Dialogue 2b: Should Christians use the divine name “Jehovah” in prayer? Part 2

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bullets CHRISTIAN CONVERSATIONS WITH JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES—Biblical Answers To Questions Jehovah’s Witnesses Ask

(WDGR Lesson 7: “Drawing Close to God in Prayer”)

(CONTINUED FROM A PREVIOUS DIALOGUE)

KAREN: Hello, Cindy, have you done any research on what we talked about last week? We had discussed how the Watchtower Bible inserts the divine name in their New Testament translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures even though there is not a single Greek manuscript of the Christian Scriptures that contain the name Jehovah. I had asked you why the Watchtower Society argues that we must use Jehovah’s name in our prayers based on verses that do not even contain His name in the original language.

CINDY: Yes, Karen, the Watchtower brochure The DIVINE NAME That Will Endure Forever discusses this very issue. They admit that apart from partial abbreviated forms of Jehovah’s name—such as “Jah” in “Hallelujah”— that “…no ancient Greek manuscript that we possess today of the books from Matthew to Revelation contains God’s name in full.”1. But since most of the manuscripts of the Christian Greek Scriptures in existence today “were made during or after the fourth century” the Society argues that “something” happened “to the text of the Christian Greek Scriptures before the fourth century that resulted in the omission of God’s name.”2.

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KAREN: Really, Cindy? They believe that by the fourth century, God’s name was taken out of the manuscripts? But doesn’t the Society say: “Of the Christian Greek Scriptures, there are some 5,000 in Greek, the oldest dating back to the beginning of the second century C.E.”?3. And don’t they argue that by our ability to compare these manuscripts, we see that the “small scribal errors and alterations” that have “crept into the text… on the whole…are insignificant and have no bearing on the Bible’s general integrity”?4. How can they hold that “The text we have is substantially the same as the one that the original writers penned”5. and at the same time argue that something as significant as the divine name was taken out of these manuscripts 237 times?6.

CINDY: I don’t know, Karen, but the Society argues that since the Greek Septuagint shows evidence that the divine name has been taken out of it, the name must have been taken out of the Christian Greek Scriptures as well.7.

KAREN: But, Cindy, the Septuagint is a Greek translation of the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures. Of course, the Hebrew Scriptures contain the divine name, but this proves nothing of the New Testament Christian Greek Scriptures. If it is true that the Christian Scriptures were tampered with, like the Septuagint was, wouldn’t you expect that we would see the same evidence of such tampering in the manuscripts of the Christian Scriptures? If the Society’s argument is valid, why is it that in over 5,000 Greek manuscripts that we possess of the Christian Scriptures, we see no evidence whatsoever of the kind of tampering that we see in manuscripts of the Septuagint?

CINDY: Are you saying, Karen, that if the Christian Scriptures were tampered with like the Septuagint was, we would see the evidence in those manuscripts?

KAREN: That’s exactly what I’m saying Cindy. Not only is such evidence missing in the manuscripts of the Christian Scriptures we possess today, but it is missing in all of the writings of the apostolic and post-apostolic Church Fathers. Did you know that the early church fathers that lived right during the time of the apostles, never used the divine name when they were quoting the Hebrew Scriptures? Don’t you think that if the divine name was used by the writers of the Christians Scriptures, we would see this evidence in the writings of the Church Fathers who quoted both the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures?

CINDY: I suppose we would.

KAREN: But, Cindy, such evidence is 100% missing. Out of the 86,000 quotations of the Christian Greek Scriptures that are in the writings of the Church Fathers, none of them contain the divine name.8. Where is the evidence that the Society is talking about?

CINDY: Well, Karen, didn’t Jesus say in His prayer to Jehovah: “I have made your name known to them and will make it known.…”?9. If the name was not used by the Christian writers, how could Jesus make known a name that He never pronounced?

KAREN: Very easily, Cindy. Just like we talked about last week, the Society states: “To know Jehovah’s name is something very different from knowing the four letters of which it is composed. It is to know by experience that Jehovah really is what his name declares him to be.”10. Therefore, Cindy, Jesus and the writers of the Christian Scriptures made God’s name known—not by promoting a pronunciation—but by revealing who the person of Jehovah really is. Even the Society admits that there is a good possibility that by the time of Christ, the Jews were not allowed to pronounce God’s name as it was only pronounced by the high priest “at religious services at the temple—particularly on the day of Atonement.”11. Although there is insufficient evidence to prove whether or not Jesus pronounced the divine name when He read the Hebrew Scriptures, we can be certain that if the use of Jehovah’s name is as important as they say it is, God would have made sure that the name was not removed from His Holy Scriptures, wouldn’t you agree?

CINDY: I suppose He would, Karen. But the translators of the Watchtower Bible were very careful when they inserted the divine name into their Christian Scriptures. The Society states that: “…the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures.…has restored God’s name every time that a portion of the Hebrew Scriptures containing it is quoted in the Greek Scriptures.”12.So you see, Karen, this is why the Watchtower Bible inserted the name “Jehovah” instead of “Lord” at Romans 10:13. It is because in this passage, Paul is quoting the Hebrew Scripture passage Joel 2:32 which contains the name.13.

KAREN: So, Cindy, let me make sure I understand what you’re saying. The Watchtower Bible contains the divine name in the New Testament Christian Scriptures every place the writer is quoting a passage from the Hebrew Old Testament?

CINDY: That’s right, Karen. So even though there is no Christian Greek manuscript evidence of the divine name being used by the Christian writers, the Watchtower Bible inserts the name every place where the Christian writer is quoting a Hebrew Scripture passage that contains the name.

KAREN: That’s interesting. Cindy, would you read Isaiah 8:12-13 in your Watchtower Bible?

CINDY: Sure. “… ‘A conspiracy!’ and the object of their fear YOU men must not fear, nor must YOU tremble at it. Jehovah of armies—he is the One whom YOU should treat as holy.…”14.

KAREN: O.K. Cindy, now look at the marginal cross-references in your Bible. Does the New World Translation cross-reference this passage to 1 Peter 3:14?

CINDY: Yes, it does, Karen. I’ll read it in my Bible. “…However, the object of their fear do not YOU fear, neither become agitated. But sanctify the Christ as Lord in YOUR hearts.…” Wait a minute! Why didn’t my Bible insert the name Jehovah in this passage since it is quoting Isaiah?

KAREN: That’s a good question, Cindy. Just as Isaiah says we should sanctify Jehovah as holy, Peter applies this passage to Christ, saying that we should sanctify Christ as Lord Jehovah. If the Society was consistent in their translation, they would have to insert Jehovah’s name into this passage, and you know what that would do to their doctrine. Can you see why their doctrine, prevents the Society from being consistent in their translation?

COMMENTS:
Friends, the reason the writers of the Christian Greek Scriptures did not promote the divine name in their writings is because there is only one name that we are to call upon for salvation. That name is Jesus. Acts 4:10,12 states: “Let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ…whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health.…And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.”15.

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1. The DIVINE NAME That Will Endure Forever, 1984, p. 23
2.The DIVINE NAME That Will Endure Forever, 1984, p. 24
3. Reasoning From the Scriptures, 1989, p. 64
4. Insight on the Scriptures, 1988, vol. 2, p. 313
5.The Bible—God’s Word or Man’s, 1989, pp. 59-60
6. The DIVINE NAME That Will Endure Forever, p. 27
7. The DIVINE NAME That Will Endure Forever, p.25
8. See Defending Your Faith—How To Answer The Tough Questions, by Dan Story (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1992), p. 38 and attached documentation of the writings of the Church Fathers Clement, Barnabas, and Irenaeus. Note: In the Greek manuscripts, Ky’rois = “Lord” and The-os’ = “God.”
9.John 17:26, New World Translation
10. Insight on the Scriptures, vol. 2, p. 12
11.The DIVINE NAME That Will Endure Forever, p. 14
12. The DIVINE NAME That Will Endure Forever, p. 27
13. The DIVINE NAME That Will Endure Forever, p. 26
14.New World Translation
15. New American Standard Bible, For an extensive and detailed examination of the New World Translation’s use of the divine name in the Christian Greek Scriptures, see the book The Tetragrammaton and the Christian Greek Scriptures. (Word Resources Inc., PO Box 301294, Portland, OR 97294)

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