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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 2 Corinthians

2 CORINTHIANS 3:16 “when one turns to Jehovah”

REASON(S) FOR RESTORING THE DIVINE NAME: Here Paul is alluding to what is described at Exodus 34:34, where the Hebrew text says: “When Moses would go in before Jehovah to speak with him, he would take off the veil until he went out.” It is noteworthy that when later copies of the Greek Septuagint replaced the divine name with Kyʹri·os (Lord) in this and many other verses, the 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. Also, the Greek verb rendered “turns” (e·pi·streʹpho) when used in a positive, spiritual sense denotes turning or returning to God from a wrong way. (Acts 3:19; 14:15; 15:19; 26:18, 20; 1 Thessalonians 1:9) The same Greek verb is sometimes used in the Septuagint to render Hebrew expressions where the divine name is used. (Deuteronomy 4:30; 1 Samuel 7:3; 2 Chronicles 24:19; 30:9; Psalm 22:27 [21:28 (27), LXX]; Isaiah 19:22; Hosea 6:1) So the context, the Hebrew Scripture background, and the unexpected absence of the definite article indicate that Kyʹri·os is here used as a substitute for the divine name, and therefore, the name Jehovah is used in the main text.

SUPPORT:

  • In The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 1976, (Vol. 10) Murray J. Harris, in a comment on 2 Corinthians 3:17, explains that “the Lord [= Yahweh] of v. 16.”

  • NIV Zondervan Study Bible, edited by D. A. Carson, 2015, explains regarding 2 Corinthians 3:16: “‘the LORD’ (i.e. Yahweh) of Exod 34:34, to whom the unbeliever must turn.”

  • A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, by Margaret E. Thrall, 2004, states in a comment on 2 Corinthians 3:16 on page 272 that “in Paul’s OT [Old Testament] quotations, it is argued, κύριος [Kyʹri·os] nearly always refers to Yahweh.” The book goes on to say regarding Paul: “His usage tends to favour the view that in the present verse κύριος refers to God.”

  • See also the comments on 2 Corinthians 3:16 on pages 211, 212, 234, 235 of The Anchor Bible​—II Corinthians, Translated With Introduction, Notes, and Commentary, by Victor Paul Furnish, 1984.

SUPPORTING REFERENCES: J7, 8, 14, 16, 22, 24, 28-33, 61, 65, 88, 90, 93, 96, 100, 101, 115, 117, 136, 144, 146

2 CORINTHIANS 3:17a “Jehovah is the Spirit”

REASON(S) FOR RESTORING THE DIVINE NAME: In the preceding verse, Paul alludes to what is described at Exodus 34:34, where it says: “When Moses would go in before Jehovah to speak with him, he would take off the veil until he went out.” (See comment on 2 Corinthians 3:16.) So the immediate context and the Hebrew Scripture background of 2 Corinthians 3:16 support using the divine name instead of “the Lord” in the main text.

SUPPORT:

  • The Expositor’s Greek Testament, edited by W. Robertson Nicoll, 1903, (Vol. 3, pp. 57-58) comments on 2 Corinthians 3:17a: “but the LORD, i.e., the Jehovah of Israel, spoken of in the preceding quotation.” The same publication goes on to say: “ὁ Κύριος [ho Kyʹri·os] is here not Christ, but the Jehovah of Israel spoken of in Exod [34:34].”

  • In The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 1976, (Vol. 10) Murray J. Harris makes this comment in a note on 2 Corinthians 3:17a: “In Pauline [Paul’s] usage ὁ Κύριος (ho Kyrios) generally means ‘Christ,’ and Κύριος (Kyrios) signifies Yahweh. In this verse ὁ κύριος refers to Yahweh, for the article is anaphoric, pointing back to the anarthrous κύριοv (kyrion = Yahweh) in v.16.”

  • The MacArthur Study Bible, by John MacArthur, 1997, makes this comment on the expression “the Lord is the Spirit” at 2 Corinthians 3:17: “Yahweh of the OT [Old Testament] is the same Lord who is saving people in the New Covenant through the agency of the Holy Spirit.”

SUPPORTING REFERENCES: J7, 8, 14, 16, 28-32, 65, 66, 88, 93, 96, 100, 101, 115, 117, 136, 144-147

2 CORINTHIANS 3:17b “the spirit of Jehovah”

REASON(S) FOR RESTORING THE DIVINE NAME: As shown in the comment on 2 Corinthians 3:16, the context strongly supports that Kyʹri·os (Lord) in this passage (2 Corinthians 3:16-18) refers to Jehovah. Additionally, the expression “spirit of Lord” (pneuʹma Ky·riʹou) appears at Luke 4:18 as part of a quote from Isaiah 61:1, where the original Hebrew text uses the Tetragrammaton together with the word for “spirit.” (See study note on Luke 4:18.) The expression “the spirit of Jehovah” (or, “Jehovah’s spirit”) occurs several times in the Hebrew Scriptures. (Some examples are found at Judges 3:10; 1 Samuel 10:6; 2 Samuel 23:2; 1 Kings 18:12; 2 Kings 2:16; 2 Chronicles 20:14; Isaiah 11:2; Ezekiel 11:5; Micah 2:7.) The combination of the Hebrew words for “spirit” and “Lord” appears only once in the Hebrew Scriptures. Even in that case, it is combined with the Tetragrammaton and reads “the spirit of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah.” (Isaiah 61:1) Also, it is noteworthy that here at 2 Corinthians 3:17, the Greek definite article was not included before Kyʹri·os (Lord), where it would be expected according to standard grammatical usage. The absence of the definite article makes Kyʹri·os tantamount to a proper name. So the context, the Hebrew Scripture background, and the unexpected absence of the definite article before Kyʹri·os indicate that Kyʹri·os is here used as a substitute for the divine name.

SUPPORT:

  • The Anchor Bible​—II Corinthians, Translated With Introduction, Notes, and Commentary, by Victor Paul Furnish, 1984, comments on the Greek expression rendered “the spirit of Jehovah” at 2 Corinthians 3:17b: “This phrase ([to] pneuma Kyriou) is frequent in the LXX [Septuagint] (e.g., Judg 3:10; 11:29; often in 1 Kgdms [1 Samuel]; 2 Kgdms [2 Samuel] 23:2; 3 Kgdms [1 Kings] 19:11, etc.) and occurs elsewhere in the NT [New Testament] in Luke 4:18 (citing Isa 61:1) and Acts 8:39 (influenced by LXX [Septuagint] 3 Kgdms [1 Kings] 18:12 and 4 Kgdms [2 Kings] 2:16). The genitive (Kyriou, ‘of the Lord’) indicates origin and belonging, and it is clear that Lord and Spirit are not equated . . . ; thus, ‘the Lord’s Spirit.’ . . . Both the LXX [Septuagint] background of the phrase and its context here in chap. 3 support the view that Paul is thinking of the Spirit of God.” In all the scriptures mentioned above, the divine name is used in the original Hebrew text.

SUPPORTING REFERENCES: J7, 8, 14, 16, 22, 24, 28-33, 52, 61, 65, 66, 88, 93, 96, 100, 101, 106, 115, 117, 136, 144-147

2 CORINTHIANS 3:18a “the glory of Jehovah”

REASON(S) FOR RESTORING THE DIVINE NAME: In the Hebrew Scriptures, the corresponding Hebrew expression for “glory” occurs along with the Tetragrammaton more than 30 times. (Some examples are found at Exodus 16:7; Leviticus 9:6; Numbers 14:10; 1 Kings 8:11; 2 Chronicles 5:14; Psalm 104:31; Isaiah 35:2; Ezekiel 1:28; Habakkuk 2:14.) An early copy of the Greek Septuagint, found in a cave in Nahal Hever in the Judean Desert near the Dead Sea, dated between 50 B.C.E. and 50 C.E., contains the Tetragrammaton written in ancient Hebrew characters within the Greek text at Habakkuk 2:14. Also, it is noteworthy that when later copies of the Septuagint replaced the divine name with Kyʹri·os in this and many other verses, the definite article was not included where it would be expected according to standard grammatical usage. The absence of the definite article makes Kyʹri·os tantamount to a proper name. So in view of the Hebrew Scripture background as well as the absence of the Greek definite article, the divine name has been used in the main text of 2 Corinthians 3:18.​—See comment on Luke 2:9.

SUPPORT:

  • The Anchor Bible​—II Corinthians, Translated With Introduction, Notes, and Commentary, by Victor Paul Furnish, 1984, comments on the expression rendered “the glory of Jehovah” at 2 Corinthians 3:18: “The phrase is frequent in the LXX [Septuagint], often associated with Moses’ ministry (e.g., Exod 16:7; 40:34-35; Lev 9:23) and even, specifically, with his ascent of Mount Sinai (Exod 24:17). Note in particular Num 12:8a, where the Lord says: ‘I will speak to [Moses] mouth to mouth, directly and not indistinctly . . . ; and he has seen the splendor of the Lord [tēn doxan Kyriou]’ . . . The apostle’s references to God’s glory are much more numerous (e.g., Rom 3:23; 5:2; 1 Cor 11:7); when this fact is combined with the LXX [Septuagint] background of the phrase splendor of the Lord and with the probability that Lord in vv. 17-18 is a reference to God, it would appear that here, as well, the reference is to Yahweh, not to Christ.”

  • In The New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary, 2015, (Vol. 9) J. Paul Sampley makes this comment on 2 Corinthians 3:18: “The identity of ‘Lord’ here as everywhere in Paul’s letters must be determined by context and Paul’s patterns. When Paul references Scripture, as he does in this passage with its indebtedness to Exodus 33-34, he often adopts κύριος (kyrios) as the title for God from his Greek translation of ‘Yahweh.’ (cf. Rom 9:28-29; 1 Cor 14:21). The context, from [2 Corinthians] 2:14 (where Paul gives thanks to God, who through Christ leads Paul and others), to [2 Corinthians] 3:4 (where Paul’s confidence is through Christ to God), to [2 Corinthians] 3:5 (where Paul’s confidence is from God), to the conclusion of the section in [2 Corinthians] 4:6 . . . all of these encourage the reading of ‘Lord’ in [2 Corinthians] 3:18 as referring to God.” It goes on to say: “Further, the reference in [2 Corinthians] 4:6 is unambiguously to God’s glory, so that the ‘glory of the Lord’ of [2 Corinthians] 3:18 ought to be taken also as pointing to God.”

SUPPORTING REFERENCES: J7, 8, 14, 16, 22, 24, 28-33, 41, 61, 65, 66, 88, 93, 96, 100, 101, 106, 115, 145-147

2 CORINTHIANS 3:18b “as it is done by Jehovah the Spirit”

REASON(S) FOR RESTORING THE DIVINE NAME: At 2 Corinthians 3:16, Paul is alluding to what is described at Exodus 34:34, where it says: “When Moses would go in before Jehovah to speak with him, he would take off the veil until he went out.” (See comment on 2 Corinthians 3:16.) It is also worth noting that here at 2 Corinthians 3:18, the Greek definite article was not included before Kyʹri·os, where it would be expected according to standard grammatical usage. The absence of the article makes Kyʹri·os tantamount to a proper name. So the immediate context and the Hebrew Scripture background of 2 Corinthians 3:16 support using the divine name instead of “Lord” in the main text.

SUPPORT: See comments on 2 Corinthians 3:16, 17.

SUPPORTING REFERENCES: J7, 8, 14, 16, 22, 24, 28-33, 61, 65, 66, 88, 93, 96, 100, 101, 115, 117, 144-147

2 CORINTHIANS 6:17 “says Jehovah”

REASON(S) FOR RESTORING THE DIVINE NAME: In this verse, Paul quotes several phrases from Isaiah 52:11, where the context makes it clear that Jehovah God is the Source of the message. (Isaiah 52:4, 5) Paul links the quotes together by using a phrase that occurs several times in the Septuagint to translate Hebrew phrases for “declares Jehovah,” “says Jehovah,” “this is what Jehovah says,” for example, at Isaiah 1:11; 48:17; 49:18 (quoted at Romans 14:11); 52:4, 5. It is also 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 article makes Kyʹri·os tantamount to a proper name. So in view of the Hebrew Scripture background and the absence of the definite article in Greek, the divine name is used in the main text.

SUPPORT:

  • The reference work Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament, 1991, (Vol. 2, pp. 329-330) lists 2 Corinthians 6:17 as a verse where Kyʹri·os is “used of Yahweh.”

  • The Interpretation of St. Paul’s First and Second Epistles to the Corinthians, by R.C.H. Lenski, on page 1088, says of this verse: “‘Come out from their midst and be separated!’ says the Lord (Κύριος = Yahweh).” Then, on page 1090, Lenski says of verse 18: “The LXX [Septuagint] render[s] ‘the Lord of hosts’ Κύριος παντοκράτωρ: Yahweh who has all in his power.”

  • In giving the context of 2 Corinthians 6:17, in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 1976, (Vol. 10) Murray J. Harris says in a note on 2 Corinthians 6:16: “‘I will be their God, and they will be my people’ is a recurring promise of Yahweh to his covenant people.”

SUPPORTING REFERENCES: J7, 8, 11, 12, 14, 16-18, 22-24, 28-35, 38, 40, 42, 43, 46, 47, 52, 61, 65, 66, 88, 90, 93, 95, 96, 100-103, 105, 106, 108, 114, 115, 117, 125, 136, 138, 144-147, 154, 164-167, 178

2 CORINTHIANS 8:21 “not only in the sight of Jehovah”

REASON(S) FOR RESTORING THE DIVINE NAME: Here the context points to God as the one referred to as “Lord” in the Greek text. Paul’s words here allude to Proverbs 3:4, where the Hebrew text reads “in the eyes of God and man.” Paul uses wording that is similar to the Septuagint reading for that verse: “in the sight of the Lord and of people.” It is interesting that the Greek expression e·noʹpi·on Ky·riʹou (lit., “in sight of [before] Lord”), used both at Proverbs 3:4 (LXX) and here at 2 Corinthians 8:21, reflects similar Hebrew idioms and occurs over 100 times in existing copies of the Septuagint as a translation of phrases where the Tetragrammaton is used in the original Hebrew text. (Some examples are found at Judges 11:11; 1 Samuel 10:19; 2 Samuel 5:3; 6:5; 2 Kings 12:2 [12:3 (2), LXX]; 2 Chronicles 14:2 [13:1 (2), LXX]; 36:12; Malachi 2:17.) It is also 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 article makes Kyʹri·os tantamount to a proper name. So the Hebrew Scripture background and the absence of the definite article indicate that Kyʹri·os is here used as a substitute for the divine name.​—See comment on Luke 1:15.

SUPPORT:

  • The reference work Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament, 1991, (Vol. 2, pp. 329-330) lists 2 Corinthians 8:21 as a verse where Kyʹri·os is “used of Yahweh.”

  • The Anchor Bible​—II Corinthians, Translated With Introduction, Notes, and Commentary, by Victor Paul Furnish, 1984, comments regarding 2 Corinthians 8:21: “‘in the sight of the Lord’ . . . ‘in the sight of human beings.’ Both phrases are drawn from LXX [Septuagint] Prov 3:4, and the Lord here is God, . . . (cf. ‘in the sight of God,’ [2 Corinthians] 4:2; 7:12; P46 reads ‘of God’ in the present verse as well).”

SUPPORTING REFERENCES: J7, 8, 24, 32, 61, 65, 66, 96, 100, 101, 106, 115, 125, 144-147

2 CORINTHIANS 10:18 “but the one whom Jehovah recommends”

REASON(S) FOR RESTORING THE DIVINE NAME: The conclusion Paul draws in this verse is based on the scripture that he quotes in the preceding verse, namely, Jeremiah 9:24, where the divine name, represented by four Hebrew consonants (transliterated YHWH), occurs in the original Hebrew text. So the context and the Hebrew Scripture background of the preceding verse support using the divine name also in this verse.

SUPPORT:

  • The reference work Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament, 1991, (Vol. 2, pp. 329-330) lists 2 Corinthians 10:18 as a verse where Kyʹri·os is “used of Yahweh.”

  • The MacArthur Study Bible, by John MacArthur, 1997, makes this comment on the expression “whom the Lord commends” at 2 Corinthians 10:18: “The only true, meaningful commendation comes from God.”

SUPPORTING REFERENCES: J7, 8, 14, 16-18, 22, 23, 28-32, 42, 47, 65, 93, 95, 100, 101, 115, 125, 146, 167