[From ws17/9 p. 18 –November 6-12]
“The green grass dries up, the blossom withers, but the word of our God endures forever.”—Isa 40:8
(Occurrences: Jehovah=11; Jesus=0)
When the Bible speaks about the Word of God, is it only referring to the holy writings?
This week’s Watchtower study uses Isaiah 40:8 as its theme text. In the second paragraph, the congregation is asked to read 1 Peter 1:24, 25 which loosely quotes from Isaiah and is rendered in the New World Translation this way:
“For “all flesh is like grass, and all its glory is like a blossom of the field; the grass withers, and the flower falls off, 25 but the saying of Jehovah endures forever.” And this “saying” is the good news that was declared to you.” (1Pe 1:24, 25)
However, this isn’t exactly what Peter wrote. To better understand his point, let’s look at an alternate rendering of the original Greek text starting with verse 22:
Since you have purified your souls by obedience to the truth, so that you have a genuine love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from a pure heart. 23For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24For,
“All flesh is like grass,
and all its glory like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
25but the word of the Lord stands forever.”
And this is the word that was proclaimed to you.
(2 Peter 1:22-25)
“The word that was proclaimed to you” was proclaimed by the Lord Jesus. Peter says that we “have been born again…through the living and enduring word of God.” John says that Jesus is “the Word” at John 1:1 and “the Word of God” at Revelation 19:13. John adds that “In him was life, and that life was the light of men.” Then he goes on to explain that “he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but born of God.” (John 1:4, 12, 13) Jesus is the principle part of the prophesied seed of the woman of Genesis 3:15. This seed, Peter explains, does not perish.
John 1:14 shows that the Word of God became flesh and dwelt with Mankind.
Jesus, the Word of God, is the culmination of all God’s promises:
“. . .For no matter how many the promises of God are, they have become Yes by means of him. . . .” (2Co 1:20)
This Watchtower study is about examining how the Bible came to us. It confines its analysis to the written word of God. Nevertheless, it seems appropriate to give our Lord his due and ensure that those studying this article are aware of the full scope of the expression-cum-name: “The Word of God”.
Changes in Language
Five years back, during the Friday sessions of the 2012 District Convention, there was a talk titled “Avoid Testing Jehovah in Your Heart”. It was a significant turning point for me. Conventions were never the same after that. Quoting from the outline, the speaker stated that if we doubt the teachings of the Governing Body, even if we keep such doubts to ourselves, ‘we are testing Jehovah in our heart.’ It was the first time I became aware of the fact that we were expected to follow men over God. It was an emotionally-wrenching moment for me.
I had no idea how rapidly this turn of events was to progress, but I was soon to learn. Just a few months later, at the 2012 Annual Meeting, the members of the Governing Body bore witness about themselves that they were the appointed “Faithful and Discreet Slave.” (John 5:31) This gave them a whole new level of authority, one which most Jehovah’s Witnesses have seemed quick to grant them.
Voltaire said, “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”
The Governing Body jealously guards its authority. Thus, the aforementioned convention program talk instructed brothers not to support independent Bible study groups and web sites. Additionally, brothers and sisters who were learning Greek or Hebrew so as to be able to read the Bible in the original languages were told that “it was not necessary (a pet phrase used often in WT correspondence to mean ‘Do not do this’) for them to do so.” Apparently, this was now the purview of newly self-appointed faithful and discreet slave. Critical analysis of its translation work was not invited.
This article shows that nothing has changed.
“Some have felt that they should learn ancient Hebrew and Greek so that they could read the Bible in the original languages. That, however, may not be as profitable as they imagine.” – par. 4
Why on earth not? Why the need to discourage sincere Bible students from expanding their knowledge? Perhaps it has to do with the many accusations surfacing of bias in the 2013 Edition of the NWT.[i] Of course, one doesn’t need to know Greek or Hebrew to discover these. All one needs is a willingness to go outside of the Organization’s publications and read Bible lexicons and commentaries. Jehovah’s Witnesses are discouraged from doing this, so most brothers and sisters believe that the NWT as the “best translation ever” and will use nothing else.
Self-praise for this translation is found in paragraph 6.
Even so, much of the wording in the King James Version became archaic over the centuries. The same is true of early Bible translations in other languages. Are we not grateful, then, to have the modern-language New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures? This translation is available in whole or in part in over 150 languages, thus being available to a vast part of the population today. Its clear wording allows the message of God’s Word to reach our heart. (Ps. 119:97) Significantly, the New World Translation restores God’s name to its rightful place in the Scriptures. – par. 6
How sad that many Jehovah’s Witnesses will read this and believe that, were it not for the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, we’d all still be using archaic Bible translations. Nothing could be farther from the truth. There is now an abundance of modern language translations to choose from. (For but one example of this, click this link to see alternate renderings of this study’s theme text.)
It’s true that JW.org has worked very hard to render the NWT in many languages, but it has a long way to go to catch up to other Bible societies which count their translated languages in the many hundreds. Witnesses are still playing in the minor leagues when it comes to Bible translation.
Finally, paragraph 6 states that “the New World Translation restores God’s name to its rightful place in the Scriptures.” That may well be true when it comes to the Hebrew Scriptures, but with regard to the Christian Scriptures, it is not. The reason is that to claim “restoration” one must first prove that the divine name existed in the original, and the plain truth is that in none of the thousands of extant manuscripts of the Greek Scriptures is the Tetragrammaton to be found. Inserting the name where Jehovah chose to leave it out means we’re undermining his message, a fact revealed in this excellent article by Apollos.
Opposition to Bible Translation
This section of the study reviews the work of the Lollards, followers of Wycliffe, who traveled through England reading from and sharing copies of the Bible in the modern English of the day. They were persecuted because knowledge of God’s Word was seen as a threat to the religious authority of the day.
Today, it is not possible to block access to the Bible. About the best that any religious authority can do is to create their own translation and by biased renderings support their own interpretations. Once they have done that, they have to get their followers to reject all other translations as “inferior” and “suspect” and through peer pressure, force everyone to use only their ‘approved’ version.
The True Word of God
As we discussed at the start, Jesus is the Word of God. It is through Jesus that the Father, Jehovah, now speaks to us. You can make a cake without milk, eggs, and flour. But who would want to eat it? Leaving Jesus out of any discussion about the Word of God is just as unsatisfying. That is what the writer of this article has done, not even mentioning the name of our Lord once.
Thank you Meleti! When the Bible speaks about the Word of God, is it only referring to the holy writings? I would have never made the connection you brought out at the beginning of the article, the word enduring and relating it back to Christ. I must admit it is brutal for me to read the WT articles anymore. I truly thank you from the bottom of my heart that you can read and see the error of the writing committee. The scripture proves true in Eph 4:11 He gave some as teachers, and I believe that is what you… Read more »
Good spiritual food means good spiritual satisfaction. Poor spiritual food means poor satisfaction. No spiritual food means spiritual starvation.
Which one applies to current JW meetings ? Was it always like that ?
Thanks for keeping us thinking and alert, Meliti. I would never have got there without you.
thanks so much for an excellent review. I have just finished reading the article you wrote nearly 5 years ago! That article is riveting and raw, but oh so truthful..
I would encourage all who are not familiar with your experience (no doubt of many others also) to read that 2012 article. “Avoid Testing Jehovah in Your Heart” the link which is embedded in your article above.
You have a very, very discerning and accurate writing style.
Thanks again brother – David
Thank you, David. You actually got me to go back and read my own article. 😉
Thanks for the welcomes!
Amazing how WT refuse to recognize Jesus authority after his resurrection because it gets in the way of “Jehovah” worship. The other thing that stands in the way to giving Jesus his authority, that gives WT theology another leg to stand-on is Rev 1:1, the Revelation that God gave Jesus for him to show. Gee It’s almost a catch-22 in my mind.
Are we forgeting that the words of Jesus are those of Jehovah per WT! They hammer home that Jesus says what he speaks is not his, but the one that sent him henceforth Jehovah’s. Not sure how you get past this to claim words of Jesus exclusive to him.
Welcome StillIn1975. Mt 28:18 says that God gave all authority in heaven and earth to Jesus. What incredible trust he has in his son. He knows that the son only acts as the Father acts. The way to the father is through the son.
I’m gonna translate Kingdom Hall from english to English (Kingdom Hall = Empire Corridor) (Jer 49:39) Welcome stillin Long time coming!!! Worldling-? Shame on US
Welcome stillin1975. Nice to have you.
I have to mention, I have an authorized King James Newberry edition that has Jehovahs name in the new testament footnotes all the way through the new testament. Same as the NWT
I didn’t know about the Newberry edition. I’m going to have to get one of those.
Look at the title of this article again and then maybe you will see why they don’t mention The Christ. Words are tricky pay close attention to them. Worlding-?
Good catch on that one!
Thanks, it makes me think of when I was taught too teach my eye to become two and Then… I would have Three.( 2 Pet 3:17) Worldling-?
Best of luck to everyone with the New Church hope everyone is doing well best wishes
Very nice research on Voltaire, Meleti. Very sorry to hear about your 2012 realization of the Governing Body and their operations, that had to be a tremendous issue to face and overcome, Job well done!! Voltaire was said to be educated by The Jesuits and so was Alberto Rivera but Alberto wound up being Pentacostal. Someone poisoned him in 1997 because he was becoming to damaging to the Clergy and The Holy See with his very powerful and revealing sermons. ( Jn 1:11). The Black Robed Pope and The White Robed Pope wasn’t having it. Translations run very deep and… Read more »
I wonder if my Circuit Overseer will be smacked in line (or waken up) with this. Every talk he gives, he quotes from bible dictionaries, sites bible commentaries, and (now GB forbit) references and compares original greek words. Oddly he says frequently “…and we will not deviate from the ‘faithful stewart'”, possibly a ruse as if a company man.?
My current CO does the same and I wonder how it’s going to go down with him?
Any deep study, actually not even deep study ,any real study soon reveals flaws in WT teaching, Ime sure that’s the reason for the new” simplified ” meetings. I once took this up with an elder , he started gushing about the wonderful provision of having things simple because of all the new people coming in the truth who don’t know much, I said to him yes , and that’s where they are going to stay, not knowing much.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” John 1:14 John 14:1-21 shows us how the Father manifested himself through the Word, Jesus. Jesus is the way the truth and the life. He is in the Father and the Father is in him and we are in Jesus. Jesus the Word stated that if you ask him anything in his name, he Jesus will do it. These scriptures are so beautiful and vivid. What a shame that these written words that have been preserved down to our day are twisted, and changed by the WT. They want the control.… Read more »
They have let the Chariot outrun the Horse! Bibles are their business and they have done very well at it. A couple quick facts: WTBTS OF N.Y. printed and distributed the KJV (AV) from 1942 to 1992 and the American Standard Version (ASV) from 1944 to 1992. They only stopped because of the Swaggart case and wound up not being able to charge for their literature any longer. Me personally I do prefer the (AV) I also like the Green (NWT 1970 revision), the one I learned from as a boy. My green one is still in very good condition,they… Read more »
It’s a relief that Gods word will endure, WT teaching on the other hand is very perishable, reminds me of what Jesus said at Joh 6:27.
In light of this article another scripture comes to mind that about sums up what the leaders are doing Rom1: 18.
In reference to ( Jn 6:27) better to starve the body then the mind. Good one Wild Olive! Worlding-?
Or work for doctrines that perish
Great article. I am so grateful for Bible Hub to look at other bible translations! I never compared any other translations to the NWT- but it is only through comparison that we can see how the Org has used the NWT to twist the meaning of scriptures. Always compare other translations to the NWT and let the scriptures speak to you through the request of God’s Holy Spirit .you will be amazed at what will be revealed.
Bible Hub is so valuable. I mostly value the interlinear feature, with the ability to open up original language words’ definitions with a click. Also the exegetical comments. Discouraging people to study ancient Greek or Hebrew shows just the fear of the GB. How can building a new convention hall be a spiritual activity and studying ancient Greek or Hebrew, with the only aim to deeper understand the word of God, not?
Thank you Meleti for the article.
Well said Tyhik
The sad thing is that all this construction work and the wealth it creates is probly going to be a Jam 5:3 in the end to the brotherhood.
And why would one be discouraged to study bible languages if it’s only to hide something?
Thank You Meleti and all the others here,again you’ve brought out sound thinking points that rightfully point to Christ.Agreed,the WT teachings show both control and cultic fear..there’s a quote from somewhere, “Truth welcomes Inquiry,but Falsehood-posing as’truth’-is terrified of any Inquiry”.
None of us ever have been encouraged to look at a different translation,now I always start with my King Jamie and work out from there, I use the NWT mainly because it has an extensive cross reference, but now Ime starting to see that even in that there is bias.
I have heard that possibly the best translation is The Schofield bible , still have to get one to confirm that.
The Sc*ofield reference bible is not a translation it is a KJV(AV) with commentary and Chain Reference=(thought-current). Is your King Jamie the woman’s edition? I hope I’m not out of bounds asking…Worldling-?
No not a woman’s version I just call it that to make it not so high sounding. After all the only king for me is Jesus.
Just wondering if you have used a Schofield, and if so how was it? I would like to know because their asking $150 au for one, is it worth the money ?
I’m personally not aware of a Schofield version using the h in the spelling, I can only recommend what I know. Thompson Chain Reference Bible is one that I hold fast to, and would highly recommend. Although the particular edition I have I had to make I think it was ten or eleven corrections to the “subtle changes” inserted. As far as the money goes it seems a little high, but that’s all in the “eye” of the beholder! I hope it helps…Worldling-?