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Your Word is Truth, Essays in Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the New World Translation of the
Holy Scriptures (1950, 1953)
The book was edited by Anthony Byatt and Hal Flemings and published in 2004. It is available from Golden Age Books and Stoops Manufacturing Co.

Book Contents: As the sub-title indicates, this book consists of a series of essays by eight authors. The New World Translation Bible published by the Watchtower Society is the subject of their book. Only two of the chapters have material which concerns us on this web site. They are highlighted in the index list below. The chapters—and their respective authors—are:

1.  Some Principles and Features of the NWT, by Anthony Byatt
2.  Use of the Divine Name in the Christian Greek Scriptures, by Hal Flemings
3.  Matthew 1:23—'Immanuel,' by David Jakubovic
4.  'Triadic' Formulae in the NT, by David Jakubovic
5.  Proverbs 8:22—God's Wisdom: an Acquired Attribute, or God's Created Son?, by Nelson Herle Jnr.
6.  The Eschatological Discourse of the Messianic Parousia, by Edgar Foster
7.  "Impaled on a stake"—A Result of Sectarian Bias?, by Pal-Espen Torisen and Dan-Ake Mattsson
8.  Distinguishing the 'Lords': Does Jesus Take Jehovah's Name?, by Anthony Byatt
9.  The Theological Importance of the Name Jehovah, by Anthony Byatt
10.  Bible Truths on the Soul and Hell, by David Jakubovic
11.  Philippians 1:23, by David Jakubovic
12.  The NWT's Translation of the Hebrew Verbal System—With Particular Stress on the Waw Consecutive, by Rolf Furuli
13.  Disputed Renderings in the Hebrew Scriptures, by Hal Flemings
14.  The accuracy of the NWT in Paul's Letter to the Ephesians, by Anthony Byatt
Bibliography of the New World Translation Reviews
Select Bibliography
Index of Bible References
Index of Hebrew, Greek and Latin Words
Index of Subjects

First Impression: By way of general comment, the book evidences a great deal of care in its extensive references and copious footnotes. The result is a wealth of bibliographic information supporting selected unique qualities of the New World Translation. The bibliography and index information at the close of the book is a valuable resource for further study and is not limited to only those publications which endorse the New World Translation. The bibliography entitled The Bibliography of the New World Translation Reviews is particularly noteworthy in this regard.

    We say, "Job well done." to the editors Anthony Byatt and Hal Flemings and the contributing authors who participated in the project.

Overview: All but two of the topics in 'Your Word is Truth' are outside the concern of our own books. However, in Chapter 8: Distinguishing the 'Lords': Does Jesus Take Jehovah's Name?, our book The Tetragrammaton and the Christian Greek Scriptures is extensively quoted and debated. As a result, our attention is then drawn to Chapter 2: Use of the Divine Name in the Christian Greek Scriptures, in which The Tetragrammaton and the Christian Greek Scriptures is not referenced but should be.

    The editors of 'Your Word is Truth' have inadvertently reversed the significance of these two topics.

    Therefore, let me summarize these two chapters by using direct quotations. Extended quotations are used in order to preserve the authors' meaning within its context. I will indicate the location of the quotation from 'Your Word is Truth' with brackets [ ] indicating the page number on which that citation is found. In some cases, when our own book The Tetragrammaton and the Christian Greek Scriptures is cited, I will link the quotation to our book using a [TCGS] link symbol. You can also open the complete The Tetragrammaton and the Christian Greek Scriptures on this site.

    Our comments will always be in this first font. Quotations from 'Your Word is Truth' (and other incidental quotations) will always be in this second font. Sub-headings in 'Your Word is Truth' are set in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS.

Chapter 8: Distinguishing the 'Lords': Does Jesus Take Jehovah's Name? by Anthony Byatt

  The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures has been attacked for its insertion of the name Jehovah into a number of the quotations and allusions from the Hebrew Scriptures.[108]


  Lynn Lundquist [The Tetragrammaton and the Christian Greek Scriptures] has a varied number of criticisms to make against the NWT. He refers to a discussion with a Witness Elder, where the latter maintained that,

  "(H)is faith was not dependent on the presence of the Tetragrammaton in the Christian Greek Scriptures." He found this inconsistent, arguing that, "without the Tetragrammaton in the original Greek Scriptures, this Overseer must acknowledge that the one bearing the title Kyrios (Kurios) stands as fully identified with Yhwh." [TCGS]

  It will be the purpose of this essay to show that 'Lord' (kurios) used for both persons, does not mean that Jesus is Jehovah. Lundquist himself considers that, on the one hand, Kyrios was allowed to have a broader meaning, but also that "we must consider purposeful indistinct meaning as the writing method."[TCGS] This is to argue that the writers either did not know who they were talking about, or wished their readers to be uncertain, or even deceived as to the identity of the person referred to.[*] That would be quite contrary to all the rest of Scripture, and to the one who inspired it, Jehovah God himself.[109]

[*] Irrespective of our personal theological position, if we are to list all of the possible options available to the writers, we would need to list them as: 1) the writers did not know who they were talking about, 2) the writers wished their readers to be uncertain who they were talking about, 3) the writers wished their readers to be deceived as to the identity of the person referred to, or 4) the writers knew who they were talking about and yet chose to use a single word for both Jehovah and Jesus.


  The use of the Tetragrammaton in the Hebrew Scriptures, and its proper translation by either 'Jehovah' or 'Yahweh', or some variant spelling of this name, makes clear the identity of the speaker as the one God, the Father. The religion of the Israelites was very clearly defined as monotheistic, the worship of just one God, Jehovah.

  But then the name became the subject of superstition, and the Jews almost ceased to pronounce it, and various substitutes were used, one of which was 'Lord'. When Hebrew began to fade from everyday use, Greek became the language for many Hellenistic Jews. The Greek Septuagint (LXX) was started around 280 B.C.E., and its later manuscripts replaced the Tetragrammaton with kurios (Lord), in most cases, and also used kurios in many places where it was a direct equivalent for the parallel Hebrew word. The resulting confusion helped to create the problem—which Lord is which? [110]

    [Following a discussion of the Church Fathers, Anthony Byatt concludes by saying,] We have now looked at reviewer's criticisms, and then traced back to the Septuagint and the Church Fathers the origins of these views and teachings. Let us now examine the problem arising from this confusion of two 'Lords'.[110-11]


    When the Greek term kurios is used in the Christian Scriptures it has a very wide connotation. It can stand in place of the Tetragrammaton (Jehovah), and in certain cases it clearly refers to the Father when there is little suggestion that the Tetragrammaton might be behind the text. Then it is also used of Jesus Christ, at first in the polite widespread custom of the first century C.E., and meaning, 'Sir' or 'Master'. Then as Jesus' designation as 'Lord' by his Father came to be appreciated by the apostles and disciples, it was used with a heightened meaning, and even the phrase 'Lord of Lords' was correctly applied to Jesus. We can therefore see why this possess a problem, when into this confusion is thrust the idea linked with the Trinity that there may in effect only be 'one Lord'.

    We will establish by direct discussion of many scriptures that the two Lords are usually clearly distinguished, and that the lordship of Christ was bestowed upon him by his Father, Jehovah, without any way diminishing Jehovah's own Almightiness.[*] They do not have to belong to a Trinity for the most perfect unity and oneness to exist between Father and Son. But first, we need to consider the place of the Tetragrammaton behind the word kurios, to see if it is possible to make our entire subject very much clearer to our understanding.[111-12]

[*] We understand the point of view of the editors of this book that the names of Jehovah and the Lord Jesus must always be distinguished from each other. This they maintain irrespective of the voluminous ancient Greek manuscript evidence which uses only the single word Kurios to identify both. We will return later to this topic. However, the reader must be aware of a shift which has taken place in the tone of this chapter. The underlying assumption is not whether or not the names are clearly distinguished from each other, but rather a predetermined conclusion that they are distinguished from each other.


  The use of Hebrew Translations of the N.T., to give backing to placing 'Jehovah' in the text of the NWT of the Christian Greek Scriptures, has evinced much criticism. But we need to ask this question—why did so many qualified scholars include the Tetragrammaton in their Hebrew N.T. translations made since the sixteenth century C.E.? . . . The Septuagint translators faced the problem of having to distinguish between Hebrew Adonai (Lord) and the Tetragrammaton. "The solution they generally seem to have settled on was to render Adonai as ho kyrios (the Lord) and YHVH as simply kyrios without the definite article," says Ray Pritz. But because the LXX was translated over quite a long period of years, its translators did not consistently follow that rule. These two forms were carried over into the Christian Greek Scriptures, but again, "to make things more complicated, the form of kyrios without the definite article is occasionally used of Jesus, as in Luke 2:11."

  In the modern Hebrew N.T., it was decided to stay with a'don (Lord) and adonai (LORD) for kyrios, except for quotations from the Hebrew Scriptures, when the Tetragrammaton would be used, and in a few cases "where the context seemed to demand it,"[*] such as Revelation 19:6.

[*]  Anthony Byatt does not inform the reader that "where the context seemed to demand it" is not determined by manuscript evidence but by the theological bias of the translator.

  So the NWT followed this same method, generally restricting its use of 'Jehovah' to quotations and allusions from the Hebrew Scriptures for two important reasons. To continue to give honor to the name Jehovah in an accurate translation of the Hebrew, and second, to continue to distinguish between the Lords, so that readers would be more easily aware of which one was being referred to. This merely carried on a principle of distinction made in the Septuagint, and by the writers of the Christian Greek Scriptures, although not always with consistent success.[111-12]


  We now need to examine in some detail the usage of the Christian Greek Scriptures with reference to the title 'Lord' to determine to whom it applies, and what we learn from this.[114]

    A discussion of a number of passages which use kurios in the Christian Scriptures follows.

  In the book of Revelation one particular phrase is repeated a number of times, "Jehovah God, the Almighty" (NWT), or "Lord, the God, the Almighty"(KIT). This expression is found at Rev. 1:8; 4:8; 11:17; 15:3; 16:7; 19:6; 21:22 and twice without 'the Almighty' being added at Rev. 18:8 and 22:5. . . . At Rev. 11:15 "the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ" nicely distinguishes the two 'Lords' and in 15:3, the 'song of the Lamb' (Christ Jesus), is in homage to Jehovah. In Rev. 19:6, 7, the song of the great crowd to Jehovah is not only because he has "begun to rule as king", but also because "the marriage of the Lamb has arrived". At chapter 21:22, after stating that "Jehovah God the Almighty is its temple" it adds, "also the Lamb (is)" and the next verse again speaks of both God and the Lamb; then 22:3 refers to "the throne of God and of the Lamb". In all of these instances the two persons or Lords are clearly separated and marked off from one another, and Jehovah is always given the first position, with the added Greek word pantokrator (Almighty) for good measure. The origin and fulfillment of what takes place is usually ascribed to Jehovah, but the unity of father and son is also a prominent feature.

  Lynn Lundquist applies this term pantokrator (Almighty) to Jesus, because he makes this fundamental mistake:

  "if the Apostle John wrote the Greek word Kyrios ... then the Lord Jesus was identified with 'God ... the Almighty'." [TCGS]

  He has confused the two persons, and cannot see that the same Greek term is used for both Jehovah God and his son Jesus Christ—the very reason for this essay![*] The Arndt and Gingrich Lexicon makes clear that the term pantokrator is used "only of God"[**] and it then lists all the texts given above together with 2 Cor. 6:18.[116]

[*] Anthony Byatt stated the exact opposite of my position. I argue forcefully that the same Greek word (kurios) is used for both Jehovah and Jesus as Lord. See [TCGS].

[**] The Arndt and Gingrich Lexicon states:

"    pantokrator: Much more frequent in Jewish [LXX] and Christian writings: the Almighty, All-Powerful, Omnipotent (One) only of God (as translation of Sabaot [the Hebrew word 'Jehovah of hosts'] and Shadday [the Hebrew word for 'the Almighty'] ) . . . 2; the theos the pantokrator. Rv 16:14; 19:15; . . . kurios pantokrator: (often LXX) 2 Cor 6:18. the kurios the pantokrator . . . Rv 1:8; 4:8; 11:17; 15:3; 16:7; 21:22."
    Note that the Arndt and Gingrich reference to "only of God" concerns its use in the LXX wherein pantokrator is a translation of the two Hebrew words Sabaot and Shadday. When used in the Christian Scriptures, Arndt and Gingrich extend it to the verses indicated above. Please also note that even though our books do not argue a theological position regarding the deity of Jesus, the statement "only of God" is most certainly supportive of that position when kurios and pantokrator are used together.

  Our analysis has by no means been exhaustive, but we have seen examples from all over the Christian Greek Scriptures, which establish the following points:

  1. The two 'Lords' are usually carefully distinguished.

  2. Jehovah is always given the first place, with such descriptive titles added, as Father or Almighty.

  3. The use of the name Jehovah in so many of these passages in the NWT, removes all confusion as to which 'Lord' is intended, helping the reader to understand in a clear manner.[*]

  4. Jesus Christ is also identified by other titles, such as the Son or the Lamb, as well as Lord, and is always in full harmony with his Father, Jehovah.[116]

[*] This is precisely the concern of our book The Tetragrammaton and the Christian Greek Scriptures. Over 5,000 ancient Greek manuscripts give conclusive evidence that the original authors did not remove all confusion as to which "Lord" is intended. In every instance, they used the single word kurios which refers to both. We can only conclude that they did not intend to cause the reader to understand with precision that it was either one or the other. It is therefore inappropriate for the translators of the New World Translation to intentionally add a clarification which the original authors did not.




  Lynn Lundquist has compiled a chart showing all 237 uses of the name Jehovah in the Christian Greek Scriptures, but has only allowed 112 references which he has identified as 'quotations' in columns 7 and 8. He rejects the remaining 125 shown in columns 9 and 10 under ['Cross reference citation only' (64 instances) and 'No quotations of reference to the Hebrew Scripture' (61 instances). [TCGS]

  Why did Lundquist completely ignore the word 'expressions' in the NWT Foreword, which also appeared in the one volume edition of 1963, and Appendix 1D of the 1984 Reference Edition? In the note to his chart he mentions that cross references supply 'parallel thoughts' and where each reference is marked with an 'X,' that this "denotes that the Hebrew verse cited does not support or offer any parallel thought to the Jehovah wording" (notes 7, 16-18). [TCGS] . . .

  We can appreciate how the apostles' and disciples' constant use of the Greek Septuagint translation would fix these oft-repeated expressions in their minds, so that they came out naturally as they wrote the CGS. They were identifying God as the Lord they were talking about, and so how does a translator make that clear? He cannot use 'God' because that has its own Greek word theos, and LORD, even in all capitals is not recognized by most readers as standing for Jehovah in the OT or Hebrew Scriptures, and would be even less likely to be referred to God in the NT or CTGS. So since kurios often stands for Jehovah in the Septuagint, it is reasonable to use Jehovah for it in the CGS, where the IDENTITY of the Lord has been clearly linked with God by these 'expressions', thus removing any ambiguity as to who is meant. We give a list of these in the footnote.[124]

    There then follows an evaluation of a number of these expressions which were used in the Septuagint Hebrew Scriptures and transferred to the Christian Greek Scriptures.

  We next come to expressions and allusions that Lundquist has missed. In fact, he does not seem to reach beyond the thought of 'quotations' despite quoting from the NWT Reference Edition Appendix 1D on page 40 of his book, [TCGS] which includes the phrase, "quoted verses, passages and expressions from the Hebrew Scriptures." We will set out these passages and contextual allusions (with 67 references) in parallel to make them more concise and easier to follow: [125]

    Anthony Byatt does an excellent job of listing each of these Christian Greek Scripture references with their corresponding Hebrew Scripture verses. He then begins his summary of this topic by saying,

  We have now considered all 125 of Lundquist's references (in 4 groups of 35, 17, 6 and 67). Our survey has clearly established that the identity in every case is shown to be Jehovah God the Father, and not the Lord Jesus Christ. This has been backed up by considering Hebrew Scripture and/or Septuagint phrases in a large number of cases, as well as evidence from related contexts, together with the comments of many scholars who are not Jehovah's Witnesses. This is what the NWT Bible Committee did in the first place, and then they used the many Hebrew NT translations to confirm those findings. It is therefore quite wrong of Lundquist to say, "The remaining 125 Jehovah instances rely solely on Hebrew translations made after 1386." [TCGS], [TCGS], and [TCGS] [127]

    At this point, we want to break into our review of 'Your Word is Truth' because it will be more understandable to deal with Anthony Byatt's comments to this point as one topic, and that which follows as a separate topic.

    We clearly explained in The Tetragrammaton and the Christian Greek Scriptures why we were conservative in reporting the number of verses quoted from the Hebrew Scriptures which identify Jehovah.[*] (Please remember, however, that most authors recognize that an exact number cannot be given because the Septuagint was not always quoted verbatim.) However, we could willingly concede that 'Your Word is Truth' is entirely correct regarding the number of verses quoted from the Hebrew Scriptures which identify Jehovah. From our point of view, it would cause no difficulty if it could be shown that The Tetragrammaton and the Christian Greek Scriptures was entirely too conservative in the number it listed. If every reference to these 237 Jehovah passages in the Christian Greek Scriptures could be clearly identified as a references to Jehovah in the Hebrew Scriptures, then the argument for the so called "deity of Jesus" would be that much stronger.

[*]   Simply stated, the more Hebrew Scripture quotations using the divine name which can be applied to Jesus, the stronger the case becomes for identifying the attributes of Jesus with those of Jehovah. If you are interested in pursuing the number of Tetragrammaton citations further, you can consult some of the references to this topic in The Tetragrammaton and the Christian Greek Scriptures: A full explanation of each column [TCGS], Further comments on the CROSS REFERENCE columns [TCGS], and, A summary of the study [TCGS]. You must also remember that J20—which lists only 44 quotations of Hebrew Scripture verses which contain the Tetragrammaton in the CGS—was a primary reference quoted by the New World Bible Translation Committee [TCGS]. Finally, on pages 31-36 of Jehovah's Witnesses Defended, Second Edition, Greg Stafford also acknowledges that possibly as many as 144 of the 237 Jehovah verses in the New World Translation CGS are not citations from the Hebrew Greek Scriptures. [TCGS]

    Let me give an example. First Peter 3:15 has long been a contested verse. 1 Peter 3:15 says, "But sanctify the Christ as Lord in YOUR hearts." Yet, seven Hebrew versions use the Tetragrammaton in this verse. At the very least, almost all concede that the verse is an allusion to Isaiah 8:13. However, 1 Peter 3:14 is listed as an uncontested quotation from Isaiah 8:12 which suggests that Peter would be making reference to Isaiah 8:13 in the following verse. Nonetheless, the translator of the J17 Hebrew version considers it to be a quotation as evidenced by his use of the Tetragrammaton. Finally, J20 also recognizes it as a quotation from Isaiah 8:13. Consequently, even though 'Your Word is Truth' does not make reference to this verse in its discussion under the heading CHECKING THE 'EXPRESSIONS' AND ALLUSIONS, it would certainly fit their criteria as a verse applying to Jehovah. Thus, by their own criteria, this verse which is clearly understood by a Hebrew Scripture reader to be referring to Jehovah, would be saying "But sanctify the Christ as Jehovah in YOUR hearts." For more information on this particular verse, see the Email Debate on this web site.

    Essentially the same argument could also be made for 1 Peter 2:3 which says, ". . .provided YOU have tasted that the Lord is kind." Because J20 identifies this as a verse quoted from Psalm 34:8, and other Hebrew versions use the Tetragrammaton, it should read, "provided YOU have tasted that Jehovah is kind." However, in the following verse which says, "Coming to him as to a living stone, rejected, it is true, by men, but chosen, precious, with God." we understand that 1 Peter 2:3 is a reference to Jesus. See the information on our Contributions page for confirmation of the Tetragrammaton in Hebrew versions for both 1 Peter 3:15 and 1 Peter 2:3.

    (For other interesting uses of the Tetragrammaton in Hebrew versions, see the additional examples on this same Contributions page.)

    Now the real issue comes into focus. To greatly simplify this debate, we can say that there are two opposite points of view. The one point of view says that Jesus was created by the Father and does not share his nature. The other says that Jesus is eternal and thus has the same nature as the Father. Without taking a position as to which point of view may be correct, we realize that these two points of view must handle Hebrew Scripture references containing the Tetragrammaton quite differently when they are cited in the Christian Scriptures. For one to whom Jesus is a created being, when a verse from the Hebrew Scriptures identifies a unique attribute of Jehovah, it must be applied to none other than the Father when it is cited in the Christian Scriptures. On the other hand, to one who believes that the Father and Jesus are both eternal, an attribute which exclusively describes Jehovah in the Hebrew Scriptures may be applied to Jesus in the Christian Scriptures. From the perspective of this second point of view, merely stating that a verse was a reference to Jehovah in the Hebrew Scriptures does not say that under inspiration, the Christian Scriptures cannot use it in reference to Jesus as Lord.

    There is a corollary to the statement in the paragraph above. From the point of view that Jesus was created by the Father, there must be a strong separation between the word kurios in the Christian Scriptures when it is applied to Jehovah of the Hebrew Scriptures and Jesus as Lord in the Christian Scriptures. This is not the case from the point of view that the Father and Jesus share equal attributes. Certainly, there are times when one or the other is being identified [TCGS]. Yet, from the second point of view, because there is no inequity between the two sharing the same title "Kurios" in the Christian Scriptures, it is the context within the Christian Scripture alone which determines (as much as possible) to whom the Christian Scripture writer intended to apply it.

    I need to restate what I just said. At present I am not saying that one or the other of these points of view is correct. I am merely reporting the way in which each point of view must handle a reference to the divine name as kurios in the Christian Scriptures. For one point of view, the use of kurios with the meaning of Jehovah from the Septuagint must be restricted to the Father alone. For the other point of view, it may apply to either the Father or Jesus and needs only the precision given to it by the Christian Scripture writer. (That precision may be added by having Jesus use kurios in reference to the Father, in which case we understand that he is addressing Jehovah. In contrast, the precision may come from combining Jesus' name with kurios and we understand it to be a title of the "Lord Jesus.")

    It is for the above reason that the authors of 'Your Word is Truth' take such care in separating Jehovah and Jesus as Lord when the word kurios is used in the Christian Scriptures.

    There is, however, a mistake translators from both sides of this debate often make. Each frequently resorts to their own theology to resolve the conflict. May I suggest that theology is not the way in which this conflict should be resolved? Rather, both points of view must allow the Christian Scripture writers to say exactly that which they intended to say. Where they were precise in their use of kurios, the translator must convey that precision so the English reader can see the meaning intended by the original writer. However, when the original writer did not add precision to the word kurios, then the translator is in error to alter the translation to explain which "Lord" his theology says is being described. So too, the New Testament translator who wants to assure his readers that Jesus is more than what the word kurios tells them in a specific passage is equally in error when he adds qualities to the "Lord" Jesus which are not expressed by the original writer. When precision is rightfully included in the translation, it must be added in the same way as it was originally described by the Christian Scripture author. If the Scripture writer qualified kurios with a second word such as "Father" or "Jesus," then that word must be used. If the original writer qualified it with a term such as "God," the translation must be exact without substituting the divine name. If the original writer qualified it only with context, or stated it as being a quotation from the Hebrew Scriptures, then the English translator must restate kurios with its English equivalent and let the translation of the context alone guide the reader. If the original author did not qualify a statement, the translator is not at liberty to insert his own qualification such as "[other]" in order to correct the Scripture author. Jason BeDuhn has much to say on the subject of bias in his book Truth in Translation. It is well worth reading.

    There is a high risk encountered in bringing personal or sectarian theology to Bible translation. Too frequently, when more than a single meaning may be possible in the original Greek manuscript text,[*] the original writer is manipulated into saying either more—or less—than what he actually wrote. This is not legitimate Bible translation. It becomes misleading Bible interpretation in the guise of translation. (It is not improper to interpret Scripture. Every group is free to do that. However, it is improper to produce a Bible translation which appears to make the original author agree with the theology of the group publishing that Bible version.)

[*]   The possibility of multiple meanings is inherent in almost any writing, including the Christian Greek Scriptures. A written document is not smooth when every "she," "it," "they," "here," "that," and similar words (particularly adjectives) must be qualified in order to remove uncertainty. In order to produce a written document which is easy to read, most writers allow some ambiguity and trust the reader to understand the sense based on context and logic. If, for example, a "he" is doing obedience to a "him" in a Gospel account, we understand that the "he" must be someone in the context of the account, and allow logic to identify the "him" as Jesus since we would not expect Jesus to be doing homage to another man. The inordinate demand on precision is what often makes technical writing cumbersome to read. Read a U.S. Patent to understand why 100 percent precision is not the writing style of the Christian Scriptures!

    In concluding this section, there is something the reader should consider. How much complexity does it require to support one or the other of the two points of view described above? In the one case, it requires the existence of original Greek manuscripts which have never been discovered, it must be supported by historical evidence which is beyond verification, it requires a specialized explanation of Christians altering the original text in the second and third centuries C.E., it further requires cataloging the meaning of each of the 714 occurrences of kurios in the Greek Scriptures to find their referent (Jehovah or Jesus [*]), and finally, it requires a specialized Bible version which must alter 237 kurios references (as well as alterations such as "[other]") in order to achieve the desired meaning. (It is exactly this kind of complexity which has produced the book we are reviewing. Look at the chapter contents of 'Your Word is Truth'. The chapter titles identify some of the complexities which must be defended in order for the point of view presented in the New World Translation to have credence.) The other point of view merely requires reading (or translating[**]) the Greek Scripture text without adding more complexity.[***] This is the Greek text which is supported by all manuscript evidence.

[*]   With the few exceptions where kurios is used of men.

[**]   Every translation will have some degree of bias simply because English does not have a vocabulary with exact equivalents to the Greek vocabulary of the Christian Scriptures. Of course, some translations have more bias than others. And finally, each translation acceptable to one or the other group may have more—or less—bias in a particular area.

[***]   This statement is not addressing the complexity of one or the other theological positions. Certainly, there are inherent complexities in every theology. This is true of a theology which understands that God became a man, just as there are inherent complexities in a theology which explains biblical redemption apart from divine sacrifice. My statement is limited to complexities in the use of the text in which one point of view requires numerous qualifications added to the text, whereas the other point of view is satisfied by reading the text as written by the original author.

    Let's return to our evaluation of 'Your Word is Truth'. Anthony Byatt continues his summary of The Tetragrammaton and the Christian Greek Scriptures.

  But the situation is made much worse by a further serious flaw in Lundquist's argument, which causes him to take up a large amount of space quite unnecessarily. He tries to place on the same level the KIT Greek text of WH and the later Hebrew translations, and accuses the NWT Bible Committee of "redefining inspiration." [TCGS], [TCGS], [TCGS], [TCGS], and [TCGS] The evidence for the Tetragrammaton's use by early Christians of the first century C.E., must be carefully separated. There are indeed many "telltale traces" of this, which Lundquist denies, some of which can be picked up from clues still remaining in those Hebrew translations. [TCGS] But that is entirely different from using those Hebrew versions as translations, merely to confirm what careful study of the Greek text had revealed.[*] Did Lundquist really think that the NWT Bible Committee was so naive that it tried to parallel the original WH Greek text in the KIT, with Hebrew translations of well over 1,300 to 1,900 years later?[**] [127]

[*]   Dear reader, please be aware of what you are being asked to do. The only evidence which exists from over 5,000 Greek manuscripts shows no indication of any kind that the Tetragrammaton was ever used in the Christian Scriptures. The Watchtower Society is forthright in telling you that there is no manuscript evidence. (For reference, see Aid to Bible Understanding, pages 886-888.) The only "evidence" is conjecture. In fact, the primary use of the Tetragrammaton in the Greek Septuagint (which is the Hebrew Scriptures, not the Christian Scriptures) actually comes from three reactionary Jews who lived in the second century C.E. These three translators/editors (Aquila, Theodotion and Symmachus) produced Hebrew Scripture translations in Greek which contained the Tetragrammaton for the very purpose of opposing Christians who were using kurios in the Septugint to identify Jesus with Jehovah. But this "evidence" that the Tetragrammaton was used in the autographs (the original Christian Scripture documents from which later copies were made) was not itself produced until approximately one hundred years after the Christian Scriptures were written. (For more information about these three "Septuagint" versions, see Chapter 13. For a very technical evaluation, see Appendix J.) Notwithstanding the second century C.E. versions by Aquila, Theodotion and Symmachus, the Fouad Papyri 266 Septuagint manuscript which contains the Tetetragrammaton is from the pre-Christian era. We could say much more, but that must be left to The Tetragrammaton and the Christian Greek Scriptures. Nonetheless, you should realize that you are being asked to deny the authority of the inspired Christian Scriptures for mere conjecture on the part of the translators of the New World Translaton. Yes, something certainly is being substituted as having higher authority than the Christian Scriptures!

[**]   Both before and shortly after The Tetragrammaton and the Christian Greek Scriptures was published, I attended Service/Theocratic meetings and Book Studies weekly for three years. Hebrew versions were infrequently mentioned. When they were, however, I had the strong sense that those responding were under the impression that "the original WH Greek text in the KIT [was paralleled] with Hebrew translations of well over 1,300 to 1,900 years later." There was no indication that the brothers or sisters understood the discrepancy in dates. It was simply assumed that the Hebrew versions were ancient documents which had sufficient weight to override kurios used in the Westcott and Hort text. I suspect that today, since this debate has become more common knowledge, that that faulty view has, indeed, changed. I believe, however, that The Tetragrammaton and the Christian Greek Scriptures correctly represents the perception of ones of Jehovah's Witnesses at the time it was published.

    Though there is more under this sub-heading on which I could comment, I will close with Anthony Byatt's statement regarding the translation principles of the New World Translation. He says:

  The NWT follows clear principles, which are:

  1. If kurios is used, determine from Hebrew Scripture/Septuagint quotations, expressions, allusions or phrases if the CGS writer was drawing from any of those sources.

  2. Examine immediate and parallel context for any clue as to which kurios or Lord is meant, and so confirm identity.

  3. If the reference is clearly to God the Father, and not to Jesus Christ, the translator exercises his choice to make it clear to which of the two 'Lords' he refers, and avoid ambiguity. He cannot use 'God' because that would make for confusion with theos. If he uses 'Lord' he will not distinguish the Father from the Son, and even LORD in all capitals is not picked up by the vast majority of readers. Since he knows kurios is used in the Septuagint in place of the Tetragraazmmaton, he chooses to use 'Jehovah' to identify the Lord as being God the Father.

  4. He now checks some much later Hebrew translations to see if those well-versed scholars of recent times confirm his choice. He has made the same choice they made, but one is in Hebrew and the other in English. He has in no way infringed the priority of the Greek text, as he has clearly shown by the KIT English interlinear.[127]

    This may be a good description of what Anthony Byatt wishes the New World Bible Translation Committee had done, but it is not what they said they were doing. (Anthony Byatt is not saying that this was their stated translation guideline. He is merely describing the process as he envisions it.) In contrast, the statement of the Committee was,[*]

  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 Kurio and Theos and the personality with which to clothe them.

  To avoid over stepping 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.[**]

[*]  The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures Reference Edition, pp. 1564-1565.

[**]  In the quotation above, the reader must note that the "agreement...which confirms our rendering," does not come from the Hebrew Scriptures, but rather from Hebrew versions (translations) which are dated 1385 C.E. and later.

    That which catches our attention most is not simply that new criteria has been added to the New World Translation's translation guidelines. (This includes: 1. adding the Septuagint as a reference, 2. determining "which Lord" is meant, 3. exercising choice to avoid ambiguity,[*] 4. avoidance of 'Lord' for "God" or "Father" because it would fail to distinguish the Father from the Son, and, 5. use Hebrew versions merely to confirm a choice already made.) What is most blatant about this statement is that the suggested principle of translation for the New World Translation is actually designed to prevent the Greek text from speaking for itself. This new translation principle is to take a predetermined theology to the text which will differentiate between which "Lord" should be identified for a given verse even when the Christian Scripture authors do not make that same distinction. Isn't that precisely the criticism made by Jason BeDuhn in Truth in Translation when he evaluates biased translations produced to promote a specific group's theology? The suggestion is not even that a footnote will appear in the text giving the reader indication that there is an alternate reading. (Which is a practice BeDuhn favors.) This suggestion is as deliberate as saying that by the translator's choice, when the Greek word kurios does not convey the sense that best fits his theology[**], a word which is not in the Greek text may be substituted.

[*]  Many of these passages are inherently ambiguous in the Greek text. Adding precision, therefore, alters what the original author wrote because he did not include precision in order to identify either the Father or Jesus.

[**]  Of course, Anthony Byatt would never describe this choice as benefiting a specific theology. However, consider what is involved. One who believes that Jesus was created by the Father must make a distinction between which "Lord" is being identified. In contrast, one who believes that the Father and Jesus are eternally equal does not need to make that distinction. So we must ask ourselves, "What is the root cause for making this distinction?" Is it not correct to say that the need to make the distinction between "Lords" is based on one's theology when the other point of view does not need that same distinction? We are not talking about those verses which use kurios in conjunction with additional Greek words identifying either the Father or Jesus. We are talking about the large number of kurios passages in the Christian Scriptures which do not identify a referent.



Chapter 2: Use Of The Divine Name In The Christian Greek Scriptures by Hal Flemings

    I said earlier that our book The Tetragrammaton and the Christian Greek Scriptures is extensively quoted and debated in Chapter 8: Distinguishing the 'Lords': Does Jesus Take Jehovah's Name? but that it was entirely ignored in Chapter 2: Use of the Divine Name in the Christian Greek Scriptures. The review given above from Chapter 8 touches on an important part of our book, but it is not by any means the book's primary focus. The theme throughout The Tetragrammaton and the Christian Greek Scriptures is, as the title suggests, a search for evidence of the Tetragrammaton in the Christian Greek Scriptures. As such, much of our book is devoted to textual criticism (a study of ancient Greek manuscripts for the purpose of determining what the autograph [the original document written by the inspired writer] said). In addition, the book evaluates historic evidence and the writings of the early Church Fathers (Patristics).

    Irrespective of how much the Watchtower Society wants to downplay their most unassailable obstacle in order to introduce the name Jehovah into the Christian Scriptures, that obstacle still remains. There is not one trace of evidence that the Tetragrammaton was ever used in either the autographs or any subsequent copies of the Christian Greek Scriptures.

    What is most notable about Hal Flemings' writing in this chapter is his avoidance of the foundation issues of textual criticism. He does not deal realistically or credibly with the scholarly subject because doing so would move him that much further from substantive evidence that the Tetragrammaton was used in the autographs. His only contribution is conjecture. Considering the desire of all Bible-based groups (including the Watchtower Socieity) for a faithful Christian Scripture (New Testament) text, this inability to appeal to true textual criticism practices is a fatal shortfall to their quest for placing Jehovah in the Christian Scriptures. (For more information regarding the textual critical and historical issues involved in bringing the Tetragrammaton to the Christian Scriptures Greek text, see the four chapters in The Tetragrammaton and the Christian Greek Scriptures devoted specifically to this topic:  The Greek Text in the First Century,     Manuscript Publication Dates,    Removal of the Tetragrammaton from Early Greek Manuscripts,  and   The Tetragrammaton or Lord Quandary.)

    Why was The Tetragrammaton and the Christian Greek Scriptures entirely ignored in Chapter 2: Use Of The Divine Name In The Christian Greek Scriptures? If there were merely disagreements regarding the use of textual criticism in determining where the Tetragrammaton should be inserted into the New World Translation's Christian Scripture text, we would expect a debate to follow. After all, textual criticism and a number of related topics is what our book is about. Why, then, did Hal Flemings completely sidestep any discussion of the technical aspects of textual criticism? The answer is very simple. Textual criticism cannot be used until there is enough textual evidence to merit the study.[*] The Watchtower Society has no manuscript evidence of any kind to support the insertion of Jehovah into the Christian Scriptures.

[*] Even conjectural emendation cannot be used apart from something in the context which requires it. We will see more of that problem in the closing comments.

    When avoiding an appropriate application of textual criticism, Hal Flemings must follow the oft-stated formula that,

  We need not be reminded that the Creator inspired the New Testament autographs, not the copies that have fallen into our hands. What has fallen into our hands has distinct evidence of man-made error, some intentional and some unintentional. That fact alone deserves sober reflection. Hastily concluding that the virtual silence of the New Testament manuscripts on repeating the Tetragram forces the conclusion that the autographs were produced without that holy name is neither reasonable nor scholarly. Indeed, concluding abruptly that that is the case may denote a bias in some instance.[43]

    The reader must understand that even though there are a huge number of errors in the more than 5,000 Christian Scripture documents we possess, they do not prevent textual critics from producing an almost error-free Greek text. The errors are most frequently distributed randomly throughout the hand-copied manuscripts, and thus, for any given verse under study, the majority of the manuscripts will agree. Another common manuscript error is an identifiable variant (different reading) in a group of manuscripts which are derived from the same faulty source. However, by comparing all manuscripts together, the preponderance of evidence will result in a Greek text with extremely high reliability. For example, the spurious addition to 1 John 5:7 which adds "and these three are one" is easily identified as coming from very late, and corrupted manuscript evidence.[*] Without any question, this phrase can be removed from the verse because it can be established that it was not in the autograph.

[*] The Text of the New Testament, Bruce Metzger, p. 101.

    In those cases in which there is uncertainty regarding the correct reading, the area in question is nonetheless known. For example, John 1:34 says, "And I have seen [it], and I have borne witness that this one is the Son of God." There is some manuscript variance regarding the phrase "Son of God." The New World Translation selected the most probable reading. However, there are two other less likely possibilities. One unreliable manuscript family reads, "the chosen one of God," and a few manuscripts read "the chosen Son of God." Nonetheless, none of the possible readings change the meaning of the verse.

    The important point being, however, that in every case, the textual critic can identify the word or phrase which is uncertain.[*] In the illustration from John 1:34 above, it is not a vague, "There is some kind of problem with this verse." It is precise. The textual critic will say, "We must choose between 'Son of God,' 'the chosen one of God,' or 'the chosen Son of God.' Which of these three has the best manuscript support?" There is a great difference between knowing that an identified word or phrase is in question, as against knowing that an unidentifiable error is lurking somewhere in a passage. The former will alter the reliability of Scripture very little. The latter would pose an immense threat to the trustworthiness of our Bible.

[*] Very infrequently, this may include more than words or phrases. There is a gap between John 7:52 and 8:12 in the New World Translation text. This gap results from an appropriate application of textual criticism. These verses, often referred to as "the adulterous woman," are not found in the best Greek manuscripts. When they are inserted in lesser quality manuscripts, they may be found in several locations in the Gospel of John, or even in the Gospel of Luke. The translators of the New World Translation appropriately eliminated this passage from the Gospel of John.

    Those appealing to "errors" in ancient Christian Scripture manuscripts as a foundation for the presumption that the Tetragrammaton was in the autographs are misunderstanding—or miss stating—textual criticism to buttress their argument. Considering the high degree of development within the science (and art) of textual criticism which exists today, it is impossible to claim that the Tetragrammaton could be lost from the autographs without any trace. Impossible! If, on the other hand, that claim were to be pressed, it would throw the reliability of the Christian Scriptures into such disarray and uncertainty that no one would dare use it as anything but mere literature. Even a cursory search of textual criticism handbooks will reveal that the reliability of the passages surrounding the 237 Jehovah references in the New World Translation Christian Scriptures are of equal reliability to all other Christian Scripture passages. On average, the remainder of the Christian Scripture text is no more reliable than these 237 passages. It is impossible to claim that the Christian Scriptures can be used as instruction for faith while at the same time claiming that the Tetragrammaton was removed from it in the first two centuries C.E. The latter claim could only be made of a text which was so unreliable that it was essentially worthless.

    In fairness to Hal Flemings, he does include this citation from D. A. Black, New Testament Textual Criticism,

  The sheer number of witnesses to the text of the New Testament makes it virtually certain that the original text has been preserved somewhere among the extant witnesses. This means that 'conjectural emendation' (the proposal of a reading not found in any surviving witness) should be called upon as a last resort, if at all. This contrasts sharply with the Old Testament textual criticism, where conjectural emendation is a frequent necessity.[44]

    Then, under the sub-heading TEXTUAL CRITICISM, RECONSTRUCTION ET AL, Hal Flemings continues by saying,

  Notwithstanding [the evidence Flemings has given to support the Tetragrammaton in the autographs], the dissenters still remind all interested parties that there is no manuscript evidence showing the Divine Name in the NT. In this vein, perhaps the following may be helpful. Textual critic, Kyle McCarter suggest the following:

   "[Emendation] should be attempted whenever the text critic suspects that the primitive reading has not been preserved by any exant witness."

  Does not the issue involving the Diving Name in the NT fit perfectly as an example of McCarter's suggestion? The Witnesses' argument is that the bias should not overrule the obvious implication that the Divine Name did indeed appear in the NT autographs. McCarter's suggestion is rather striking; remember that he states that even if there is NO manuscript evidence for a reading, if one "suspects that the primitive [the original] reading HAS NOT BEEN PRESERVED", then one may be warranted in emending the material to reflect that.[48]

    The second half of 1 John 5:7 was exactly that; an emendation which had almost no manuscript support.[*] In the King James Version the verse reads, ". . .the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one." Is reinstating this phrase what Hal Flemings is arguing for? The problem is that we must choose which translator's bias is acceptable and which is not. For the translator to whom Jesus is a created being, emending the Greek text to include the Tetragrammaton is acceptable, but emending the last phrase to 1 John 5:7 is not. Conversely, for a translator who believes that the Father and Jesus are both eternal, emending the Greek text to include the last phrase in 1 John 5:7 might be acceptable, but emending the text to include the Tetragrammaton is not. It must be very obvious that this is not the way we arrive at a reliable translation of God's Word.

[*] In the late 1400s, the phrase "these three are one" could be found in Latin versions but not in Greek manuscripts. Erasmus promised that he would include it in his next edition of the Greek text if he was shown a manuscript which contained it. In order to comply, unbeknown to Erasmus, a scribe copied the entire Christian Scriptures so that this one phrase could be "planted" in the verse. As a result, Erasmus added the phrase in his 1522 edition of the Greek text which is now known as the Textus Receptus. The first edition of the King James Bible was translated from subsequent revisions of the Textus Receptus in 1611. For more information, see The Text of the New Testament, Bruce Metzger, p. 101.

    But there is a more fundamental reason why we disagree with the question "Does not the issue involving the Diving Name in the NT fit perfectly as an example of McCarter's suggestion?" At best, it would only fit if it involved a single instance which was not in accord within a group of passages which otherwise agreed with the proposed emendation. Hal Flemings must be aware that each of the 237 Jehovah references in question support each other. If, as an example, 236 of these passages included the Tetragrammaton in the best manuscript evidence, then this argument just might be acceptable for the 237th reference if the Tetragrammaton was missing and the text appeared to have been altered. It could be argued, based on the precedent of the other 236 similar passages, that the Tetragrammaton was lost in this one instance. In contrast, however, to emend the text in the first instance to include the Tetragrammaton has 236 textual witnesses against the emendation because all 237 read kurios in the best preserved Greek manuscripts. An emendation (if it can be justified at all), must correct a reading which appears to be faulty when compared with all similar readings which include the missing element. One could never justify taking a series of passages which are uniform in their reading and change them to another reading by claiming it was legitimate emendation.

    Suggesting that an emendation can be applied to a number of verses to change their meaning is a gross misunderstanding of the science (or art) of textual criticism. It is nothing other than manipulation of the text.

(Mr.) Lynn Lundquist