WHAT DOES PAUL SAY IN ROMANS 10?
(This post is to discover the differences in Watchtower’s NWT and the many other translations of the Holy Bible. Please know that I began this to write about what I call change number 4. The first three or minor when compared to the fourth change mentioned.)
Salvation by grace through faith is a precious gift from God. Christ died to make the grace, this gift, possible for mankind. The New Testament teaches this truth in many places.
We will look at Romans 10:8-13 in this post. The translation used for comparison here is Holman Christian Standard. There are four changes made by the NWT that either change meaning, the impact, or the truth of this wonderful passage.
“On the contrary, what does it say? The message is near you, in your mouth and in your heart. This is the message of faith that we proclaim: If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. Now the Scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes on Him will not be put to shame,’ for there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, since the same Lord of all is rich to all who call on Him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Romans 10:8-13 HCSB
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your own mouth and in your own heart”; that is, “the word” of faith, which we are preaching. 9 For if you publicly declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and exercise faith in your heart that God raised him up from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one exercises faith for righteousness, but with the mouth one makes public declaration for salvation.11 For the scripture says: “No one who rests his faith on him will be disappointed.”12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek. There is the same Lord over all, who is rich toward* all those calling on him.13 For “everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.” Romans 10:8-13 Jehovah Witness New World Translation
DIFFERENCES IN THE TRANSLATIONS AND THE NEW WORLD WATCHTOWER
The first three changes may be described as wording that makes the true message of salvation by grace through faith harder to grasp for the reader. The first is made in verse 9, the word ‘confess’ is changed to ‘declare.’ The Greek, homologous: to speak, to agree.
Original Word: ὁμολογέω
1) While this word may be translated ‘declare’, the word ‘confess’ is needed in this verse. We confess as sinners that Jesus is Lord in everything, including forgiving sinners and judgement. To confess implies acknowledging our inadequacy and His adequacy. While declare may work, confess has a greater impact of what occurs in this transaction.
2) The second major change noted is changing ‘believe in your heart’ to ‘exercise faith in your heart.’ What does exercise faith in your heart even mean? The Greek is pisteuo: to believe, entrust – Original Word: πιστεύω What happens when we believe? We will entrust our lives to Christ. My supposition is that they are saying one should live as if they have faith, but I can’t know for sure. At any rate, ‘believe’ is what the Greek word means and ‘exercise’ changes that.
3) There is a difference in “One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness” and “For with the heart one exercises faith for righteousness” The KJV says “unto righteousness.” The same wording is used in the second half of the verse concerning salvation. So is the meaning changed here and which is accurate? I suggest it is slightly changed to appear that exercising faith results in righteousness and the word “public declaration”is made for salvation which leaves the reader with the idea that we do something more than believe and confess in order to be saved and made righteous. This is, in fact, what JWs teach. Christians teach “Salvation is of the Lord” and righteousness is imputed to those who trust Christ, believing God sent Jesus His Son and our Messiah. (John 2:9, 1 John 4:14, Genesis 15:6, James 2:23)
4) The change, change number 4, cannot be explained as less clear because of wording. It is in verse 13. In the NWT, they translated the Greek word kurios, which means Lord, as ‘Jehovah.’ This is a serious incorrect translation. The Tetragrammaton meaning YHWH is not found in the New Testament. This is significant because under the New Covenant God is identified as Father, Spirit, and the Word – the Word is Christ Jesus. The NWT translators generally translated kurios as Lord. Why did they not follow this correct translation here? I think the answer is because they wanted to change the word of God to fit their doctrines rather than acknowledge that we are to call on the Name of Jesus. Here it is the ‘Truth’ that is not revealed by NWT. Paul said we are to call on the Name of Jesus to be saved.
Kurios: Lord, Master
Original Word: κύριος, ου, ὁ
If a Jehovah Witness can and would like to explain these changes, there is a comment section available.