Questions From Readers
▪ Why is the rendering of 2 Peter 1:19 in the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures different from that in other Bibles?
Stressing the value of God’s inspired word, the apostle Peter wrote: “Consequently we have the prophetic word made more sure; and you are doing well in paying attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until day dawns and a daystar rises, in your hearts.”—2 Peter 1:19.
Notice that the phrase “until day dawns and a daystar rises” is set off by commas. Most Bible translations do not do this.
For example, Dr. James Moffatt renders the latter part of the verse 2Pe 1:19: “. . . it shines like a lamp within a darksome spot; till the Day dawns and the daystar rises within your hearts.” Renderings like this one lead to the view that the rising of the daystar occurs within the hearts of believers, such as when they experience some sort of spiritual illumination.
However, even back in Moses’ day, there was indication that ‘a star out of Jacob’ would arise. (Numbers 24:17; compare Psalm 89:34-37.) Jesus clearly identified himself as that “offspring of David, and the bright morning star.”—Revelation 22:16.
This identification of the “daystar,” or “morning star,” fits the context of what the apostle Peter was discussing. He had just referred to the transfiguration vision that he had seen some 30 years earlier. (Matthew 16:28–17:9) That brilliant vision pointed to the time when Jesus would ‘come in his kingdom,’ or be glorified in Kingdom power. What Peter had seen emphasized the value of God’s word; similarly, Christians today need to pay attention to that prophetic word.
While the hearts of mankind in general were—and still are—in darkness, that need not be so with true Christians. It is as if they have a lamp shining in what otherwise would be dark, their hearts. Peter knew that by paying attention to the illuminating prophetic word of God, Christians would keep alert and enlightened to the dawn of a new day. That would be the time when the “daystar,” or “bright morning star,” would actually reign in Kingdom power.
It is interesting that E. W. Bullinger wrote on 2 Peter 1:19: “Here, it is clear that there must be a parenthesis, for it is prophecy that is the light that shines, and Christ and His appearing are the Day-star and the Day-dawn. Surely, the meaning cannot be that we are exhorted to take heed to the prophetic word until Christ is revealed in our hearts! No; but we are to take heed in our hearts to this prophetic word, until the fulfillment comes in the appearing of Christ—the rising of Him who is called ‘the Morning Star.’”—Figures of Speech Used in the Bible, 1898.
Accordingly, a number of Bible translations employ parentheses at 2 Peter 1:19.* The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures maintains the basic order of presentation found in the original Greek. But it uses commas to set off the phrase “until day dawns and a daystar rises” from the admonition to pay attention to the word ‘as to a lamp shining in a dark place, in your hearts.’
See for example The Twentieth Century New Testament (1904 edition), The Emphatic Diaglott (1942 edition), Concordant Literal New Testament (1976).