Let us begin be viewing a recent morning worship talk titled “Keep Your Eyes Loyal to Jehovah” in which Anthony Morris III attempts to show why the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures is superior to others.  You can view the video here.  The relevant part is found starting at the 3:30 minute mark through to about the 6:00 minute mark.

Please take a look at that portion before reading on.

Having seen it now, would you agree that the translation of Ephesians 4:24 in the NWT which renders the Greek word hosiotés as “loyalty” is the correct one?  Assuming you’ve done no outside research, but only going by what Morris is saying together with the quote from the Insight book, have you not reached the conclusion that other bible translators are using free license in loosely translating the Greek here as “holiness”, when “loyalty” better reflects the meaning of the original?  Has he not led you to believe that this is a beautiful translation based on the weight of evidence from other places in Scripture where the Greek word hosiotés is found?

Now let’s take a closer look at that he claims; a more studious look.

At about the 4:00 minute mark he says, “Now this is one of those examples of the superiority of the New World Translation.  Often in the original language, they have this license to translate ‘righteousness and holiness’ in a lot of other translations.  Why do we have loyalty here in the New World Translation?”

Did you understand that second sentence?  Who is ‘they’?   What license is he referring to?   And if they’re working with the original language, why do ‘they’ even need to translate?  Grammatically, this sentence makes no sense.  However, that doesn’t matter, because its purpose is to serve as a dismissive slur.  He might just as well have said, “Yeah, those other guys that call themselves translators…whatever…”

Now before going on, take a look at how these Bible translations render Ephesians 4:24. (Click here.)  Out of a total of 24 translations, 21 use holy or holiness to render hosiotés.  Not one uses loyalty.  Strong’s Concordance gives “holiness, godliness, piety” as the definitions for the word.  NAS Exhaustive Concordance and Thayer’s Greek Lexicon agree.

So what proof does Anthony Morris III turn to in an effort to prove his assertion?  The Insight book!

That’s right.  To prove that his translation is correct, he turns to another JW publication.  In other words he is saying, ‘Our translation is correct because something else we wrote says so.’

Except it doesn’t actually.  It says:

*** it-2 p. 280 Loyalty ***
In the Greek Scriptures the noun ho·si·oʹtes and the adjective hoʹsi·os carry the thought of holiness, righteousness, reverence; being devout, pious; the careful observance of all duties toward God. It involves a right relationship with God.

No mention of loyalty there as a definition of the word hosiotés.  However, the next paragraph departs from word definitions and gets into word interpretation, and it is this that Morris is using to justify his assertion that the NWT is a superior translation.

*** it-2 p. 280 Loyalty ***
There appear to be no English words that exactly express the full meaning of the Hebrew and Greek words, but “loyalty,” including, as it does, the thought of devotion and faithfulness, when used in connection with God and his service, serves to give an approximation. The best way to determine the full meaning of the Bible terms in question is to examine their usage in the Bible.

Fair enough.  Let’s examine the usage of hosiotés in the Bible.  Since neither the Insight book, nor Anthony Morris III, offer any examples to support this interpretation that “loyalty” is the best English approximation of hosiotés, we’ll have to go looking for ourselves.

Here are all the other places the word appears in the Bible:

“…with loyalty and righteousness before him all our days.” (Lu 1:75)

That’s right!  One other place.  Hardly a wealth of references to draw an interpretation from!

Now look at how all the “inferior” translations render hosiotés in this verse.  (Click here.)  They overwhelmingly favor ‘holiness’, and of greater significance, not a single one goes for the Insight book’s best approximation of ‘loyalty’. Additionally, all the concordances and lexicons define hosiotés as holiness, and here’s the funny part, so does the Insight book!

So why take a word that is defined as ‘holiness’ and translate it as ‘loyalty’.  After all, a man doesn’t have to be holy to be loyal.  In fact, the wicked can and often are loyal, even to death.  The armies of the earth will gather together, loyally supporting their leaders, when they stand before God at Armageddon.  (Re 16:16)  Only holiness is the purview of the righteous.

The reason for this biased rendering is that loyalty is very high on the agenda of the Governing Body, more so of late. Our next two Watchtower study articles are about loyalty. The theme of the summer convention is loyalty.  This is always promoted as loyalty to Jehovah (never Jesus incidentally) as is the case with this Morning Worship talk, but since the Governing Body promotes itself as the faithful and discreet slave that serves as Jehovah’s channel of communication and authority, it is really about loyalty to men.

Shame on them for adding (loyalty) and taking away (holiness) from God’s word to promote their agenda, and then claiming that this makes the NWT as “superior translation”.  (Re 22:18, 19) They have committed the very thing they’ve often condemned others of doing, allowing their personal bias to corrupt the faithful translation of God’s Holy Word.


Meleti Vivlon

Articles by Meleti Vivlon.
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