An E-mail Debate

    I have reproduced this e-mail exchange because it is representative of the questions that we are frequently asked. Because Howard's questions are well organized and deal with topics which are important themes on this web site, reproducing this correspondence gives an opportunity to anticipate questions that many of our readers might ask.

    I have also included it because I want you to see that others may have important contributions to make when they take exception to what I have said.

    This is a composite of several e-mail exchanges. I obtained Howard's permission to use his material, and then gave him opportunity to review my answers before it was posted. Some sections of both the questions and the answers were omitted. However, with the exception of a few spell-check corrections, I made no alterations to any of his correspondence.

Note:   This web site asks the central question, "Was the Tetragrammaton used in the original writings of the Christian Scriptures (New Testament)?" The answer is found by examining the best ancient Greek manuscripts. The material presented on both this site and in our published books repeatedly states that none of the more than 5,000 extant Greek manuscripts contain any evidence that יהוה was used. Not only is this verified by the manuscripts themselves, it is verified by the Watch Tower Society's direct admission.*
*For reference, see Aid to Bible Understanding, pages 886-888.
    If יהוה is not used in the Christian Scriptures, then there is no need for me to define a personal position regarding: 1) a higher authority than the Greek manuscripts, 2) guidelines, appropriate frequency, and translators' freedom for using יהוה in a translation, and 3) the development of an hypothesized "heresy" or other historical support for יהוה's absence in manuscript evidence. Interesting topics of discussion regarding Jesus' use of the Divine Name and the like may develop, but if the best preserved Greek manuscripts are viewed as the highest authority for textual accuracy, then these discussions will not alter the Christian Scripture Greek text.

    However, those who wish to establish that the authors used יהוה while writing the Christian Scriptures must find authority apart from Greek manuscript evidence which allows them to insert it into the Greek text today. (They do not physically insert the Tetragrammaton into the Greek text, but add "Jehovah" to the English translation as though יהוה was in the Greek text.) Of consequence, secondary topics dealing with manuscript authority, translation policy, and presumed historical evidence will follow.

    (Apologists defending the New World Translation usually deny that the New World Bible Translation Committee appealed to a "higher authority" than the Greek manuscripts. That denial cannot be substantiated. If the best Greek manuscripts use the Greek word κύριος (Kurios) then altering the Greek text to any other word appeals to some authority that is higher than the Greek text itself. This is true, whether that other authority is Hebrew versions, "history" or even one group's interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures.)

    It is important that the reader understand this viewpoint. Once having concluded from the best evidence available that יהוה was not used in the Christian Scriptures, I am not obligated to defend non-existent personal practices in the above secondary topics. Nonetheless, I have discussed these topics in the context of the New World Bible Translation Committee's work because once it has allowed non-Greek manuscript evidence to dictate translation policy, it is obligated to defend its position. At times I have even evaluated instances in which its translation policy seems to conflict with its actual translation practice such as at 1 Peter 3:15 (which uses יהוה in a Hebrew version).

    Therefore, the reader should realize that much of the debate below is entirely irrelevant if יהוה was not used in the original Christian Scripture Greek manuscripts. It has been worthwhile for my readers to follow the debate between Howard and myself because they are the answers that the New World Bible Translation Committee must supply. In turn, the answers I have given below must be accurate. But in no way are any of my answers necessary for the defense of my primary position that יהוה is not used in the original Greek manuscripts. The defense of that position must look only at the more than 5,000 Greek manuscripts available today which use only κύριος (Kurios).

    In granting permission to use his correspondence Howard said, "But I do ask that you make it known that I am not one of Jehovah's Witnesses, but an individual researcher that agrees with the Watchtower."

    My responses are identified in this font and a narrower margin setting. My name "Lynn" is also used.

    Howard's inquiries are identified by this font and a wider margin setting.


    Since I last e-mailed you I have read a number of your pages concerning the issue of God's name in the New Testament and the reviewers of your books. A lot of ground was covered by yourself and the reviewers. This allowed me to get a better overall perspective on the issue and I thought I would share my thoughts with you.

    I understand that it is highly unlikely that I or anyone else is going to change your views on the situation, but as we all know that these exchanges in ideas cause us to do more research and better our own understanding of God's word and the surrounding historical background of the time.

    You are correct that this process helps me understand God's Word better. It is a process I welcome. Unfortunately, as hard as I tried to obtain information from Witnesses before I published, it was almost impossible. Look at my Appendix N: Correspondence with the Society (from THE TETRAGRAMMATON AND THE CHRISTIAN GREEK SCRIPTURES). That involved more than mailing a few letters. I supplied each of the recipients of the letters with a complete draft of the book, and was in hopes that I could spend an evening with the Elders and at least the District Overseer in discussion of the material. However, they didn't even extend me the courtesy of acknowledging my request——even though I attended the Kingdom Hall weekly during that period of time. Secondly, in that interval, I gave three Elders a copy of my first edition, asking them for specific comments. That resulted in two very brief but cordial conversations. However, in neither case did they offer any substantive information regarding the Tetragrammaton or historical evidence supporting its existence. So, in spite of a very careful attempt to obtain information from the Watch Tower Society before publishing, they gave me nothing and I have been forced to rely simply on the feed-back I get from the web site. Thanks for your help.

    Will I ever change my view? I certainly would if I was shown conclusive early Greek manuscript evidence that the Tetragrammaton was used in the autographs.

    I hope to enter into this debate from a somewhat different angle than has previously been the standard thus far. Again, after reading much of your work I have noticed some inconsistencies in your thoughts on the subject. I will get to that later in this e-mail. First I wanted to mention something I saw in your writings that I feel needs a response. You imply that the New World Translation Committee held the "J" Hebrew New Testament versions as higher authority than the Greek Text that is the basis for the New World Translation. Then you have your readers compare the dates of the 3rd and 4th century mss [manuscripts] to the dates given for these Hebrew versions which date from the middle ages to 1979 as if we are doing some sort of textual criticism here. If this is your view, you have totally missed the point. First of all the New World Translation Translators did not decide to use Jehovah in the New Testament because some recent Hebrew versions used the Name. They used the name because of all the external evidence that your other reviewers shared with you. Therefore, at some point in the course of planning the New World Translation, the Translators came to the conclusion that they would use the name Jehovah in the New Testament. The Hebrew versions were only used to get some agreement of where to put the name not the basis of using the name. Therefore, it was a translation-to-translation comparison. They were comparing HOW to translate (based on what they already decided on) not WHAT to translate.

    What you have just said is confirmation of the statement that the Translation Committee has placed "something" as a higher authority than the best Greek manuscripts regarding the 237 Kyrios passages. (The word Kyrios used throughout is the Greek word generally translated into English as "Lord." The New World Translation Christian Greek Scriptures also uses "Jehovah" at 235 occurrences of Kyrios. In deference to the spelling used in Watch Tower Society publications, I will spell the word Kyrios rather than the more conventional Kurios.) No one argues that the earliest Greek manuscripts contain the Tetragrammaton rather than Kyrios. Greg Stafford certainly does not, nor do any Watch Tower published reference sources of which I am aware. Therefore, all must acknowledge that the best manuscript evidence is for Kyrios. You are then saying that it was not the "J" references but "external evidence" which caused the Translation Committee to assign the Tetragrammaton to these 237 passages. (However, over the years I have heard sufficient comments in Book Studies and Theocratic Schools to know that that is not the perception of the average Witness. They will invariably appeal to the Hebrew versions first and then to the "great apostasy" as the basis for restoring Jehovah in the Christian Scriptures.) But that is not the main issue. Irrespective of whether it is Hebrew versions or external evidences, if the words of the best Greek manuscripts are not used, then something else is used in their place as a higher authority. This is not a debate between parallel but differing textual traditions as would be the case with the pericope in John 8 or the variants in the last chapter of Matthew. This is a substitution of something else as a higher authority in place of the available manuscript evidence.

    It is also of interest that such great faith is put in these external evidences, when in fact, they are based largely on conjecture. It is often stated that the reason we know that the "change" took place is because of extant copies of the LXX which use the Tetragrammaton. In fact, history is much more supportive of the explanation that the change was a Jewish reaction to the early Christians' use of the LXX. The Jews were incensed that the Christians used the LXX to establish that Jesus was the promised Messiah. Aquila's translation is used as a primary exhibit of the Tetragrammaton in the LXX. Yet, Aquila's translation was done in the second century——well into the Christian era. So too, the versions of both Symmachus and Theodotion which use the Tetragrammaton were done after the first century. There is evidence that the Tetragrammaton was used in pre-Christian copies of the LXX. But a great deal of the textual and historical evidence points to a resurgence of the Tetragrammaton's use in the LXX as a Jewish reaction to Christians. The "external evidence" is far from conclusive that the Tetragrammaton was used in the Christian Scripture (New Testament) manuscripts. In no other area would the New World Translation translators allow such speculative external evidence to form the sole basis for translation (particularly when the external evidence is contrary to the entire body of textual evidence).

    Again, after reading a number of your writings, I don't recall ever reading what your stand really meant. Unless you stated it somewhere and I missed it. Anyway, I know your view is that the Tetragrammaton was not in the original New Testament autographs, therefore, No form of the name should be in our English New Testament. As, I asked in my last e-mail to you, what exactly is your belief on this matter? Why did God remove his own name from the New Testament? We can't have a true debate when I do not know your belief on this point. Do you believe as some do that Jesus is Jehovah or that Jehovah's name was changed to Jesus? Either way, I would have to say that the only basis for a belief regarding this would be to blur the two Lords of the New Testament and set the stage for a belief in the Trinity.

    I have purposefully avoided using my books as a platform for my theology. I have attempted to make my argument solely on the basis of manuscript and historical evidence. But my final resting place is an obvious extension of my view of the best manuscript evidence. If the Christian Scriptures writers used the Tetragrammaton, then they were making a distinction between the One bearing the Diving name and Jesus as "Lord." On the other hand, if they used only Kyrios, then from their own writing we can ascertain that they assigned attributes and prerogatives of deity to Jesus. Because I find no manuscript or historical evidence that the Tetragrammaton was ever used in the original Christian Scriptures writings, I am then forced to believe that the Christian Scriptures writers were unequivocally declaring to their reading audience that Jesus was of the same nature as the Father. But it is not my "belief" that defines my theology. My theology is defined by that which the original Christian Scriptures authors wrote. And that must be based on the best manuscript evidence available. This study began and continues as a personal search for truth rather than an attempt to debate Witnesses. It became crucially important to me to determine what God's Word was saying about Jesus in the Christian Scriptures. The presence or absence of the Tetragrammaton in the original Christian Scriptures writings lays the foundation for my understanding of the Person of Christ.

    You asked "Do you believe as some do that Jesus is Jehovah or that Jehovah's name was changed to Jesus?" One of Jehovah's Witnesses must realize that it has served the Society's best interest to represent the deity of Jesus in the worse light possible. This is sometimes done with pictures of three-faced medieval statuary or bizarre literary descriptions. One frequently encounters statements reporting "Trinitarians" as claiming that "Jesus is Jehovah" in the sense of a God who manifests himself in different persons, or that "Jehovah's name was changed to Jesus," and the like. I am certain that you are better-read than that. But a Witness who depends solely on the Watch Tower Society's literature for his or her understanding of what a "Trinitarian" believes has——in fact——very little understanding of what "the deity of Christ" means. (Though I might also point out that most who readily claim that they are "Trinitarians" have little understanding of the history of that term and its own weakness.) I will later answer your question by saying that from my personal study I believe that the Christian Scripture writers are identifying Jesus as having the same attributes and prerogatives as does Jehovah in the Hebrew Scriptures. I came to that conclusion because the Christian Scriptures writers are describing Jesus as "Lord" with verses used exclusively of Jehovah in the Hebrew Scriptures.

    Now I would like to deal with this issue as a whole. What the real debate should be about is how much freedom does a translator have and where does he cross the line. The New World Translation Translators do know and understand that Kyrios is used in all copies of Greek mss. That is not the issue. The issue for them is that based on their understanding of the Bible, that a distinction needed to be made concerning the blurring of the two Lords of the New Testament. The Witnesses, long before the New World Translation was made, concluded that Jesus was not God. Keep in mind that this conclusion came while the Witnesses were using many versions of the Bible that did not contain God's name at all much less have it in the New Testament.

THIS MAY BE YOUR MOST IMPORTANT STATEMENT, AND IT SHOULD NOT BE MINIMIZED. Said very succinctly, the translator must chose one of two possibilities. 1) Either he must allow the best manuscript evidence (both Hebrew Scripture and Christian Scripture) to define his translation irrespective of his theology, or, 2) he must allow his theology or personal philosophy to define his translation irrespective of the manuscript evidence. Witnesses would never explain the New World Translation differences in this way. But this is precisely what has been done. The Translation Committee chose to let their theology determine the translation's wording. The Watch Tower's theology does not "blur" the distinction between "Jehovah" and Jesus as "Lord." The translators' theology demanded that "Jehovah" be inserted into the Christian Scripture text in many instances. Then, with no manuscript evidence, they appealed to a supposed second century apostasy to support their translation procedure. I can support my statement that the Translation Committee allowed its theology or personal philosophy to define its translation by their use of external evidence and Hebrew versions (which are entirely outside of the Greek text) to support the wording of their translation. They did not even choose a lowly ranked variant reading of the Greek text. They stepped completely away from textual evidence for the wording they choose.

    The implications of this cannot be overlooked. As you suggest, if the Christian Scripture writers did not use the Tetragrammaton, then they themselves clearly "blurred" the distinction between the two "Lords" of the Christian Scriptures.

    Certainly for myself, and for every reader who is truly searching for truth, we cannot be content until our Bible reflects the exact intent of the original authors' writing. If the original writers made a sharp distinction between the two "Lords" of the Christian Scriptures, then that distinction must be evident in the English translation(s) used today. If that distinction was blurred by the original Christian Scriptures writers, then that distinction must be blurred in the English translation. The Bible translator from whatever group he may represent, cannot take the liberty of altering the meaning of the original writers.

    In a practical sense, that means that the Christian Scripture Bible translation we use must follow the best available Greek manuscript evidence. If the manuscript evidence is truly so imprecise that we cannot know what the original writers said about this important issue (either the blurring or distinction of the two "Lords,") then our Bible is fatally unreliable and cannot be used as a trustworthy source for Jehovah's communication to man. It is of extreme importance to note that the argument I have just made, if applied to any other portion of Scripture, would be wholeheartedly endorsed by any Witness. This is true with only the one exception of the presumed use of the Tetragrammaton in the Christian Scriptures. Every Witness wants a Bible which is based on the best manuscript evidence. Yet, in that single area of the presumed Tetragrammaton in the Christian Scriptures, each Witness must argue that the manuscript evidence is irreducibly corrupt and must be corrected by "external evidence" even though the external evidence appealed to cannot be historically verified. (On the other hand, Witnesses are completely correct in demanding adherence to the text in the Hebrew Scriptures. In the case of the Divine Name used in "Old Testament" translations, it is the majority of English Bible publishers who have departed from the Masoretic text and substituted LORD for that which is clearly in the original text. Sadly, very few of the readers of these Bibles are concerned!)

    Therefore, The New World Translation Translators before making their version researched the situation and came up with much of the external evidence that you have read from your reviewers. Based on this they decided that they would include God's name Jehovah in the New Testament to show the distinction between the two Lords. I would have to say that in the Translators mind, when they see Matthew quoting a verse from the Hebrew Scriptures or the LXX where the Divine name occurs, that either Matthew used the name in his writing or God has made a monumental change in the revelation of himself. That is precisely what advocates in the Trinity believe, is it not? However, Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe this is the case based on the understanding of the Bible as a whole. Therefore they chose the first option, that Matthew used the name but that it was removed shortly thereafter.

    You are completely correct. If the Divine Name was not used in the Christian Scripture writings, then God certainly did make a "monumental change in the revelation of himself." That is why it is imperative that we know the textual basis for either including or excluding the Tetragrammaton from the Christian Scripture writings. Apart from the text itself, a Bible translator cannot dictate that God either did——or did not——choose at some point in time to reveal Himself to man in a new way. The best available text must be allowed to show God's intended revelation of Himself.

    At this point I would like to make mention of something on the removal of God's name in the New Testament. I believe one of your reviewers mentioned this also but I would like to express it again. You are under the assumption that if early Christians removed God's name from the Greek text that a major heresy took place and that some record of that would be available to us today. Some hold this view; even the Watchtower may have printed it as a possible reason. Nevertheless, I don't believe that this heresy had to exist at all. Almost all the translations that existed from the LXX to the Net Bible have removed God's name without any mention of a major heresy. In fact, most of these Versions tell us, if they say anything at all, that the name was replaced by LORD or something similar out of respect for the name or to follow the tradition of other English Bibles. If you pay close attention to that last sentence, you will have no other choice but to hold all these other versions guilty of what you hold the New World Translation guilty of according to your own statements. These Bible versions held other English versions with higher authority than the original Inspired Hebrew Scriptures concerning the almost 7000 times the Divine Name is used in the Hebrew text. Not to mention these translators have absolutely no mss authority or any external evidence to do what they have done. On the other hand, even you say if a valid Greek New Testament manuscript turns up that used the Tetragrammaton that all Christendom will have to rethink their views on the Bible. This implies that you believe there is yet at least a possibility that the Tetragrammaton may have been used in the original writings, unless you are just humoring your readers. All this indicates that the New World Translation has both external evidence and the future possibility of mss evidence for the inclusion of God's name in the New Testament. The other versions have neither for [their] omission of God's name from the OT.

    I am surprised to see your comment that you do not feel a "heresy" is required, but I can certainly let that stand. However, as I have stated, since the deity of Jesus is so inextricably linked to the absence of the Tetragrammaton in the Christian Scriptures manuscripts, a change would most certainly give rise to a theological debate in the writings of the early church fathers that would have carried across almost two millennia. Nonetheless, Watch Tower publications state very clearly that this heresy did occur.

    I do think that the LXX's use of Kyrios is quite a different issue than the use of LORD in most English Old Testament translations. To the devout Jew of the first century, Kyrios was an appropriate translation of the Divine Name that conveyed the full meaning of the Tetragrammaton. It was a translation of the Divine Name into Greek, but it was just as meaningful to a first century Jewish reader as the English translated word "Jehovah" is to a Witness. The word "Jehovah" is not the Tetragrammaton any more than Kyrios was the Tetragrammaton in the LXX. But both fully define the Person to whom the Tetragrammaton (in Hebrew) was referring.

    I completely agree with you when you say, "In fact, most of these Versions tell us, if they say anything at all, that the name was replaced by LORD or something similar out of respect for the name or to follow the tradition of other English Bibles. If you pay close attention to that last sentence, you will have no other choice but to hold all these other versions guilty of what you hold the New World Translation guilty of according to your own statements. These Bible versions held other English versions with higher authority than the original Inspired Hebrew Scriptures concerning the almost 7000 times the Divine Name is used in the Hebrew text." Though it might be argued that LORD in Tyndale's partial Old Testament translation conveyed the sense of the Divine Name to the reader of his day, that would be a difficult point to make today. Certainly, many do understand the intent of LORD. But I would venture to say that the meaning of the Holy name of God is largely lost on today's Protestant audience. Even a cursory reading of my comments will show how strongly I feel that the almost 7,000 instances of LORD in most English Bibles is in error. I have repeatedly stated that it must be changed for exactly the same reason that I feel the word "Jehovah" should not be used in the Christian Scriptures. Without any doubt, the manuscript evidence supports the Divine Name in the "Old Testament." I want to read an "Old Testament" which conveys the same meaning today as that which was intended by the original author.

    Now back to my original issue. How does a translator know where to draw the line to what is acceptable to God? You talked about the preservation of God's word. I'm not sure exactly what your definition is for this, but if it's like many that are KJV advocates that God preserved his word down to the last letter. This simply did not happen, as can be attested to by the thousands of variant readings. Yes, the textual critics have done a wonderful job reconstructing the Bible closer to the original. However, I cannot believe we have a word for word replica of the original writings. Therefore, this preservation of an exact replica does not exist. Now some believe that this preservation means that the thoughts of the original authors are conveyed accurately. This is also my belief and it is in harmony with the mss evidence. No, we don't have a word for word replica, but we do have a good enough reconstruction to get the thoughts and ideas of the original message.

    I certainly agree with your last sentence. However, after spending a considerable amount of time reading in the subject of New Testament textual criticism, I think we have come very close to a word-for-word replica. What is significant, however, is that when we do not have that exact replica, we know that we do not have it. That is, we know that variants exist for a specific word or phrase, and we know to some extent the probability that each variant is traceable to the autograph. This is quite different from a statement which merely attributes an undefined number of "mistakes" to the Christian Scripture manuscripts.

    Now, if this is the case. How were the believers in Christ instructed by Jesus himself and his apostles about the truth before there was a written New Testament? They were instructed verbally and with the use of the LXX or Hebrew Scriptures. Therefore, these ones were taught the message using the LXX or Hebrew Scriptures that did contain the Divine Name and more importantly thru verbal conversations. Now the issue becomes did Jesus and his followers use God's name in their verbal teachings before and after the New Testament was written? If Jesus and the Apostles did this then we know this was acceptable to God. Thus, we can conclude that it is acceptable to God to use his name in our translations of the New Testament as long as it reflects the true message. If you accept this reasoning, you will also have to include in your belief and in your books that Jesus and his followers never spoke the Divine Name during their teaching and preaching.

    A Jew reading the LXX was just as conscious that Kyrios equaled יהוה as a Witness is today that "Jehovah" in the Hebrew Scriptures equals יהוה. Both the word Kyrios in the LXX and "Jehovah" in the New World Translation are translations——neither are the Tetragrammaton. However, both appropriately serve the purpose of alerting the non-Jewish reader to the presence of the Divine Name in the original text. This is not the case today with the use of the capitalized LORD in the typical Protestant Old Testament. I would assume that when most of my fellow pew mates hear the Old Testament read using "LORD," they have some notion of Jesus in these passages. Which, of course, was not the intent of the original Hebrew Scripture writer. The Hebrew Scripture writer was using יהוה because he was specifically identifying the Divine Name. In my opinion, it is incumbent on the Old Testament translator to word his translation so that the reader/listener will understand exactly that which the original writer was saying. That must be done with some acceptable indication that it is the Divine Name which is distinct from a Christian Scripture title of Jesus. Again, the New World Translation has appropriately done that by using an acknowledged English translation of the Tetragrammaton ("Jehovah") which clearly identifies the named Person as the bearer of the Divine Name. That could be done with "Yahweh." The French Bible has done it with "L'Eternel," Byington has done it with "Jehovah," and so on.

    Now, back to your initial question "How were the believers in Christ instructed by Jesus himself and his apostles about the truth before there was a written New Testament?" I think Witnesses have correctly anticipated a question which is almost totally overlooked by others in Christendom. The question does raise some very important issues. Witnesses have asked "Did Jesus use and pronounce the Divine Name?" The great difficulty is, that aside from conjecture of how a Jewish reader most likely understood the word Kyrios in the LXX at a time when they did not pronounce the ineffable Name, we are never told in the Bible itself. The extant Greek manuscripts use only Kyrios, and any writings of the church fathers that touch on this are at very best, vague. We only know for certain that within a century after Jesus' life, the Jewish community was adamant in their re-issue of a LXX text which used the Divine Name in its full Hebrew form as the Tetragrammaton (יהוה).

    Yet your paragraph above troubles me. In dealing with this subject, Watch Tower literature generally assumes that God cannot reveal Himself any differently in the Christian Scriptures than He did in the Hebrew Scriptures. And therefore, this point of view justifies altering the Christian Scripture text so that new revelation does not occur. Yet, within areas in which we agree among ourselves, we can certainly see "new revelation" in the Christian Scriptures which was unknown in the Hebrew Scriptures. The concept of an "ecclesia" (an Assembly or, as often translated, either "Congregation" or "Church") which included non-proselyte Gentiles was completely foreign to the Hebrew Scripture understanding of God's program. And yet, God did precisely that——concerning Gentiles, He introduced an entirely new area of revelation in the Christian Scriptures.

    How can we determine whether or not God has revealed something new (about any subject) in the Christian Scriptures? We must let the Christian Scripture text speak for itself. (Please understand that this is not an argument against using the Divine Name today. The Hebrew Scriptures gives ample evidence that the Christian can use the Divine Name.)

    Does this mean that proponents of one view can manipulate the Bible text to espouse their point of view? And then in response, opponents of that view may in turn manipulate the Bible text to prove the first group wrong and establish that their own position is correct? How can we guard against such sectarian use of Scripture for theological ends? The answer must be to accurately use the best Bible manuscript evidence available to us. Just as soon as any group appeals to anything outside of the best textual evidence——whether that is 400 years of English Bible tradition for LORD in the Old Testament or "external evidence" suggesting that the Tetragrammaton was used in the Christian Scriptures——they have interfered with God's means of communicating truth.

    If you want to believe that Jesus and his followers never spoke or wrote the Divine Name but used lord for both Jesus and Jehovah and that the intent was to blur the identities into one to form a revelation of a trinity, that is your right. You do not have the right to downgrade a version, (which is the message of the believers of that version) because they have a different theology then you. Actually, you do have the right to downgrade a religion that disagrees with yours, but be honest with your readers and argue the real issue of the trinity. You act like if the Witnesses removed God's name from the New Testament that all would be good in the world. However, in reality you like many believe the Witnesses are a false religion, and that's fine if you do, so argue that point in your writings.

    Possibly, without realizing it, you have come to the core of my position. All of the arguments that either position would take in the paragraph above are based on "interpretation" and a particular group's "theology." Now, let me digress. The "justifications"——if not the actual "theology"——of present Protestant Bible Editors allows them to place LORD in their Old Testament. However, their "theology" does not make their translation correct. A particular translator's or group's "theology" cannot be used as the basis for wording a Bible translation.

    When I began studying the topic of the Tetragrammaton in the Christian Scriptures some 17 years before I finally published the second edition of THE TETRAGRAMMATON AND THE CHRISTIAN GREEK SCRIPTURES, I also lived in the same foggy swamp with my fellow "evangelicals" regarding LORD in the Old Testament. In all the years that I have been in evangelical churches, I have never heard an appeal made to the Masoretic text for the appropriate word to use in the LORD references. Whenever the subject of LORD has been explained, it is generally stated as "LORD stands for the name of God" as if "LORD" were the word from which the translation was derived. On occasion, Tyndayle's use of LORD will be cited. I believe I am accurate in saying this; apart from the view of those like Byington who argue for "Jehovah," I can never remember anyone appealing to the Hebrew word used in the original text as the basis for "LORD" in the English Old Testament translation. To the contrary, an appeal to the Greek word used in the original language text is frequently made in defending Christian Scriptures content——but it is never used in defending LORD in our Old Testament.

    Somewhere around 1982 I was contacted by two very pleasant Witnesses. After some initial sparing over theology, I decided to do a serious study regarding the person of Jesus. If He was who the Witnesses said He was, I would become a Witness. If He was other, I would act accordingly. As I have related in my main book, I did a complete study of the 714 "Kyrios" passages in the Christian Scriptures, always comparing them with their Hebrew Scripture counterparts when they were either possible or recognized Hebrew Scripture quotations. The study was done from the KINGDOM INTERLINEAR TRANSLATION and the New World Translation. That was an eye-opening study for me as I read the Hebrew Scripture context of each quotation. Understanding the strong Jewish tradition behind the Christian Scriptures even when it was written to Gentiles, I could not shake the identification that the Christian Scripture writers were making between Jesus as Lord (Kyrios) and יהוה of the Hebrew Scriptures. In some instances, it was an identification which did not ascribe attributes or prerogatives of God. In others, however the Hebrew Scripture context makes it very clear that this could only be said of One with full equality with יהוה. (This is the case between Isaiah 45:21-24 and Philippians 2:10-11.)

    From that study, I concluded with absolute certainty that the Christian Scripture writers were identifying the essential nature of Jesus as being of the same nature as יהוה of the Hebrew Scriptures. This was a development of my "theology," and I realized that my theology regarding the person of Jesus differed radically from that of Jehovah's Witnesses. (I also soon discovered that it would distance me from traditional notions of the Person of Jesus held in my own group.) This study satisfied me personally because I understood how I had arrived at my new understanding. Yet, it still lacked much in its substance.

    I saw clearly that the presence or absence of the Tetragrammaton in the Christian Scripture autographs was essential to understanding what I had just studied. If, in fact, the Tetragrammaton had been used in the autographs in these passages, then my new "theology" needed to be discarded because it had an inadequate foundation. On the other hand, if the Tetragrammaton was not used, then I must evaluate Jesus' identity in that light. (At the time, I was unaware of the quandary presented by the absence of God's name in the Christian Scriptures.) As a result, I began a very intensive study of textual criticism and related topics. It was much more a personal quest than something I intended to use in debate with Witnesses.

    It was not until a number of years later that I began writing. By that time, I had come to realize how utterly dependent I was on the exact wording of the Christian Scriptures. I came to realize that my faith was not based on a mere philosophy which recognized Jesus as a central figure. It was based on precise information found in the Christian Scriptures, and unless I had a very accurate representation of the autographs, that faith would be of greater danger to me than help. (It would be dangerous because it would demand zeal without a proper foundation of truth.) Without an accurate representation of the autographs, essential biblical truth could be corrupted by mere changes of words during the centuries of Christian Scripture transmission. In no place was this more clear than in the use of the Tetragrammaton in the Christian Scriptures. There is a huge difference in the representation of the person of Jesus in a Christian Scripture that includes the Tetragrammaton and in one that does not.

    But I was still missing something that was fundamental. I was not yet greatly concerned about LORD in most Protestant Old Testaments. Only shortly before I published THE TETRAGRAMMATON AND THE CHRISTIAN GREEK SCRIPTURES did it dawn on me that my own Bible must also portray exactly the truths represented by the words of the best biblical manuscripts. (That does not mitigate against modern language translations. But it demands that my translators represent the Tetragrammaton in the Old Testament as a recognizable and exclusive form of the Divine Name which cannot be confused with Jesus' title "Lord" in the Christian Scriptures.

    Now, back to my comments on your last paragraph. I decided that I could not argue "theology" with Jehovah's Witnesses. It is far too subjective, even though it is a necessary step for each individual who ultimately wants to know God. What I could do, however, was to carefully examine the best evidence of the text for the words used by the original authors. As it applies to my own "Old Testament" tradition, the textual basis is easily observed. No one argues that the Tetragrammaton is not verifiably used almost 7,000 times in the Masoretic text in spite of its misrepresentation with the word LORD. As a result, I have repeatedly pressed my case among evangelicals for use of the Divine Name rather than LORD in the Old Testament. (Of course, I have been challenged by evangelicals for this; sometimes quite heatedly. So much so that I expanded my "Open Letter" web site pages in order to give a more complete argument for the Divine Name's restoration.)

    However, for the claim of the Tetragrammaton in the Christian Scriptures, there are other issues involved because of the assertions of the Watch Tower Society. For almost 1800 years, the possibility of the Tetragrammaton in the Christian Scripture's Greek manuscripts had never been seriously raised. Now however, the Watch Tower Society was not only making that suggestion, it became the essential foundation leading to "the foremost feature" of the New World Translation's Christian Scripturess. Certainly, if that was true, there would be textual critical evidence for it. I found none. Because I realized how important the Tetragrammaton's presence in the Christian Scriptures would be to my own faith, I also knew it would have equally been perceived as important to the first century believers who had risked their lives for the truth of the Gospel as it was originally delivered. I have no difficulty understanding that if this critical element of the Christian Scripture documents had been intentionally and summarily removed, there would have been an outcry. Yet, there is no evidence of any such disturbance. And finally, with all integrity I went to the Watch Tower Society before I published asking them for information. I promised them that if they knew of any manuscript evidence of which I was unaware, I would alter or withhold publication of my book. There was no answer.

    You would always be correct in saying that I have no right to maliciously downgrade anyone because their theology differs from my own. My personal theology——or the theology of any group with which I am associated——is not the standard of truth. However, with over 100,000,000 copies of the New World Translation having been published, I am obligated to warn its readers when the best manuscript evidence suggests that the text has been manipulated. I am not arguing either for or against a particular theology. I am not casting dispersions on the theology or the motives of the translators. I have carefully avoided that. But I am arguing for translations that correctly represent the words of the best preserved Hebrew Scripture and Christian Scripture manuscripts. Any reader of the Bible puts his or her eternal destiny in peril when reading a translation which, for any cause, does not accurately represent that which the original writers intended to communicate to their readers.

    Just for one small example of other versions doing the same in regard to translating based on the message they want to relate. Lets take the newly translated Net Bible. With all their modern scholarship and resources, they still translate the original language word Gehenna as HELL. Now if that's not a "message" to its readers based on someone's theology, I don't know what is. Actually, every translation ever made does this message relaying to their readers. Even the LXX interprets the Hebrew Scriptures and has a message that can be somewhat different then the Hebrew Scriptures have said. One clear example of this is the animal Re'em found in the Hebrew. The LXX translates the imagery of the Hebrew word as monokeros (one horn) and does not actually name the animal in question. The Hebrew message was the name of an animal; the Greek translation was what the animal looked like. Granted, that is a small difference in the message but a difference nonetheless.


    In conclusion, if I am incorrect and the Witnesses are wrong in using Jehovah, then all Bible versions are wrong based on your criteria and all people everywhere are displeasing to God and no one will be saved. Does that sound like a plausible outcome?

    In your last paragraph you have abandoned an otherwise good sense of scholarship. Even though all of us could find at least one area of criticism with any translation, few would say, "all Bible versions are wrong…and all people everywhere are displeasing to God and no one will be saved." In my evaluation of the New World Translation I am generally limiting myself to the statement that, based on the best manuscript evidence available, the Tetragrammaton was never used in the Christian Scripture autographs. And in support of that, I am saying that there is no reliable historical corroboration that such was the case without resorting to a high degree of speculation.

    But there is an intensely personal consequence to the discussion of the Tetragrammaton in the Christian Scriptures. The Christian Scriptures radically change what they are saying about Jesus depending on whether the original writers used the Tetragrammaton or the word Kyrios in these 237 verses. It is the difference between a created Jesus and a Jesus who has the essential nature of Jehovah God. If Jesus is only a created being and a mere messenger from Jehovah, then of consequence his death and resurrection offer limited benefits to any one of us. On the other hand, if Jesus is One who has the essential nature of Jehovah God, then His death and resurrection offer full and complete righteousness to anyone who will believe His message of free salvation.

    After my study of the biblical information associated with the Greek word Kyrios, I realized that Scripture identifies Jesus as having the nature of Jehovah God himself. Witnesses merely believe that Jesus is God's first and highest creation. The contrast is immense when one considers that, in salvation, we have God's righteousness through Jesus. (See Romans 4:24-5:2 and 2 Corinthians 5:20b-21.) The difference is whether, because of Christ's death and resurrection, the one who believes receives merely the righteousness of the highest of God's created beings, or infinitely greater, the imputed righteousness of Jehovah God himself. In the first instance, that righteousness would cover only the sin of Adam, because Jesus' righteousness would be the righteousness of one who was also created. In the latter, the gift of Jesus' righteousness is the righteousness of "the Lord God Almighty," which assures a secure eternity with Him requiring no additional saving work on the believer's part. Nothing in these verses excludes any individual from "believing" and being "declared righteous." These promises are not limited to any one group of individuals.

    God's work in my life is based on the foundation of a reliable Scripture text that reports the Person of Jesus in the same way as the Apostolic authors described Him. But the result has profoundly impacted my life.

    I love Jesus deeply. Because I love Him, I am learning that I can trust Him implicitly.

    As I am learning that Jesus can be completely trusted, I have given my life to God to use in any way He chooses. I am asking Him to work in me for my own growth——and to work through me to accomplish His kingdom work. The result has been both crushing and exhilarating. He has broken my health and I am learning that He can work in His power not mine. He has reduced my income and I see that He will supply the means to do His own work. He has afflicted my memory and I become more reliant on Him when my reserves are diminished. He has checked my secular career and I find I can trust His sufficiency rather than my own.

    In all of this, I have become increasingly dependent on Jesus. Not on just the Jesus who lived an exemplary life as a man. But on the Jesus who empowers my life as "The Lord God Almighty."

    Now, let me comment briefly on 1 Peter 3:15 because it is where this dialogue began. In your first e-mail to me you said,

    (NOTE TO THE READER: Howard's comments at this point are extremely relevant regarding the web site posting which said,

Seven Hebrew versions quote 1 Peter 3:15 as saying, "But sanctify the Christ as Jehovah in YOUR hearts."
The sentence has been corrected to read,
1 Peter 3:15 says, "But sanctify the Christ as Lord in YOUR hearts." Seven Hebrew versions use the Tetragrammaton in this verse.
However, this statement does NOT appear in the book THE NEW WORLD TRANSLATION AND HEBREW VERSIONS.

    From the citations from the book, The New World Translation and Hebrew Versions [as noted above, this was actually on the web site, not in the book] Seven Hebrew versions quote 1 Peter 3:15 as saying, "But sanctify the Christ as Jehovah in YOUR hearts." You…wrote: [the following quotation is from our book The New World Translation and Hebrew Versions, page 18. Click here to see the page.]

Confirmation of the Translation Committee's statement

    On the other hand, we find an interesting confirmation of the Translation Committee's statement in J17. In this instance, the translator of J17 realized that 1 Peter 3:15 was a true quotation of Isaiah 8:13 which used the Divine Name. Therefore, he translated the Greek word Kyrios as יהוה. This passage is also verified in J20 as being a quotation of Isaiah 8:13.

    The first portion of the verse appears in both J17 and the New World Translation as follows:

    But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts (written in Hebrew letters with the Tetragrammaton used for "Lord.")

    But sanctify the Christ as Lord in YOUR hearts.

    The New World Bible Translation Committee did not insert Jehovah into the English text of this verse even though a Hebrew version used the Tetragrammaton. Even more, they failed to add Jehovah in spite of the fact that the Kingdom Interlinear Translation "J" reference footnote lists J7, J8, J12, J13, J14, J16 and J17 as containing the Tetragrammaton.

    The first issue is that you say that J17 realized that 1 Peter 3:15 was a true quotation of Isaiah 8:13. According to The Greek New Testament by the United Bible Society (1990) under the "Index of Quotation" they do not list 1 Peter 3:15 and Isaiah 8:13 under this section. They do list it under "Index of Allusions and Verbal Parallels." Therefore, there is some doubt to that fact that this is a TRUE quotation.

    Your point regarding the "Index of Allusions and Verbal Parallels" is correct. A translator today would probably not use this verse as though it was a direct quotations from Isaiah 8:13. See the website Notes on the Septuagint. (When you get on the site, click All quotations in New Testament Order). The table supports what you are saying as 1 Peter 3:15 is not listed as a quotation. (However, 1 Peter 3:14 is listed as a quotation from Isaiah 8:12 which suggests that Peter is nonetheless making reference to Isaiah 8:13 in the following verse. Hence, verse 15 is an "allusion" rather than a "quotation.") Nonetheless, the translator of J17 did use it as a quotation as evidenced by his use of the Tetragrammaton. Finally, J20 also recognizes it as a quotation from Isaiah 8:13.

    The second issue is much more important to the subject. You did not inform your readers that the reference to J17 as to the Tetragrammaton is a variant reading. The variant readings are the words "Christ" and "God." According to Bruce Metzger's "A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament" The two readings are "Christon" & "Theon." As can be seen in the King James version in 1 Peter 3:15 it says "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear." There is no mention of Christ in this King James Version.

    Again, you are correct. However, the purpose of using this verse was not to endorse its use in any given Hebrew version. I used it because the New World Bible Translation Committee said (Appendix 1D of the New World Translation, Reference Edition, 1984, pages 1564 and 1565),

    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.

    1 Peter 3:15 certainly includes the criteria established by the translators for including the Tetragrammaton as "Jehovah" in this verse. First, if not a quotation, it is certainly an "expression" from the Hebrew Scriptures. Secondly, there is certainly "agreement from the Hebrew versions." And finally, J20 lists 1 Peter 3:15 as a quotation of Isaiah 8:13.

    In the footnote to the Kingdom Interlinear Translation, it says for J17 "Jehovah God" and according to Bruce Metzger's book the only combinations that are found are (Lord and God) & (Lord and Christ) and if the Watchtower says J17 says "Jehovah God" then J17 Greek used a different reading than the New World Translation translators. I would have to say the full reading in J17 would be Sanctify Jehovah God (Kyrios Theon) in your hearts and not Sanctify the Christ as Jehovah God (Christon Kyrios Theon) in your hearts. There is no reading that includes all three words.

    You are correct. The word-for-word English translation subscript of the Greek text in the Kingdom Interlinear Translation says "Lord but the Christ sanctify you in the hears of you." The word "God" is not used.

    However, as I mentioned above, the Translation Committee leads us to believe that they will insert the word Jehovah into a verse when the Tetragrammaton is used in a Hebrew version. That would be a simple substitution of "Jehovah" for Kyrios at each occurrence of the Tetragrammaton. That is their method in all other verses. In those instances they do not revert to the Textus Receptus text but merely insert Jehovah. Applying that same method in this verse would produce the wording "But sanctify the Christ as Jehovah in YOUR hearts." It is certainly not a wording we would anticipate seeing in the New World Translation, but it is the wording the Translation Committee leaves us to expect considering their translation guidelines.

    As I sat through a number of years of Book Studies and Theocratic School meetings, I had the clear impression that ones of Jehovah's Witnesses take the statement of the Translation Committee quite literally. Though it was a relatively infrequent topic, a discussion question would invariably be answered in a way indicating that each of the 237 "Jehovah" references in the New World Translation contained two elements: 1) that it was a Hebrew Scripture citation which used the Tetragrammaton, and 2) that the Tetragrammaton was used in a Hebrew version. Greg Stafford has, of course, pointed out that 144 of the 237 "Jehovah" references are neither, so this notion is not universally held (JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES DEFENDED, an Answer to Scholars and Critics, by Greg Stafford, pages 31-36). To my knowledge, however, with the exception of Ephesians 6:8 and Colossians 3:13, the Translation Committee has not given us any indication why they would not insert "Jehovah" into the Christian Scriptures when both of conditions 1) and 2) above occur (Kingdom Interlinear Translation, 1969 Edition, pages 17-19).

    So I am led to believe that Franz Delitzsch author of J17 used a version of the Greek text that included the variant reading of Theon and not Christon and would more closely resemble the quotation in Isaiah. I must admit that I have not seen or read J17, so I have to theorize by the information I do have. I also tried to find out if the Greek used by J17 was the Textus Receptus or the Critical Text. I was not able to get a definite answer on this. But because of the time period that J17 was written, I feel confident that it used a Greek text that contained Theon instead of Chiston. As for the rest of the "J" reference at this footnote, they are all well before the Critical text was made and no doubt used the Textus Receptus as the underlying Greek for their Hebrew Versions.

    As you know now that you have a copy of J17, you are correct that it uses Theon and not Christon. And "Yes," the Greek text published by the Trinitarian Bible Society which Franz Delitzsch used was the Textus Receptus which uses Theon rather than Christon. (A copy of the 1979 Trinitarian Bible Society Greek text, which is derived from the Textus Receptus text reconstructed by F.H.A. Scrivener in 1894, is available as the POCKET INTERLINEAR NEW TESTAMENT, edited by Jay P. Green, Sr., published by Baker Book House, 1983, ISBN 0-8010-3777-8. Check the Trinitarian Bible Society's web site at www.trinitarianbiblesociety.org. After you are on the site, click Principles for a description of their use of the Textus Receptus.) But again, nowhere does the Translation Committee state that they are translating from the Hebrew versions' texts. They are using them only to determine if the Tetragrammaton was used in certain passages. The English wording in the New World Translation Christian Scriptures is then generally derived from the Westcott and Hort text used in the Kingdom Interlinear Translation.

    Also, in your chapter heading, I believe it was, you said "Seven Hebrew versions quote 1 Peter 3:15 as saying, "But sanctify the Christ as Jehovah in YOUR hearts. "Have you actually read J17 and does it say "Christ as Jehovah"? If so, I would love to see a copy of it.

    Thank you for calling my attention to this. The heading is on a web site page, and it will be immediately corrected. In our book THE NEW WORLD TRANSLATION AND HEBREW VERSIONS, the heading is "Confirmation of the Translation Committee's statement" (page 18), and is followed by a discussion of their translation principle that they would insert "Jehovah" into passages that contained the Tetragrammaton in Hebrew versions. The illustration then shows both the Hebrew text from J17 which uses the Tetragrammaton for "Lord" and the same verse from the New World Translation which uses "Lord" rather than "Jehovah."

    However, when I carried this information over to a single sentence on the web page, I deleted too much of the explanation and left the reader with a sentence that is crying for more information. The result on the web site page was misleading and is being corrected immediately.

    In conclusion, With this additional information I do not believe that the translators of the New World Translation "failed to add Jehovah in spite of the fact that the Kingdom Interlinear Translation "J" reference footnote lists J7, J8, J12, J13, J14, J16 and J17 as containing the Tetragrammaton." All this shows is that the translators paid very careful attention to all matters including the variant readings when it came to this matter. I probably should say this; I do not totally disagree with you on the issue of whether the Divine Name should be in the New Testament. However, that's a whole other matter. For now, I just wanted to clarify a few points on the matter at hand.

    I do agree with you that the Translation Committee looked carefully at detail. I make mention of that in one of my books. I also commend them in that the existence of their footnote at 1 Peter 3:15 indicates that they were not attempting to hide anything. There is a notable shortcoming, however. When one considers the volume of pages which have been written regarding textual variants and the rationale for selecting one over another within general biblical studies, one wonders why so little information was given by the Translation Committee to this textual discussion of replacing Kyrios with Jehovah. That is particularly true when the potential "Tetragrammaton" variant essentially determines whether the Christian Scriptures will lay a strong foundation for the deity of Jesus, or will remove that foundation. We find a great deal of published material on various Christian Scripture variants in a book like Bruce Metzger's A TEXTUAL COMMENTARY ON THE GREEK NEW TESTAMENT or the chapters in so many books which discuss topics like the pericope in John 8, the spurious passage in 1 John 5:7-8, or the variants in the last chapter of Mark. And yet, none of those variants have anywhere near the impact on the meaning of Scripture as does the single change of Kyrios 237 times to a translation consistent with the presence of the Tetragrammaton in the Christian Scripture text.

    And yet, in spite of its impact on the meaning of Scripture, a scholarly and technical discussion of the Tetragrammaton variant is scant at best in the Watch Tower Society's literature and is devoid of any Christian Scripture manuscript evidence. (See, for example, the Foreword in the 1969 Kingdom Interlinear Translation.) It is not sufficient for a Scripture translator to depend on a group's loyalty as the basis for selecting variants to alter the translation's meaning. It is imperative that translator(s) marshal sufficient textual and scholarly evidence so that they can defend their position to a wide spectrum of biblical scholars. That is exactly what is taking place among those who are attempting to defend the Texus Receptus and its preservation in the King James Bible even though the better scholarship does not appear to be on their side. Why, then, would we allow a translation like the New World Translation to slip by with so little detail paid to the necessary step of establishing a consensus among biblical scholars that their argument has validity from manuscript evidence even if that argument does not win these outsiders' complete approval? Something is awry with the process when group loyalty alone is the justifying factor in introducing change in Scripture. That is true when group preference alone places LORD rather than the Divine Name in the Old Testament; that is also true when group loyalty rather than manuscript evidence permits "Jehovah" in place of "Lord" in the Christian Scriptures.

    This also raises another variant issue regarding the Textus Receptus text. If I were to insist that 1 Peter 3:15 should read "But sanctify the Christ as Jehovah in YOUR hearts," I would, of course, gain an advantage in my argument. But is that an appropriate use of the variant reading found the Textus Receptus? Probably not. From this we find that insertion of "Jehovah" in 237 Christian Scriptures references in the New World Translation must be controlled by defining the variant chosen——a definition which was never given to us by the Translation Committee. As is the case in this example, we see the need to establish guidelines when encountering variants between the wording of the Textus Receptus from which Hebrew versions were generally taken and the Westcott and Hort text which was used in the New World Translation. A great weakness of the Translation Committee's work is that they have given us so little indication of the guidelines they will use in their translation work. As in the case of 1 Peter 3:15, this often has major consequences.

    Thank you, Howard, for contacting me and patiently waiting for my answer. I understand that you will not agree with many of the things I have said. But your purpose in asking, I assume, was not that you would agree, but that you would be able to determine my reasoning behind what I have written. Hopefully, I have given you enough information so that you can at least understand why I have made certain statements in both my books and on my web site.

Let me conclude with two summary statements:

  1. I believe any individual must carefully determine that which he or she will accept as the textual source for Bible translation. This discussion has essentially limited itself to two options.

    • The first option——the one I accept for myself——insists that the textual source for Bible translation be limited to the best available manuscript evidence. Of course, the best manuscript evidence will consider both internal and external evidences. But the final selection must be restricted to the most probable variant known within the extant manuscript literature.

    • The second option allows other than manuscript evidence to determine the wording of a Bible translation. By default, anyone who accepts the use of "Jehovah" in the New World Translation's Christian Scriptures has accepted a textual source outside available Christian Scripture Greek manuscript evidence. In all probability, most New World Translation readers have been unaware of the choice they have been asked to make. They must now evaluate the implications of that choice and determine for themselves what choice they will make in the future. This is particularly true because importing the "Tetragrammaton" into the Christian Scripture literature radically changes the Christian Scriptures' teaching of the person of Jesus. When evaluating the Hebrew Scripture passages cited in the Christian Scriptures, one frequently encounters instances in which the prerogatives and attributes of deity are ascribed to the addressee in the Christian Scripture passage. It makes a great deal of difference whether the verse is applied to "Jehovah" or to the "Lord."

  2. I would encourage ones of Jehovah's Witnesses to carefully evaluate their role in helping my own evangelical churches correct our "Old Testament" error. I believe the Watch Tower Society is entirely correct in publishing an "Old Testament" which uses the Divine Name in each instance in which the original writers wrote the Tetragrammaton. I believe that we must follow their example in publishing our own Bibles using the Divine Name in our "Old Testament." I further believe that Jehovah could use Witnesses to encourage us to make that change. (As a matter of fact, I believe He has already done that to a considerable extent. As a reaction, in part, to the Watch Tower's persistence, evangelicals are increasingly using the Divine Name in their services.) I often pray that God would use the Watch Tower Society to bring us to a greater understanding of the Divine Name in our Old Testament.

        But in order to have that ministry to the evangelical church, each Witness must realistically evaluate the mutual conflict that has been engendered between our two groups. The tone of the printed literature and of personal statements made during field service must make a concerted effort to communicate respect. So, too, we as evangelicals need to make a great deal of effort in the same direction. Far too often, we have opened our doors to you without a trace of the love Jesus wants us to display. But I ask you, do you pray for us that we might use the Divine Name appropriately? Are you genuinely concerned for our welfare in this because you want Jehovah's best for us wherever we presently worship Him? Do you come to our doors asking Jehovah to use you to help us understand the importance of His holy name in our own churches——and not simply that we might come into your congregation?

        I prayerfully look forward to the day in which the Divine Name will be used freely among evangelicals. I also trust that some day both of our groups will be able to look back and see a significant and loving contribution toward that end by Witnesses who came to our doors.