Psalms 49:7 and the Jehovah's Witnesses
When confronted with Psalms 49:7 that says no man can provide a ransom for another
man, and 1 Timothy that says that Jesus did exactly that, Jehovah's Witnesses may try
to say that the Psalms 49:7 reference is that a sinful man cannot give God a ransom.
Let us examine what the scriptures say:
(KJV 1) 7 None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a
ransom for him:
(NAS 2) 7 No man can by any means redeem his brother or give God a ransom for
(NIV 3) 7 No man can redeem the life of another or give God a ransom for him-
(NWT 4) 7 Not one of them can by any means redeem even a brother, Nor give God a
ransom for him.
The subject is the Hebrew word iysh (Strong's 5 376). The word is used in scripture
1639 times and refers to a man as an individual. It is most often translated as a man
(1002x), men (210x) and one (188x). No translation has it as "a sinful man"
KJV and NWT both have verse 7 applied to the people mentioned in verses 5 & 6, but
these people are the subjects of the question being asked in 5,6. The psalmist asks:
Psalms 49:5&6 (NAS 2)
"5 Why should I fear in the days of adversity, when the iniquity of my foes
surrounds me, 6 Even
those who trust in their wealth and boast in the abundance of their riches?
The psalmist asks a question, then highlights that nobody, not even those with
great wealth, can ransom themselves from God's impending judgement. As
Strong's definition of the word iysh points out, the subject is man, not sinful man,
nor some specific sinful men. We are left with the scriptures as it should be:
Psalms 49:7 (NAS 2)
7 No man can by any means redeem his brother Or give God a ransom for him.
1 Timothy 2:5&6 (NAS 2)
5. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, The man Christ
Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time
Jehovah's Witnesses try to reduce Jesus to a mere man, though they will admit a
"perfect" man, they are contradicting scripture when they do this.
1 KJV Gift & Award Bible, Revised. Grand Rapids Michigan: Zondervan Corp. 2002
2 New American Standard Bible, Text Edition Anaheim California: Foundation Publications 1995
3 The Quest Study Bible, New International Version Grand Rapids Michigan: Zondervan Corp.
4 New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. New York: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society
5 The New Strong's Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Red-Letter edition
With contributions by John R. Kohlenberger. Nashville: Thomas Nelson 2001