Questions From Readers
● I understand that a group of Bible scholars made a comparison of various Bible translations. Was the New World Translation included in this study?—D. M., United States.
It appears that what your letter inquires about is a book written by Professor Ernest Cadman Colwell, entitled “What Is the Best New Testament?” This book is published by the Chicago University Press and was first printed in 1952. In 1947 Professor Colwell made a study of a number of translations and put them to the test as to sixty-four citations in the book of John. The book contains what Professor Colwell considers the correct rendering of each of those sixty-four citations. The New World Translation was not released until 1950, hence Professor Colwell could not include this translation in his list of tested ones.
However, if any reader will look up what Professor Colwell has to say about these sixty-four citations and will compare these with the New World Translation he will see that the New World Translation merits a score of sixty-four along with Dr. Goodspeed’s translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, which the book gives a perfect score of sixty-four. Colwell’s book being first published in 1952, it was not available until two years after the release of the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, which occurred in 1950 at Yankee Stadium. Consequently the New World Bible Translation Committee did not have Colwell’s book for reference when work on the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures was being done.
● How many miracles did the prophet Elisha perform, and what are they?—K. B., England.
The prophet Elisha is to be credited with sixteen miracles; fifteen during his lifetime and one after his death. His first miracle was that of causing the waters of the Jordan to divide right after Elijah had been taken away from him. (2 Ki. 2:14) His second miracle was that of healing the water supply of the city of Jericho that had been bad, causing miscarriages. (2 Ki. 2:19-22) His calling down evil upon a band of juvenile delinquents, which resulted in forty-two of them being torn to pieces by two she-bears, was his third miracle. (2 Ki. 2:23, 24) Elisha’s fourth miracle was the supplying of water to the famished armies of Judah and Israel, which miracle proved instrumental in the routing of the Moabite armies.—2 Ki. 3:16-26.
Elisha’s fifth miracle consisted of supplying edible oil to a widow so that she could pay her creditor, thus preventing him from taking her sons as his slaves. (2 Ki. 4:1-7) By his sixth miracle Elisha rewarded the fine hospitality of a certain Shunammite woman by causing her to have a son, and his seventh miracle was the raising of that son from the dead. (2 Ki. 4:8-37) Causing a poisonous stew to become wholesome by adding flour to it was Elisha’s eighth miracle. (2 Ki. 4:38-41) His ninth miracle resulted in the feeding of one hundred men and having leftovers from just twenty barley loaves.—2 Ki. 4:42-44.
By his tenth miracle Elisha cured the Syrian army officer, Naaman, of his leprosy, and having that leprosy come upon his servant Gehazi because of his commercializing his master Elisha’s miraculous powers was Elisha’s eleventh miracle. (2 Ki. 5:1-27) Causing an axhead that had fallen into the water to float was his twelfth miracle. (2 Ki. 6:5-7) Elisha’s thirteenth miracle was his opening his servant’s eyes so that he could see that the surrounding mountainous region was filled with horses and fiery chariots, proving indeed that ‘more are with us than with them.’ (2 Ki. 6:15-17) Elisha’s fourteenth and fifteenth miracles were the smiting with a mental blindness of the Syrian army that came to take him so that they could not recognize him and then having their mental sight restored.—2 Ki. 6:18-23.
As for Elisha’s sixteenth miracle, this took place years after the foregoing miracles had been performed by him, and it is credited to him even though it took place after he had died. Certain Israelites happened to be burying a dead man when a band of marauding Moabites came along. So the Israelites hurriedly took the dead body and threw it into Elisha’s burial place and went off. When the body of the dead man touched “the bones of Elisha, he immediately came to life and stood upon his feet.”—2 Ki. 13:20, 21.
It is of interest and a memory aid that twice as many miracles of Elisha appear in the Scriptural record as of Elijah, whose miracles were, in brief: (1) Shutting heaven from rainfall; (2) keeping the flour and oil supply of the widow of Zarephath renewed; (3) resurrecting the widow’s son; (4) having fire fall from heaven in answer to prayer; (5) having rain break the drought in answer to prayer; (6) calling down fire on King Ahaziah’s captain and his fifty men; (7) calling down fire on a second captain and his fifty; (8) parting the Jordan River by smiting it with his official garment, just before he was taken away in the fiery chariot.