Jehovah`s Witness/phrase



I’d like a little help in understanding the phrase “proved to be” in Genesis 1:2 where it says “ Now the earth proved to be formless and waste…”


ANSWER: G'day Will

Thanks for witting.  It is nice to get a question from someone else from Australia.

I will show you what how my Hebrew interlinear reads on this verse. In the quote to come many words  have a “–“ (dash) between them.   That shows that those English words are a rendering of one Hebrew word. . ..

“and-the-earth   she-became    chaos    and-vacancy    and-darkness   over   surfaces-of    abyss   and-wind-of   Elohim  vibrating  over   surfaces-of   the-waters”

The KJV rendering says “And the earth was without form, and void..”

The 1984 NWT says “Now the earth proved to be formless and waste..“

The English phrase you are asking about I have put in bold and underline  in the three renderings above

The Hebrew word that is used there is “haw-yaw ( or simply hwh) ”  Its is a verb, and actually forms a part of the Divine Name (yhwh).  The verb there is from a primitive root meaning “to exist, i.e. be or become, come to pass (always emphatic, and not a mere copula or auxiliary):—beacon, × altogether, be (-come, accomplished, committed, like), break, cause, come (to pass), do, faint, fall, + follow, happen, × have, last, pertain, quit (one-) self, require”  (Strongs Hebrew Lexicon word Number. 1961)  It is in the feminine form because “earth” is a feminine noun in Hebrew.   So it would seem the NWT rendering conveys that original thought.

I hope that has answered your question.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


The reasons I chose you was because you're Aussie.

But I’m sorry to say that your answer has not really helped me understand the phrase “proved to be” in Genesis 1:2. The phrase “proved to be” I believe means something akin to “verified” and that makes no logical sense in the sentence. Can you expand on how “proved to be” conveys the original thought?


Hi again Will,

I am not an expert on Hebrew or Greek Gramma, so I was saying what I knew from things that I had read on the subject.  I do not have the technical knowledge to know how to simplify the gramma, so I will give you some web sites to look at. (All bold etc mine)

“Hebrew has several ways to express the present tense equivalent of the copular
verb haya ‘to be ’ “

The original Hebrew word in Genesis 1:2 has the meaning of exist , i.e. be or become, come to pass   It can have the meaning of  “to be”  see

Based on the basic meaning of the Hebrew word ,anther way of rendering Genesis 1:2 would be “

“and the earth existed without form...”

“and the earth to be without form..”  To simply say in English “to be” does not make a lot of sense.

One of the English meanings of the word “proved” is  “(copula ) to be found or shown (to be ) “

So the NWT “Now the earth proved to be formless...” is saying   “The earth was found to be with out form..”  

The Revised NWT now reads  “Now the earth was formless...”  

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Brenton Hepburn


I AM one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and I am always learning. I am NOT an expert in the full sense of the word but I can answer questions on the reliability of the NWT - the so called mind control problems-so called prophecies - how being a JW affects the individual and relatives and general practices and history of Jehovah’s Witnesses. >>WARNING<< Please be aware that there are people here who ARE NOT practicing JWs. By all means ask these ones questions. Depending on the question you will get an honest answer, but, generally the answer you get, will mislead you as to what we believe, often because, they do not give ALL the relevant details. These ones will, have an agenda against JWs., and will at times give answers that are not correct in regard to JW teachings and practices. If you are after a answer from one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, please read some of the answers that the various experts have published before choosing someone. If you want to ask one of the NON JWs a question, that is fine, BUT if you want a balancing view after asking one of the NON JWs, ask a JW the same question. PLEASE ALSO NOTE: There(have been)and are, some "experts" here who are NOT always the most courteous and polite, at times are actually quite rude, that applies to both JW's and non JW's and their answers may offend, especially when they get personal and attack the character of the person and not the message. Unfortunately some here that have done that. So it IS IMPORTANT to chose an "expert" that YOU feel will best suit YOU by reading some of their past answers . . . . .


I have been a publisher since 1964. When I first went on the internet I found a lot of negative information dealing with Jehovah’s Witnesses covering prophecy, mind control and what many said was a very bad translation of the Bible known as the NWT. It shook my faith. After may hours researching these topics I could see why some felt that way, but, I was also able to explain why there were these misleading views. I can now set matters straight for anyone that has negative information about Jehovah’s Witness to show them that such information is at best misleading and at worst dangerous lies.

I have been a student of the Bible for many years, am trying to teach myself Biblical Greek. Was a public tax accountant for many years untill SEP 2009 when I gave it up due to health problems.

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