Part 14 Answering objections: 1 Corinthians 11:2-3 and Proverbs 8:22

I will finish with my series of scriptures Jehovah’s Witnesses use to refute the Trinity (Additional verses can be found at parts 10, 11, 12, and 13).  Books have been written answering far more passages.  At the end of the series I will refer to resources I have found helpful in sharing with Jehovah’s Witnesses.  I only dealt with those verses that seem to come up time and time again in conversations.

  • 1 Corinthians 11:2-3 Now I praise you because you remember me in everything, and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you. 3 But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.” 

PROBLEM:  Jehovah’s Witnesses challenge the doctrine of equality in the Godhead.   How can Jesus be equal if God the Father is the head over him?

SOLUTION:  This problem is solved by the Apostle Paul himself in verse 3.  He makes a helpful comparison of a husband and wife relationship and the relationship between the Father and the Son.  A husband and wife are equal in their human natures.  Paul is not saying men are superior to women in any spiritual or human ability.  God simply designated one of the genders to be head over the family and nothing more.  According to God a healthy Biblical marriage has the husband leading the family.

In similar fashion the second person of the Trinity is equal in nature to the Father.  Each person of the Trinity is fully God, co-equal and co-eternal.  However, the Son takes a different role and subjects himself to the headship of the Father.  You could say equality in nature but differences in function.  For example the Son functions as the payment for sins on the cross and the Father forgives; different roles leading to our redemption, yet both persons of the Triune God are equal in their divine nature.

  • Proverbs 8:22  “Jehovah himself produced me [wisdom] at the beginning of His way, …”

PROBLEM:  The Jehovah’s Witnesses say God creating wisdom in Proverbs 8 refers to the creation of Jesus.

SOLUTION:  The Jehovah’s Witnesses New World Translation translates the Hebrew word quanah as “produced” and some Bibles translate it as “created.”  The New American Standard Bible (NASB) translates the word quanah as “possessed.”  Proverbs 8:22 “The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way, Before His works of old.”

The English word “Wisdom” is personified as a female throughout Proverbs 1-9.  If we are to literally believe it is Christ then we must also assume He is a woman who cries in the streets (1:20-21) and who lives with someone named Prudence (8:12) in a house with 7 pillars (9:1).  “Wisdom” is called she or her in multiple passages throughout Proverbs 1 – 9.  Here is an example: Proverbs 9:1-3 (NASB) Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn out her seven pillars; 2 she has prepared her food, she has mixed her wine; she has also set her table; 3 she has sent out her maidens, she calls From the tops of the heights of the city.”   Ask the Jehovah’s Witness if Jesus was a woman?  How does the Watchtower Organization escape this problem?

The New World Translation (NWT) removes the pronoun language, trying to hide “wisdom” as a woman. They change the female personal pronouns to it or its.  Proverbs 9:1-3: “True wisdom has built its house; it has hewn out its seven pillars. 2 It has organized its meat slaughtering; it has mixed its wine; more than that, it has set in order its table. 3 It has sent forth its lady attendants, that it may call out on top of the heights of the town.”   They step out of the pot and into the fire.  The word “it” refers to a thing and not a person.  Eleven times they removed the personal pronouns such as she and her and replaced them with it or its.  By removing the pronouns they have actually made things worse; if wisdom is a thing and then Jesus cannot be God’s wisdom.

Another question to ask, is God’s wisdom eternal?  Has God always possessed wisdom or did he get it later?  When was God without “wisdom?”  God’s wisdom is as eternal as He is.

The context of Proverbs 8 is extremely important.  I think the New King James version communicates well in Proverbs 8:24-25 how God utilized wisdom in the creation event. “When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no fountains abounding with water. 25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills, I was brought forth.” What these verses are metaphorically saying is that God’s eternal wisdom was brought forth (v.24) to take part in the creation of the universe.  Verses 22-25 do not teach that Jesus was a created being.  It is wisdom personified actively involved in creation.

I have read preaching commentaries teach Proverbs 8 is about Jesus.  For the sake of argument, suppose wisdom here was speaking about Jesus (I don’t believe this).  Why did the writer use the Hebrew word “quanah” instead the Hebrew word “bara.”  The 12 times “quanah” is used in Proverbs it always means to acquire.  A quick study of the Old Testament I couldn’t find a single example where “quanah” means to create.  A few examples:

Gen. 4:1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.  (A birth and not a creation event)

Gen. 25:10 The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife.(cf. 33:19, 47:20, 50:13, where others quanah land, obviously not “creating” it)

Lev. 25:15 According to the number of years after the jubilee thou shalt buy of thy neighbour, and according unto the number of years of the fruits he shall sell unto thee:

1 Kings 16:24 And he bought the hill Samaria of Shemer for two talents of silver, and built on the hill, and called the name of the city which he built, after the name of Shemer, owner of the hill, Samaria.

The Hebrew word for creating out of nothing is “bara.” Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that Jesus was the first creation of God and was created out of nothing.  Solomon didn’t use “bara” because he never intended to communicate that wisdom (Jesus) was created.

These are the favorite verses Jehovah’s Witnesses use to refute the Trinity.  Study these answers and you will be able to hold your own with most Jehovah’s Witnesses that come to your door.  Early on I wrote these answers in the blank margins of my Bible.  I recommend doing the same.

Go to part 15 here

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Do Objective Morals Exist?
Answering Tough Questions
Counting the Cost
Is God the Author of the Bible?
God’s Holiness and Love Wins
Ministering to Mormons in Utah
Challenging a Jehovah’s Witness
What Ever Happened to Hell?
Accurately Interpreting the Scriptures
Understanding the Christian Worldview
Accused of Partnering in Wickedness
Set Apart Christ as Lord
Sharing with Knowledge & Wisdom
Becoming a Good Ambassador for Christ
How to Persuade Others

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Exposing the Deceit of the Watchtower Organization
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