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
(v.10)The belief in the heart puts you in the right, while the
profession of the mouth brings salvation."
-The Unvarnished New Testament, A.Gaus, 1991
"(v.9)That if you should proclaim
from your mouth the ideal that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your
heart that God raised Him from the dead, you can be saved.(v.10)For
with the heart it is believed to righteousness; and by the mouth
it is acknowledged to salvation."
-The Complete Bible in Modern English, F.Fenton, 1922 edition
"(v.9)For if you tell
others with your own mouth that Jesus Christ is your
Lord, and believe in your own heart that God has raised him from
the dead, you will be saved.(v.10)For it is believing in his
heart that a man becomes right with God; and with his mouth he tells
others of his faith, confirming his salvation."
-The Living Bible, K.Taylor, 1971
"(v.9)If you openly
admit by your own lips that Jesus is the Lord, and if you
believe in your own heart that God raised him from the dead, you
will be saved.(v.10)For it is believing in the heart that makes a
man righteous before God, and it is stating his belief by
his own lips that confirms his salvation."
-The New Testament in Modern English, J.B.Phillips, 1960, 1972 revised edition.
"(v.9)For if you publicly
assert with your lips your belief that Jesus is Lord, and if
you believe with all your heart that God raised him from the
dead, you will be saved.(v.10)For it is the heart's faith which
brings a man into a right relationship with God,and it is the open
assertion of that faith with the lips which brings a man to
-The New Testament-A Translation by W.Barclay.
"(v.9)that if you openly
declare that Jesus is Lord, and inwardly believe that God
raised him from the dead, you will be saved; (v.10)for inwardly a
man must believe in order to enter into a right relationship with
God, outwardly he must declare his belief in order to be
-The Translator's New Testament, 1973
"(v.9)Because if you acknowledge
and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and in your
heart believe(adhere to, trust in and rely on the truth)that God
raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.(v.10)For with the
heart a person believes(adheres to, trust in and relies on Christ)and
so is justified(declared righteous, acceptable to God), and with
the mouth he confesses-declares openly and speaks out
freely his faith-and confirms[his] salvation.
"(v.9)that if you acknowledge
publically with your mouth that Yeshua is Lord and trust in
your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be
delivered. (v.10) For with the heart one goes on trusting and
thus continues toward righteousness, while with the mouth one
keeps on making public acknowldgement and thus continues
-Complete Jewish Bible by D. H. Stern, 1998.
Also, we have the following which we can quote:
Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words:
"HOMOLOGEO...lit., to speak the same thing(homos, same, lego, to speak), to assent, accord, agree with, denotes either (a)to confess, declare, admit, John 1:20; e.g., Acts 24:14; Heb.11:13; (b)to confess by way of admitting oneself quilty of what one is accused of, the result of inward conviction, 1 John 1:9; (c)to declare openly by way of speaking out freely, such confession being the effect of deep conviction of facts, Matt.7:23.....Rom.10:9,10....."
A Greek-English Lexicon by William F.Arndt and F.Wilbur Gingrich(1957)
"[homologeo]...4.declare(publicly), acknowledge, confess, also confess that one is something....if you confess Jesus as Lord Ro 10:9" -p. 571.
The Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament by Reinecker/Rogers, at Romans 10:9:
"[homologoses]aor[rist] subj[ective of] homlogeo to agree, to confess, to proclaim. As a judicial term, the word indicates the binding and public declaration which settles a relationship w[ith] legal force."
We should also note the context that this word is being used by Paul here. There are two things the Christian should do. Inwardly; exercise faith in the heart that God raised up Jesus from the dead(which leads to being "right with God"): Outwardly; "openly declare"(TNT), "publicy assert"(Barclay), "publicly declare"(NWT) with the mouth that Jesus is Lord, which confers salvation.
It is interesting that The NIV Theological Dictionary of New Testament Words under the word "homologeo," which it defines as "promise, confess, declare" and tells us that this word occurs 26 times in the New Testament, that in Romans 10:9-10 "Believers respond to the saving act of God in Jesus Christ by publicly acknowledging Jesus Christ as Lord and affirming his resurrection...."(The Zondervan Corporation, Paternoster Press, 2000, pp. 912, 913. italics ours)
Also, from the "New Testament Lexical Aids" in The NIV Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible under "Homologeo" we read:
"...To agree, consent, as used commonly in Classical Greek; to promise, i.e., to agree with or consent to the desire of another. To confess, admit, acknowledge, i.e., to speak agreeably to fact and truth(Jn 1:20; 9:22; 12:42; Ac 23.8; Heb 11:13; 1Jn 1:9); to confess, celebrate with public praises(Heb 13:15); to claim, tell (Mt 7:23; Tit 1:16); homologeo en (in or with), a Hebraism, meaning publicly acknowledging someone (Mt 10:32; Lk 12:8)" -AMG Publishers, Chattanooga, TN 37422, USA. italics ours.
We can rightly conclude from the above then that the word "homologeo" at Romans 10: 9,10 can rightly be translated as "publicly declare," and "makes public declaration" as found in the New World Translation.