Bible Translation challenge issued to Jehovah's W.
Written by: White, James Posted on: 04/25/2003
Category: Cults / Sects / Non Christian Religions and Topics
Message 5515 DATE/TIME: 04/13/89 23:13
From : JAMES WHITE -- RECEIVED --
To : BC BLAD
Subject: AN OPEN CHALLENGE
Folder : K, "Kingdom Int. Truth/Lies?"
*** AN OPEN CHALLENGE TO "BC BLAD" OR LARRY KELLY OR ANY OTHER ***
*** REPRESENTATIVE OF THE WATCHTOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY ***
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
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.
Message 5768 DATE/TIME: 04/24/89 15:55
From : JAMES WHITE
To : BC BLAD
Subject: Another Challenge #1
Folder : K, "Kingdom Int. Truth/Lies?"
***A FURTHER CHALLENGE TO THE WATCHTOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY***
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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