What does it really mean?

Does the Greek word "Kurion" mean "Lord" or "Jehovah"


"To avoid over stepping the bounds of a translator into the field of exegesis, we have been most cautious in our rendering the divine named in the Christian Greek scriptures, always carefully considering the Hebrew scriptures as a background. We have looked for agreement from the available Hebrew versions of the Christian Greek scriptures to confirm our rendering." (From the appendix of the "New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures" as revised in 1984, Pg.1640)

"Available Hebrew versions of the Christian Greek scriptures"? Here we run and it two obvious problems. The first and most obvious problem with this claim is that by the time of Christ birth the ancient Biblical Hebrew dialect the original tongue of the Old Testament and the language of the Tetragram had become almost a dead and extinct lexicon. The Jews of Palestine in the first century no longer spoke biblical Hebrew, those scholars agree that Christ in his disciples spoke the Aramaic (or Chaldean) language, (1) although it is similar to Hebrew it is not the same tongue. The second problem with this statement is that only the gospel Matthew was not originally written by the original apostles in Greek, but even the gospel Matthew was not written in the Biblical Hebrew but rather Aramaic the language of the apostles. Why would this Cult conferred with "Hebrew" translations and not with the original languages that these documents were written in? Next, it must be pointed that the Watchtower society is using fourteenth century (A.D.) Hebrew translations of the New Testament as a basis and justification for 'restoring' the name "Jehovah" to the New Testament text. The oldest of these translation is from the year 1385, then 1537 and from there on up to 1981.(2)

The Watchtower society it sell has repeatedly acknowledges that there is no early Greek NT manuscript evidence that "YHWH" or "Jehovah" were ever intended to be used in the New Testament (3, 4

"Thus, out of the 237 times that we have rendered the divine name in the body of our translation of the Christian Greek scriptures there is only one instance where we have no agreement from the Hebrew versions." (From the appendix of the "New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures" as revised in 1984, Pg.1641)

Next we will look at the Jehovah witnesses own Greek interlinear (The Kingdom Interlinear). The Watchtower has this to say about the purpose of the The Kingdom Interlinear:

In this year 1969 at the "Peace on Earth" International Assemblies of Jehovah's Witnesses, there is released to the reading public The Kingdom Interlinear Translation o f the Greek Scriptures....But under each Greek word is placed its basic meaning, according to its grammatical construction, whether this agrees literally with the New World Translation or not. What we as Bible students should want is what the original Greek text says. Only by getting this basic meaning can we determine whether the New World Translation or any other Bible translation is right or not." [The Watchtower Nov. 15, 1969, pg 692]

So let us the The Kingdom Interlinear and determine the accuracy of the NWT [New World Translation]. Are these addition of the word " Jehovah" proper in accordance with the Jehovah Witnesses own word for word translation of the Greek Scriptures? The answer is no, not once does the word "Jehovah" appear in the text of The Kingdom Interlinear.  

The Watchtower society uses a article published by Professor George Howard in an article in the March 1978 issue of Biblical Archaeological Review to prove there case. Howard's evidence was slim and in a more detailed article published the previous year in The Journal of Biblical Literature he sets forth what he proposes as "a theory." The question that the Watchtower leaders never considered is whether Howard's guesses are supported by the evidence.

This question was addressed by Dr. Albert Pietersma of the University of Toronto. Writing in De Sepuaginta, a collection of scholarly articles, by experts in Septuagint studies, Piertersma carefully reviews Howard's use of the three Old Testament manuscript fragments. He finds that a careful examination does not support Howard's theory.

Further the Watchtower's Reasoning book announces, "The divine name appears in translations of the Christian Greek Scriptures into Hebrew, in passages where quotations are made directly from the inspired Hebrew Scriptures. This is merely a rephrasing of the "Restoring the Divine Name" concept found in the Forward of the Kingdom Interlinear Translation (pp. 10ff).

The translation committee has set forth the proposition that a modern translator may render the Greek words Kyrios and Theos as the divine name Jehovah (Yahweh) when the inspired Christian writers have quoted from the Hebrew Scriptures where the divine name appears.

Regrettably, once again the translation committee has followed this rule only when it does not contradicttheir theology. Philippians 2:10,11 serves as a perfect example. Scripture is clear that one day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that "Jesus Christ is Lord." However the Philippians passage is quoted from Isaiah 45:23 and here we are told that to Jehovah every knee will bow.

Therefore based on the Watchtower's own translation rule, the Lord spoken of in Philippians is none other than Jehovah. Further it is of interest to note that the 1950 edition of the New World Translation of the Christian Scriptures, which contained marginal cross references, cited Isaiah 45:23 as a cross reference to the Philippians 2:11 passage.

Numerous scholars with true credentials in the Biblical languages have condemned the Watchtower's New World Translation as a fatal distortion of God's written Word. For example, see The Bible Collector (luly-December, 1971) issue which devotes three articles evaluating the Watchtower scripture.


(1) "Aramaic language, pronounced ar uh MAY ihk, is a language of the Middle East. It belongs to the Semitic family of languages, along with Hebrew and Arabic. The earliest evidences of Aramaic dates from about 900 B.C. Jesus Christ and His disciples spoke Aramaic...The earliest samples of Aramaic writing date from about 900 B.C. Parts of the Biblical books of Ezra and Daniel and some of the ancient manuscripts known as the Dead Sea Scrolls were written in Aramaic. A number of major Jewish works of the period from A.D. 1 to 600 were composed in Aramaic."

(2) "From the fourteenth century onward, translations of the Greek scriptures in to the Hebrew language have been produced. These are of interest in that a number of them have made restorations of the divine name into the Christian Scriptures. The New World Translation makes reference to these Hebrew versions under the symbols J1 to J12." ("All Scripture is inspired of God and Beneficial" 1963, printed by the Watchtower society, p. 317- 318)   

(3) "It seems most unusual to find that the extent manuscripts copies of the original text of the Christian Greek Scriptures do not contain the Devine mane in its full form" (Aid To Bible Understanding" 1971, printed by the Watchtower society, p. 886) 

(4) "Why, then, is the name [Jehovah, or YHWH] absent from the extant manuscripts of the Christian Greek Scriptures or the so called 'New Testament'? Evidently because by the time those extant copies were made (from the third century C.E. onward) the original text of the writings of the apostles and disciples had been altered. The divine name in the Tetragrammaton form was undoubtedly replaced with 'Kyrios' and 'Ho Theos' by later copyists." (Aid To Bible Understanding" 1971, printed by the Watchtower society, p. 887)