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“The Divine Name King James Bible” (DNKJB)

Yet another “new” translation is here! In light of the growing biblical illiteracy among professing Christians, “new” biblical translations that attempt to “dumb down” and/or smooth out so-called rough edges to an already doctrinally suffocated church only perpetuates the problem. Although not technically a translation, but merely a “new” version of the KJV, which, as the publishers state, “restored the name Jehovah 6,972 times into the text [OT & NT] of the King James Bible.” Also, comparable to the claims of the Watchtower (JWs), the publishers falsely and groundlessly claim, “Almost every translator in the past 400 years has or have removed the Divine Name from 'their' Bibles.” Of course, what they mean here is that the so-called divine name “Jehovah” was removed.    

Another similarity to the Watchtower is that the names of the DNKJB publishers are purposefully unidentified. However, they claim no affiliation with any religious origination. Although, in the FAQS section on their official website (http://www.dnkjb.net/faq_dnkjb_online.htm) under the title, “Does the name Jehovah have acceptance among the world of Bible Scholars?” the publishers actually provide the Watchtower in their list of “Bible Scholars.”      

 

The main problem with the DNKJB assertion (as with the NWT) is two-fold

 

1. Aside from the fact that the English term “Jehovah” is a recent invention (the letter “J” was completely unknown until the fourteenth century) and is a badly mistransliterated form of the Tetragrammaton (YHWH), there are NO extant Greek NT manuscripts that contain the Tetragrammaton—not one. So, the baseline supposition of the DNKJB publishers that the Tetragrammaton (in any form, esp. “Jehovah”) was removed from the NT is entirely unjustified. However, unlike the NWT, in the NT, the DNKJB places “Jehovah” in parentheses next to a capitalized “LORD.” Further, where the NWT replaces “Lord” with “Jehovah” 237 times in the NT, the DNKJB publishers only sees merit for doing so in 128 places (and in parentheses). 

 

But the fact is, when translating the OT Hebrew Tetragrammaton, the NT authors (and the LXX) would typically use Kurios (“Lord”; e.g., Matt. 4:7, 10; 21:9; Mark 1:3; Rom. 10:13; Heb. 10:16 et al). Even more, passages such as Romans 9:29 and James 5:4 put to rest the entire starting premise of the DNKJB publishers (and NWT). For in these passages, both Paul and James cite the book of Isaiah (Paul cites Isa. 1:9 and James, Isa. 5:9) where Isaiah uses the phrase, “LORD of hosts.” But note, both NT authors transliterate in Greek (not translate) the Hebrew term for “hosts/armies” (Gk. Sabaōth), but not so for YHWH. Instead, both authors use the Greek Kurios in their translation of the Hebrew Tetragrammaton: Kurios Sabaōth. (“Lord of Sabaoth”). And,   

 

2. The DNKJB (as with the NWT) is constantly inconsistent. While the publishers pride themselves on restoring the so-called “Divine Name” (“Jehovah”) into the NT, they neglect many significant places where a NT author cites an OT passage containing the Tetragrammaton. Note the following examples of a few DNKJB renderings:          

 

Romans 10:9: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Verse 13 is a citation of Joel 2:32, which contains the Tetragrammaton. Thus, the rendering of verse 13 in the DNKJB is “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the LORD (Jehovah Jol 2:31,32 2 Ti 2:19) shall be saved” (embolden theirs). Note that the “Lord” (Kurios) that saves in verse 13 is contextually the same “Lord” that Paul just mentioned in the previous verse (“for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him,” v. 12), who is the same “Lord” in verse 9—namely, Jesus. The same is true with the pronoun “Him” in verses 9, 11, and 12—where Jesus is the clear antecedent. Hence, both “Him and “Lord” from verses 9 to 13 refer to Jesus. So, Jesus is the Lord [YHWH] of Joel 2:32 (as Paul declares in 10:13), who saves all who call upon Him. Yet the DNKJB is inconsistent to its translation principle of “restoring” “Jehovah” at verse 9. If it were, then, the DNKJB would read: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the LORD (Jehovah) Jesus. . . .”

1 Peter 3:14-15:  “But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; 15But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts. . . .” (emphasis added). This is a citation from Isaiah 8:12-13. Note how the DNKJB renders part of Isaiah 8:13: “Sanctify _the_LORD_Jehovah of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread” (embolden theirs). In the Critical Greek edition of the NT (viz. NA28/UBS5), Peter applies Isaiah 8:12-13 to Christ—namely, He is the YHWH whom should be sanctified. In fact, Peter even uses the same term (in the same form,—aorist imperative) as does the LXX of Isaiah 8:13, hagiaste (“to treat as holy, set apart, sanctify”). But, as with Romans 10:9, the DNKJB is not consistent in its translation principle at 1 Peter 3:15, even though 1 Peter 3:14-15 is a citation from Isaiah 8:12-13, which contains the Tetragrammaton.       

 

Philippians 2:10-11: “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow. . . . 11And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” This is a citation from Isaiah 45:23, which, in part, the DNKJB renders: “That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. (Rom 14:11).” Clearly, in Philippians 2:10-11, Paul’s sees Kurios Iēsous Christos (lit., “Lord Jesus Christ”) as the YHWH and thus, the fulfillment of the future prophecy of Isaiah 45:23. To substantiate this, Paul not only alters the original tenses (future indicatives) in both Isaiah 45:23 (LXX) and Romans 14:11 to aorist subjunctives in Philippians 2:10-11, but also places Kurios (“Lord”) in the “emphatic” position (i.e., first word in the clause). But yet the DNKJB does “restore” “Jehovah” in Philippians 2:11 where Paul applies the Isaiah prophecy of YHWH to Christ. For if the DNKJB were consistent, verse 11 would read: “every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is LORD (Jehovah Is. 45:23)” as they did with Romans 14:11: “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lordthe LORD, (Jehovah Isa 49:18; Isa 45:21-23 ) every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”   

 

Hebrews 1:10: “And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands. . . .” Hebrews 1:10-12 is a citation from the LXX of Psalm 102:25-27 (LXX, 101:26-28). Note the DNKJB rendering of Psalm 102:25: “Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands.” Here, the antecedent of the pronouns (“thou,” “thy”; LXX, su and sou) is YHWH (cf. Ps. 102:1, 12, 19, 22). In Hebrews 1:10, the Father directly addresses the Son as the YHWH of Psalm 102, the unchangeable Creator of the heavens and the earth (note the vocative kurie ["Lord"] appearing in both Heb. 1:10 and the LXX of Psalm 102:25 [101:26]). Although Hebrews 1:10-12 is a citation of Psalm 102:25-27—referring to YHWH (“Jehovah” throughout Ps. 102 in the DNKJB)—the DNKJB neglected to keep faithful to its translation principle of restoring the so-called name “Jehovah.” Again, as with the above examples, if the DNKJB were consistent, the beginning of Hebrew 1:10 would read: “And, Thou, LORD (Jehovah Ps. 102:25), in the beginning. . . .”   

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These and other examples show, as like the NWT, the DNKJB publishers (as with the NWT) are inconsistent to its policy of restoring the so-called Divine Name "Jehovah" into the NT. However, we are not suggesting that the DNKJB publishers share the same view as the JWs—for they do not. Passages rendered in the DNKJB such as John 1:1; 8:58; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 1:8; etc. are unchanged from that of the KJV in terms of accurately affirming the full deity of Christ. But again, the fundamental problem here is the false premise held by the DNKJB publishers: “Almost every translator in the past 400 years has or have removed the Divine Name from 'their' Bibles.” In light of the vast number of biblical translations out there, the last thing that the church needs today is more translations. The church is starving for doctrine, not more translations. The DNKJB is an unreliable translation that prolongs a faulty view regarding the transmission of the NT text in the areas discussed above. While diligent pastors and teachers strive and labor devoting time and energy to the task of trying to elevate Christians doctrinally, encouraging them to be informative and “thinking” Christians, the erroneous views of the DNKJB, as with KJV Onlyism, obstruct that endeavor. 

-- Dr. Edward Dalcour

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