JOHN 14:14 — DID JESUS SAY “ASK ME ANYTHING” OR DID HE SAY “ASK ANYTHING”? —Does John 14:14 indicate that Christians should pray directly to Jesus?
NEW AMERICAN STANDARD:
KINGDOM INTERLINEAR TRANSLATION
NEW WORLD TRANSLATION
JOHN 14:14: : “If ever anything you should ask me in the name of me this I shall do.”
JOHN 14:14: “If You ask anything in my name, I will do it.”
Christians and Jehovah’s Witnesses agree that if Jesus is not God, He should not be prayed to because prayer is a form of worship. However, when we see that Scripture supports the idea that Jesus is worthy of prayer and worship, we must conclude that Jesus is indeed God by nature. Thus, the idea that Jesus receives prayer in Scripture is strongly contended against by Jehovah’s Witnesses who maintain that no such practice exists in Scripture.
One Scripture that Christians appeal to in support of the idea that Jesus receives prayer is John 14:14. It says in the New American Standard Bible: “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” Christians appeal to the fact that not only does Jesus encourage believers to pray to Him by saying, “ask Me anything,” but He is the One who answers the prayer when He promises, “I will do it.”
While this Scripture is a strong support of prayer being rendered to Jesus, it is complicated by the fact that the Jehovah’s Witness Bible, The New World Translation, omits the “me” in the phrase “ask Me anything” of John 14:14. To demonstrate the Society’s bias against this devotion to Jesus, one need only appeal to the Greek/English text of the Society’s Kingdom Interlinear Translation that was used as a basis for the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Bible. Here the English words underneath the Greek text state: “If ever anything you should ask me in the name of me this I shall do.”
IF THE NWT IS BIASED WHEN IT OMITS THE “ME,” IS THE KJV ALSO BIASED?
One issue that Christians should be prepared to address is the fact that not only does the Watchtower’s New World Translation leave out the first “me” in “ask Me anything,” but other Bibles like the King James Version do not contain the first “me” in their text either. The reason that certain Bible versions, other than the New World Translation, leave out the “me” is due to a textual variant in the manuscripts of the Greek text of this verse.
The Majority text (most dating from around the 9th century) is split on this issue with some containing the “me” and others dropping the “me.” But in recent years, scholars have uncovered manuscripts of the Christian Greek Scriptures (New Testament) that date as far back as the second and third centuries. The oldest manuscripts we have available today of this verse in the Gospel of John are Papyrus 66, written in 125 A.D., and Papyrus 75, written sometime between 175-225 A.D. Both of these papyrus fragments contain the “me” in this passage. Not only do the oldest fragments of John that we possess today contain the “me,” but two of the oldest ancient complete copies of the entire New Testament in Greek, the Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus (also called the Wescott and Hort manuscripts) written around the 4th century, both agree with the papyrus’ renderings of “ask me” in John 14:14.
Since Desiderius Erasmus complied and published the Greek text (Textus Receptus) of the King James Bible version in the 1500’s, he did not have access to the older Greek manuscripts that we have today. Thus, the King James Bible version and other Bible versions based upon the Textus Receptus or the Majority text (including the Watchtower Society’s Emphatic Diaglott Greet text published by Benjamin Wilson in 1942), do not contain the “me” in John 14:14. While these Bibles leave out the “me” based upon the text of the Greek manuscripts they follow, this is not the case for the Watchtower Society’s New World Translation. It claims to be based upon the Greek text of the “Wescott and Hort” (the Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus) ** both of which support the rendering of “me” in “ask me anything.” Therefore, when the translators of the New World Translation chose to omit the “me,” they do so with clear bias against the manuscript support for prayers to Jesus. Indeed, John 14:14 is a strong testimony to Jesus’ approval of the early Christian practice of directing their prayers to Jesus Christ as God.
** See the “Greek Text” section of the “Introduction” to The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures with References, 1984, p. 6