Questions From Readers
● In view of Proverbs 22:6, why is it that children who have been reared by dedicated Christian parents at times depart from the way of Jehovah in which they were taught?—L. G., United States.
Proverbs 22:6 reads: “Train up a boy according to the way for him; even when he grows old he will not turn aside from it.” When those reared in the way of Jehovah depart from it upon growing old, it might be said that more likely than not something was lacking in their rearing. It may be that the parents were not sufficiently conscientious or thorough, not strict enough, or failed to show sufficient love. Then again, it may be that they did not set as good an example as they might have done. So while these seemingly were reared in the way for them because of having Christian parents, such may not actually have been the case.
However, we may not rule out exceptions. So we must conclude that what is meant at Proverbs 22:6 is that the weight of probability is, the chances are, the forces or factors set in motion by proper training are such as to make it most likely that the children will not depart from the right way upon growing old; but not that there might not be exceptions.
On the other hand, it cannot be denied that not all children who have been sadly neglected by their parents have turned out badly. But this is not to say that because of such exceptions no attention need be given to children or that training them in the way for them is futile.
● Please explain Amos 3:14, which reads, in part: “I will also hold an accounting against the altars of Bethel; and the horns of the altar will certainly be cut off and must fall to the earth.”—V. D., United States.
King Jeroboam made two golden calves for his people to worship, placing one at one end of his kingdom and the other at the other end, at Dan and at Bethel. This he did out of fear that his people would fall away to the two-tribe kingdom of Judah if they regularly went to Jerusalem to worship. (1 Ki. 12:26-30) This became known as “the guiltiness of Samaria.” The altars mentioned at Amos 3:14 are those associated with this apostate worship.—Amos 8:14.
The text makes mention of altars, plural, and then altar, singular. Apparently the singular refers to each individual altar, not merely the great altar that Jeroboam had first built at Bethel and that is mentioned at 1 Kings 13:2. The plural refers to the numerous altars, similar to those mentioned at 2 Chronicles 34:5, which, although in the land of Judah, were equally evidence of apostasy. All the altars had horns, a symbol of power; and their being cut off and falling to the earth foretold the destruction of this false worship. In line with this understanding, the Knox; translation renders Amos 3:14 as follows: “I will have a reckoning with the rebellions of Israel, a reckoning with those altars of theirs at Bethel, that shall have the horns of them cut off and hurled to the ground.”
● Why does the New World Translation at Colossians 2:9 state that in Jesus “all the fullness of the divine quality dwells bodily,” where as other translations state that in Jesus dwells the fullness of Deity or the Godhead?—T.B., United States.
At Colossians 2:9 the word in the Greek that the New World Translation renders “divine quality” is theótes, and this is the only use of the word in the Christian Greek Scriptures. The same is true of a similar Greek word, theiótes, which appears only at Romans 1:20, and which the New World Translation there renders “Godship,” as follows: “For his invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship, so that they are inexcusable.”
The way these two words have been rendered in the New World Translation has given rise to the charge that the New World Bible Translation Committee let their religious beliefs influence them. That charge is true, but they did not do so wrongly, or unduly. The meaning that is to be given to these two Greek words depends upon what the entire Bible has to say about Jehovah God and Jesus Christ.
How so? In that there is basis for translating these words either as “Deity,” “Divinity” or “Godhead” and so attributing personality to them, or as “Divine Nature,” “divine quality,” “Godship,” and having them merely denote qualities. Thus those who believe in the trinity will attach personality to these words, whereas those who do not will render them as qualities in view of the way God and Christ are described in the Scriptures and so as to harmonize the words with the rest of God’s Word. This emphasizes the fact that one simply cannot properly and accurately translate the Bible unless one clearly understands its teachings.
That the New World Bible Translation Committee were perfectly right in rendering these words the way they did is apparent from what Greek authorities have to say about them. Thus Parkhurst’s A Greek and English Lexicon (1845) defines theiótes as “Godhead” (page 261) and theótes as “Deity, godhead, divine nature” (page 264). Note the definition “divine nature” as well as “Godhead.”
Liddell and Scott’s A Greek-English Lexicon, in its new ninth edition, completed in 1940 and reprinted in 1948, Volume I, defines the two terms in the light of ancient usages apart from the Scriptures. Theiótes it defines as “divine nature, divinity” (page 788). Theótes it defines in exactly the same way, as “divinity, divine nature,” and then cites as an example Colossians 2:9. In this connection it shows that the similar Greek expression, dia theóteta, means “for religious reasons” (page 792).
Thus the New World Translation is fully justified in rendering Colossians 2:9 to show that Christ has in him all the fullness, not of God himself, the Deity, the Godhead, but of the divine quality dwelling bodily, and this in behalf of the spiritual body of Christ, so that this body of Christ’s followers is possessed of a fullness by means of him: “It is in [Christ] that all the fullness of the divine quality dwells bodily. And so you [Christians] are possessed of a fullness by means of him, who is the head of all government and authority.”—Col. 2:9, 10.
It is also of interest to note that both Weymouth and An American Translation render the passage, “the fullness of God’s nature.”
To get an objective view of the matter, in exploring questions such as these it is best to use the nonsectarian and nonreligious Hebrew-English and Greek-English dictionaries, instead of those that have been produced by some religious denomination.