Wednesday, August 19, 2015

2 Corinthians 5:20 (Question from a Reader)

A blog reader has submitted an interesting query. I pose this issue to the group first before offering some thoughts myself. Thank you, brother, for reading my blog and sending this question:

READER: "Hey there Brother. I am enjoying your blogs here a lot. I am new to this site and am not sure how to contact you through a comment. If you don't mind I would like to ask you a question that has come up in the ministry. To me it really isn't an issue. A tempest in a teacup if you ask me but the question is in reference to 2 Corinthians 5:20. The NWT uses the word Substitute. Apparently this word does not appear in any other translation. I understand it to mean that the role of an ambassador is taking place of the said King or Government.
The person I am in contact with is trying to say that because of this verse we are of the opinion that the faithful and discreet slave are to be looked at as a substitutes for Christ. I have explained that the slave does not replace Christ but represent him. Do you have any thoughts as to why we have the word Substitute in the NWT while no other bible uses the word. Thanks and I certainly understand if you are too busy to answer."


Duncan said...

JMNT translation options.

20. Over Christ, then (Then for Christ's sake), we are elders of God, performing as God's ambassadors, as [Him] continually calling alongside (performing as a paraclete) through us. We are constantly begging and urgently asking, over Christ (for Christ's sake): "Be transformed down (Be correspondingly altered; Be changed from enemy to friend; Be reconciled; Be altered to be another [person]) by God!" (or: "You folks must be completely exchanged in God; Be conciliated to {for} God").

Compare John 16:7 - parclete - substitute.

Someone else can pad out the details.

Adam said...

A couple of thoughts on this verse:

It's true that the word 'substitute' isn't used in any other English translation of 2 Cor 5:20 that I'm aware of. However, the KJV says 'in Christ's stead', and to substitute simply means to place one thing in the stead of another. Most translations say either 'in Christ's name' or 'on Christ's behalf', but the differences in meaning are small.

Second, WTS publications have never to my knowledge applied this just to the faithful slave. The term 'ambassadors' is usually taken to refer to all of the anointed. The WT of November 1 2002 states that the other sheep could be termed 'envoys', assisting anointed ambassadors in their work. All Christians are thus helping to convey Jesus' message to become reconciled to God. Since Jesus and Jehovah do not directly and personally make entreaty to humans, they do so through their servants. This doesn't imply any usurpation of Jesus' authority.

Hope that some of this was helpful.



guitarsatele said...

That was all very helpful. After your explaining of in Christ's stead I looked up KJV definitions and this is the first one I found.
KJV Dictionary Definition: stead


STEAD, STED, n. G. See Stay.

1. Place; in general.

Fly this fearful stead.

In this sense not used.

2. Place or room which another had or might have, noting substitution, replacing or filling the place of another, as, David died and Solomon reigned in his sted.

God hath appointed me another seed in stead of Abel, whom Cain slew. Genesis 4.

Oh look there is the word substitution.

Thanks very much. You have helped a great deal. Really if the person I am in a discussion doesn't like the fact that Christ's brothers are explained by the Apostle Paul to be Ambassadors, I guess he better take that up with Paul.
Again Thanks,

Duncan said...

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

"we pray you in Christ's stead; representing him as if he was present before you:"

Duncan said...

παρά-κλητος, ον, called to one's aid, Lat. advocatus: as Subst. a legal assistant, advocate, Dem. II. in N.T., ὁ Παράκλητος, the Intercessor or the Comforter.

Edgar Foster said...

I too appreciate the prior remarks. One other source I readily found can be read here:

Notice the use of the word "substitute" as a possible understanding of 2 Cor 5:20.

Anonymous said...

That is correct, they are acting as substitutes or replacements for Christ. They act as the mediator between God and the other sheep.

guitarsatele said...

To Anonymous....
The God's Kingdom Book explains it this way.
4 In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul explained that Christians have a twofold ministry. Although Paul’s letter was directed to anointed Christians, today his words apply to Christ’s “other sheep” as well. (John 10:16) One part of our ministry is “the ministry of the reconciliation,” that is, our preaching and teaching work. (2 Cor. 5:18-20; 1 Tim. 2:3-6) The other part involves a ministry that we perform in behalf of fellow believers. Specifically, Paul referred to a “relief ministry.” (2 Cor. 8:4) As to the expressions “ministry of the reconciliation” and “relief ministry,” in both instances the word “ministry” is a translation of a form of the Greek word di·a·ko·niʹa. Why is that significant?

My original question dealt with an who makes the claim that we use 2 Cor 5:20 to state that we are the only religion that has a substitute for Jesus based on the NWT translation and that we apply it only to the governing body. However as we can see in the above quote and from the help of my brothers on this blog, it applies to all Christians. It is more related to our Ministry along with our anointed brothers. All of them not the Governing body only. He was basing it on a quote from a 2010 watchtower in reference to the faithful and discreet slave without considering the recent change in our view.