Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Scripture Re-Alignment


The more I started to think about the concept of re-translating the Bible to make the readings more in line with personal interpretation of Scripture, I recalled an event as a young teenager.
The Watchtower folks came to my door, and being an on-fire young Christian I invited them in to chat. I was figuring I would have them confessing Jesus is Lord in no time. I soon found out it was not that easy. Particularly when the issue of the trinity came up. They pulled out their New World Translation and stated that "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was a God." Stop the presses! How did that little article "a" get in there? The conversation quickly deteriorated. I didn't have any idea of where the Bible came from and who had the authority to translate etc, but knew instinctively that it was wrong to add to the Word of God in order to make Scripture say what you want it to say.
Did you ever read Scripture and wish that it didn't say what it said? Did you ever come upon verses that you were a bit uncomfortable with? Did you ever say, why didn't Paul just say "such and such" or why didn't Jesus tell us what we must do to be saved? (oops , he did, I forgot, sell everything you own and give it to the poor...) But I digress. My point is that when Scripture doesn't say what I think it should or doesn't come into alignment with my pet doctrines, It is I who needs a realignment, and not the Scripture. This will not be the last time, someone attempts to "realign" scripture by way of a "new more accurate" translation to assert their personal doctrinal agenda. Ο Θεός έχει το έλεος σε μας

36 Comments:

Blogger NanaR said...

That coulda' been me, Tiber Jumper :-)

Actually, the NWT says "the Word was a god", little "g" even.

Jeff Schwehm has some great rebuttals of the Witnesses' doctrines on his web site -- http://www.catholicxjw.com . He even manages to use the NWT against them (they didn't fix ALL the verses about Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and some of their attempted fixes work against them).

Anyway, some of us are learning better :-) My Rite of Acceptance as a Catechumen in the Catholic Church is this Sunday!

November 09, 2007 11:57 AM  
Blogger Theocoid said...

I was just looking at my new Greek interlinear, and I noticed something very interesting. If you take the word order at face value, the clause actually says "and God was the word" rather than "the word was God." I don't know diddly about Greek, but it appears that the term for God uses the subjective case marker. Any thoughts?

November 09, 2007 1:09 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Congrats Nana!
Welcome home to the Church.
Thanks for the post.
God bless you richly.

November 09, 2007 7:27 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Theocoid:
I had a year of New Testament Greek several decades ago and am no help here! Can't help you here, but interesting thought.
Sorry, thanks for the post.

November 09, 2007 7:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who could forget the Geneva Bible playing fast and loose with God's word?

"The beast that cometh out of the bottomless pit is the Pope, which hath his power out of hell and cometh thence."(Rev. 11:7)

So the word Pope is in the Bible afterall!

November 09, 2007 9:13 PM  
Blogger JohnOneOne said...

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Many who take issue with Jehovah's Witnesses' "New World Translation" of John 1:1 (as, "a god") often miss the point that the Grammatical construction there is that this is *a singular anarthrous predicate noun preceding the verb, and subject noun (implied or stated)*; and not just that the noun theos (in the third clause) lacks the Greek definite article or because it is simply *a predicate nominative.*

For other examples of a similar Greek construction, please examine the few following verses within your own prefered translation of the Bible and see whether your own translators had inserted either an "a" or "an" there:

Mark 6:49
Mark 11:32
John 4:19
John 6:70
John 8:44a
John 8:44b
John 9:17
John 10:1
John 10:13
John 10:33
John 12:6

At each of the above verses, identity of the one being discussed was not at issue; no, but rather, the class and/or quality of the individual was.

Therefore, rather than 'making their translation fit their own doctrine,' Jehovah's Christian witnesses are, in fact, following just what others for centuries have done, that is, when translating verses of the Bible which display the very same syntax as that found in those other verses.

But now, when it comes to John 1:1, rather than let God's Word speak for itself, Trinitarian influenced scholars seem to forget their own guidelines in this and allow their preconceived theological bias to guide them in their translation of this verse - thus, in fitting with their own ideology, we more commonly read, "and the Word was God."

Agape, Alan.
john1one@earthlink.net
http://www.goodcompanionbooks.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~

November 10, 2007 3:58 AM  
Anonymous theo said...

Dear JohnOneOne:

I'm afraid that you've neglected an important distinction regarding use of the definite article in Koine grammar when two nouns are joined by the conjunction “and” (kai). This arises because of the same peculiar strength of the Greek definite article in its role of exclusion, as you alluded to in your post.

Please consider the following grammar:

If both nouns take the definite article the use of a definite article identifies each noun as unique and separate in spite of each noun’s association by the conjunction. The sense of the associated subject through the infinitive is transmuted to both nouns.

Thus,
EGO EGENETHEN O ANTHROPOS KAI O MATHETES
translates as “I became the man (one person) and I became the disciple” (another person) as two individuals or individual roles.
If I wished to say “I became the man and the disciple,” the dual definite article construct cannot be used. Rather we have
EGO EGENETHEN O ANTHROPOS KAI MATHETES
"I became the man and the disciple, which is the same construct as John uses un the opening of his gospel.

In order to escape this construct when creating syntax that denotes a compound object via kai consisting of one definitive part and one non definitive part, the writer would avoid the conjunction and instead repeat the subjective verb (in this case the Aorist passive indicative of "I became" without the subject itself, "I") to distinguish between them, thusly:
EGO EGENETHEN O ANTHROPOS EGENETHEN O MATHETES”.
which translates:
“I became the Man. I became a disciple.”

Thus, were the text of John 1:1 constructed with two definite articles, it would explicitly deny Trinitarian doctrine. However, as it is constructed it explicitly confirms it. This should be reasonable when you consider that the doctrine of the trinity came about at a time that Koine was still the common language of the Church and the Gospel of John was considered sacred. Were the NWT version accurate, doctrine of the trinity would have been instantly recognized as being false, yet from the second century onward, John 1:1 is cited as evidence of its veracity.

With humble thanksgiving to Jesus Christ who is our only Lord and Savior (See St. Jude's epistle.), I remain your fellow seeker of the Kingdom of God,
--Theo

November 10, 2007 12:06 PM  
Anonymous theo said...

OOPS.

I forgot to remove a definate article from my third example. In the above, I meant to write:
"... thusly:
“EGO EGENETHEN O ANTHROPOS EGENETHEN MATHETES”.
which translates:
“I became the Man. I became a disciple.” "

I'm only human. :-)

--Theo

November 10, 2007 1:54 PM  
Blogger JohnOneOne said...

With respect to any consideration in the utilization of Greek grammar to support any particular rendering of John 1:1c, to put things into even greater perspective, the following comment might be of interest:

"Grammatically this [wording, “and the Word was God”] is a possible translation, but not the only one. The statement’s meaning, and so its translation, must be determined by its context. It could also be translated: 'the Word was a god' or 'the Word was divine.' Grammatical considerations alone fail to decide the question, since all three translations can be defended on grammatical grounds."

Taken from: Loader, William R. G. (b.1944-d.?). "The Christology of the Fourth Gospel: Structures and Issues." vol. xxiii [23] of: Beiträge zur biblischen Exegese und Theologie. (Frankfurt am Main; New York; Paris: Verlag P. Lang, c1989), p. 156. BT198 .L57 1989 / 89-12453. 2nd Revised Edition: (Frankfurt am Main, Germany; New York, New York: P. Lang, c1992), p. 155. BT198 .L57 1992 / 92-19502.

In consideration of "context," this might also prove to be of interest:

“The Hebrew for ‘gods’ (‘elōhîm) could refer to various exalted begins besides Yahweh [or, Jehovah], without implying any challenge to monotheism,…”

Taken from: Blomberg, Craig L. (b.?-d.?). "The Historical Reliability of John’s Gospel: Issues & Commentary." (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, c2002), “The feast of Dedication” ([John] 10:22-42), p. 163. BS2615.6.H55 B56 2002 / 2001051563.

Therefore, and again with respect to "context," because we had just been informed that Jesus ("the Word") was "with God" (John 1:1b), it stands to reason that He could not have also been identified as "God" within the third clause.

As we consider most any commentary of Jesus words at John 10:34, 35, these generally make clear the Biblical uses of the term "god" for others. Extrapolating from that, Jesus, Himself, although greater than any one of these, could very correctly be identified by John as "a god."

After all, with our appreciation of Jesus as being God’s “apostle” (Hebrews 3:1), our “Savior” (Luke 2:11), as the one who would now be serving as our appointed “Lord” (Acts 2:34), future “Judge” (John 5:22; Acts 17:31), heavenly Ruler and “King” (1 Corinthians 15:25), we should surely see in Jesus someone as having more right to this title than any other earthly or heavenly “representative” of God. (John 7:29)

Might I also suggest consideration of the following two web-links:

"Some Interesting Observations About the Trinity,
Perhaps Not So Commonly Known."

http://www.geocities.com/goodcompanionbooks/Some_Interesting_Observations.html

"Some Powerful Reasoning's About the Trinity,
Not So Easily Dismissed."

http://www.geocities.com/goodcompanionbooks/Some_Powerful_Reasonings.html

Agape, Alan.
john1one@earthlink.net
http://www.goodcompanionbooks.com

November 10, 2007 4:31 PM  
Anonymous theo said...

"Grammatically this [wording, “and the Word was God”] is a possible translation, but not the only one. The statement’s meaning, and so its translation, must be determined by its context. It could also be translated: 'the Word was a god' or 'the Word was divine.' Grammatical considerations alone fail to decide the question, since all three translations can be defended on grammatical grounds."


Dear John,1,1:

I'm at a loss as to how Mr. Loader came to this conclusion given the grammar of Koine.

Were the translation "the word was a god," the construct would restate the subject and infinitive and avoid use of the conjunction. It does not.

I assume that he offers "the word was divine" based on the lack of the definite article indicating an anarthrous instance. If so, he still overlooks that pesky conjunction that ties the subjective noun to each part of the compound construct in like fashion. Additionally, the "Theos" would need to appear in the ablative case (Theou) to indicate that it is not an objective but a transitive use (as an object modifier). This idea is weakened further by use of the infinitive which always takes the nominative for objects; and this we see in John 1:1's compound object.

However, I would be dishonest not to point out that Oregen believed the opening verses of John's gospel were not penned by John but quoted by him, as they were from a first-century hymn. He and some others believed that the wording stands as it does in order to have the song follow its musical cadence--and that the omission of the construction is therefore a poetic way of saying the word was divine. For me this still begs the question, as it explains the missing article but does not tell us why "Theos" is not in the ablative case, as its cadence is the same as "Theou."

In this instance I must side with the bulk of second-century Church exegesis.

“The Hebrew for ‘gods’ (‘elōhîm) could refer to various exalted begins besides Yahweh [or, Jehovah], without implying any challenge to monotheism,…”

This understanding would simply and flatly contradict other revelation, "There is no god but God." The only reasonable reconciliations between the enigmatic plurals of the Elohist in view of the rigid singulars of the Yahwehst either are to take them literally as a "both / and" construct, or take them poetically assigning the plural a "royal we" sort of status.

The latter approach is that of Judaism in light of Christianity's rising. The former has been that of virtualy all of Christendom for the past 2000 years or so.

With humble thanksgiving to Jesus Christ who is the Alpha and the Omega, I remain your fellow seeker of the Kingdom of God,
--Theo

November 11, 2007 4:52 PM  
Anonymous anon said...

"This is what Jehovah has said ... I myself have made the earth and have created even
many upon it. I –my own hands have stretched out the heavens, and all the army of them I
have commanded."
Isaiah 45: 11 NWT

"This one (Jesus, The Word) was in [the] beginning with God. All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence."
John 1:2,3 NWT

Do the math. :-)

November 11, 2007 6:42 PM  
Anonymous anon said...

Dear JohnOneOne:

Your first posting has me wondering whether you've subjected the NWT to the same sort of test you seem to think lacks elsewhere. When you speak of the notion that "scholars seem to forget their own guidelines in this and allow their preconceived theological bias to guide them in their translation," I believe you make a good general point. In that light, I wonder how you address the New World Translation version of Romans 14: 7-9:

"None of us, in fact, lives with regard to himself only, and no one dies with regard to himself only; for both if we live, we live to Jehovah, (kerios) and if we die, we die to Jehovah (kerios). Therefore both if we live and if we die, we belong to Jehovah (kerios). For to this end Christ died and came to life again, that he might be Lord (kerios) over both the dead and the living."

How is it "kerios" is translated as "Jehovah" three times and as "Lord" once? This is twice as odd given that the word "Jehovah" did not even exist until the post middle ages. Aside from the NWT New Testament is there any record anywhere of Koine "kerios" being translated as "Jehovah" or "Yahweh?"

Given the topic of conversation, "Scripture alignement" this seems to be a rather blatant case. Am I mistaken?

With humble thanksgiving to Jesus Christ who says of Himself, "The Father and I are one," I remain your fellow seeker of the Kingdom of God,
--Theo

November 11, 2007 7:14 PM  
Anonymous anon said...

Hey Theo,

What gives? I appreciate the plug, :-) but you really ought to post things that under your own name. It's all Greek to me! I already changed my handle once.

November 11, 2007 7:51 PM  
Blogger Pilgrimsarbour said...

Hey guys,

The only definite articles I understand are the ones I write for my blog! How blessed I consider myself that Theo will even condescend to talk to me!

Your Prot Friend,

Pilgrimsarbour

November 11, 2007 8:47 PM  
Blogger JohnOneOne said...

With regard to Professor Loader's comment:

"Grammatically this [wording, “and the Word was God”] is a possible translation, but not the only one. The statement’s meaning, and so its translation, must be determined by its context. It could also be translated: 'the Word was a god' or 'the Word was divine.' Grammatical considerations alone fail to decide the question, since all three translations can be defended on grammatical grounds."

You state:

"I'm at a loss as to how Mr. Loader came to this conclusion given the grammar of Koine."

Quite interestingly, Loader is not alone in this assessment:

“…, from the point of view of grammar alone, κα θες ν λγος [from John 1:1c] could be rendered ‘the Word was a god’…”

Taken from: Harris, Murray J. (b.?-d.?). "Jesus as God: The New Testament Use of Theos in Reference to Jesus." (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1992), p. 60. BT216 .H37 1992 / 92-30780.

~~~~~

“You could translate, so far as the Greek goes: ‘the Word was a God.’”

Barclay, William (b.1907-d.1978), Lecturer in the University of Glasgow. "Ever Yours; A Selection From the Letters of William Barclay." Rawlins, Clive L. (b.1940-d.?), Compiler, Editor. (Dunbar, England: Labarum Publications, 1985), Portion of a letter from Barclay to Mr. David Burnett, Australia, dated May 20, 1974. BL: 85/18400 DSC. / SN: 012326083. ISBN: 0948095040.

~~~~~

“Grammar alone cannot prove how the predicate in this verse should be translated, whether ‘God’ or ‘a god.’”

Taken from: "The Catholic Biblical Quarterly." (Washington, D.C.: Catholic Biblical Association of America, vol. 1–, Jan. 1939–), vol. XIII [13], No. 4, October 1951. BS410 .C3 / a40-000163.

~~~~~

“Grammatically, John 1:1 is not a difficult verse to translate. It follows familiar, ordinary structures of Greek expression. A lexical (“interlinear”) translation of the controversial clause would read: “And a god was the Word.” A minimal literal (“formal equivalence”) translation would rearrange the word order to match proper English expression: “And the Word was a god.” The preponderance of evidence, from Greek grammar, from literary context, and from cultural environment, supports this translation,….”

Taken from: BeDuhn, Jason David (b.?-d.?). "Truth in Translation: Accuracy and Bias in English Translations of the New Testament." (Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 2003), chapter 11, “AND THE WORD WAS…WHAT?”, subheading, “Summing Up,” pp. 132, 133. BS2325 .B43 2003 / 20-03050712.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In regard to your statement:

"In this instance I must side with the bulk of second-century Church exegesis."

With respect to your desire to "side with the bulk of second-century Church exegesis," there is this:

“The formulation ‘one God in three Persons’ was not solidly established, certainly not fully assimilated into Christian life and its profession of faith, prior to the end of the 4th century. But it is precisely this formulation that has first claim to the title the Trinitarian dogma. Among the Apostolic Fathers, there had been nothing even remotely approaching such a mentality or perspective.…it is not directly and immediately the word of God.”

Taken from: "The New Catholic Encyclopedia." Prepared by an Editorial Staff at the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. (New York, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1967-c1989), vol. XIV [14], p. 299 (italics theirs). BX841 .N44 1967 / 66-022292.

As you must know, the import of this statement becomes all the more significant when we appreciate the fact that “the Apostolic Fathers” are those who were said to have lived during or close to the same time period as the Apostles themselves – perhaps, with even some of them having been taught by them as well.

Therefore, if among the writings of “the Apostolic Fathers” “there had been nothing even remotely approaching such a mentality or perspective,” and, especially, for this teaching to not have ever been a part of the Christian “profession of faith,” that is, as expressed within any Christian ‘declaration of belief’ until the end of the 4th century, then, surely, this would unequivocally substantiate the fact that neither the Apostles nor any of the earliest of Christians had ever believed and/or been taught any such radically new concept about God.

Along with this, I would invite you to consider the contents of the following:

"Some Powerful Reasoning's About the Trinity,
Not So Easily Dismissed."

http://www.geocities.com/goodcompanionbooks/Some_Powerful_Reasonings.html

~~~~~~~~~~~

In reply to,

“The Hebrew for ‘gods’ (‘elōhîm) could refer to various exalted begins besides Yahweh [or, Jehovah], without implying any challenge to monotheism,…”

You said:

"This understanding would simply and flatly contradict other revelation, 'There is no god but God.'"

Please keep in mind, that this observation was made in connection with Jesus' mention of other "gods" at John 10:34, 35. To further substantiate such an understanding, might I suggest your consideration of most any commentary which also discuss these same verses and/or Jesus' use of "gods" there; or, for that matter, on Psalm 82:6, the scripture from which Jesus quotes. As an example, there is this:

"Although it is true that Jehovah declared that he is the only God, the most outstanding point to keep in mind is that it was Jehovah himself who designated the ancient rulers of Israel with the honorific title “gods.” However, this obviously did not mean that these were “of the same essence” or “being” as God; thought of as “false gods.” They were properly called gods because they had authority delegated to them by the Almighty God. That is why one benefits from remembering, as the Psalmist declared, “Jehovah is a great King over all other gods.” [ftn: Psalm 95:3] He is “the God of gods.” [ftn: Psalm 136:2] That is why the angels, or gods of the heavenly realm, are commanded to worship Jehovah: “Worship him all ye gods…For thou, Jehovah art the Most High above all the earth; thou art exalted above all gods” [ftn: Psalm 97:9].…Appreciating the fact – established by the biblical tradition – that there are individual beings beside God Almighty (particularly angels and human rulers) that can properly be called “god” or “gods” in a positive scriptural affirmation – without in any way compromising or calling into question the biblical truth that there is only one Most High God – may in fact be the essential key to understanding those few texts, both in the Old and New Testaments, that do in fact apply the term “God” to God’s Son, Jesus Christ. As pointed out, in the Old Testament, the term God was applied to Moses (Exodus 4:16; 7:1), to the King of Israel (possibly King Solomon; Psalm 46:6), to the pre-monarchical judges of Israel (Psalm 82:6), as well as to the angelic hosts of heaven (Psalm 8:5). They were all honored with the title, evidently, based on their representative role (or function) and exalted position given to them by God.…If we can verify from the Scriptures that men were given a measure of authority from God can appropriately be called “gods” (without resulting in a compromise to ‘biblical monotheism,’ or the scriptural truth that there is only one true God), how much more fitting would it be for the Scriptures to have called God’s very own Son “God,” the one who was given, not merely a measure of authority, but “all authority in heaven and on earth,” [Matthew 28:18; John 17:2] without representing a negation or violation of that truth in any way? Actually, in light of the fact that other beings in addition to the Father are rightfully called “God” (Psalm 8:5; 45:6) or “gods” (based on the authority delegated to them; and with angels, perhaps because of their divine nature as powerful, celestial beings), it would have really been inconsistent, even surprising, for the Bible not to have described God’s Son by that very same kind of description; he is, clearly, far more worthy of that special dignity.…Was and is not the Messiah God’s perfect “representative,” one who acted “in God’s name” as “God’s ultimate spokesman (compare Hebrews 1:1-3; Matthew 21:9; John 5:43)? Could we not – in light of such clear, scriptural precedents and principles – say the same with respect to the Christ in the terms of his own Godship?: “The idea {in Scripture} is, that Christ was the representative of the divine sovereignty in the administration of justice…(Hebrews 1:3, 8; Matthew 28:18; compare Daniel 7:13-14; Isaiah 11:1-6) He was, in a sense, ‘God’ to other people (John 20:28); but he was not to forget that God Stood among him as his God (John 20:17); that if he was exalted to a high rank in respect to his fellow men (Philippians 2:9-11), he was, nevertheless, subject to the One to whom the name of God belonged in the highest sense (1 Corinthians 11:3; 15:26-28; compare Revelation 3:2, 12).”

Taken from: Navas, Patrick (b.?-d.?). "Divine Truth or Human Tradition? A Reconsideration of the Roman Catholic-Protestant Doctrine of the Trinity in Light of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures." (Milton Keynes, United Kingdom [England]; Bloomington, Indiana: Authorhouse, 2007), pp. 226-230. 2006906613.

~~~~~

"In his study of the language used in the imperial cult, Price shows the wide and diverse semantic field of theos in Graeco-Roman culture. Essentially, the term was used to designate a wide variety of (1) heavenly beings (in both Greek and Semitic language); (2) figures of exceptional power or status, such as kings; and (3) figures to whom one wished to show reverence. Those persons long accustomed to the view that Judaism could be distinguished from neighboring religions by its “radical monotheism” will undoubtedly suspect that while Price’s analysis will hold for pagan religion, it will not hold for Judaism and Jewish texts. Yet there are sources from Second Temple Judaism that use theos, elim, and elohim of other beings than the one God, but not in an unlimited sense and not without qualification. Those limitations and qualifications are instructive for understanding precisely the meaning of these terms.…human judges are called elohim [Hebrew, gods], even as they are called theoi [Greek, gods] in the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew (…Exod[us] 22:27). In the Dead Sea Scrolls one finds angels spoken of as elim or bene elim [Hebrew, sons of God]…the latter in keeping with Psalms 29:1 and 89:7. Other passages from the Scrolls attest to the use of elohim for the angels, as found in Pslams 8:6; 82:1, 6; 97:7; 138:1, and so on.…[In contrast to the surrounding pagan religions] In Judaism, the situation is rather different, where a marked distinction exists between the one God, God Most High, and all created beings. To name one of these created beings “God” will therefore mean this being or figure must be interpreted not in reference to a shared attribute of “divinity,” but rather in reference and relationship to the one figure so designated, the one true God.…Yet the very application of “god” to figures or entities other than the Most High God raises the question of the unity of God, as well as the relationship of God to the other heavenly beings or powers. So, for example, in Jewish sources of the first century, titles such as “God of gods” posit the supremacy of YHWH [Yahweh or, Jehovah] to other gods. Ancient Israelite and Jewish monotheism clearly did not preclude belief in other heavenly beings, such as angels and spirits, but there is no contradiction between a plethora of supernatural beings and the unity of God so long as these beings are understood to be dependent upon and answerable to God. It is not their mere existence, but rather the suggestion of their autonomy, that threatens monotheism."

Taken from: Thompson, Marianne Meye (b.?-d.?), Professor of New Testament Interpretation, Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. "The God of the Gospel of John." (Grand Rapids, Michigan: W.B. Eerdmans, c2001), chapter 1, “The Meaning of ‘God,’” pp. 20, 21, 42, 52, 53 (respectively). BT102 .T525 2001 / 2001-040379.

~~~~~

Agape, Alan.
john1one@earthlink.net
http://www.goodcompanionbooks.com

November 11, 2007 8:52 PM  
Blogger JohnOneOne said...

With respect to your quotes of Isaiah 45: 11 & John 1:2,3, that is, as taken from the New World Translation, please consider the following:

"…Jesus was not the absolute independent creator, but rather the intermediate agent in creation….J[oh]n 1:3…Heb[rews] 1:2….All things were made through him. J[oh]n 1:3. Here God the Father is thought of as the original cause of creation, and the λόγος [the Logos, the Word] as the intermediate agent."

Taken from: Dana, Harvey Eugene (b.1888-d.1945); Mantey, Julius R. (b.?-d.1981). "A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament." (New York, New York: The Macmillan Company, 1927), pp. 102, 162. PA817 .D3 1927 / 27-25332.

~~~~~

"It appears to me upon all occasions most unbecoming and presumptuous for us to say what God can do, and what he cannot do; and I shall never think that the truth or the importance of a conclusion warrants any degree of irreverence in the method of attaining it. The power exerted in making the most insignificant object out of nothing by a word is manifestly so unlike the greatest human exertions, that we have no hesitation in pronouncing that it could not proceed from the strength of man; and when we take into view the immense extent, and magnificence, and beauty of the things thus created, the different orders of spirits, as well as the frame of the material world, our conceptions of the power exerted in creation are infinitely exalted. But we have no means of judging whether this power must be exerted immediately by God, or whether it many be delegated by him to a creature. It is certain that God has no need of any minister to fulfil his pleasure. He may do by himself every thing that is done throughout the universe. Yet we see that in the ordinary course of providence he withdraws himself, and employs the ministry of other beings; and we believe that, at the first appearance of the Gospel, men were enabled by the divine power residing in them to perform miracles, i.e. such works as man cannot do, to cure the most inveterate diseases by a word, without any application of human art, and to raise the dead. Although none of these acts imply a power equal to creation, yet as all of them imply a power more than human, they destroy the general principle of that argument upon which creation is made an unequivocal proof of Deity in him who creates. And it becomes a very uncertain conjecture, whether reasons perfectly unknown to us might not induce the Almighty to exert, by the ministry of a creature, powers exceeding in any given degree those by which the apostles of Jesus raised the dead."

Taken from: Hill, George (b.1750-d.1819), D.D., F.R.S.E., principal of St. Mary’s College, St. Andrews. "Lectures in Divinity." 4th Edition. 2 vols. (Edinburgh, Scotland: 1837), vol. I [1], pp. 333, 334. See also: Edition of 1850, Edited by his son, Hill, Alexander (b.?-d.?). (Edinburgh, Scotland; London, England: 1850). BL: 3559.e.8 / SN: 001683638.

Agape, Alan.
john1one@earthlink.net
http://www.goodcompanionbooks.com

November 11, 2007 9:02 PM  
Blogger JohnOneOne said...

With respect to your comment:

"When you speak of the notion that 'scholars seem to forget their own guidelines in this and allow their preconceived theological bias to guide them in their translation,' I believe you make a good general point.

Yes, as far as I can see, because none of us are perfect, "theological bias" cannot, in all actuality, be avoided.

And yet, with respect to your observations of how the NWT renders Romans 14:7-9, especially in their uses of "Jehovah" and "Lord" there, if you have a copy of the 1984 Reference Edition, you might find it useful to consider the cross-references they provide.

~~~~~

With respect to your observation, "...the word 'Jehovah' did not even exist until the post middle ages."

Although this is true, please consider:

"In the O[ld] T[estament], God’s name should appear as a name, either Jehovah or Yahweh…; One of the forms of the Divine name should appear for the original YHWH throughout the O[ld] T[estament], and especially in Exodus 6:3, “by my name Jehovah” and 1 Kings 18:39, “Jehovah, he is God,” which hardly makes sense without the actual name. However, in place of the name, many Bible translations use “the LORD” (in capitals) … but capitals are inaudible when read aloud and readily ignored. A few Bibles do not even use capitals for Lord (L[iving] B[ible], A[mplified] B[ible], etc)."

Taken from: Duthie, Alan S. (b.?-d.?), Professor at the University of Legon. "Bible Translations: And How to Choose Between Them." (Exeter, England: Paternoster, 1985), p. 38. oclc: 12507271.

With respect to the form of God's personal, proper Divine Name as "Jehovah," you are right; and so this would also be true of most all Anglisized names used within our English Bibles, including "Jesus."

~~~~~

With regard to your question: "Aside from the NWT New Testament is there any record anywhere of Koine 'kerios' being translated as 'Jehovah' or 'Yahweh?'" As you might imagine, I'm glad you asked.

Unknown to many, it must be pointed out that, in most all cases where the New World Translation has inserted "Jehovah," this is at those verses where, when the speaker or writer was quoting directly from the "Old Testament," within the original Hebrew, God's Divine Name (YHWH) does, indeed, appear.

This, in fact, has been done and continues to be the practice of most all Bible Translation Societies, that is, when translating the Greek "New Testament" into any number of other foreign languages. For evidence of this, please consult:

http://web.archive.org/web/20040603223256/hector3000.future.easyspace.com/jhvh.htm

Likewise, for the same reason, many English translator's in the past had followed this practice as well.

http://web.archive.org/web/20040606042729/hector3000.future.easyspace.com/yhwh.htm

Quite interestingly, whether Jesus and his disciples had been using (and thus, quoting from) either the Jewish Hebrew Bible or the early Greek Translation of it (called the Septuagint), God's Holy, Divine Name (YHWH) would have appeared in either. For the Septuagint, see:

http://www.eliyah.com/lxx.html

~~~~~

With respect to your closing remark, wherein you included, "The Father and I are one," that is, as taken from John 10:30, you may find the following quite interesting:

"[John 10:] 30. I and my Father are one. He [Jesus] intended to meet the jeers of the wicked; for they might allege that the power of God did not at all belong to him, so that he could promise to his disciples that it would assuredly protect them. He therefore testifies that his affairs are so closely united to those of the Father, that the Father’s assistance will never be withheld from himself and his sheep. The ancients made a wrong use of this passage to prove that Christ is…of the same essence with the Father. For Christ does not argue about the unity of substance, but about the agreement which he has with the Father, so that whatever is done by Christ will be confirmed by the power of his Father."

Taken from: Calvin [Latinized form of Cauvin or Caulvin], John [or, Jean] (b.1509-d.1564). "Commentary on the Gospel According to John by John Calvin; A New Translation, From the Original Latin, by: William Pringle [or, Prindle. (b.?-d.?)]." 2 vols. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1949). BS2615 .C323 / a51-1003521.

Agape.
john1one@earthlink.net
http://www.goodcompanionbooks.com

November 11, 2007 9:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon,

That's pretty funny. That's just what I was going to say!

November 11, 2007 11:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All of this talk about what "the meaning of 'a' is" between theo and johnoneone has me really confused. How can I possibly know which one of you has the truth regarding the translation of Scripture on such a crucial article of our faith, the nature of God?

November 12, 2007 8:01 AM  
Blogger JohnOneOne said...

With regard to the inquiry:

"All of this talk about what "the meaning of 'a' is" between theo and johnoneone has me really confused. How can I possibly know which one of you has the truth regarding the translation of Scripture on such a crucial article of our faith, the nature of God?"

The First thing I would suggest is that you pray about this, and that you do it incessantly (1 Thes. 5:17; Phil. 4:6); yes, pray to God for insight and wisdom, for knowledge and understanding. If you are, indeed, sincerely in search of these things from God, then His promise stated at Proverbs 2 will come true.

Secondly, I would suggest that you act in harmony with your desire for these things, and that you do this by continuing to read and study the Bible, that is, with the intent of gaining such accurate knowledge of His Divine Will and Purpose.

Thirdly, I would then encourage you to leave the doors of your heart and mind open, that is, in order to be in a position to learn whatever He wishes to impart. Continue to think and ask questions, the answers will come - maybe even from some sources you wouldn't expect.

And, as soon as you hear anyone ever suggesting that, because of your doing all of these things, that you stop, then just remember the Beroeans. Quite interestingly, these were actually commended for not just accepting what the apostle Paul and Silas were preaching and teaching. No, but rather, although they 'they received the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, they carefully examined the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so.' (Acts 17:11).

I do hope this helps.
Agape, Alan.
john1one@earthlink.net
http://www.goodcompanionbooks.com

November 12, 2007 8:46 AM  
Anonymous theo said...

Pilgrim:

I would never avoid communicating with you! Did I miss something? If so, please let me know and I'll address it ASAP!

Your bro,
--Theo

November 12, 2007 9:57 AM  
Anonymous theo said...

Anonymous said...
All of this talk about what "the meaning of 'a' is" between theo and johnoneone has me really confused. How can I possibly know which one of you has the truth regarding the translation of Scripture on such a crucial article of our faith, the nature of God?


Dear Anonymous:

I humbly suggest that you do not base your understanding on a mere discussion between JohnOneOne and me. If indeed you hold Scripture as inspired and authoritative and you believe your correct understanding of John 1:1 is essential to your life's direction, I suggest you personally seek guidance from the ultimate author of the inspiration. Pray. Seek God who is able to answer you. Then return to study and seek out the opinions of scholars and churches and whomever. I am personally confident that the great weight of revelation and reason combined supports orthodoxy in understanding Christ, His relationship with the creator of all, and our relationship with Him as His creations. But moreover, I'm confident that God hears and answers prayer.

If on the other hand, you are merely hoping to toss fuel on the fire and heat up our conversation from cordial discussion to unkind debate, offering the additional "prize" of a soul to win into the mix of the conversation, I imagine none who are party to this conversation would find it useful or to the benefit of a discussion of the nature of truth itself; as such, deception has no part in such a discussion.

Humbly submitted, I remain your servant in Christ,
--Theo

November 12, 2007 10:03 AM  
Anonymous theo said...

"[John 10:] 30. I and my Father are one. He [Jesus] intended to meet the jeers of the wicked; for they might allege that the power of God did not at all belong to him, so that he could promise to his disciples that it would assuredly protect them. He therefore testifies that his affairs are so closely united to those of the Father, that the Father’s assistance will never be withheld from himself and his sheep. The ancients made a wrong use of this passage to prove that Christ is…of the same essence with the Father. For Christ does not argue about the unity of substance, but about the agreement which he has with the Father, so that whatever is done by Christ will be confirmed by the power of his Father."


Dear JohnOneOne:

Thanks to you for your polite and thoughtful communication.

Nevertheless, though I'm sure you hadn't intended it, I am slightly amused that you cite Calvin removed from a passage defending the doctrine of the Holy Trinity as he understood it against Modalism. I wonder whether the missing text, including that represented by the ellipsis would be of interest."

Calvin did not dispute Jesus' unity with the Father as part of the Godhead in a real sense, but he was addressing the ancient modal heresy: the misconception that the manifestation of Jesus (and the Holy Spirit) are mere facets of the same person. It might be that you misunderstand Trinitarian doctrine to be Modalism. Should you like an accurate view of Catholic teaching in this regard, I humbly suggest review of the Catechism regarding Trinity. Regardless, you will be hard pressed to find Reformation theologians who deny Trinitarian doctrine, and then even more so to find those who deny Christ's divinity. Still, errors that might have crept in as a result of the relative doctrinal free-for-all that accompanied some aspects of the Reformation era are not so relevant to the topic of the doctrine of the Trinity as they might be relevant to the topic of TJ's article, were one to cite “scriptural adjustment” performed to support it.

-------

Regarding your quote of the understanding of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity itself being fully absorbed into Christendom in comment of my siding with the bulk of second-century exegesis, we now have a reversal of what you (inadvertently, I hope) did with your Calvin quote, as I was addressing in that instance the very divinity of Christ, not the doctrinal development of the full understanding of Trinitarian doctrine. If this was somehow unclear in my writing, I apologize.

----

Regarding other translations of the Koine "kerios" as "Jehovah apart from the NWT, I seem to not follow you. This might be my fault in wording the question. If I might rephrase: apart from translations sponsored by the Watchtower Tract and Bible Society or other organizations and academics whose impetus comes from affirming the doctrines of Jehovah’s Witnesses, do we find any Koine (that is first-century Greek originated) translations of New Testament use of "kerios" as "Jehovah?"

With regard to the specific scripture I cited, I'm also afraid you have sidestepped the question, as apart from a doctrinal desire to make it so, the NWT version shows no justification for its capricious choice to translate it as "Jehovah" in the first three instances and as "Lord" in the fourth. Of course were the translation consistent with the supposed rule cited, then you would translate the latter portion thus: "For to this end Christ died and came to life again, that he might be Jehovah (kerios) over both the dead and the living." Were the "rule" applied here, then indeed Jesus and Jehovah are presented as both separate individuals while at the same time one in being, all within these very verses.

With humble thanksgiving to Jesus Christ who says of Himself, "Before Abraham was, I AM," I remain your fellow seeker of the Kingdom of God,
--Theo

November 12, 2007 10:26 AM  
Anonymous theo said...

Dear Anon:

Sorry 'bout that. I didn't mean to misidentify myself. Oddly enough, I have used the handle "Anon" on Tiber's blog and "Annon" (meaning "later") in the past elsewhere, which does not help. What's worse is when I've inadvertently used the word verification string in the identity field. "Who is 'gwniaop?'"

As for it being "all Greek" to you, we had a joking rule in college that if anyone used that line, we would not speak to him or her for ten seconds. So...

:-)

November 12, 2007 10:36 AM  
Anonymous theo said...

Through the agency of JohnOneOne, Mr. Navas wrote in part:
"They were properly called gods because they had authority delegated to them by the Almighty God. That is why one benefits from remembering, as the Psalmist declared, “Jehovah is a great King over all other gods.”


However, let's look at the psalm in context. "All who worship images are put to shame, those who boast in idols—worship him, all you gods. Zion hears and rejoices and the villages of Judah are glad because of your judgments, O LORD. For you, O LORD, are the Most High over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods."

It is clear that the other "gods" are false idols. By no means had they authority delegated to them by the Almighty God. Further, the True God, whose judgments are known and seen in even the remotest part of Zion is therefore exalted far above these and all other idols or gods.

As it was, this is the very first cited scripture I've looked at. Let us hope that the remainder of Mr. Navas commentary is less unfortunate in its correlation of scriptures to conclusions.

Humbly, I remain a servant of the same Jesus that St. Thomas also called, "My Lord and My God,"
--Theo

November 12, 2007 11:45 AM  
Blogger Pilgrimsarbour said...

Theo, my dear friend and Bro!

Not at all! I am simply in awe of your expertise in so many areas, and recognising being way out of my league in discussing the question at hand.

Perhaps if you weren't so blasted humble, I would have known some of these things about you. Hence, the comment about "condescending" to me. I meant it in a totally complimentary way.

No Protestants were injured during this discussion on John 1:1

Yours in Christ,

Pilgrimsarbour

November 12, 2007 2:36 PM  
Blogger JohnOneOne said...

Dear Theo,

Sad to say, this message is being sent to inform you (along with others observing) that our discussions will now cease; and this is for reasons which I believe, even if elucidated, you would not fully understand nor appreciate. (That was not meant as an insult either.)

Otherwise, I would hope and pray that our exchanges here (that is, if they do, indeed, remain posted on this blog) will encourage some to take the initiative to seek out from Jehovah God Himself the correct way in which to think upon His person/being. (Proverbs 2; 1 Tim. 2:5; 2 Tim. 3:16, 17.)

Think what you will, say what you believe, I yet remain with Christian Agape towards you and all here.

Respectfully I leave you, Alan.
john1one@earthlink.net
http://www.goodcompanionbooks.com

November 12, 2007 4:39 PM  
Anonymous theo said...

Dear JohnOneOne:

I have no reason to doubt your sincere expression of agape, nor should I or anyone consider your removing yourself from the conversation anything other than prudence as you best discern it.

My hope and prayer is nearly the same as yours, that our exchanges here (and I'm sure, knowing TJ as I do they indeed will remain posted on this blog) will encourage not some, but all to take the initiative to seek out from Yahweh God Himself the best way in which to think upon His person/being, given that as according to scripture, we see through a glass dimly until that time should come when the beatific vision is endurable.

You will not be surprised to know that I've personal concern for the doctrine you embrace, just as, no doubt, you have regarding mine; and that I express grave concern over how this might influence the eternal deportment of your soul. Happily, that judgment is not mine and we may both be glad that it is Jesus alone who shall judge the living and the dead. In as much as you or I promote the Kingdom of God, whether through sagacity or virtue, I pray for our blessing and uplifting. As much as you or I hinder that Kingdom, whether through ignorance or sin, I pray none suffer no more than our redemption requires and that our examples will be light for others.

With sincere heart I ask God Almighty, creator of heaven and earth to bestow upon you all blessings He wills to give and you are willing to receive.

In the name of Him who died for man's salvation, I remain,
a fellow seeker of the Kingdom of God,
--theo

November 12, 2007 7:08 PM  
Anonymous theo said...

"Perhaps if you weren't so blasted humble..."

Dear pilgrim:

Ha! You have known me long enough, my brother, to know that were I to give any slack to my pride, I'd have myself buried in false glories faster than Herod at a fashion show! I was given an award for humility once, you know--but they took it back when I accepted it. :-)

In all truth, I'm no expert, and as you might have noticed, my "from the hip" ramblings do not present the same "seasoned with salt" palatability that our friend Alan demonstrated. You might think my points were well laid out because you agree with them; however, his were easily the more practiced contributions.

Of course I believe I have the grand luck of having a broader view and nearly two thousand years of teaching to draw upon, and dare I say in an age where it is frowned upon to assert, I humbly have Truth as a companion. With those things considered, one would expect me to have walked more masterly and in a more Christ-like manner than I managed to nearly stumble through.

With everlasting gratitude to Jesus, Our Lord, I remain by grace,
Your brother in Christ,
--Theo

November 12, 2007 7:34 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

I want to thank all the commenter's here for the gracious discussion which speaks volumes regarding each of you. Would that your example be seen by many others in the blogosphere who would describe you both as heretics and apostate based on your beliefs, yet not show one iota of the charity that you have displayed one to another!

I would like to make another comment regarding this whole discussion, but another day perhaps it will come.

November 12, 2007 9:25 PM  
Anonymous anon said...

"I would like to make another comment regarding this whole discussion, but another day perhaps it will come."

Please do, because I have just about no idea what happened here, and I'm not usually the last person to "get it."

November 13, 2007 8:51 AM  
Anonymous anon said...

Also, as long as your handing out complements for good behavior, TJ, I want to thank Pilgrimsarbour for showing me that not all sola fide / sola scriptura folks refuse to see any Catholic as a brother in Christ. This has been a topic on a Protestant blog I visit that tends to get me miffed and I'm glad to see that it doesn't have to be that way.

November 13, 2007 11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon:

If visiting a particular blog gets you "miffed," I have a suggestion for a good remedy. Don't visit the blog. If it's a Protestant blog, it is "Protestant" for a reason. If you have trouble with Protestant beliefs to the point that they get you angry, then reading them might tempt you to judgement in you heart or to engage someone in anger. Then what good have you done for yourself or others?

As you know,
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!
Philip 2:5-8 (NIV)

Know that I am merely an anonymous friend who prays for your good. What does it matter if I am Catholic or Protestant? I believe you know in your heart what is right. "If today you hear his voice, harden not your heart."

--A friend.

November 13, 2007 3:56 PM  
Anonymous Julie said...

Anonymous,
I see it this way. If these Protestants are speaking out on this blog and saying that Catholics are not Christian, I am happy to hear that "anon" is seeking them out and perhaps planting a seed of truth. These Protestants are in error. Serious error. Then perhaps they are so hardened that they refuse to listen, and then it is time to move on. We Catholics must always seek to spread the truth. We have so many gifts.

November 13, 2007 6:22 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

'We Catholics must always seek to spread the truth. We have so many gifts.'

Thanks Julie, well said.

November 13, 2007 11:10 PM  
Anonymous theo said...

TJ:

I've been thinking about some observations you discussed with me off-line. As you said, our conversation with JohnOneOne (Alan) was interesting not only because of what we discussed, but also in something we did not discuss--at least not directly. The "elephant in the room" as you say, was the matter concerning if, how and what we humans understand of God's own communication with us.

From our Catholic perspective the doctrines that have arisen in the wake of Charles T. Russell’s “new understanding” of scripture could be viewed as yet another direct result of "sola scriptura" in action. Of course, we recognize that our Protestant brethren would not recognize Alan's viewpoint as a "sola scriptura" perspective, especially in light of the role that official Watchtower interpretations can play in establishing the society's doctrine. Yet at the same time, regardless of whatever weight Alan and his fellows place on their own "Magesterium," they themselves claim the Bible Alone is their authority.

If we take this claim at face value, then, as you pointed out, our conversation likely was an echo of similar conversations heard in the halls of Christendom roughly 17 centuries ago, when the Church debated the doctrine of the Trinity at the council of Nicea--and that in a real sense, these had been "settled." However, if indeed the question was settled that God is three persons in one being, then we are still left with "How do we know this is so, when the scriptures themselves do not explicitly say so? How can we be confident in our exegesis? If we go back to Nicea and examine how our forefathers came to dogmatically state the doctrine of the Trinity, what will we discover about their understanding of how we may be sure we are hearing God’s message correctly.

I believe you touched on the answer to that question in our conversation. Rather than "steal your thunder" by elaborating on your observations, I humbly ask you to do so yourself. Would you consider posting an article on the subject?

With sincere appreciation, I remain by grace,
Your brother in Christ,
--Theo

November 16, 2007 9:43 AM  

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