Muslim polemicist Paul Bilal Williams shared a post by NT scholar Bart D. Ehrman concerning Bible translations: https://bloggingtheology.net/2017/09/04/problems-with-some-bible-translations-including-the-king-james/. Ehrman states that he prefers the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) since he views it as the most accurate and faithful to what the original languages of the Holy Scriptures say. He writes:
My view is that a Bible translation should not be driven by a theological view of the text but by the science of philology, and that translating the Bible is in principle no different from translating Homer, Plato, Epictetus, or Ignatius of Antioch. The translation should be made with an eye of communicating in the new language the words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs of the original language, as readably, but also as accurately, as possible. I think the NRSV does this better than most, if not all, the other translations.
In light of this assertion we have decided to quote from this particular English version to show that the very translation that Ehrman recommends and favors above all others explicitly testifies to the eternal and essential Deity of the Lord Jesus.
According to the God-breathed Scriptures, Christ is the eternal Son and Word of the Father, being the One that God appointed to create and sustain the entire creation, since he is the Source/Author of life from whom the light of salvation originates:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people… The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him… And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son (hos monogenous para patros), full of grace and truth… No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son (monogenes Theos), who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.” John 1:1-4, 9-10, 14, 18
“The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate, though he had decided to release him. But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer given to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.” Acts 3:13-15
Shockingly, Jesus is described in the same manner in which the Psalmist depicts Yahweh:
“For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.” Psalm 36:9
Christ is further said to have created all things for himself:
“He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him AND FOR HIM. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.” Colossians 1:13-20
And yet the Hebrew Bible clearly teaches that Yahweh alone created all things, and did so for himself, for his own glory, and not for anyone else!
“I will say to the north, ‘Give them up,’ and to the south, ‘Do not withhold; bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth—everyone who is called by my name, whom I created FOR MY GLORY, whom I formed and made… The wild animals will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches; for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed FOR MYSELF so that they might declare my praise.” Isaiah 43:6-7, 20-21
“Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the Lord, who made all things, who ALONE stretched out the heavens, who by MYSELF spread out the earth;” Isaiah 44:24
No wonder the blessed Apostle could say that Christ possesses the divine essence in all its perfection in human form:
“For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,” Colossians 2:9
Paul realized that the only way that Christ could be said to be the Creator and Sustainer who made all things for himself is if he is truly God in an absolute and eternal sense.
The book of Hebrews goes even further by taking the following Psalm, which describes Yahweh God as the unchanging Creator and Sustainer of the cosmos,
“Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry come to you… But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever; your name endures to all generations… Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you endure; they will all wear out like a garment. You change them like clothing, and they pass away; but you are the same, and your years have no end.” Psalm 102:1, 12, 25-27
And applying it to the Person of the Son, thereby identifying Jesus as Yahweh God in the flesh!
“Of the angels he says, ‘He makes his angels winds, and his servants flames of fire.’ But of the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God (ho Theos), is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.’ And, ‘In the beginning, Lord [the Son], you founded the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like clothing; like a cloak you will roll them up, and like clothing they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will never end.” Hebrews 1:7-12
In fact, Jesus is depicted in the same way that the prophet Nehemiah describes Yahweh,
“And Ezra said: ‘You are the Lord, you alone; you have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. To all of them you give life, and the host of heaven worships you.’” Nehemiah 9:6
Now compare this with what Hebrews says:
“Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high… And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, ‘Let all God’s angels worship him.’” Hebrews 1:1-3, 6
Christ is the Creator who gives life to all creation and the One whom all the heavenly host worship.
This brings me to my next point. Jesus is given the exact same worship that the OT ascribes to Yahweh God Almighty.
For instance, like Yahweh,
“Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion; and to you shall vows be performed, you who answer prayer! To you all flesh shall come.” Psalm 65:1-2
Jesus is the hearer of prayers, being the One who can hear all the invocations of his servants and possesses the ability to do all that his followers ask of him:
“Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I WILL DO whatever you ask IN MY NAME, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask ME for anything, I WILL DO IT.” John 14:12-14
“Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.” Psalm 31:5
“and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the breath returns to God who gave it.” Ecclesiastes 12:7
Jesus receives the spirits of human beings at death and forgives sinners from heaven:
“But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, ‘Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’… While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this, he died.” Acts 7:55-56, 59-60
And much like OT believers did in regards to their worship of Yahweh,
“Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel also was among those who called on his name. They cried to the Lord, and he answered them. He spoke to them in the pillar of cloud; they kept his decrees, and the statutes that he gave them.” Psalm 99:5-7
“I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my supplications. Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live. The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish. Then I called on the name of the Lord: ‘O Lord, I pray, save my life!’… I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord… I will offer to you a thanksgiving sacrifice and call on the name of the Lord.” Psalm 116:1-4, 13, 17
Jesus’ followers would call upon the name of their risen Lord both individually and corporately:
“But Ananias answered, ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to YOUR saints in Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke YOUR name.’… and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, ‘He is the Son of God.’ All who heard him were amazed and said, ‘Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem among those who invoked THIS NAME? And has he not come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?’” Acts 9:13-14, 20-21
“To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:” 1 Corinthians 1:2
That’s not all. Jesus referred to himself as the very Son of Man,
“Again the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?’ Jesus said, ‘I am; and “you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power,” and “coming with the clouds of heaven.”’” Mark 14:61b-62
Whom the prophet Daniel saw riding the clouds, and whom all the nations are required to serve and worship as he rules over them forever and ever:
“As I watched in the night visions, I saw one like a human being [a] coming with the clouds of heaven. And he came to the Ancient One[b] and was presented before him. To him was given dominion and glory and kingship, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away, and his kingship is one that shall never be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13-14
a. Daniel 7:13 Aram one like a son of man
b. Daniel 7:13 Aram the Ancient of Days
As this weren’t amazing enough, the Lord Jesus even took to himself God’s very own name which he had revealed to Moses at the burning bush:
“But Moses said to God, ‘If I come to the Israelites and say to them, “The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,” and they ask me, “What is his name?” what shall I say to them?’ God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am.’ He said further, ‘Thus you shall say to the Israelites, “I am has sent me to you.”’ God also said to Moses, ‘Thus you shall say to the Israelites, “The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you”: This is my name forever, and this my title for all generations.’” Exodus 3:13-15
Exodus 3:14 Or I am what I am or I will be what I will be
Exodus 3:15 The word “Lord” when spelled with capital letters stands for the divine name, YHWH, which is here connected with the verb hayah, “to be”
Now compare this with the words of the Lord:
“‘Your ancestor Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day; he saw it and was glad.’ Then the Jews said to him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.’ So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.” John 8:56-59 – cf. 4:26; 6:20; 8:24, 28; 13:19; 18:5-6, 8
In light of the foregoing it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Jesus is said to be the Mighty God,
“But there will be no gloom for those who were in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined… For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” Isaiah 9:1-2, 6-7
The Apostle Thomas’ Lord and God,
“But Thomas, one of the twelve, called The Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail prints in His hands, and put my finger in the nail prints, and put my hand in His side, I will not believe.’ After eight days His disciples were again inside with the doors shut, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came and stood among them, and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then He said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and look at My hands. Put your hand here and place it in My side. Do not be faithless, but believing.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God (ho Kyrios mou kai ho Theos mou)!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen, and have yet believed.’ Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” John 20:24-31
In fact, the great God and Savior of all believers,
“while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.” Titus 2:13-14
“Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith as precious as ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:” 2 Peter 1:1
As well as the true God and eternal life,
“And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. HE is the true God and eternal life.” 1 John 5:20
Who reigns supreme over all creation as the God who is to be eternally praised:
“to them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.” Romans 9:5
Hence, the very translation preferred by Ehrman confirms that Jesus is God Almighty in the flesh!
Hence, the very translation preferred by Ehrman confirms that Jesus is God Almighty in the flesh!