Imagine yourself sitting in a doctor’s office waiting for a consultation with this person you had seen on several occasions, and instead of the doctor’s coming in, a police officer comes in and tells you to leave. On your way out of the office, you notice that the police are confiscating computers, files and records. As it turns out, this person you thought was a doctor proved to be nothing but an impostor. Your doctor had never been to medical school, had never done residency, had not passed any kind of medical exam or board. You would rightfully ask what right this person had to practice medicine.
A case similar to this took place in West Palm Beach, Florida. An account from www.nbcnews.com states: “An 18-year-old Florida man is accused of posing as a licensed doctor, going as far as opening his own West Palm Beach offices — calling it the New Birth New Life Medical Center & Urgent Care, with a website and all — in order to solicit patients, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said” (http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/florida-teen-arrested-performing-exam-fake-doctor-own-offices-authorities-n519676) The article also stated that his bio offered no schools attended or credentials of any kind.
Now suppose you go to this doctor’s office at the recommendation of a friend or family member who believes that this is a genuine doctor. When you enter, you notice no diplomas or certifications anywhere on the walls. When the doctor enters the room, you begin to ask questions about his or her background. You ask, “Where did you attend medical school?” The response is, “Well I don’t really want to brag about myself, so I won’t tell you.” You ask, “Well what about your internship, your residency?” “Again,” he or she says, “I don’t want to receive any glory for my education, so I don’t tell anybody.” Would you trust your body to someone with no credentials to make a diagnosis?
In many ways, however, people trust their eternal souls to people who have absolutely no training whatsoever to make a spiritual diagnosis. Take for example the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (the Bible). From the foreword to the text: “Our goal has been to produce a translation that is not only faithful to the original texts but also clear and easy to read.”—New World Bible Translation Committee. This would lead you to believe that a group of people who had some knowledge of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek actually took copies of those languages, and using their scholarly background, actually made an accurate translation of the Scriptures. Instead, what you actually find is a text that has been slanted toward the particular teachings of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, better known as the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Nowhere does their Bible indicate who those people are or even if they have any credentials to translate biblical languages at all. If you want to check the credentials of the New American Standard Bible translators, you can write to the Lockman Foundation at www.lockman.org and receive a list of translators and their credentials, as I did several years ago. You can also contact Zondervan Publishers and get a list of those who contributed to the New International Version translation of the Bible.
You will not get that from the Watchtower. All they will say is that their committee does not want glory to go to them. So how do you know if you can trust their translation, or if it is indeed accurate? And what difference does it make? Let’s take a look at one their texts to see. John 17:3 in the NWT 1984 edition reads, “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” Notice the phrase “taking in knowledge of you.” The Westcott-Hort Greek New Testament says “that they may know (ginosko) you.” There is a big difference between the two. I can sit in Bible studies for years taking in knowledge of God and never know him. I can sit in a history class taking in knowledge of Abraham Lincoln, but no matter how much knowledge I have of him, I will never know him. There is an eternity of difference. Subsequently in the 2013 of the NWT, they have changed their translation to read “their coming to know you” with a footnote repeating the phrase “taking in knowledge.” These two statements do not mean the same thing. So which is the more accurate?
This passage states that the key to possessing eternal life is an accurate personal knowledge of God, not just taking in information about God. If you miss that, you will miss eternal life. If you would not be willing to trust your body to a physician with no credentials, why would you trust your eternity to an anonymous group that may have no credentials to make the claims that they do? Your spiritual health depends on it.
Mike McGuire received his Masters of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in December 1988. Since that time he has pastored churches in Texas and New Mexico. He has also written youth Sunday School curriculum for LifeWay Christian Resources and has contributed to their adult curriculum as well. He has also taught seminary extension classes of biblical hermeneutics in both English and Spanish. Currently he serves as the bi-vocational pastor of Belvue Baptist church in Hobbs, New Mexico where the Son always shines. Join us at Belvue for an accurate understanding of God’s word.