by Lenny Esposito
There's a silly claim made by Kurt Eichenwald in his Newsweek article that sounds like it came out of a page fron the Jehovah's Witnesses playbook. Eichenwald claims that our modern Bibles get the word worship wrong in the New Testament. He writes that the Greek word προσκυνέω (proskyneo) is intentionally mistranslated by modern biblical texts. He writes:
Throughout the King James Bible, people "worship" many things. A slave worships his owner, the assembled of Satan worship an angel, and Roman soldiers mocking Jesus worship him. In each of these instances, the word does not mean "praise God's glory" or anything like that; instead, it means to bow or prostrate oneself. But English Bibles adopted later—the New International Bible, the New American Standard Bible, the Living Bible and so on—dropped the word worship when it referenced anyone other than God or Jesus.1
He then claims that the change was intentionally misleading to support a view of Jesus' deity that would otherwise be absent for the scripture. He concludes, "In other words, with a little translational trickery, a fundamental tenet of Christianity—that Jesus is God—was reinforced in the Bible, even in places where it directly contradicts the rest of the verse." 2
Playing Fast and Loose with Language
Eichenwald is wrong on several counts. First, the fact that there is a single Greek word that can have more than one meaning doesn't meant the translators wouldn't be able to know when to translate it worship and when to translate it bow down. That's like saying one cannot tell if someone tells you "Sam is blue today" you couldn't tell if he was referring to his feelings or his color. Context is king and reading the context of the passage will give you the appropriate English word.
Secondly, it simply isn't true that translations like the NASB " dropped the word worship when it referenced anyone other than God or Jesus." In Matthew 4:9, Satan offers Jesus all the kingdoms in the world if he would…
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