Why do Jehovah's Witnesses change worship to obesiance?

Out all the times it appears its obesiance when refers to Jesus other than that 2 other times then everywhere else its worship. How can you "translate" the same word to different words?

6 Answers

  • 10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    it reflects the theological bias of some men in brooklyn who were not scholars in biblical languages and try to remain anonymous to hide it.

    the watchtower have decided that jesus is not god to make a wedge issue with christians. they render proskuneo - "to kiss the hand, bow down before, show obeisance, to worship." - ALWAYS as obeisance concerning christ, yet it is allowed to mean worship in reference to the devil, the dragon, the beast, the image, demons, idols, an angel, and god.

    proskuneo occurs 55 times in the nwt (abs incorrectly believes that the ot is written in greek).

    15 times in regards to jesus it is rendered as obeisance and never worship.

    all other times bar 3 are rendered worship. exceptions are peter, a man, and 2 generic.

    clear bias.

    Matt 2:2-Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."

    Matt 2:8-He [Herod] sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him."

    Matt 2:11-On coming to the house, they [the magi] saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.

    Matt 4:10-Then Jesus said to him, "Begone, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord [Jehovah] your God, and serve Him only.'" [Quote from Deut 6:13]

    Matt 14:33-Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."

    Matt 28:9-Suddenly Jesus met them [the women]. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.

    Matt 28:16-17-Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him...

    John 9:38-Then the man said, "Lord, I believe," and he worshiped him. [He recognized Jesus as the Son of Man-vs. 35]

    Heb 1:6-And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship him."

    Rev 5:8-And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb.

    Rev 14:7-He said in a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water."

    In one respect many of Christendom could learn numerous important lessons from these wise Gentiles....They worshiped him in three senses of the word: (1) They fell before him, prostrated themselves, thus physically expressing their reverence. (2) They worshiped him in their hearts and with the tongue gave expression to their rejoicing and confidence. (3) They opened their treasure-box and presented to him three gifts appropriate to royalty: the myrrh representing submission, frankincense representing praise, gold representing obedience”

    Watch Tower Reprints, 1 January 1906

  • danman
    Lv 6
    10 years ago

    Why not change the wording is the real question.

    When you rename an old classic (New World Translation of The Holy Scriptures) when for over 1500 years The Holy Bible was sufficient. When you edit out any offending words or phrases (John 1:1 prime example), then add an almost unknown name change to the prime character of the book (Jehovah) when God/Lord had been around for thousands of years....Why not since you the WTBS was translating, printing, and distributing the new invention..........Why Not?????

    Translating had nothing to do with it. Comprende?

  • 10 years ago

    The Greek word in question, proskuneo, doesn't strictly mean "worship" but "prostration." It was common practice in Bible times to prostrate and show homage to people in superior social positions. This includes God, but also any divine being like an angle. When directly at God it is safe to render as "worship." When directed at another divine being like an angel, it is best to render as "obeisance" or some equivalent. If it really bothers you, just say "prostrate" whenever you come across the word, and let the context tell you if there is any hint of worship in the act.

    All occurrences of proskuneo in the Greek Bible, showing that it doesn't alway mean "worship" -

    Gen. 18:2 Gen. 19:1 Gen. 22:5 Gen. 23:7,12 Gen. 24:26,48,52 Gen. 27:29 Gen. 33:3,6f Gen. 37:7,9f Gen. 42:6 Gen. 43:26,28 Gen. 47:31 Gen. 48:12 Gen. 49:8 Exod. 4:31 Exod. 11:8 Exod. 12:27 Exod. 18:7 Exod. 20:5 Exod. 23:24 Exod. 24:1 Exod. 32:8 Exod. 33:10 Exod. 34:8,14 Lev. 26:1 Num. 22:31 Num. 25:2 Deut. 4:19 Deut. 5:9 Deut. 8:19 Deut. 11:16 Deut. 17:3 Deut. 26:10 Deut. 29:25 Deut. 30:17 Deut. 32:43 Jos. 23:7,16 Jda. 2:2,12,17,19 Jda. 6:19 Jda. 7:15Jdg. 2:2,12,17,19 Jdg. 7:15 Ruth 2:10 1 Sam. 1:3,19 1 Sam. 2:36 1 Sam. 15:25,30f 1 Sam. 20:41 1 Sam. 24:9 1 Sam. 25:23,41 1 Sam. 28:14 2 Sam. 1:2 2 Sam. 9:6,8 2 Sam. 12:20 2 Sam. 14:4,22,33 2 Sam. 15:5,32 2 Sam. 16:4 2 Sam. 18:21,28 2 Sam. 24:20 1 Ki. 1:16,23,31,47,53 1 Ki. 2:13 1 Ki. 9:6,9 1 Ki. 16:31 1 Ki. 19:18 1 Ki. 22:54 2 Ki. 2:15 2 Ki. 4:37 2 Ki. 5:18 2 Ki. 17:16,35f 2 Ki. 18:22 2 Ki. 19:37 2 Ki. 21:3,21 1 Chr. 16:29 1 Chr. 21:21 1 Chr. 29:20 2 Chr. 7:3,19,22 2 Chr. 20:18 2 Chr. 24:17 2 Chr. 25:14 2 Chr. 29:28ff 2 Chr. 32:12 2 Chr. 33:3 1 Es. 9:47 Neh. 8:6 Neh. 9:3,6 Est. 3:2,5 Est. 4:17 Est. 8:12 Jdt. 5:8 Jdt. 6:18 Jdt. 8:18 Jdt. 10:9,23 Jdt. 13:17 Jdt. 14:7 Jdt. 16:18 Tob. 5:14 Tbs. 5:14 1 Ma. 4:55 4 Ma. 5:12 Ps. 5:8 Ps. 21:28,30 Ps. 28:2 Ps. 44:13 Ps. 65:4 Ps. 71:11 Ps. 80:10 Ps. 85:9 Ps. 94:6 Ps. 95:9 Ps. 96:7 Ps. 98:5,9 Ps. 105:19 Ps. 131:7 Ps. 137:2 Odes 2:43 Odes 14:6 Job 1:20 Sir. 50:17 Mic. 5:12 Zeph. 1:5 Zeph. 2:11 Zech. 14:16f Isa. 2:8,20 Isa. 27:13 Isa. 37:38 Isa. 44:15,17,19 Isa. 45:14 Isa. 46:6 Isa. 49:7,23 Isa. 66:23 Jer. 1:16 Jer. 8:2 Jer. 13:10 Jer. 16:11 Jer. 22:9 Jer. 25:6 Jer. 33:2 Ep. Jer. 1:5 Ezek. 8:16 Ezek. 46:2f,9 Dan. 2:46 Dan. 3:5ff,10ff,14f,18,95 Dan. 6:27f Dat. 2:46 Dat. 3:5ff,11f,14f,18,95 Bel. 1:4f,24 Bet. 1:4f,24f Matt. 2:2,8,11 Matt. 4:9f Matt. 8:2 Matt. 9:18 Matt. 14:33 Matt. 15:25 Matt. 18:26 Matt. 20:20 Matt. 28:9,17 Mk. 5:6 Mk. 15:19 Lk. 4:7f Lk. 24:52 Jn. 4:20ff Jn. 9:38 Jn. 12:20 Acts 7:43 Acts 8:27 Acts 10:25 Acts 24:11 1 Co. 14:25 Heb. 1:6 Heb. 11:21 Rev. 3:9 Rev. 4:10 Rev. 5:14 Rev. 7:11 Rev. 9:20 Rev. 11:1,16 Rev. 13:4,8,12,15 Rev. 14:7,9,11 Rev. 15:4 Rev. 16:2 Rev. 19:4,10,20 Rev. 20:4 Rev. 22:8f

  • They ONLY change worship to obeisance when it's in relation to Jesus. They leave it as worship even when it's in reference to Satan and idols.

    JWs will tell you that no one is supposed to worship Jesus because he is an angel. Well, Satan was also an angel, yet they leave worship as worship.

    It is all an attempt to strip Jesus of his divinity, a clear work of bias.

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  • 10 years ago

    No one was to do obesiance to Jesus. He is an angel...A created thing. Jehovah God created him. We are to give obesiance only to the Father , Jehovah. He is a jealous God and shares his glory with no one. Jehovah is the only hearer of prayer....but we must go through Jesus to have our prayers delivered....as in a secretary mode. Jesus cannot hear the prayer but he has to be involved in the process if we want our prayers heard.

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago


    Witnesses did not “change worship to obeisance.” Rather they have accurately rendered the contextual sense of the original Greek word PROSKUNEO.

    Words have their basic *definitions* but they can have a range of senses. The word PROSKUNEO is a good example.

    Lexicons will show that the *primary* meaning of PROSKENEW is "bowing down" or "obeisance." However, it can be used to convey several *senses* ranging from a "respectful welcome," "paying homage" to a king, or "worship" of God:

    Strong's Lexicon says: "to do obeisance to, give homage to, prostrate oneself, adore, welcome respectfully."

    A Manual Greek Lexicon of the NT says: "to make obeisance, do reverence to, worship."--G. Abbott-Smith

    So, PROSKUNEO could convey various degrees of homage, including worship but it does not PRIMARILY denote "worship." The translator must try to choose which sense the original writer intended to convey by looking at the immediate context and also the greater context which reveals the original writer's beliefs.

    All Bible translations render this word both as “worship,” “bow down” or “obeisance” depending on the context. For instance, at Jn.4:23,24 PROSKUNEW is translated "worship" by RSV, YLT, LIT, NJB, NIV, & NEB. However at Mt 18:26 and Rev.3:9 they all translate it "bow down." These translators recognize the range of meaning and are perfectly within the bounds of correct translation principles to render it as "worship" when given to God and "bowing down" when given to someone else.

    Everyone would agree that when a faithful worshiper "bows down" to another human or angel they would not be "worshiping" that person as they would Almighty God. So in these cases translators mostly render PROSKUNEO as "bow down" or "obeisance."

    The trouble is when the theology of the translator comes into play, in this case when someone gives PROSKUNEO to Christ. This means that the reader must look at the context (immediate and greater) and determine which rendering conveys the accurate teaching of the Bible regarding Christ.

    So does the context of the Bible indicate that Christ would receive "reverence" equal to the worship given to the Almighty God?

    The fact is that Jesus NEVER receives the type of worship that the Father does. Many are ignorant of this fact because most Bibles do not accurately differentiate the two Greek words PROSKENEW and LATREUW.

    Both these words are translated as "worship" but "LATREUW" is defined as "religious worship" (Thayer's Lexicon pg. 372, 373). Vine's dictionary says that LATREUO is "religious service or homage." Strong's Lexicon says it's "worship...divine service."

    This word denotes the highest worship that is ONLY given to Almighty God. And at Lk. 4:8 Jesus himself made it clear that ONLY his God Jehovah was to receive "sacred worship" or LATREUW:

    "And Jesus answered him: "Scripture says—'Thou shalt do homage (PROSKUNHW) to the Lord thy God, and worship (LATREUW) him only.'"--20TH Century NT

    "The Lord thy God, shalt thou worship, and, unto him alone, render divine service."--Rotherham's

    "Thou shalt bow before the Lord thy God, and Him only thou shalt serve.'"--Young's Literal Translation

    The word LATREUW which denotes the ultimate sacred worship, is NEVER given to Jesus. True worshipers never give it to anyone other than the Most High God Jehovah.

    Then, EVERY explicit scripture shows that Jesus was less than Almighty God at every point of his existence (Jn.14:28; 20:17; Mk.13:32; Rev.3:2,12). At the highest position he will ever attain, Jesus is still "subject" to *GOD* the same way we are "subject" to him (1Cor.15:27,28).

    So, when Jesus receives PROSKUNEW it corresponds with obeisance to kings and others. (Compare Mt 2:2, 8; 8:2; 9:18; 15:25; 20:20 with 1Sam 25:23, 24; 2Sam 14:4-7; 1Kgs 1:16; 2Kgs 4:36, 37; Ps.45:11) Often it is clear that obeisance is rendered to Jesus not as God but as "God's Son" or the Messianic "Son of man."-Mt.14:32, 33; Lk.24:50-52; Jn.9:35, 38.

    In BAGD Lexicon we read: "To Jesus, who is revered and worshiped as Messianic King and divine helper" (717).

    "PROSEKUNHSEN is commonly translated, ‘he worshiped him [Jesus]' . . . but this is doubtful...PROSKUNEW reflects the Eastern custom of prostrating oneself before a person and kissing his feet...It would seem that in John 9:38 the healed man is ascribing honor to the Redeemer from God, which is beyond that due to other men but short of that due to God Almighty"-Word Biblical Commentary Series

    Therefore, Jesus can only be "worshiped" in a relative sense; as the anointed one (the king) and God's representative, not God.

    So, while PROSKEUNEW can be used to indicate reverence given to God, only by resorting to theological bias can anyone insist that this term indicates that Jesus is receiving worship equal to Almighty God.



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