Dr. Walter Martin complains that the NWT falsely renders Philippians 1:21-23.
"The rendering, `but what I do desire is the releasing ...,' particularly the last word, is a gross imposition upon the principles of Greek exegesis because the untutored [Jehovah's Witnesses] have rendered the first aorist active infinitive of the verb analuo (analusai) as a substantive (`the releasing') which in this context is unscholarly and atrocious Greek." - p. 77.
It turns out, then, that this terrible "perversion" is not merely the basic meaning of the word, but the rendering of a verb infinitive ("to run," "to give," "to release," etc.) as a substantive ("the giving," "the releasing," etc.).
According to Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, a substantive is "... a verbal noun, or any part of speech used as a noun equivalent." So most of Martin's diatribe here has to do with the rendering of an infinitive verb as a noun equivalent. Before we examine this "calculated perversion," let's look at the basic meaning of the word analuo.
NT scholar Ralph P. Martin tells us that this word in Phil. 1:23 "is a euphemism for death; it is a military term for striking camp ... and a nautical expression for releasing a vessel from its moorings." - p. 81, Philippians, (Revised ed.), Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, Eerdmans, 1991 reprint.
The New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance, The Lockman Foundation, 1981, states:
"360. analuo; from 303 and 3089, to unloose for departure" - p. 1631.
"303. ana ... upwards, up" - p. 1630.
"3089. luo; a prim. vb.; to loose, to release ...." - p. 1664.
Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Baker Book House, tells us:
"360... 1. to unloose, undo again, (as woven threads)...." - p. 40.
"3089... 1. to loose any person (or thing)...fastened" - p. 384.
Obviously, then, it is certainly proper to translate this verb as "to release"!
Phil. 1:23 -
"desiring to be loosed and to be with Christ" - GNV.
"I desire to be released and to be with Christ" - NMB.
"having one eager desire to be loosed, and be with Christ" - Julia Smith.
"having, the coveting, to be released, and to be with, Christ" - Rotherham.
"constantly having the craving (holding the strong desire and impulse) into the [situation] to untie and loose back up again [as in loosing tent pins and ropes when striking camp, or loosing moorings to set sail], and to be (to exist being) together with Christ" - JMNT.
But what about rendering it as a substantive or a verbal noun? Can the infinitive to analusai (literally "the to be loosing up") be rendered "the releasing"? Yes, this is a common practice in all Bible translations as anyone (NT Greek scholar or not) who takes the time to examine an interlinear Bible can easily discover! Honest New Testament scholars, of course, already know this elementary fact:
"The neut. to [the definite article, `the'] before infinitives a. gives them the force of substantives." - Thayer, p. 435, #6.
"The Greek infinitive, being a verbal noun, can have the article, like any other noun.... The infinitive with the article can stand in most of the constructions in which any other noun can stand." - pp. 137, 138, New Testament Greek for Beginners, Dr. J. Gresham Machen, The Macmillan Company.
For example, the verb infinitives at Phil. 1:21 (literally, "the to live" and "the to die") are rendered in the following Bibles as :
1. "As life means Christ to me, so death means gain" - Moffatt translation.
2. "For, to me, `life' means Christ; hence dying is so much gain" - NAB.
3. "For to me life is Christ, and death gain" - NEB; BBE; and REB.
4. "Life to me...is Christ, but then death would bring me ... more" JB; NJB
5. "what is life? To me it is Christ. Death, then will bring more" - TEV.
6. "For to me LIVING means Christ and DYING brings gain" - CBW.
7. "LIVING means Christ and DYING something even better." - AT.
8. "LIVING is Christ and DYING is gain." - NRSV.
9. "To me, LIVING means having Christ ...." - NLV.
10. "For me, LIVING is Christ and DYING is gain." - HCSB.
11. "Because for me, LIVING serves Christ and DYING is even better." - CEB.
12. "for to me, the LIVING is Christ, and the DYING is gain." - DLNT.
13. "To me the only important thing about LIVING is Christ, and DYING would be profit for me." - NCV.
14. "For to me, LIVING is Christ and DYING is gain." - NET.
15. "For to me, LIVING means living for Christ, and DYING is even better." - NLT.
Yes, In spite of Martin's falsehoods, these respected Bibles translated the literal NT Greek infinitive verbs as nouns! Again, just who is falsifying here?