Bible Translation challenge issued to Jehovah’s W.
AUTHOR: White, James
PUBLISHED ON: April 25, 2003

Message 5515                                  DATE/TIME: 04/13/89 23:13
From  : JAMES WHITE                        — RECEIVED —
To    : BC BLAD
Folder : K, “Kingdom Int. Truth/Lies?”


POINT  OF DEBATE:  The Watchtower Society’s publication  entitled,
“The  Kingdom  Interlinear Translation of  the  Greek  Scriptures”
omits  a word from the text of John 14:14 which directly bears  on
the issue of the Deity of Christ.  In that the Watchtower  Society
is  willing to deliberately alter the text of Sacred Scripture  to
suit its own preconceived theological teachings, we can reject the
claims of that Society to be “Jehovah’s only organization” and can
identify  that group as opposing the work of Jesus Christ and  the
proclamation of the Gospel.

RELEVANT  DATA:  The text of the verse in  question  is  provided
below  in  transliteration,  just as it is found  in  the  Kingdom

14.  ean      ti      aitesete      *me*  en  to  onomati
    if ever  anything  you should ask  *me*  in  the  name

  mou    touto      poieso.
of me    this      I will do.

The  above  provides the Greek text in  transliteration,  and  the
Society’s  own “literal” rendering beneath.  The Greek  term  “me”
(the  accusative  singular  form of “ego”)  is  especially  marked
because it is the term in question.  Note closely the  translation
of  the New World Translation that is given in the column  to  the
right of the interlinear Greek text:

14 If YOU ask anything in my name, I will do it.

The  term “you” is capitalized to show that the pronoun  in  Greek
(here  contained in the second person plural ending “ete”  on  the
verb “aiteo”) is plural rather than singular.
    PLEASE  NOTE:  The literal translation of the  Greek  is  as
follows:  “If  you will ask *me* anything in my name, I  will  do
it.”  It  is clear to see that the first occurrence of  the  word
“me”  in  the  Greek  has  been  omitted  from  the  New  World
Translation’s rendering.  Why?
    It  is my allegation that the Society has deleted  this  word
from  its  translation (despite its clear presence  in  the  Greek
text)  for  a very simple reason–the context of this  passage  is
Jesus’  “going to the Father.”  The verb “aitesete” is  future  in
form.  Jesus is speaking of the time *following* His resurrection. 
How,  then, can a person ask *Jesus* for anything when  Jesus  has
been  resurrected *unless* it is in prayer?  Clearly this  passage
teaches  prayer *to Jesus*.  The Society teaches its  people  that
they  cannot  pray *to* Christ, for only God can  receive  prayer,
and, since Jesus is Michael the Archangel in their teaching,  they
must  needs alter the very Word of God for the sake of  their  own
    Now,  finally, please note this as well: there is  a  textual
variant in this verse in the Greek manuscripts.  The term “me”  is
not  included  in  a minority of the textual  tradition.  It  is,
however,  included  in  the earliest  papyri  manuscript  of  this
section,  P66, as well  as  in Codex Sinaiticus,  Codex  Vaticanus,
Codex W, Delta, Theta and 060, Family 13, minuscules 28, 33,  700,
892,  1230, 1242, 1646, as well as many lectionaries and  part  of
the  Byzantine tradition.  The reading is rated with a “B” in  the
United  Bible Society’s text.  The King James Version, basing  its
translation on the older (and far less accurate) Stephen’s text of
1551,  does not have the term “me” because that text, based  on  a
small  spectrum  of the Byzantine tradition,  lacks  the  reading. 
However,  *all*  modern  Greek texts that take  advantage  of  the
entire  body of manuscript evidence contain the term,  and  modern
translations, following those texts, contain it as well.  However,
also  note this – the Society to my knowledge has never  explained
the  absence of the term “me” in the NWT by appealing  to  textual
evidence.  They chose to use the Westcott-Hort text of 1881 as the
basis of their translation.  They give no citation that this  term
is disputed.

CHALLENGE:  I  challenge “Bc Blad” or Larry Kelly  or  any  other
representative of the Watchtower Society to give logical,  factual
reason  for the translation of the Westcott-Hort Greek text  found
in  the Kingdom Interlinear that is given to us in the  New  World
Translation.  Why does the NWT delete the term “me”?

I await the response, and request that any Christians who join  me
in this challenge state their support.

James White

Message 5768                                  DATE/TIME: 04/24/89 15:55
To    : BC BLAD
Subject: Another Challenge #1
Folder : K, “Kingdom Int. Truth/Lies?”


In recent days I  have  challenged  any and all representatives of the
Watchtower  Bible  and  Tract  Society to respond  to a  challenge  in
regards to  the rendering of  John  14:14  in  the Kingdom Interlinear
Translation of the Greek Scriptures, published by that Society. I have
not,  at the time  of  this writing,  received  any  response  to that
challenge,  outside of the continued insistance that the Society would
never do such  a thing  as pervert or change  the  Bible.  Not one  of
Jehovah’s Witnesses has as yet had the  courage or fortitude to answer
even a challenge  that strikes at the most basic level of  the honesty
of the Watchtower.

There are,  of course,  many other instances of dishonesty represented
in the  Watchtower’s  publications,  particularly in  the  “New  World
Translation”.  I have  had many  Witnesses tell me  that they believed
implicitly  that the  New World  Translation (hereafter  “NWT”)  is  a
modern,  scholarly  translation  –  indeed,  that  it  is  the  *most*
scholarly and *unbiased* translation available.

Given that most Jehovah’s  Witnesses are  probably  honest individuals
who simply labor under the deception of a  false religious system that
demands absolute loyalty to the teachings of men rather than God (read
that “cult”),  it would be a service to such individuals to be able to
demonstrate the fact that the NWT perverts and twists the Word of God.
To  demonstrate that  this is  so,  I enter into  evidence to  further
challenges to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society:

#1:  The  Watchtower  Bible  and  Tract  Society  has  purposefully
mistranslated  Colossians 2:9 in a vain  attempt to hide the  Biblical
teaching of the Deity of Christ.

#2: The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society has purposefully hidden the
usage of the term “Jehovah”  or “Yahweh” when it applies to the person
of Jesus Christ  in their supposed “reinsertion”  of the “Divine Name”
into the New Testament.  That is, the Society has been inconsistent in
replacing the Greek  term “kurios”  in verses that are quotations from
the Old Testament that use the term “Yahweh” in the original Hebrew.

In order to substantiate the first allegation,  I  here  give  you the
rendering of Colossians  2:9 as found in a  modern,  non-Witness Bible

Col  2:9 For in Christ  all the fullness of  the Deity lives in bodily
form, (NIV)

In another version it reads,

Col  2:9 for in him dwelleth all the fulness of  the  Godhead  bodily,

However, in the New World Translation it is rendered,

Col  2:9 because it  is in him  that all  the  fullness  of the divine
quality dwells bodily.

The mistranslation presented  by the Society  is in reference  to  the
Greek  term  “theotetos.”  This  term  is  rendered  in older  English
versions as “Godhead” but in more modern versions (NIV, NASB, etc.) as
“deity”  or “Deity.”  The Kingdom Interlinear,  1969 edition,  used to
give as the “literal”  rendering  of the Greek text “godship”  but the
1985 edition  of  the  KIT  has changed this  “literal”  rendering  to

To give us some information concerning this Greek term,  I submit  the
following information:

There really are no translational difficulties presented by Colossians
2:9. There are no textual variants to worry about, and the meanings of
the  various  words  are  pretty  clear.  However,  two  of the words,
“theotetos” and “somatikos” do need further elaboration.

The Greek of the passage reads as follows:

“hoti en auto katoikei pan to pleroma tes theotetos somatikos,”

The clause opens with the idea of purpose,  “hoti”,  forming the basis
of Paul’s warning in verse  8.  The  rest of  the  phrase  is  so very
expressive in the Greek language that a brief  look at it is certainly
in order.

The  first consideration has to do with the phrase “en auto katoikei”.
“In Him is dwelling” is the literal translation. The verb, “katoikei”,
is  in the present  indicative  active third person singular.  One can
easily see a gnomic present, but a regular descriptive present is also
quite possible.  If one were to take  this as a regular present,  Paul
would be  referring to the  glorified resurrection  body of  the  Lord
Jesus as the place of residence of the “fulness of Deity.”  This seems
the  best  sense  in  light  of  the  context  of  a  polemic  against

“Katoikei” is itself descriptive in meaning. Kenneth Wuest wrote:

The compound verb  was  used of the  permanent residents of  a town as
compared  with  the  transient  community.  The verb is in the present
tense, showing durative action. The translation reads: “Because in Him
there  is continuously and permanently at home all the fulness of  the
Godhead in bodily fashion.” (1)

Hence,  the  fact of the indwelling of  Deity  in Christ is not  as an
alien presence, but as an inhabitant in his own home.

The phrase “pan to pleroma”  was significant to the Gnostic readers of
this work–it steals their own terminology from them. Its significance
in combatting gnosticism is of great importance in  understanding this

“Tes theotetos”  truly is the central word of this verse.  The meaning
as rendered  by the New American Standard Bible seems to  be the best:
Deity.  Most  would  be  familiar  with  the  King  James  rendering,
“Godhead,”  though the meaning of this word is more obscure  than that
of “Deity.”

The Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich and Danker lexicon renders the word “deity,
divinity,  used as an abstract noun for “theos”.” (2) Thayer’s lexicon
says,  “deity,  i.e.  the state of being God,  Godhead:  Col.  ii. 9.”
Thayer is here giving us  Grimm’s words.  However,  he then goes on to
provide  some  important information  on  his  own,  “[SYN.  “theotes,
theiotes:  theot”.  deity differs from “theiot”.  divinity, as essence
differs from  quality or attribute;”  (3) This bit  of  information is
vital.  The word under consideration here,  “theotes”, is not the same
word  as is found  at  Romans  1:20,  “theiotes”.  This  difference is
striking and purposeful.  One  cannot translate “theotes”  as a simple
quality or  attribute –  it  refers instead to the actual  essence  of
deity,  not  simply to its attributes.  The  most extensive passage on
this  important  idea  is  found  in  Trench’s  “Synonyms of  the  New

…yet  they  (“theiotes”  and “theotes”)  must  not  be  regarded  as
identical  in  meaning,  nor even as two different forms  of  the same
word,  which in process  of  time have separated off from one another,
and acquired different shades of significance.  On the contrary, there
is a real distinction between them,  and  one which grounds itself  on
their  different  derivations;  “theotes”  being  from  “theos”,  and
“theiotes”,  not from “to theion”,  which is nearly  though  not quite
equivalent  to “theos”,  but from the adjective “theios”…But in  the
second passage (Col. ii.9) St. Paul is declaring that in the Son there
dwells all the fulness of absolute Godhead;  they were no mere rays of
divine glory which gilded Him, lighting up his person for a season and
with a splendour not his own; but He was, and is, absolute and perfect
God;  and  the Apostle  uses “theotes”  to express this essential  and
personal Godhead of the Son;… (4)

The reader is encouraged to read all of Trench’s presentation.

Kenneth Wuest expanded on this idea in  discussing the significance of
“theotes” at Colossians 2:9:

The  Greek  is very strong  here.  One could  translate,  “For in  Him
corporeally  there  is  permanently  at home  all  the  fulness of the
Godhead.”  That  is,  in our Lord Jesus in His incarnation and  in the
permanent possession of His human body now glorified, there resides by
nature and permanently the fulness of the Godhead.  The word “Godhead”
is from our second word “theotes”.  The word expresses Godhead in  the
absolute sense.  It is not merely divine  attributes  that are in mind
now,  but the possession of the essence of deity in an absolute sense.
The Greek Fathers never use “theiotes”  but always “theotes”  as alone
adequately  expressing  the  essential Godhead  of  the three  several
Persons in  the  Holy Trinity.  The  Latin  Christian writers were not
satisfied with divinitas which was in common use,  but coined the word
“deitas”  as the  only  adequate  representative  of  the  Greek  word
“theotes”. (5)

The concept here put forth is  striking.  It is impossible to conceive
of  a  higher  view  of  Christ.  This  statement,  however,  is  not
inconsistent with Paul’s overall theology. Benjamin B. Warfield, while
discussing Paul’s conception of Christ, wrote:

…we are told not only that (naturally) in Him all the fulness dwells
(Col.  i.19), but, with complete explication, that “all the fulness of
the Godhead dwells in him bodily”  (Col.  ii.9);  that is to say,  the
very Deity of God,  that which makes God God, in all its completeness,
has its permanent home in Our Lord,  and that in a  “bodily  fashion,”
that is,  it  is in Him clothed with a body.  He who looks  upon Jesus
Christ see, no doubt, a body and a man; but as he sees the man clothed
with  the body,  so  he sees  God Himself,  in all the fulness of  His
Deity, clothed with the humanity. (6)

There is little need to  further elaborate  on the obvious meaning  of
“theotetos”.  Let it suffice to  say that such scholars as Alford (7),
Nicoll (8) and A. T. Robertson (9) all view it in similar manner. Even
a cursory glance at how some of the major translations render the word
bear this out:

RSV: For in him the whole fulness of deity dwells bodily…

NIV:  For  in  Christ  all  the fullness of  the Deity lives in bodily

NEB: For it is in Christ that the complete being of the Godhead dwells

Barclay:  For  it is in  Christ that godhead  in all its  completeness
dwells in bodily form.

Amplified:  For in Him the whole  fullness  of  Deity  (the  Godhead),
continues to dwell in bodily form –  giving complete expression of the
divine nature.

What does all  of this  relate to us today?  Can  Paul’s attack on  an
ancient heresy called gnosticism have any relevance now?  It certainly
can,  and  it most assuredly does!  Most of the modern  heresies  find
their roots in  the Church’s ancient foes (“So,  there is  nothing new
under the sun.”  Eccl.  1:9). Arianism and gnosticism is still rampant
today. Paul’s sharp words in laying down the standard by which to test
all teaching must be  clung to with never weakening  resolve  today as
never before!  Does a certain group or teacher admit and proclaim that
all the  fulness of Deity  dwells in Christ Jesus bodily?  If they  do
not,  they  are placed by Paul right  alongside “philosophy and  empty
deception.”  This passage  continues  to  speak  today,  and  it  will
throughout eternity.  May it shed its bright light on the Church until
Jesus comes again!

1. Wuest, “Word Studies”, vol. 1., “Ephesians and Colossians,” p. 201.
See also,  James Hope Moulton, George Milligan, “The Vocabulary of the
Greek Testament”,  (Grand Rapids:  Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company,
1930) p.  338. 2. Bauer,  “Greek-English Lexicon,” 2nd ed., p. 358. 3.
Thayer,  “The New Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon”,  p. 288. 4. Richard
C.  Trench,  “Synonyms of the New Testament”,  (Grand Rapids:  Wm.  B.
Eerdmans Publishing Company,  1953),  pp. 7-8. See also the discussion
by  Bishop Lightfoot,  “Colossians”,  pp.  181-182.  5.  Wuest,  “Word
Studies”,  vol. 3, “Treasures from the Greek New Testament, pp. 75-76.
6. Benjamin B.  Warfield,  “The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield”, (Grand
Rapids:  Baker Book House, 1981), vol 2:184. 7. Alford, “New Testament
for  English  Readers”,  vol.  3:1296.  8. Nicoll,  “Expositor’s Greek
Testament”, vol. 3:523. 9. Robertson, “Word Pictures”, vol. 4:491.

Given the above information,  it seems clear that the  NWT translation
of Colossians 2:9 is utterly insupportable from the scholarly sources.
Therefore,  it  would seem that the Society is guilty of attempting to
hide from the readers of the NWT the eternal fact  that the fulness of
Deity dwells in Jesus Christ.

In regards to the second accusation: Rod Bias is far more capable than
I at providing full documentation of  this charge.  My small knowledge
of this  field is indirectly  derived from Rod’s  work  in the 1970’s.
However,  one short demonstration of the Watchtower’s inconsistency in
their supposed “re-insertion”  of the “divine name”  into the  text of
the New Testament should be sufficient to substantiate the above given

Psalms  102:25-27 In the  beginning you  laid the foundations  of  the
earth,  and the heavens are the work of your hands.  They will perish,
but you remain;  they will all wear out like a garment.  Like clothing
you  will change them and they will be discarded.  But  you remain the
same, and your years will never end. (NIV)

This beautiful passage from  Psalm 102 is clearly addressed to Jehovah
God,  as  seen  in verses 1  and 21. No  one  would argue  this  fact.
However, notice the following:

Heb  1:10-12 also says,  “In  the  beginning,  O Lord,  you  laid  the
foundations of the earth,  and the heavens are the work of your hands.
They  will perish,  but  you remain;  they  will  all wear out  like a
garment.  You will roll them up like a robe;  like a garment they will
be changed.  But you remain the same,  and your years will never end.”

This  passage,  found  in  the  prologue of Hebrews,  is about  *Jesus
Christ.*  Here the writer of Hebrews quotes  directly  from  the Psalm
about  Jehovah  and  applies  these words to  the  Lord  Jesus Christ,
showing  us that the writer  of Hebrews recognized that the Lord Jesus
shares the one name “Yahweh” with the Father, something that Jehovah’s
Witnesses utterly deny.

Now,  according  to the Witnesses,  they “restore”  the “divine  name”
whenever the Greek term “kurios” is used as a substitute for it in the
New Testament.  Now,  the Greek term “kurios” appears in Hebrews 1:10.
The NIV translates it “O Lord.”  Now,  if the NWT were consistent with
its own stated practices, it would translate the passage, “O Jehovah.”
But it does not.  It reads “O Lord”  just as the NIV.  Why? The reason
seems obvious – if the NWT were to follow its own rules, it would have
to identify the Lord Jesus,  who is here described,  as Jehovah!  This
they will not do, hence they break their own rules.

Though many  examples like  this could be cited (and I hope  that  Rod
will  provide  us with  further  citations),  it  seems clear that the
Society is desperately hoping that its  followers will not discover  a
truth so startlingly revealed by the  Scriptures –  that is that Jesus
Christ  shares  the “divine name”  with the Father–Jesus  is  Yahweh!
Compare these two passages below for further confirmation:

Isaiah 6:1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on
a throne,  high  and exalted,  and  the  train of  his robe filled the
temple.  Isaiah 6:9 He said,  “Go  and  tell this  people:  “`Be  ever
hearing,  but  never  understanding;  be  ever  seeing,  but  never
perceiving.’  Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears
dull and close their eyes.  Otherwise they  might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,  understand with their  hearts,  and turn and be
healed.” (NIV)

John 12:38-41 This  was  to fulfill the  word of  Isaiah  the prophet:
“Lord,  who  has believed our message  and to whom has the  arm of the
Lord been revealed?”  For this reason they could not believe, because,
as  Isaiah  says elsewhere:  “He  has blinded their eyes and  deadened
their hearts,  so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand
with their hearts, nor turn– and I would heal them.” Isaiah said this
because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him. (NIV)

These  two passages,  when seen together,  tell us  something that the
Witnesses don’t believe and the Society doesn’t want us to know:  John
quotes  from Isaiah  chapter  6, and  then  states,  “Isaiah said this
because he saw Jesus’  glory and spoke  about him.”  But when we  read
Isaiah 6:1,  and  read  Isaiah’  own words,  who does  he  tell  us he
actually saw?  Jehovah God!  In fact,  the NWT renders the Hebrew term
“Adonai”  in Isaiah  6:1  as  “Jehovah”!  Hence,  Isaiah says  he  saw
Jehovah’s glory,  while John says he saw Jesus’  glory! Clearly, then,
Jesus is Jehovah!

As before,  I invite any  representative of  the Watchtower Bible  and
Tract  Society  to  submit  a  reasonable,  Biblical  reply  to  this
information. I await a response.


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