Jehovah`s Witness/John 14:14

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Question
Hello once again Brenton.

"You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it". (NIV)



I was recently talking to my jw coworker about what Jesus meant by this verse. His big contention was that the word 'me' did not appear in this verse. I asked him to look up in his Kingdom Interlinear the verse and after he did he said that the word 'me' did in fact appear, but many other verses did not include it. After showing him that 'me' is in the original Greek, I asked him what Jesus meant by this. He told me that it did not make sense and was illogical. Well, John wrote the word 'me' , so it must have some meaning. He went on to say how he didn't understand Greek so he couldn't tell me why. By the way, when it comes to other verses he seems to be a Greek scholar. So he never answered my question about what Jesus meant other than saying that He was saying that you should pray to Jehovah through Jesus. But this verse clearly shows that one should ask Jesus anything. I also asked him the significance of Jesus saying "In my name". It appears a lot in the new testament.  We never got to the second part of what did Jesus mean when He said "I will do it". He stated that Only God can hear prayers. Is Jesus hearing and answering prayers? Seems pretty clear to me. And he seems often times to avoid my questions and steer me somewhere else in the conversation. I said that if he is in the truth he should have no problem answering questions directly. Do you agree? So can you explain why Jesus isn't hearing and answering prayers here?

A second problem I have when asking a simple question like why is the word 'God' sometimes spelled with a Capital 'G' and other times with the lower case 'g'? I spent over an hour and a half trying to get him to answer. I know the reason why, I just wanted to know his understanding. The best I could get from him was that it was "respect". I asked him to elaborate on this, but he refused and often times mocked me by laughing. I find this behavior very insulting when trying to have a serious conversation about the Bible. I find your replies very polite and that is why I choose to write to you. I never got to ask him why the word 'God' was capitalized in Isaiah 9:6.


I pointed out to him that the jws at one point in time not too long ago used to believe all these things about Jesus' deity that they are so strongly against today, but he refuses to believe me or even look at the evidence from the WT publications.

I'd like to here your viewpoint on these issues.

Thanks Again.  Kevin.

Answer
Hello Kevin ,

Yes you are correct in that the NIV uses the words “ ask me”. (Unless otherwise stated all texts from the NIV)

The KJV misses out the word “me” … “If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.”  (KJV)

I went through most of my Bibles and the following Bibles also DO NOT have the word “me”.

ASV - 1901 American Standard Version.
Darby - A literal translation of the Old Testament and the New Testament by John Nelson Darby.
Diaglot - 1865 Diaglot NT.
EMTV - English Majority Text Version of the Holy Bible by Paul W. Esposito, Stauros Ministries.
Genevea– 1599 Geneva  Bible in modern English
GWV - GOD'S WORD Translation.
JB2000 – 2000 Jubilee Bible by Russell Stendal
Jer. - Jerusalem Bible readers edition
L. O. - Living Oracles Translation by George Campbell, James Macknight, and Philip Doddridge.
Mess. - The Message Bible by Eugene Peterson 2002
Noyes - 1869 Noyes Translation (Job - Re).
NEB  - The New Englisg Bible  (1)
NWT – New World Translation
RSV – 1947 Revised Standard Version  (1)
Rev. Web. - Revised 1833 Webster Bible. Edited by Larry Pierce.
WEB - The World English Bible.
Williams - 1936 Williams New Testament.
WTNT – The New Testament by William Tyndale
Young - Young's Literal Translation of the Holy Bible by J.N. Young 1862.

These Bibles DO have the word “me”

BBE - The Bible in Basic English 1965 Edition.
Douay - 1899 Douay Rheims American Version
ERV - 1885 English Revised Version.
ESV –  2001 English standard version  (2)
GNB -1976 Good news Bible British Edition
HCSB  - 2003 Holman Christian Standard Bible  (2)
Murdock – 1851 James Murdock
NIV – New International Verstion.
NHEB - New Heart English Bible.
Philips – 1972 Philips New testament
Wey. - Weymouth New Testament. 1912


However, it is not correct to assume that the Apostle John actually wrote “me”  nor is it correct to automatically come to the conclusion that he omitted it.  The key is in the context.  More in a moment.

Why do some Bibles include the word “me” and some do not?  These foot notes (1) & (2) help to understand  that.

(1) theses Bibles have a foot note saying that some manuscripts include the word “me”

(2) These Bibles have a foot note saying that some manuscripts omit the word “me”

If you follow this link you will find several versions on line.  Some have the word “me”, and some do not.  A few have a foot note saying that the word “me” is omitted by some manuscripts.

http://biblehub.com/isv/john/14.htm

The information that I have  in a  foot note to John 14:14   in one of my Bibles shows    which manuscripts, codex’s, and Papyrus  either  omit the word “me” or include the word “me”

P⁶⁶ א B E H U W Γ Δ Θ Ω 060 0211 ƒ¹³ 2 7 8 9 28 33 124 461 475 579 700 788 892 1006 1073 1203 1212 1230vid 1242 1342 1514* 1519 1646 itc,f vg syrp,h [WH] RP NA27 {B} ‖ μοι "me" 346 ‖ τὸν πατέρα 249 pc ‖ omit A D G K L M Q S Y Λc Π Ψ 18 27 35 69 157 180 597 1071 1079 1192 1194 1195 1216 1241 1243 1292 1344 1424 1505 1514c 1519 1546 2148 2174 ita,aur,d,e,q,r¹ vgmss copsa,pbo,bo,ach²,fay eth slav Cyrillem; Vict-Rome Aug⅔ TR ‖ omit entire verse X Λ* 0141   ƒ¹ 118 157 565 1009 1210 1365 itb vgms syrs,pal arm geo Diatessf,l,t ‖ lac ⁴⁵ ⁷⁵ C F N P T V 047 0233.

If you want to look up the what the various syllables stand for you can find that here

http://bibletranslation.ws/manu.html

The Kingdom Interlinear  has a copy of the W&H Greek text.  I have three electronic versions of W&H.  One  version  puts [ ] around the Greek word με  = me, one version omits it altogether and the other has it.  The NWT did not rely solely  on  the  W&H Greek text, but compared many ancient Greek texts.

Basically, what I am saying here, is that on the surface this text can not be used to teach that we are to pray to Jesus or that Jesus is a hear of prayers.

Staying with the NIV lets look at the context.  Verse 6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”  -  Using that to set the context and to help see  if the word “me” was or was not penned by John is the use of the word through .

The Greek word rendered as “through” is dia.  The  meaning is  “a primary preposition denoting the channel of an act ; through.” So we are told that Jesus is the channel by which we approach God.  The reason why Jesus could do  what was asked, is answered for us in verse 13 “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son”   By having faith in the ransom sacrifice of Jesus,  we come to the father THROUGH Jesus as our advocate. As Gods advocate (go between, mediator) for mankind Jesus answers our requests for the glory of his Father, not his own.

What do we know about God?

Psalms 103 :13,14  “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; 14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.”  We know that  God is a tender and compassionate    Exodus 34:6  “the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness,”   He showed that to the national of Israel by setting up a priesthood for the priests to intercede for the people by way of burnt offerings.  Jesus became our great high priest by his sacrifice and now intercedes for us Hebrews 4:15,16 “ 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16  Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. “

The Israelites approached Gods throne through the priestly system.  We approach Gods throne through Jesus.

Jesus has become our advocate and as such God works through him 1 John 2:1;2 “.. we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.  2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”  

When God helps us, answers our prayers, it is because it is done through our exercising faith in Jesus.  

________________________________

Ok now for the word God and god. That is not a simple question as you suggest.  Very few people actually realise the complexities in this matter

The very first point we need to learn is that in Hebrew and Greek there is no direct word that is equivalent to our word “God”.  Our word for  God comes from a Germanic word that  means “invoked one”.  Today, we do not understand that "God" means an “invoked one”, but for us it means one who receives “religious worship”. [ An invoked one was someone that was petitioned for help or support]

Besides sighting Isaiah 9:6 , you did not give me any examples of the differences, and I assume that you were mainly talking about the NT.  But first we must understand that the word we render as God from the Greek into English had different spellings depending on the grammar of the text (the sentence construction).  Bellow are the various words I found

SINGULAR WORDS  for God
thee = vocative case
theo  =  dative case
theos = nominative case
theou = genitive case
theoun = accusative case

PLURAL WORDS for God
theoi = nominative case
theois = dative case
theous =  accusative case

What we know about the Greek word theos  is of an uncertain affinity. That is according to Biblical Greek scholars the original meaning is of uncertain origin.  However over time it became associated with “deities”  —  It is generally thought it had a meaning to do with “mighty”, which by the way fits with the Hebrew words for God

The grammar, sentence constriction as well as context of the Greek determines when we use upper case “G” or lower case “g”

Ancient Greek had 5 grammatical cases.  Modern English has 3

Spelling does make a difference in ancient Greek.  In ancient Greek the endings of words made a big difference in the grammar.  In English we do not change the way a word is spelled as the case changes.  In Greek it does.  The relationship between cases is very important.

In the Hebrew text theses are the words used for God

Singular
אל ‘el   -  is used for a total of 245 times in the KJV.   God 213, god 16 and a few sundry meanings
אלה ‘elahh – is used 95 times  in the KJV  as God 79 and god 16 times
אלוה ‘elowahh – In the KJV it is used for a toatl 57  as God 52 and  god 5 times


Plural
אלהים ‘elohiym is found 2606 times in the KJV God 2346, god 244 plus sundries

The basic word “el” does not mean God as we use the word (as in a deity) but actually means might, power, or strength and has a variety of uses in the Hebrew text. It is used in reference to  mighty men, men of rank, mighty heroes, as well as mighty things in nature.

The  Septuagint  generally used the word theos in place of the Hebrew words adding weight to the idea that theos originally meant “mighty”.  


Using lower case “g”

As you can see form the the Hebrew words above the word g od appears many times according to context.

Here are some texts in the NT from the  NIV  where god is in lower case

John 10:35 “Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”” (see Ps 82:1 )
Acts 7:40 “They told Aaron, ‘Make us gods who will go before us.”
Acts 28:5 “..they changed their minds and said he was a god.”
Philippians 3:19 “.. their god is their stomach..”


Just as in English the word president or king are generally written with lower case “p” or “k”.  But when they refer to a particular person as part of their “name” we capitalise  the first letter.  We talk about P resident  Kennedy, K ing George.  

In Isaiah 9:6 the Hebrew word for God here is “ ’êl “  It is not used on its own nor is it used as a title.  Here it is used as a name.  The NIV reads

“And he will be called   Wonderful Counselor, Mighty [gibbor] God [el], Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  The NIV misses out the words “his name”,  The NWT reads “His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”

The Jewish Bible at http://biblehub.com/jps/isaiah/9.htm   reads “And his name is called  Pele-joez-el-gibbor-Abi-ad-sar-shalom;”  

The English Bible changes the word order of “Mighty  God”  The Hebrew writing’s say “el gibbor”  If we want to be really picky here and give  a very literal meaning to “el gibbor” we end up with “mighty strong one”  or “mighty valiant one” or “mighty chief” or “mighty hero”  (where mighty is from the word “el” and the other words are possibilities of “gbur”  [gibbor]).

In a my case what we have at Isaiah is a long name.
My Westminster Leningrad Codex reads
וַיִּקְרָ֨א  = shall call   שְׁמ֜וֹ  = his name

You can see an interlinear of this at http://biblehub.com/interlinear/isaiah/9-6.htm

I do not know what information you are referring to in relation to JWs believing in the “deity” of Jesus. We need to be on the same page as what your understanding is of the word “deity”.  Do you limit it to something or someone that receives religious worship, or, do you see a broader meaning similar to the word divine.  We have never taught that Jesus is to receive “religious worship ”.   Perhaps you are thinking of the idea that Jesus was/is a divine being.   The word divine carries the thought, not of being God, but being like God just as the word word human describes our nature.  All angelic creatures are divine beings in that they exist in the unseen spirit world and are have the same nature as God (John 4:24 “God is spirit”)

Perhaps you are thinking of the older NWT that  used to say at Hebrews 1:6 ““And let all of God’s angels worship him.”   Or maybe the early charter of the WTS which included these words “... for public Christian worship of Almighty God and Christ Jesus;...” We never  gave worship to Jesus as is due to the Father, but we did and do show him honour and respect.

The English word “worship” had a broader usage than it does today.  A clarification was made when the  NWT went some way in correcting this when the wording of Hebrews 1:6 by a better rendering of the Greek word proskuneō.   The text was changed to “And let all God’s angels do obeisance to him.”   Unfortunately the translators have not gone far enough, and in this respect they have been inconsistent.   But that is another story.

You asked

I said that if he is in the truth he should have no problem answering questions directly. Do you agree?

We should all be willing to defend our faith as we are admonished by Peter at 1 Peter 3:15  “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect“

I do not know when at work you have these discussions with your JW workmate, but if it is actually during work time then there is a possibility that he is following the directives of not cheating on an employer.  Our view is, that to slow down productivity when we are getting paid, is like stealing from our employer and we have been instructed that any Biblical discussions should not take place on the employers time.  So perhaps he is just trying to get on with his work.

Also we have been instructed that if we do not know an answer of hand, not to give one until we are sure of what we are saying. Very few JWs have on hand the available information to answer the questions that have put to him.

I know from my own personal experience and personality that when put on the spot and under pressure I do not do well.   If I am very familiar with a given topic I can answer on the spot.  If I am nit familiar with a topic, I need time to read and familiarize myself with a topic.   I already knew how to answer your questions as I have encountered them before, but still for me to answer you this question has taken me about 8 hours over a couple of days to research and put together. It would be an exceptional person who could with authority answer your questions as you have asked them on the spot.

Worst of all it may be that he has not done the necessary search and personal study to have an answer on hand.

So there are many factors that may be behind his lack of response.

I hope I have provided you with the information you are looking for.

Please feel free to ask any further questions.

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Brenton Hepburn

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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 . . . . .

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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.

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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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