See the "today" doctrine presented in Hebrews:

Hebrews 4:

6 Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted,

Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”

8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on.


11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.

And notice Jesus' response to the repentant man dying beside him:

Luke 23:43

And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

The paradise, of course, being "the rest" and today being the "today" of the discussion in Hebrews.

Notice the placement of the comma which causes an entire doctrinal omission:

New World Translation: Truly I tell you today, [notice comma placement] You will be with me in Paradise.

My question is this:

Can the passage of Hebrews regarding the hope of "today" be linked with Jesus' assurance to the repentant man dying beside him that he would be in paradise "today"?

If we can indeed connect these two thoughts as proof of "today", is this sufficient proof to explain the New World Translation misrepresentation of the Luke 23:43?

If Jehovah's Witness doctrine has been engineered to evade even this point, what further investigation needs to be done to fully refute the comma-caused doctrinal omission regarding "Today"?

  • 3
    This sounds a little bit like, "what presuppositions can we justify that will trump the JW's presuppositions?" Maybe it needs to be broken down; 1. Does the text and context suggest telling him now (or soon), or telling him it will happen soon (a Hermeneutical question, but likely ok here), 2. Is it the today of 24 hours, or similar short time period, or fullfillment of a metaphoric "today" from the OT, 3. Have some groups potentially adopted questionable doctrine because of failure to understand it. Dont know how or if to divide the question. Wouldn't you rather consider all doctine evidence? – Bit Chaser Jun 29 '15 at 8:03
  • Its simple context and simple doctrine. It might be difficult to answer relative to JWs because they maintain neither simple doctrine or simple context. Its open to whomever can/will answer reasonably. – user9485 Jun 29 '15 at 8:09
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    It should be noted that the comma after Today is not specific to JW. Many other Christians would agree with this particular rendering, even if they disagree with JW and the NWT on many other things. – Joshua Jul 7 '16 at 15:57

I don't think so, since the original manuscripts had no punctuation at all. Where to place - or even to place at all - commas, periods, colons, semicolons, question marks - is left to the discretion of the interpreter.

I believe the only recourse one has is to appeal to the Church Fathers - particularly the Greek Fathers - and understand how they interpreted the passage, trusting that they are faithful to the teaching of the Apostles.

In John Chrysostom's Homilies Concerning the Power of Demons, he words are translated by the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Series translator:

So has God done. He gave Paradise to man. He cast him out when he appeared unworthy, in order that by his dwelling outside, and through his dishonour, he might become better, and more self-restrained, and might appear worthy again of restoration. Since after those things he did become better, he brings him back again and says Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise

Homily I

There are similar commentaries in other writings of Chrysostom, as well as in works of Cyril of Jerusalem, Gregory Nazianzus, and other Fathers.

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