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New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Study Edition)

C3

Verses Where the Divine Name Does Not Appear as Part of Direct or Indirect Quotations in the Book of 1 Corinthians

1 CORINTHIANS 4:4 “the one who examines me is Jehovah”

REASON(S): Available Greek manuscripts use the term “Lord” (Kyʹri·os) in this verse. In the Christian Greek Scriptures, the title “Lord” is often used to refer to Jehovah God or to Jesus Christ, depending on the context. In this case, the reference is to Jehovah God. The context shows that Paul was not concerned about being judged by humans who, wholly unauthorized, in effect sat as “a human tribunal” to judge him. He did not even rely on his own judgment of himself. (1 Corinthians 4:1-3) In the Hebrew Scriptures, Jehovah God is described as the one who examines his servants. (Psalm 26:2; 66:10; 139:23; Proverbs 21:2; Jeremiah 20:12) Therefore, it would have been natural for Paul to look to Jehovah as the one examining him. Additionally, scholars have noted that in this verse the Greek definite article is not included before Kyʹri·os, where it would be expected according to standard grammatical usage. As in many other cases, the absence of the article would make Kyʹri·os tantamount to a proper name in this context. So in view of the Hebrew Scripture background as well as the absence of the Greek definite article, there are good reasons for using the divine name in this verse.​—See Appendix C1.

SUPPORT:

  • A Handbook on Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, by Paul Ellingworth and Howard A. Hatton, 1994, on page 90 makes this comment with regard to 1 Corinthians 4:4: “The verb which is translated judges is again anakrinō and probably still refers to the process of examination, but it is now examination being carried out by God. The Lord does not have the in Greek, and this may suggest the meaning ‘It is the one who is Lord who alone has the right to interrogate me.’”

  • The book The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians, edited by John Parry, 1916, on page 75 makes this observation with regard to the occurrence of Kyʹri·os (Lord) at 1 Corinthians 4:4: “It is remarkable that S. Paul never uses the anarthrous κύριος [that is, Kyʹri·os without the definite article], except in quotations from or allusions to O.T. [Old Testament] where he is definitely adopting LXX [Septuagint] language, or after prepositions and in the genitive after anarthrous substantives: unless here and Rom[ans 14:6]. If κύριος [Kyʹri·os] in these two passages [Romans 14:6; 1 Corinthians 4:4] simply = Christ, it is difficult to see why the article is left out. It is perhaps better to recognise the absence of the article as emphasising the right of the Person indicated to examine and to judge​—‘He that examines me is Lord’ and therefore with full powers.”

  • The NIV Faithlife Study Bible, 2017, says of 1 Corinthians 4:4: “He [Paul] does not rely on his conscience, but on God to judge his faithfulness.”

SUPPORTING REFERENCES: J7, 8, 10, 17, 18, 23, 24, 28-33, 41, 65, 66, 93, 95, 100, 106, 115, 125, 138, 139, 146

1 CORINTHIANS 4:19 “if Jehovah wills”

REASON(S): Most Greek manuscripts of 1 Corinthians 4:19 literally read “if the Lord should will,” and this expression has also been translated “if the Lord is willing.” Here the context indicates that the Lord referred to is God. In similar expressions, as used in the Christian Greek Scriptures, both the term Kyʹri·os (Lord) and the term The·osʹ (God) appear. (Acts 18:21; 21:14; 1 Corinthians 16:7; Hebrews 6:3; James 4:15) In the Septuagint, the Greek verb here rendered “wills” and the Greek noun for “will” are often used to render Hebrew Scripture passages where the divine name appears. Also, some translations of the Christian Greek Scriptures into Hebrew use the Tetragrammaton here. Therefore, in view of the Hebrew Scripture background and the similar expressions appearing in the Christian Greek Scriptures, the divine name can appropriately be used here.​—See study notes on Acts 18:21; 21:14; James 4:15.

SUPPORT:

  • The reference work Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament, 1991, (Vol. 2, pp. 329-330) lists 1 Corinthians 4:19 as a verse where Kyʹri·os is “used of Yahweh.”

  • The Anchor Yale Bible​—First Corinthians: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, by Joseph A. Fitzmyer, 2008, (Vol. 32) says of 1 Corinthians 4:19: “Kyrios in this expression undoubtedly refers to God, not the risen Christ.”

  • The NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, by John H. Walton and Craig S. Keener, 2016, makes this comment on the expression “if the Lord is willing” that appears at 1 Corinthians 4:19: “Both Jews and Gentiles sometimes conditioned their plans with phrases such as, ‘If God wills . . .’”

SUPPORTING REFERENCES: J7, 8, 10, 17, 22, 23, 28-32, 41, 65, 93, 94, 100, 101, 106, 115, 145-147, 163

1 CORINTHIANS 7:17 “just as Jehovah has given each one a portion”

REASON(S): The context clearly refers to God. The Greek verb me·riʹzo, here rendered “given . . . a portion,” is used elsewhere with a similar meaning and with God as the subject. For example, at Romans 12:3, it is rendered “given” or, according to the footnote, “apportioned; distributed.” At 2 Corinthians 10:13, it is part of the expression rendered “measured out to us” or, according to the footnote, “apportioned [form of me·riʹzo] by measure to us.” These scriptures show that God is referred to as the one who apportions things to his servants. A similar thought is expressed at Ecclesiastes 5:18. In view of the context, the Greek verb used, and the background and ambiguity of the Greek term Kyʹri·os as explained in Appendix C1, the divine name is used in the main text. It is worth noting that a number of translations of the Christian Greek Scriptures use the divine name in this verse.

SUPPORT:

  • The reference work Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament, 1991, (Vol. 2, pp. 329-330) lists 1 Corinthians 7:17 as a verse where Kyʹri·os is “used of Yahweh.”

  • The Anchor Yale Bible​—First Corinthians: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, by Joseph A. Fitzmyer, 2008, (Vol. 32) says of 1 Corinthians 7:17: “Ho Kyrios [the Lord] here equals ho theos [(the) God].”

SUPPORTING REFERENCES: J28-32, 48, 65, 93, 94, 100, 101, 106, 115, 125, 144, 146, 167

1 CORINTHIANS 10:9 “Neither let us put Jehovah to the test”

REASON(S): Many Greek manuscripts use the term “the Lord” (ho Kyʹri·os) here; a few manuscripts use “(the) God” (ho The·osʹ). Some Greek manuscripts read ton Khri·stonʹ, “the Christ.” This reading is reflected in the Nestle-Aland Greek text and several modern Bible translations. However, not all scholars agree that “the Christ” is the original reading here. For example, the Greek text published by Westcott and Hort (1881) and the Greek text produced at Tyndale House, Cambridge (2017) use ton Kyʹri·on (“the Lord”) in their main text. Considering the Hebrew Scripture background, this would give reason to believe that the divine name was originally used in this verse and later replaced with the title “Lord” or “the Christ.” Paul is here referring to occasions when the Israelites put Jehovah God to the test, such as those mentioned at Exodus 16:2, 3; 17:2, 3, 7; and Numbers 14:22. The Greek word for “put to the test” (ek·pei·raʹzo) is also used at Matthew 4:7 and Luke 4:12, where Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy 6:16. The Hebrew text reads: “You must not put Jehovah your God to the test the way you put him to the test at Massah.” The Greek word used for “put . . . to the test” at 1 Corinthians 10:9 is also found in the Septuagint rendering of Deuteronomy 6:16, where the Hebrew text contains the divine name. The occasion at Massah is described at Exodus 17:1-7, where Moses asks the people: “Why do you keep putting Jehovah to the test?” In the latter part of 1 Corinthians 10:9, Paul says, “as some of them put him to the test, only to perish by the serpents.” This refers to what is described at Numbers 21:5, 6: “The people kept speaking against God and Moses,” and “Jehovah sent poisonous serpents among the people.” Paul may also have alluded to Psalm 78:18, where the psalmist says that the Israelites “challenged [lit., “tested”] God in their heart.” These scriptures clearly show that God is the one whom the Israelites “put . . . to the test.” So in view of the context and the Hebrew Scripture background, there are solid reasons for using the divine name here.

SUPPORT:

  • The Anchor Yale Bible​—First Corinthians: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, by Joseph A. Fitzmyer, 2008, (Vol. 32) says of 1 Corinthians 10:9: “Most older commentators preferred to read kyrion [Lord] and to understand it as in the LXX [Septuagint], meaning Yahweh.”

  • The book The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians, edited by John Parry, 1916, on page 147 makes this comment on 1 Corinthians 10:9: “We cannot conclude that S. Paul meant to speak of the Israelites as ‘tempting Christ’; . . . Even in view of v. 4 it would not be natural to speak of the Israelites tempting Christ.”

  • In the article “The Tetragram and the New Testament,” by George Howard, published in the March 1977 issue of Journal of Biblical Literature, the following comment is made regarding 1 Corinthians 10:9: “The passage is [an] allusion to Num[bers] 21:5-6, where the MT [the Hebrew Masoretic Text] says that Yhwh sent fiery serpents among the people. On the analogy of the Qumran documents, it is possible that an original Tetragram stood here in Paul’s words. If so, θεόν [the·onʹ] and κύριον [kyʹri·on] are most likely to be the first substitutes for it and Χριστόν [Khri·stonʹ] a later scribal interpretation.”

  • A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the First Epistle of St Paul to the Corinthians, by Archibald Robertson and Alfred Plummer, 1911, makes this comment on 1 Corinthians 10:9: “In the N.T. [New Testament] ὁ Κύριος [ho Kyʹri·os] commonly means ‘our Lord’; but this is by no means always the case, and here it almost certainly means Jehovah, as Num[bers 21:4-9] and Ps[alm 78:18] imply.”

  • The Interpretation of St. Paul’s First and Second Epistles to the Corinthians, by R.C.H. Lenski, makes this comment on page 397 concerning 1 Corinthians 10:7: “The quotation is taken from the LXX [the Septuagint] of Exod[us] 32:6, which describes a case of indirect idolatry, namely the gay feast in connection with the golden calf. This image was idolatrous although it was intended for Jehovah; Paul, however, fixes attention on the feast which was entirely after the manner of idol worship. By doing this Paul strikes home directly at the Corinthians who thought that they, too, could preserve their relation to Jehovah while, pretending to make use of their liberty, they ate, drank, and amused themselves at idol celebrations.” Lenski goes on to say with regard to verse 9: “To try out the Lord is to go to the limit and to see whether he will show himself as God by punishing those who thus try him out.”

SUPPORTING REFERENCES: J7, 8, 10, 17, 18, 22, 23, 46, 65, 95, 96, 100, 101, 125, 138, 139, 145, 147, 167

1 CORINTHIANS 10:21a “the cup of Jehovah”

REASON(S): Available Greek manuscripts read “Lord’s cup,” but there are good reasons for using the divine name in the main text. In this passage, Paul is warning against idolatry. He may have had in mind the cup of wine symbolizing Christ’s blood at the Lord’s Evening Meal, to which he refers just five verses earlier. (1 Corinthians 10:16) There he calls it “the cup of blessing that we bless.” When Jesus instituted this observance, he said a blessing, or prayer, before passing the cup to his disciples. (Matthew 26:27, 28; Luke 22:19, 20) Following his pattern, prayer is offered on “the cup” before those in the new covenant drink from it. However, it was Jehovah who made the provision of Jesus’ ransom sacrifice; it was to Jehovah that Jesus offered the merit of his sacrifice; it was the will of Jehovah that governed how that sacrifice would be used; and it was Jehovah who foretold and instituted the new covenant. (Jeremiah 31:31-34) So it is proper to speak of “the cup of Jehovah” and “the table of Jehovah.” It is worth noting that in this verse, the Greek definite article is not used before Kyʹri·os, where it would be expected according to standard grammatical usage. This absence of the definite article makes Kyʹri·os tantamount to a proper name. Also, when the term Kyʹri·os appears in the following verse, 1 Corinthians 10:22, there is a clear allusion to Deuteronomy 32:21, where the context (Deuteronomy 32:19-21) shows that Jehovah is the one saying: “They have incited me to fury [or “jealousy,” ftn.] with what is not a god.” So considering the context, the Hebrew Scripture background, and the absence of the Greek definite article, the divine name is used in the main text.

SUPPORT:

  • The reference work A Commentary on the New Testament From the Talmud and Hebraica, by John Lightfoot, 1989 printing (Vol. 4) makes this comment on the expression “Lord’s table” that is used together with the expression “Lord’s cup” at 1 Corinthians 10:21: “The table of the Most High, a phrase not unusual in the Talmudists for the altar.”

SUPPORTING REFERENCES: J7, 8, 10, 24, 32, 41, 65, 80, 94, 100, 115, 146

1 CORINTHIANS 10:21b “the table of Jehovah”

REASON(S): Available Greek manuscripts read “Lord’s table” here. The expression “the table of Jehovah” is understood to be a quote from or an allusion to Malachi 1:7, where the altar of sacrifice in Jehovah’s temple is called “the table of Jehovah,” using the Tetragrammaton in the Hebrew text. Available copies of the Septuagint rendering of Malachi 1:7 use wording similar to that found at 1 Corinthians 10:21b. (See study note on 1 Corinthians 10:21.) It is worth noting that in this verse, the Greek definite article is not used before Kyʹri·os, where it would be expected according to standard grammatical usage. This absence of the article makes Kyʹri·os tantamount to a proper name. So in view of the context, the Hebrew Scripture background, and the absence of the definite article in Greek, the divine name is used in the main text.​—See comment on 1 Corinthians 10:21a.

SUPPORT:

  • The book The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians, edited by John Parry, 1916, on page 153 makes this comment with regard to the expression “table of the Lord” that appears at 1 Corinthians 10:21: “The description of the altar as a table carries on the thought of the Lord as the host. The idea is a familiar O.T. [Old Testament] idea.”​—See comment on 1 Corinthians 10:21a.

SUPPORTING REFERENCES: J7, 8, 10, 24, 32, 41, 65, 80, 94, 100, 115, 146

1 CORINTHIANS 10:22 “Or ‘are we inciting Jehovah to jealousy’?”

REASON(S): Here the context shows that Kyʹri·os is used with reference to God. Paul is warning Christians not to provoke Jehovah to jealous anger by engaging in any form of idolatry. Paul does so by alluding to the words of Deuteronomy 32:21, although he does not quote it directly. The context, Deuteronomy 32:19-21 as recorded by Moses, shows that Jehovah is the one who is telling his people: “They have incited me to fury [or “jealousy,” ftn.] with what is not a god.” So both the context and the Hebrew Scripture background support using the name Jehovah in the main text.

SUPPORT:

  • The Interpretation of St. Paul’s First and Second Epistles to the Corinthians, by R.C.H. Lenski, makes this comment regarding 1 Corinthians 10:22: “Paul alludes to Deut[eronomy] 32:21.” The divine name appears in the original Hebrew text of Deuteronomy 32:19.

  • The Holman New Testament Commentary​—I & II Corinthians, by Richard L. Pratt, Jr., 2000, makes this comment regarding 1 Corinthians 10:22: “The Corinthians were to flee the practice of idolatry because they risked incurring the wrath of God much like the Israelites under Moses.”

  • The Anchor Yale Bible​—First Corinthians: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, by Joseph A. Fitzmyer, 2008, (Vol. 32) says of 1 Corinthians 10:22: “Idolatrous conduct on the part of Israelites of old once provoked Yahweh to anger, and Paul’s further comment alludes to such anger recorded, for instance, in the Song of Moses in Deut[eronomy] 32:21, ‘They have stirred me to jealousy with what is not a god (ep’ ou theō); they have provoked me with their idols.’”

SUPPORTING REFERENCES: J7, 8, 10, 14, 32, 35, 41, 61, 65, 74, 80, 88, 94, 100, 115, 130, 145-147

1 CORINTHIANS 11:32 “we are disciplined by Jehovah”

REASON(S): In the Hebrew Scriptures, Jehovah God is described as the one disciplining his servants. (Deuteronomy 11:2) For example, as found at Hebrews 12:5, 6, Paul quotes Proverbs 3:11, 12, which reads: “My son, do not reject the discipline of Jehovah, . . . for those whom Jehovah loves he reproves.” In this scripture quoted by Paul, the divine name, represented by four Hebrew consonants (transliterated YHWH), occurs in the original Hebrew text, and therefore the name Jehovah is used in the main text of Hebrews 12:5, 6 in the New World Translation. The Greek terms for “discipline” and “to discipline,” used at Hebrews 12:5, 6 and at 1 Corinthians 11:32, are the same as those used at Proverbs 3:11, 12 in the Septuagint. So Paul’s words about being disciplined may echo the same Hebrew Scripture proverb. This Hebrew Scripture background supports using the divine name in the main text of 1 Corinthians 11:32. It is worth noting that in this verse many Greek manuscripts omit the definite article before the Greek word Kyʹri·os. Therefore, in recent scholarly editions of the Greek text, the definite article is either put in brackets (Greek text by Nestle-Aland) or not included at all in the main text (Greek texts by Society of Biblical Literature and by Tyndale House, Cambridge). The absence of the definite article before Kyʹri·os would make the term tantamount to a proper name.

SUPPORT:

  • In his book Synonyms of the Old Testament, Second Edition, 1897, Robert Baker Girdlestone, late principal of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, made this comment about the use of the divine name in the so-called New Testament. The statement was made before manuscript evidence came to light showing that the Greek Septuagint originally contained the name Jehovah. Girdlestone said: “If that [Septuagint] version had retained the word [Jehovah], or had even used one Greek word for Jehovah and another for Adonai, such usage would doubtless have been retained in the discourses and arguments of the N. T. [New Testament]. Thus our Lord, in quoting the 110th Psalm, instead of saying, ‘The Lord said unto my Lord,’ might have said, ‘Jehovah said unto Adoni.’” Girdlestone goes on to comment on the challenge of determining when the divine name should appear in the New Testament text: “Supposing a Christian scholar were engaged in translating the Greek Testament into Hebrew, he would have to consider, each time the word Κύριος [Kyʹri·os] occurred, whether there was anything in the context to indicate its true Hebrew representative; and this is the difficulty which would arise in translating the N. T. [New Testament] into all languages if the title Jehovah had been allowed to stand in the [Greek Septuagint translation of the] O. T. [Old Testament]. The Hebrew Scriptures would be a guide in many passages: thus, wherever the expression ‘the angel of the Lord’ occurs, we know that the word Lord represents Jehovah; a similar conclusion as to the expression ‘the word of the Lord’ would be arrived at, if the precedent set by the O. T. were followed; so also in the case of the title ‘the Lord of Hosts.’ Wherever, on the contrary, the expression ‘My Lord’ or ‘Our Lord’ occurs, we should know that the word Jehovah would be inadmissible, and Adonai or Adoni would have to be used. But many passages would remain for which no rules could be framed.” As seen in the following, a number of Bible translators have decided to use the divine name in this verse. Some use the Hebrew letters of the Tetragrammaton; others use such forms as Yahweh, YAHVAH, or YHWH.

SUPPORTING REFERENCES: J16, 18, 32, 65, 94, 95, 100, 101, 115, 125, 145-147

1 CORINTHIANS 14:21 “says Jehovah”

REASON(S): In discussing the subject of speaking in tongues, Paul quotes from Isaiah 28:11, 12, where Jehovah is described as the one speaking (“he will speak”). However, Paul presents these words as spoken by God in the first person (“I will speak”). To make clear who made this statement, Paul adds after the quote a phrase that, according to available Greek manuscripts, reads “says Lord.” However, this phrase occurs hundreds of times in the Septuagint to translate Hebrew phrases for “declares Jehovah”; “says Jehovah”; “this is what Jehovah says.” For examples, see Isaiah 1:11; 48:17; 49:18 (quoted at Romans 14:11); 52:4, 5. So the Hebrew Scripture background supports rendering this phrase at 1 Corinthians 14:21 as “says Jehovah.” It is worth noting that in this verse, the Greek definite article is not used before Kyʹri·os, where it would be expected according to standard grammatical usage. The absence of the definite article makes Kyʹri·os tantamount to a proper name.

SUPPORT:

  • The reference work Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament, 1991, (Vol. 2, pp. 329-330) lists 1 Corinthians 14:21 as a verse where Kyʹri·os is “used of Yahweh.”

  • The Anchor Yale Bible​—First Corinthians: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, by Joseph A. Fitzmyer, 2008, (Vol. 32) says of 1 Corinthians 14:21: “Paul quotes a form of Isa[iah] 28:11, 12d, which uses some of the words of Isaiah.” In describing the background of this quote, the reference work goes on to say: “Hence the people of Ephraim and Judah would have to listen unwillingly to Yahweh’s words through invaders speaking in Assyrian.”

  • In a comment on 2 Corinthians 3:16, 17, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, by Margaret E. Thrall, 2004, lists 1 Corinthians 14:21 as a verse where κύριος [Kyʹri·os] “refers to Yahweh.”

SUPPORTING REFERENCES: J7, 8, 10-12, 14, 16-18, 22-24, 28-36, 38, 40-43, 46, 47, 52, 59-61, 65, 66, 88, 90, 93, 95, 96, 99-102, 104-106, 114, 115, 117, 125, 130, 136, 144-147, 149, 154, 164-166, 178

1 CORINTHIANS 16:7 “if Jehovah permits”

REASON(S): In similar expressions used in the Christian Greek Scriptures, both the term Kyʹri·os (Lord) and the term The·osʹ (God) appear, so it is logical to conclude that “the Lord” in this context refers to God. (Acts 18:21; 21:14; 1 Corinthians 4:19; Hebrews 6:3; James 4:15) In addition, some translations of the Christian Greek Scriptures into Hebrew use the Tetragrammaton here. Therefore, in view of similar expressions being used elsewhere in the Christian Greek Scriptures and the Hebrew Scripture background of such expressions, the divine name appropriately can be used here.​—See study notes on Acts 18:21; 21:14; James 4:15.

SUPPORT:

  • In a note on 1 Corinthians 16:7 in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 1976, (Vol. 10) W. Harold Mare says: “‘If the Lord should permit,’ emphasizes Paul’s complete dependence on God’s will for his life.”

  • The NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, by John H. Walton and Craig S. Keener, 2016, makes this comment on the expression “if the Lord permits” that appears at 1 Corinthians 16:7: “Both Jews and Gentiles often qualified their plans with ‘if God wills’ or the like.”

SUPPORTING REFERENCES: J7, 8, 10, 14, 16-18, 22, 23, 32, 65, 94, 95, 100, 101, 115, 125, 138, 145-147, 167

1 CORINTHIANS 16:10 “the work of Jehovah”

REASON(S): Here, the reference is apparently to Jehovah God. It is worth noting that in this verse, the Greek definite article was not included before Kyʹri·os, where it would be expected according to standard grammatical usage. The absence of the definite article makes Kyʹri·os tantamount to a proper name.

SUPPORT:

  • The book The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians, edited by John Parry, 1916, on page 248 says of 1 Corinthians 16:10: “The anarthrous Κύριος [that is, Kyʹri·os without the definite article] seems to be used of Christ only after a prep[osition] or in the gen[itive] after an anarthrous subst[antive]. (Rom[ans 14:6]): here therefore = τοῦ θεοῦ [God].” The same book goes on to refer to Romans 14:20 and John 6:28, where the same Greek word for “work” (erʹgon), used here at 1 Corinthians 16:10, occurs in the expression “work(s) of God,” further supporting that the “Lord” referred to here is Jehovah God.

SUPPORTING REFERENCES: J7, 8, 10, 14, 16-18, 24, 28-32, 65, 93-95, 100, 101, 106, 115, 146