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The New World Bible Translation Committee proposed two translation guidelines and a third hypothesis regarding the history of the early Christian congregations that, when combined, support the use of Jehovah in their Christian Scripture translation.
Most importantly, they stated that quotations from the Hebrew Scriptures using the divine name guided their decision to use Jehovah in the Christian Scriptures for that same quotation.
Secondly, they stated that God's name should be restored when it is found in Hebrew versions at a given verse.
Finally, they stated that it should be restored because a purported heresy in the early Christian congregations resulted in the removal of the Tetragrammaton from the Christian Scripture writings.
Therefore, lest we reach any incorrect conclusions, we must evaluate these three possibilities fairly. We will carefully examine each after we review some necessary Bible background information.
The Translation Committee's statement
We will close this chapter with a quotation from Appendix 1D of the New World Translation, Reference Edition, 1984, pages 1564 and 1565. This statement is the basis for the first two guidelines above. The Committee's statement is as follows:
To know where the divine name was replaced by the Greek words kurios and theos, we have determined where the inspired Christian writers have quoted verses, passages and expressions from the Hebrew Scriptures and then we have referred back to the Hebrew text to ascertain whether the divine name appears there. In this way we determined the identity to give kurios and theos and the personality with which to clothe them.
To avoid overstepping the bounds of a translator into the field of exegesis, we have been most cautious about rendering the divine name in the Christian Greek Scriptures, always carefully considering the Hebrew Scriptures as a background. We have looked for agreement from the Hebrew versions to confirm our rendering. Thus, out of the 237 times that we have rendered the divine name in the body of our translation, there is only one instance where we have no agreement from the Hebrew versions.