Jehovah`s Witness/Hebrews 1:6


I was reading an answer by Derrick Holland where he said that  at Hebrews 1:6  your Bible once said that  angels were to worship Jesus?  Is that true?   Surely that shows that Jesus is someone special if not God if he is to be worshiped.  If your Bible did say that angels were to worship Jesus and now it does not.  Isnt that being dishonest and teaching a lie?

Thank you

Hello Ivan

Thank you for that question.

Yes it is true that the early editions (from 1950) of the New World Translation  (NWT) did say that angels were to worship Jesus at Hebrews 1:6 .   I can understand why the change of wording may seem dishonest  to some and even contradictory.  It is because of changes in texts such as that, that some scholars have charged the NWT with being theologically biased, that is that it made changes to to the word of God to suit our theology.

I can not answer for the original translators of the NWT as to why they used worship at Hebrews 1:6.  The assumption I have come to is that they did so because of the  tradition English use of the word.  

When the KJV was written in England, the word worship had a much broader meaning that what most western societies use to day.  It was not limited to a religious event.  

In England it was “used in addressing or referring to an important or high-ranking person , especially a magistrate or mayor. “

Would the translators of the KJV have viewed Jesus as an important or high-ranking person?  Yes because they believed in the trinity.  Does the Greek word used in this verse warrant such a rendering into English?

The original of the word worship is “Old English weorthscipe 'worthiness, acknowledgement of worth' “

So I am  assuming that the translators of the NWT prior to 1981 followed that tradition of acknowledging that Jesus was “of worth” being of a higher rank than the angels.

The NWT was revised in 1960, 1970, 1981,  1984, and 2013.

In 1981 the wording of Hebrews 1:6 was revised to to : “And let all God’s angels do obeisance to him.”

The wording “do obeisance” is a more correct rendering of the Greek word that is  used here.  This word  is a form of verb  “proskuneo”.     The meaning of this Greek verb is derived from the idea of meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand.  The actual word used is “proskynēsatōsan”.  This verb is in the active voice third person plural.   

One of my Electronic Biblical Greek dictionaries complied by Larry Pierce says of the  base verb “proskuneo” (Bold mine)

1) to kiss the hand to (towards) one, in token of reverence
2) among the Orientals, esp. the Persians, to fall upon the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as an expression of profound reverence
3) in the NT by kneeling or prostration to do homage (to one) or make obeisance, whether in order to express respect or to make supplication
3a) used of homage shown to men and beings of superior rank
3a1) to the Jewish high priests
3a2) to God
3a3) to Christ
3a4) to heavenly beings
3a5) to demons

So when the angels are said to “worship” (do obeisance) to Jesus at Hebrews 1:6 they are not doing an act of religious worship, but showing him honour as the Son of God a person of higher rank than they were.  This is supported by the context as well as the fact that the Paul had a choice of other words that he could have used if he wanted to tell us that Jesus was to revive “religious worship” that belongs only to God.

First what does the context tell us?  Using the KJV lets read from verse 2. Please note the words in bold.

“2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
3  Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
4  Being made so much better than the angels , as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they .”

appointed heir ”  An heir is not on the same level as the one appointing the person as an heir.  As an heir Jesus gets an inheritance.  What is that inheritance? “by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they .”

express image  An image is not the real thing.  Jesus reflected the qualities of his father was not equal to his father.

sat down on the right hand ” He was granted that privilege to sit at Gods right hand because of his death “ when he had by himself purged our sins ,”

Just for comparison, here is Hebrews 1:2-6 in a modern English  from the 2013 NWT

“2 Now at the end of these days he has spoken to us by means of a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the systems of things. 3 He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact representation of his very being, and he sustains all things by the word of his power. And after he had made a purification for our sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. 4 So he has become better than the angels to the extent that he has inherited a name more excellent than theirs.
5 For example, to which one of the angels did God ever say: “You are my son; today I have become your father”? And again: “I will become his father, and he will become my son”? 6 But when he again brings his Firstborn into the inhabited earth, he says: “And let all of God’s angels do obeisance to him.”

So the context tells us that Jesus is not equal to God, therefore the more correct rendering of the Greek word  “proskuneo”  to do obeisance is fitting.

If Paul wanted to show us that Jesus was to receive “religious worship” at Hebrews 1:6 he no doubt would have used one of the following.  These are from Strongs Biblical Greek dictionary.  The numbers in bold are the reference numbers.  

3000 . λατρεύω latreuo lat-ryoo’-o; from λατρις latris (a hired menial); to minister (to God), i.e. render, religious homage: —  serve, do the service, worship(-per).

4576 . σέβομαι sebomai seb’-om-ahee; middle voice of an apparently primary verb; to revere, i.e. adore: —  devout, religious, worship.
So again Paul used a word that does not mean religious worship that belongs only to God.  The correct English rendering of “proskuneo”  is to use words such as do obeisance, or bow down before.
At some point in time it was decided that the older, broader English meaning of worship may cause confusion as to what Paul was actually saying so in the 19981 NWT the wording was changed.

I hope that has answered your question.

Please feel free to ask any follow ups.

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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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