Archive for August, 2015

Over the last little while, I have somewhat immersed myself in a study of the history and doctrine of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. As I have done so, I have gained not only a much greater understanding of the Bible, but also a much greater burden for those who are trapped in the oppressive system of the Watchtower Society and its twisting of the Bible. In my next few posts, I hope to give some information and arguments that can hopefully be used to reach out to these sincere, but sincerely deceived individuals, and possibly lead them to the freedom that only comes from a relationship with the true God of the Bible.

The New World Translation

One of the most significant differences that exist between the beliefs of JW’s and orthodox Christianity, are those around the identity of Jesus. While orthodox Christianity believes that Jesus is God, the Jehovah’s Witnesses explicitly deny it. They believe Jesus, who they say is really Michael the Archangel, was the first thing Jehovah created, and then Jesus created everything else. The extent to which they will go to support this belief can be most clearly exemplified in their severely biased translation of the Bible, called The New World Translation. In this “translation” almost every verse, passage, or specific word that was ever used to demonstrate the deity of Christ has been altered in order to undermine the biblical case for such a doctrine. This deception has been well noted and critiqued by many of the world’s top Greek and New Testament Scholars. In fact there were no qualified Greek or Hebrew scholars who even worked on the New World Translation, and its warped readings have been debunked even by non-Christian scholars.

Let’s start with probably the most well-known mistranslation in their Bible, John 1:1.

John 1:1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (New American Standard Bible)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god. (New World Translation 2013)

Notice that “the Word” (aka Jesus) changed from being God to “a god?” The Watchtower has spent much time and money trying to find support for this mistranslation of the Bible. Likewise, they have drilled into the minds of all who follow them that this reading is the correct one, despite the fact that no credible Greek scholar supports them on this point. Don’t get me wrong, they will list some people who agree with their translation, but these people are not Greek scholars. What is their argument? Well in plain English, it is essentially that the first occurrence of God (Greek = theos) has the definite article (Greek equivalent of the word “the”) in front of it, while the second does not. The logic is that while the first use of theos is specific to the one and only God, the second is not specific, and therefore is apparently referring to Jesus as a lesser god, but certainly not Jehovah. In response to this translation, Bruce Metzger, widely considered to be one of the best, if not the best, New Testament textual critic in the world prior to his death, and a member of many translation committee’s said: “As a matter of solid fact, however, such a rendering is a frightful mistranslation.” See his article here.

Not only is this translation wrong, and inconsistent with everything else the Gospel of John says, but this made up “rule” of Greek grammar to which the NWT translators are appealing is not even followed consistently. If not having a definite article in front of a Greek noun means that it must be translated as “a” (insert noun here) then verse 6 in the same chapter of John should read: “ There came a man sent from a God, whose name was a John.” If they claim the “rule” only applies to the word theos, then verse 18 has the word theos, twice with no definite article, and their own translation translates theos as God both times, not a god.

All that being said, chances are the JW’s in your living room or at your door don’t know any more Greek than you do, and so it may be difficult to get this point across as they will likely just dig their heels in and stand with the Watchtower Society on this point. But here are a few tips you can use, even with their own translation, to show them that their interpretation of the Bible creates huge problems.

  1. John 1:3 says Jesus is the CREATOR

The apostle John was explaining something very important about Jesus in his prologue. He was showing that Jesus was God, and that He was not the Father. That’s why he said that the Word was “with God” and He “was God.” In verses 2 and 3, he emphasizes this point with even more clarity:

He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. (New American Standard Bible)

The New World Translation is virtually the same at this point. It reads:

This one was in the beginning with God. All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence.

Here we see John saying that all things that were created, were made by Jesus. Now let’s think about this: There are 2 kinds of things, created things and un-created things. If we put everything that was ever created into a bucket, Jesus made all of that. The problem is, if Jesus created everything that was ever created, then He would have to exist before all created things. Therefore, Jesus can’t go into the “created things” bucket, but rather must go into the “un-created things” bucket, otherwise He would have created himself.  As far as the Bible is concerned, there is only one being that is un-created – God. This makes Jesus the un-created creator, which is exactly what the rest of the Bible teaches.

  1. 2 True Gods?

The New World Translation actually leads to polytheism if interpreted honestly. Here is a way to point that out, using their own corrupt translation.

POLITELY ask the Jehovah’s Witness if they agree that Jesus is “a god” based on John 1:1. They will of course say yes. Next, ask them if they believe he is a “Mighty God” based on the famous prophecy in Isaiah 9:6 – “For a child has been born to us, A son has been given to us; And the rulership will rest on his shoulder. His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (NWT 2013). They will undoubtedly agree to this as well. Jesus, according to them, is a Mighty God.

Next, ask them if they believe Jehovah is Almighty God. Once again, they will nod in furious agreement. Continuing on, ask if Jehovah is a true God or a false God. They will of course say that Jehovah is a true God.

Having established that Jesus is a mighty god, and Jehovah is true Almighty God, you next have to ask them if they believe that Jesus is Jehovah, which they of course do not. The final question to ask them is if they believe Jesus is a true god or a false god. Once again, it is understandably unlikely that they will say Jesus is a false god. They will say Jesus is a true god. Here is what you have now established:

Jehovah = true Almighty God

Jesus = a true mighty god

They have now told you they believe in 2 true gods. This is, by definition, POLYTHEISM.

Polytheism

[pol-ee-thee-iz-uh m, pol-ee-thee-iz-uh m]

  1. the doctrine of or belief in more than one god or in many gods.

Chances are that the JW’s you are speaking with will not like being accused of polytheism, and you must be very gentle in pointing this out. However there is no logical way that I have seen to sidestep this issue. Likely they will try to say that Satan is called a “god”, to which you should continually ask: “is Satan a true god or a false god?” They will reluctantly admit that he is a false god, as are any other examples they try to give you. They may also try to say they only worship one God, to which apologist Clay Jones points out, “If I have 2 wives and only love 1, I am still a polygamist.”

Pointing out a problem such as this, will hardly convert your guests on the spot. But it may be the thing that gets them doubting their biased translation of the Bible, and the authority that translated it, which is the best thing they can do. Next post I will discuss a few more corruptions of their bible, and how to gently point these things out.

Recommended Reading:

Reasoning From the Scriptures With The Jehovah’s Witnesses – Ron Rhodes

Awakening of a Jehovah’s Witness: Escape from the Watchtower Society – Diane Wilson

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements