Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Deity of Christ–Part 3

What about Jesus being “firstborn”?

When talking with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, you’ll find that one of their key points to prove Jesus was a created being is that the Bible refers to him as “firstborn”.  Two examples of this, which the Jehovah’s Witnesses often use as proof texts, are below:

Colossians 1:14-16 (NIV)

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

Hebrews 1:5-7 (NIV)

5 For to which of the angels did God ever say,

   “You are my Son;
   today I have become your Father”?

   Or again,

   “I will be his Father,
   and he will be my Son”?

6 And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says,

   “Let all God’s angels worship him.”

On the surface, it certainly appears that the Jehovah’s Witnesses have a point.  Is Jesus truly the first of God’s creations, and does the term “firstborn” indicate that this is so?

In order to answer this question, it’s important to understand what the the significance of the term “firstborn” meant in the Jewish culture.

PROTOTOKOS and the significance of “firstborn”

In ancient times, the first born son was the inheritor of a double portion of his father’s estate and was expected to step into the role as head of the family upon his father’s death.  So the term “firstborn” can have a dual meaning:

  • The son who is the oldest child of his father
  • The inheritor and heir of the father’s estate

To begin understanding which of these meanings of “firstborn” the New Testament indicates, it’s important to look at things in a bit more depth.

First, going back to the original Greek we see that “firstborn” is translated PROTOTOKOS (πρωτότοκος).  While this word is used 130 times in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament), it is only used 8 times in the New Testament.

PROTOTOKOS comes from two Greek words, PROTOS and TOKOS.  PROTOS means “first” (in time, place or rank) and TOKOS means “birth” (offspring).

In the Old Testament, PROTOTOKOS was used primarily to designate the oldest son born to a father (though there are some significant exceptions to this, as we’ll see).  In the New Testament, however, this word is used primarily in the sense of preeminence and authority.  To know which meaning of the word is intended, scholars look at which portion of the word is emphasized.  If PROTOS, then the emphasis is on authority.  If TOKOS, then physical birth.

So how is PROTOTOKOS used in the New Testament passages where it appears?  First, in Luke 2 we see “firstborn” used in the sense of physical birth (the emphasis is on TOKOS).

Luke 2:4-7 (NIV)

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Other than this verse, however, every time PROTOTOKOS is used, the emphasis is on PROTOS, stressing superiority rather than birth.  Below are the seven additional verses where PROTOTOKOS is used in the New Testament (all from the NIV):

Romans 8:28-29

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers

Colossians 1:15-18

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

Hebrews 1:5-6

5 For to which of the angels did God ever say,

   “You are my Son; today I have become your Father”?

   Or again,

   “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son”?

6 And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”

Hebrews 11:24-28

24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

NOTE: This verse can be a bit confusing, since the original Greek only include PROTOTOKOS once.  The 2nd use of “firstborn” in the above passage is more frequently translated as “them”.  For example, the HCSB wording is as follows:

28 By faith he instituted the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.

Here it’s a bit more clear that “firstborn” only appears once in the passage.

Hebrews 12:22-23a

22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven.

Revelation 1:5-6a

4 John,

To the seven churches in the province of Asia:

Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

All of these passages (with the exception of Luke 2) use PROTOTOKOS in the sense of authority and preeminence.

Strengthening the Case for Preeminence

While the Greek language is clear, and the context for PROTOTOKOS in the New Testament verses makes it easy to understand the author’s intent, this may not be enough for our Jehovah’s Witness friends.  Because of this, a few additional bits of evidence may prove useful.

Israel as God’s Firstborn

Obviously, the Israelite nation was not the first physical nation upon the earth.  And yet, in Exodus 4 we read the following exchange between God and Moses:

Exodus 4:21-23 (NIV)

21 The LORD said to Moses, “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go. 22 Then say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son, 23 and I told you, “Let my son go, so he may worship me.” But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.’”

Obviously, if God meant that Israel was the first nation to exist on earth, He would have been mistaken.  Instead, in this verse it’s clear that God meant that Israel was to be preeminent among other nations on earth.

Ephraim and Manasseh

Another highly interesting pair of verses to illustrate the point that “firstborn” is not exclusively tied to physical birth are the following:

Genesis 41:50-52 (NIV)

50 Before the years of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. 51 Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh and said, “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” 52 The second son he named Ephraim and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”

Here we see that Joseph had two children, Manasseh and Ephraim.  Manasseh was his oldest son (his “first born”) and Ephraim is clearly designated to be the younger.  But then look at how Jeremiah talks about Ephraim:

Jeremiah 31:7-9 (NIV)

7 This is what the LORD says:

“Sing with joy for Jacob; 
shout for the foremost of the nations.
Make your praises heard, and say, 
‘LORD, save your people, 
the remnant of Israel.’
8 See, I will bring them from the land of the north 
and gather them from the ends of the earth.
Among them will be the blind and the lame, 
expectant mothers and women in labor; 
a great throng will return.
9 They will come with weeping; 
they will pray as I bring them back.
I will lead them beside streams of water 
on a level path where they will not stumble,
because I am Israel’s father, 
and Ephraim is my firstborn son

Jeremiah says that Ephraim is “firstborn” (PROTOTOKOS)!  If the Jehovah’s Witnesses are right, and if “firstborn” refers to actual birth (or in Christ’s case, creation), then then the Bible is inconsistent.  But we’ve already seen that PROTOTOKOS has another meaning besides birth order.

David, the youngest son of Jesse

Finally, one other verse provides additional context to help our friends understand this issue of “firstborn”.  It deals with David, the king of Israel.

We know from scripture that David was the youngest of his brothers.  We read this in 1 Samuel 16:

1 Samuel 16:8-13 (NIV)

8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The LORD has not chosen this one either.” 9 Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the LORD chosen this one.” 10 Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The LORD has not chosen these.” 11 So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”

   “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”

   Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”

12 So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features.

   Then the LORD said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”

13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.

And yet, Psalm 89 says this about David:

Psalm 89:19-27 (NIV)

19 Once you spoke in a vision,
   to your faithful people you said:
“I have bestowed strength on a warrior;
   I have raised up a young man from among the people.
20 I have found David my servant;
   with my sacred oil I have anointed him.
21 My hand will sustain him;
   surely my arm will strengthen him.
22 The enemy will not get the better of him;
   the wicked will not oppress him.
23 I will crush his foes before him
   and strike down his adversaries.
24 My faithful love will be with him,
   and through my name his horn[
f] will be exalted.
25 I will set his hand over the sea,
   his right hand over the rivers.
26 He will call out to me, ‘You are my Father,
   my God, the Rock my Savior.’
27 And I will appoint him to be my firstborn,
   the most exalted of the kings of the earth.

So even though David was the youngest of his brothers, God considered him is “firstborn”!


Though at first glance the New Testament verses about Jesus as “firstborn” may seem to point to his being created by God, a word study and understanding of ancient culture (in other words, considering the context) has shown that these claims by the Jehovah’s Witnesses are, in fact, not true.

Jesus Christ was and is God Almighty.  He is neither a created being nor merely an angel (more on that in the future).  And when you walk our Jehovah’s Witness friends through this aspect of their theology, hopefully they’ll begin to realize this as well.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Deity of Christ–Part 2

Did Jesus create “all things” or “all other things”?

One of the big points made by the Jehovah’s Witnesses is that, as God’s first created being, Jesus was the avenue through which God created all other things.  One of the places they go to justify this belief is Colossians 1:15 – 17.  Let’s take a look at what this verse says in both the NIV and the NWT:

New International Version (NIV):

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

New World Translation (NWT):

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16 because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All [other] things have been created through him and for him. 17 Also, he is before all [other] things and by means of him all [other] things were made to exist,

Note the differences in the two translations.  The NWT includes the word [other] in brackets 4 times.  This difference brings up two questions:

  1. Does the word [other] belong in this passage?
  2. What is the significance of including [other] in these passages?

Let’s deal with each question separately in order to figure out what’s going on here.

Does the word [other] belong in this passage?

Because the New Testament was originally written in Greek (and a little Aramaic), scholars have had to translate the words that we read in English today.  If they hadn’t done that, our only alternative would be to learn to read Greek (which, come to think of it, isn’t such a bad idea).  But it’s the translation from the Greek to English that we need to ask about here.  Essentially, we need to find out whether the original Greek translation matches the NWT or other translations (none of which include [other], btw). 

First, the Greek word in question is the word that is translated “all” in the NIV and “all other” in the NWT.  In Greek, the word for this is panta and it means literally “all” or “every” (which is why some translations, such as the New Living Translation, interpret the word as “everything”).  So already we see that the NWT seems to be inserting the word “other” into these verses even though the original Greek doesn’t support this.

Second, is it ever acceptable to add the word “other” into verses that include the Greek word panta?  In fact, there is and it’s important to understand this.  Consider Luke 13:1-3 from the NIV as an example:

1 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.

Notice the phrase in verse two, which says “all the other”.  This is also the Greek word panta, but “other” is included.  In fact, compare it with the reading in the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB):

1 At that time, some people came and reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 And He responded to them, "Do you think that these Galileans were more sinful than all Galileans because they suffered these things? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as well!

You’ll notice that the HCSB doesn’t include the word “other” in verse 2.  So does this mean that other is acceptable, and that the NWT is justified in adding “other” to Colossians 1?

The answer to this is, quite simply, ‘no’.  And the reason for this is obvious.  In Luke 13, the addition of the word “other” is merely a way to clarify the passage.  But in Colossians 1, the addition of “other” changes the meaning of the text completely!  Instead of Jesus being the creator of all things, he merely creates all other things.  And what does this do?  It assigns Jesus to the order of created things.  This is certainly not a clarification of Colossians 1.  Instead, it’s a complete revision of its meaning!

The Greek for Colossians 1 is clear.  It says that Jesus created all things.  It does not proclaim Jesus to be a created being who created all things other than himself.  It proclaims Jesus to be God who created all things.

And if this isn’t enough, even the Kingdom Interlinear Greek translation of this passage indicates that panta means “all” (versus “all other”)!  So when you’re talking with the folks from this group, point them to a copy of their own Interlinear Bible and ask them why there is such a discrepancy between it and their NWT.  They probably don’t even know that this discrepancy exists, and they deserve the opportunity to see this.

What is the significance of include [other] in these passages?

I’ve already mentioned it, but let me say it one more time to be thorough…if the Jehovah’s Witnesses are to maintain their teaching that Jesus is a created being, they must add to the text of Colossians 1.  If they don’t do this, they’re confronted with a passage that declares the deity of Christ, which their faith denies.

So the inclusion of [other] in these passages is highly significant.  It literally redefines who Christ is, and it’s necessary to point out this flaw in the teaching of the Jehovah’s Witnesses on your way to helping them see that Jesus is God.

What about Proverbs 8?

When I went through the problems with the NWT interpretation of Colossians 1, I was quickly pointed to Proverbs 8 as proof that Jesus was, indeed, created by God and was part of the effort to create all [other] things.  But does Proverbs 8 say what the Jehovah’s Witnesses claim?  Let’s wrap up today’s post by taking a look.  Below is the NIV version of Proverbs 8:22-31 (the NWT says much the same thing here, so I won’t quote it here):

22 “The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works,
   before his deeds of old;
23 I was appointed from eternity,
   from the beginning, before the world began.
24 When there were no oceans, I was given birth,
   when there were no springs abounding with water;
25 before the mountains were settled in place,
   before the hills, I was given birth,
26 before he made the earth or its fields
   or any of the dust of the world.
27 I was there when he set the heavens in place,
   when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,
28 when he established the clouds above
   and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,
29 when he gave the sea its boundary
   so the waters would not overstep his command,
and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.
30 Then I was the craftsman at his side.
I was filled with delight day after day,
   rejoicing always in his presence,
31 rejoicing in his whole world
   and delighting in mankind.

Certainly it appears that this talks about God creating someone who was then present with Him during the creation of all other things.  But is that what Proverbs 8 really says?

First, let’s ask ourselves “who is speaking in Proverbs 8?”.  If we go up to the first of the chapter, we get our answer.  Here is what verses 1-4 say (also from the NIV):


1 Does not wisdom call out?
   Does not understanding raise her voice?
2 On the heights along the way,
   where the paths meet, she takes her stand;
3 beside the gates leading into the city,
   at the entrances, she cries aloud:
4 “To you, O men, I call out;
   I raise my voice to all mankind.

So who is speaking in this chapter?  Wisdom!  This is poetic language in which wisdom is personified and speaks throughout the chapter.  And even if the Jehovah’s Witnesses want to claim that Jesus and Wisdom are somehow synonymous, notice that Wisdom is described as a woman…certainly, our Jehovah’s Witness friends would deny that Jesus is a woman.  But this is what Proverbs 8 clearly says!

There is one more problem that this verse poses for the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Their theology states that God created Jesus and then Jesus created everything else (per Colossians 1).  But even if the interpretation of Proverbs 8 is as the Jehovah’s Witnesses claim, the verse clearly shows God to be the one who is directly at work in creation.  There is no sense in which God has handed over the responsibility of creation to Jesus (or, Wisdom).  In fact, Wisdom is merely there and watching as God does the creating.  So whichever way you go, this verse undermines the Jehovah’s Witness theology rather than supporting it.

In future posts I’ll talk more about this idea of God creating all things through Christ.

Until then…

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Deity of Christ–Part 1

In each of these posts, it is my intention to focus on one point, helping to lay out specific arguments to deal with the contention that Jesus is not God.  As I do this, my aim will be to refute the Jehovah’s Witness position that Jesus is a created being rather than a member of the Triune God (which they deny).

Is Jesus a False god?

In Ron Rhodes’ excellent book Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, he points out a very basic fact that needs to be kept in mind.  The Jehovah’s Witnesses will make the claim that Jehovah God is God, but Jesus is also “a god” (they attempt to distinguish between “mighty god” and “Almighty God”, but more on that in the future).

When confronted with this, a very simple question can set the stage for our conversations with them (and remember, our goal is to help point these people toward Jesus, not to try and win an argument or embarrass anyone…our goal is to love and help them, if possible).  The point can be conveyed in the following way:

Start by asking them to read John 17:1-3 (from NIV):

1 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

“Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

In reading this verse, John clearly says that the Father is “the only true God”.  The Jehovah’s Witnesses you are speaking to will agree with this.

Once you get agreement on this verse, take them to John 1:1 (NIV), which says:

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The New World Translation (NWT) will read differently than this verse.  It will say:

1 In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.

NOTE: instead of saying “the Word was God”, their version says “the Word was a god”.  This points out the mistranslation of the NWT as I previously mentioned, but for our present purpose even their translation works (we’ll deal more with John 1 in a future post).

The obvious question that comes up at this point is to ask “who is John referring to as ‘the Word’?”  To see that, we only need to read a bit further in the chapter itself.  In verses 14 & 15, John says the following:

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only,[d] who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

15 John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”

Clearly, John is telling us that ‘the Word’ is Jesus Christ himself (and the Jehovah’s Witnesses won’t deny this).

So we’ve seen two things:

  1. John 1:1 says that Jesus (the Word) is God (or “a god” according to the NWT)
  2. John 17:3 says that God is “the only true God”

This leaves our friends with a dilemma.  According to orthodox Christianity, Jesus is literally God.  But according to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jesus is not God, but only “a god”.

According to Christian teaching, there is no contradiction between John 1 and John 17.  But if the Jehovah’s Witnesses want to claim that Jesus is not God (they believe he’s the archangel Michael…more on that in the future), then the following question becomes relevant:

“If John 17 says there is only one true God, and if Jesus is not God, then does this mean Jesus is a false god?”

According to the theology of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, there is no escape from this dilemma.  Either one of two things is true:

  • Jesus is the true God…but this means Jesus IS GOD
  • Jesus is a false god

The Jehovah’s Witnesses will certainly not want to claim that Jesus is a false god, but they also have to acknowledge that there is only one true God.  Even the NWT admits this!

Again, the goal here is not to harm others, or to try and simply win arguments.  Instead, the goal is to help these dearly loved people to see that their theology is not sustainable.  And while they may not ever turn away from the JW faith, as Christians who love and care for the lost it’s our duty to provide them things to think about when considering whether their faith is true or not.

Next time, I’ll continue to address this issue of the deity of Christ since it’s such a central theme to both of our faiths.

Until then…

Friday, June 3, 2011

Encountering the Jehovah’s Witnesses

Yesterday, I spent several hours studying with two people who showed up at my door representing the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  When these people come by, it’s my pattern to invite them in and let them engage me in a Bible study.  At the very least, it’s an opportunity for me to share with them my own faith, and I consider that a good thing.  As we talked, the topic inevitably turned to Jesus Christ.

The question that we grappled with yesterday, which is the same as in previous encounters with members of this group, was “Who is Jesus?”  For example, we looked at whether Jesus was a created being or not, and whether it is correct to worship Jesus as God.  We also spent some time talking about the Holy Spirit (who they believe is merely an active force and not a person), and whether the Christian theology of the Trinity is a Biblical one.

Because these questions are so essential to the Christian faith, and also because I’m convinced that so few Christians are prepared to respond to issues like this, I have decided to devote a number of posts to my conversation and the topics we covered.  In order to do this, my goal is to focus on the three areas I’ve just mentioned:

  • Is Jesus Christ God or merely a created being?
  • Is the Holy Spirit God or merely an active force?
  • Is the doctrine of the Trinity Biblical?

Let me say at the outset that I very much admire people such as the ones who came to my house.  They take time out of their lives to evangelize total strangers, and they are obviously caring and kind people (the two who were at my house yesterday were very kind people, even though we disagreed strongly on essential points of doctrine).  So I am not attempting to deride any person or group in this or future posts.  Instead, I am merely trying to state what I believe is the doctrinal position when it comes to these three areas.

In order to get this series started, however, I think it’s important to convey something of what this group appears to believe.  What I’ve listed below is what was told to me, or what I read in the publication they gave me entitled “What Does The Bible REALLY Teach?”. 

  • Jesus is the first created being (and, indeed, the only thing created by Jehovah God)
  • Jesus is not God and does not deserve our worship
  • Jesus is actually the archangel Michael
  • God did not directly create the universe.  Instead, He created Jesus and Jesus created everything else
  • While they will call Jesus ‘God’, they believe him to be “mighty god” while Jehovah alone is “almighty God”
  • Jesus only became Christ when he was baptized by John the Baptist
  • Jesus did not rise bodily from the dead…he was merely a spirit creature upon his resurrection
  • The Holy Spirit is merely an active force and is not a person

Given these positions, it goes without saying that they deny the doctrine of the Trinity and consider it to be a heretical teaching.

(NOTE: While I’m not going to list all of the JW resources that verify each of the beliefs I’ve listed here, you can find specific references for each of these things in Ron Rhodes’ excellent book Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  It continues to be one of my primary resources in preparing for my conversations, and in providing these posts)

Finally, let me say something about the version of the Bible used by Jehovah’s Witnesses.  This is a version known as the New World Translation (NWT).  And rather than being a translation, it’s more accurately described as a mistranslation since verses are changed throughout this version so that they “agree” with Jehovah’s Witness teachings.  An example of this is John 1:1.  See below how the NWT and other versions disagree on this important verse:

New International Version

John 1:1 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

English Standard Version

John 1:1 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Holman Christian Standard Bible

John 1:1 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Notice how these 3 popular versions of the Bible agree word-for-word.  But now look at how the New World Translation translates this verse:

New World Translation

John 1:1 – “In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.”

Just from this one comparison, it’s easy to see how the NWT alters this important verse to ensure that Jesus is not viewed as God (he is only 'a god’ according to the NWT).  And here is the key point…no Greek scholar agrees with the NWT reading of John 1:1!  Even the Greek scholars they sometimes reference have publically denied that this is a legitimate wording for this passage.

What lesson can we take from this?  Simply that we can’t rely on the New World Translation as an accurate interpretation of scripture.  This version has been deliberately re-written in order to make the Bible seem to say what the Jehovah’s Witnesses teach.

So when you engage with these people (as you surely should…they are dearly loved by God and deserve to learn the truth just as much as anyone), be aware that your version of the Bible is not the same as theirs.  Don’t take the NWT at face value.  Compare it with another one and you’ll see how different the readings are.

As I go through these upcoming posts, I’ll point out these differences where possible, and I’ll also try to reference places where their own translation supports the orthodox Christian view.  If you can point this out to them, then it goes a long way toward making the case that Christ was and is God.

That’s probably enough for now.  Starting with the next post, I’ll begin addressing the question of Jesus’ divinity.  Is he God or just a created being?

Until then…