Question:

Question

Answer:

What do you think about The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures? Is it an accurate translation?


The New World Translation is the product of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, the publishing arm of the Jehovah's Witnesses denomination. Though it claims to be a literal translation from the original languages of the Bible, it is notorious for altering key passages to match the teachings of the Jehovah's Witnesses. If you know what to look for, you can even use their own resource books (interlinear lexicons, concordance, and dictionary) to prove that many passages were purposely mistranslated.

Because of the large number of errors, I will only point out a few to illustrate the poorness of the New World Translation.


II Peter 3:10

"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up." (New King James Version)

"But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up." (New American Standard Bible)

"Yet Jehovah's day will come as a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a hissing noise, but the elements being intensely hot will be dissolved, and earth and the works in it will be discovered." (New World Translation).

The Greek word translated "Lord" is kurios, which means supreme ruler or supreme in authority. Because Jehovah's Witnesses strongly believe that the supreme ruler's (God's) name is only Jehovah, instead of translating the word as given in the Greek, they substitute the name of the one they believe is being referenced. However, the New World Translation is not consistent in its translation of kurios. For example, in Philippians 2:10-11, "so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in heaven and those on earth and those under the ground, and every tongue should open acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father." The reason for the inconsistency is obvious. Jehovah's Witnesses do not accept Jesus Christ as God. If they were consistent in their translation they would contradict their own doctrine.

The Greek word translated "burned up" is katakaio, which means to burn to the ground or consume wholly. Since Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe that the world will be destroyed, they replaced "burned up" with "discovered" to support their belief that the world will be remade in the end. There is no textual justification for this substitution. In fact, in other verses where this same Greek word is used, the New World Translation does translate it as "burned up." Matthew 3:12, "... but the chaff he will burn up with fire ..." and Revelation 8:7, "... a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees was burned up, and all the green vegetation was burned up ..." Only the New World Translation is inconsistent in its supposed translation of katakaio.


John 1:1

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (New King James Version)

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (New American Standard Bible).

"In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god." (New World Translation)

Within a single verse, the translators of the New World Translation show their inconsistency. The Greek word theos is used twice in this verse. In the first translation it is rendered as "God," but in the second usage it is rendered as "a god." There is no article before the second use of theos to justify the change in translation. However, Jehovah's Witnesses doctrine does not recognize Jesus as God, therefore they altered the verse to match their doctrine and not the original text.


Hebrews 1:6

"But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: "Let all the angels of God worship Him."" (New King James Version)

"And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, "AND LET ALL THE ANGELS OF GOD WORSHIP HIM."" (New American Standard Bible)

"But when he again brings his First-born into the inhabited earth, he says: "And let all God's angels worship him."" (New World Translation, 1953, 1960, 1961, and 1970 editions)

"But when he again bring his First-born into the inhabited earth, he says: "And let all God's angels do obeisance to him."" (New World Translation, 1971 edition and newer).

It took the New World Translation censures a while to notice the mistake they made in their earlier editions. Worship is something that belongs only to God. "Well, I John was the one hearing and seeing these things. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel that had been showing me these things. But he tells me: "Be careful! Do no do that! All I am is a fellow slave of you and of your brothers who are prophets and of those who are observing the words of this scroll. Worship God." (Revelation 22:8-9, New World Translation). The same Greek word is shown in bold type in the above quotes. Since the Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe Jesus is God, it could not allow a verse to exist that showed Jesus being worshiped as God. Hence, they inconsistently translate the word, proskuneo.


The book, Jehovah's Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse by David A. Reed, sheds light on why the New World Translation is so inconsistent in its translation. "The Watchtower Society presents the New World Translation as the anonymous work of the New World Bible Translation committee -- and resists all efforts to identify the members of the committee. They say they do this in order that all credit for the work will go to God. But an unbiased observer will quickly note that such anonymity also shields the translators from any blame for errors or distortions in their renderings. And it prevents scholars from checking their credentials. In fact, defectors who have quit Watchtower headquarters in recent years have identified the alleged members of the committee, revealing that none of them was expert in Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic -- the original languages from which the Bible must be translated."


See also:

Questions and Answers regarding Jehovah's Witnesses
Questions and Answers regarding the Bible
Articles on Bible Translations

March 15, 2005