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The New World Translation on Trial in the Watchtower’s Own Kingdom Interlinear Translation of The Greek Scriptures

Part 2

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[Note: This article was written many years ago, and was accurate at that time. A downloadable KIT app is now available through the Watchtower website. Go here for more info.]

In Part 1, Whatever Happened to The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures? [the KIT], we raised the question as to whether this Interlinear, published by the Watchtower in two editions, 1969 and 1985, has been taken out of circulation by the Watchtower. We also stated that, if that is the case, it is not surprising:  The KIT provided an immediate way for readers to check the right hand column, the Watchtower’s New World Translation (NWT), against the left hand column, the Westcott and Hort Greek, with direct English underneath.  The Watchtower says on page 5 of the 1985 edition of the KIT:

Sincere seekers for eternal, life-giving truth desire an accurate understanding of the faith-inspiring Greek Scriptures, an understanding that is fortified by the knowledge of what the original language says and means.  The purpose behind the publishing of The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures is to aid such seekers of truth and life.  Its literal interlinear English translation is especially designed to open up to the student of the Sacred Scriptures what the original koine Greek basically or literally says.”  

We hope interested and discerning readers have access to a copy of the KIT for verification of the following comparisons.  Space does not allow for a comprehensive discussion of these passages so we leave it to the reader to examine the contexts, and the implications of the NWT’s renderings.

The following are a small but significant sampling of verses in question.  The words to be compared are in red.

Reference

 English under Greek

      New World Transl. (NWT)

 

Colossians 1:16-17

“all (things)”

 

  

 

“all [other] things”

“Other” added 4 times, though it is not present in the Greek; sometimes quoted without brackets in the publications [e.g. WT, 4/1/93, page 11]. Addition of “other” makes Jesus a thing.  The brackets are not present in the 1950 edition of the NWT.

 

Philippians  2:9

“over every name”

“above every other name” Why this addition of “other”?

For consideration:  what is the name above every name?

 

Romans 8:1 

“nothing really now condemnation to the (ones) in Christ Jesus;”                      

 

“therefore those in Christ Jesus have no condemnation”;

Greek word “now” is omitted, weakening the assurance of present reality.

Hebrews 11:13

“strangers and alien residents

they are  “upon the earth”.

[Context is Hebrew patriarchs]

 

“strangers and temporary residents in the land”.                            

 The WT teaches that Old Testament believers do not go to heaven, but will live on the earth.]

Romans 8:23

 

 

“awaiting the release by ransom of the body of us”

“waiting for adoption as sons, the release  from our bodies by ransom.”  The WT does not believe in the resurrection of the body.

John 14:14

 

[Jesus speaking] “ask me in

the name of me”

“ask anything in my name.” “me” is left out.  On page 9 of the Foreword in the 1969 edition it says, “Where we have varied from the Westcott and Hort text, our footnotes show the basis for our preferred reading.”  [No such footnotes here.  Jehovah’s Witnesses do not pray to Jesus.]

 

2 Corinthians 5:17

 

“if anyone in Christ, new

creation;”        

“if anyone is in union with Christ, he is a new creation;” 

The adding of “union with” occurs very often in NWT: Col. 1:2,28; Rom. 8:1; 2 Cor.13:5; Rom. 16:7; etc. In Gal.2:20, Christ “in union with me”.  “Union with” isn’t in the Greek.

 

1 Corinthians 11:23,25

“This of me is the body….

The new covenant is in the

my blood”                              

“this means my body”….

This cup means the new covenant by virtue of my blood” *

* See article, Our Visit to the Kingdom Hall Memorial

 

Colossians 1:27-28

“to  whom willed the God to

make known what the riches  f the glory of the mystery  this in the nations which is Christ in YOU ,the hope of the glory;”

To whom God has been pleased to make known what are the glorious riches of this sacred secret among the nations.  It is Christ in union with YOU, the hope of [his] glory.”

The Greek “musterion” is always translated “Sacred secret” by the WT.  Christians sometimes speak of the Trinity as a “mystery”, hence, conceivably, the WT avoids the word.  See Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words:  “In the ordinary sense a ‘mystery’ implies knowledge withheld; its Scriptural significance is truth revealed.”

 

Romans 5:18

 

all men into condemnation”

“all men into justification of

life.”

men of all sorts was condemnation…”

men of all sorts is a declaring of them righteous for life”

 

John 8:58

 

“Before Abraham to become

I am.”

“Before Abraham came into existence, I have been” The WT’s footnote to John 8:58 gave, consecutively, three different grammatical rules as basis for this “have been” rendering.  In fact, the footnote in the KIT’s 1969 edition says, “properly rendered in the perfect tense”, while the KIT’s 1985 edition says, “properly translated by the perfect indicative”!  And earlier explanations, like “perfect indefinite tense” in the 1950 edition, have been discarded.  The correct rendering is “I AM”.  Compare Exodus 3:14.

 

Probably the most serious mistranslations the Watchtower made are in the first chapter of The Gospel of John.  As we compare some of the following passages, we refer the reader to Greek scholars for further detail and deeper understanding of this subject.  We suggest Robert Bowman’s book, Why You Should Believe in the Trinity.

 

John 1:18

Direct English Under the Greek in the KIT

NWT in the KIT, 1969      Edition

 

NWT in the KIT, 1985 Edition

“God no one has seen at any time; only begotten god the (one) being into the bosom of the Father that (one) explained.”

“No man has seen (God) at any time; the only-begotten god who is in the bosom position with the Father is the one that has explained him”

“No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten god who is in the bosom [position] with the Father is the one that has explained him.”

“position” and “with” added in NWT; brackets added around “position” in 1985 edition, perhaps to soften criticism of 1969 edition.

 

Additional notes on this John 1:18 passage:

All three columns have “god” in the lower case.  Greek manuscripts were written in all upper case letters, so whether to capitalize a word has to be determined by other means, such as context.  

The parenthesis around a word means that the parenthesized word is implied in the Greek.

The Watchtower’s argument has always been that where there is no definite article (“the”), in front of the Greek word for God, it should be translated, “god”, but where there is a definite article (“the”), in front of the Greek word for God, it should be translated God”, with a capital.  [The Watchtower considers Jesus a “god”, not the “God”]. The WT’s dilemma here in John 1:18 is that neither occurrence of “GOD” in this passage has a definite article in front of it!   This is proven in the left hand column of the Watchtower’s own KIT.  Yet the WT arbitrarily translates the first occurrence of “THEOS” [Greek for God]  as “God” [capital G]”, and the second  occurrence of God as “god” [no capital],*   because it  is referring to Jesus, the “only-begotten”. See more on this subject in the comments below, under John 1:1-3. 

The New American Standard Bible translates John 1:18 like this:

“No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.”

* Keep in mind that the word [God] will not always look the same in Greek, as it depends on which case it is in; it nevertheless is the same word, God.

 

John 1:1-3

 Direct English Under            the Greek

 

       KIT, 1969 Edition

         KIT, 1985 Edition

“In beginning was the Word, and the Word was toward the God and god was the Word.  This (one) was in the beginning toward the God.  All (things) through him came to be, and apart from him came to be not-but one (thing).”

“In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.*  This one was in [the] beginning with God.  All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence.”

* “A god” in contrast with “the God”. See Appendix under John 1:1.[the WT’s footnote]

 

The edition reads the same as the 1969, with the exception of the footnote which reads  * “A god” in contrast with “the God” “See App. 2A”

[the WT’s footnote]

Additional notes on this John 1:1-3 passage:

There is no definite article in the Greek before the second occurrence of God, so the WT translated the word “a god”.  So far, they are consistent with their supposed rule that if a noun has no definite article it is indefinite.  However, just five verses later, in the New World Translation, we have this:

John 1:6 “There arose a man that was sent forth as a representative of God: his name was John.”   There is no definite article in the Greek before the word “God” in John 1:6, yet the WT translates it “God”, with a capital “G”!

This translation is absolutely correct, but it demolishes the WT’s “rule” that when there is no definite article present the noun must, of necessity, be translated as an indefinite [“a God”, hence a “god”].  The following occurrences of the word “God”, in the WT’s own New World Translation, are translated with a capital “G” even though there is no definite article, no “the”,  present:  John 3:2; John 13:3; 1 Thess. 2:5, 1 Pet. 4:10,11 (four occurrences of the word “God”, two with the article, two without, yet all four are translated by the WT as “God”, capital “G”!  

And to show how flexible the WT is in observing its own “rule” when it doesn’t serve the WT’s purpose, we quote Heb. 9:14 in the NWT:  “How much more will the blood of the Christ, who through an everlasting spirit offered himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works that we may render sacred service to [the] living God?”  There is no definite article before the word “God” in the Greek, yet the WT not only translates it “God” with a capital “G”, but supplies the definite article that is not present in the Greek!  The WT translates it correctly here, but it broke its own “rule” to do that!  So the “rule” is not absolute, just convenient in places like in John 1:1 where the Word, Jesus, is called God!

The Watchtower is bent on depriving Jesus of His Divine nature and it will do what it has to, even to the point of knowingly twisting the Scriptures.

We add one final point on the above passage, John 1:1-3.  We quote the Watchtower’s own translation of verses 2 and 3:  

“This one was in [the] beginning with God.  All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence.” 

You will remember that in the comparison chart at the top of this article it was shown that the WT had inserted the word “other” before the word “things” in Colossians chapter one.  The WT apparently did not dare to insert “other” before “things” in this first chapter of John, so it stands as God wrote it: Apart from Jesus not even one think came into existence!  Jesus is not created, not the first “thing” created, as the Watchtower would have you believe!  The point in this passage is that Jesus is the Creator!

The New American Standard Bible translates John 1:1-3 like this:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.”

I once read this passage from her own NWT, “not even one thing came into existence”, to a Jehovah’s Witness  I emphasized the point that nothing came into being except that Jesus was along in the creating.  She “helpfully” and cheerfully responded, “Well, except Jesus”, thinking that I had made a slip.  She had missed the point entirely; so deeply is this misinterpretation ingrained in a Witness’ mind!

This inspection of the New World Translation is obviously very limited; it is only a starter.  We advise the reader to do his/her own investigation by getting a copy of the KIT and by reading the claims in the Foreword to each edition.  It is very important to compare the two editions as to the Foreword, the Appendix and the text, because the WT made significant changes to the 1985 edition. 

Not the least of the WT’s changes is the list of Bible translations on page 1139 in the Appendix in the 1985 KIT.  The list was, no doubt, added to support the WT’s “a god” rendering of John 1:1.  This list of eight translations includes three that are in German, another one that is the work of Unitarians. One is the Watchtower’s own translation (circular reasoning).  Perhaps the most telling is that the second translation in the list is the work of a documented spiritist, John S. Thompson.  All the translations are suspect.  Is it any wonder if the Watchtower’s grand Interlinear, the KIT, is now off the shelves of the Kingdom Hall’s library?

Witnesses need to know the issues behind the Watchtower’s Interlinear. I once had an arranged meeting with two Witness women.  They surprised me by bringing a third woman with them, to help with the study.  She was from Greece, the wife to a prominent Witness in the district.  The subject of the deity of Christ came up. We read John 1:1 from the KIT.  I showed her that in verse six there is no definite article in front of “God”, (as was her argument for the “a god” rendering in verse one), and yet the Watchtower translated it with a capital “G”, “God”,  in verse six.  This woman, whose native language was Greek, was stunned.  She stood up and walked out alone.  The other two followed her slowly.  The meeting was over and, sadly,  I never saw them again. 

It is always our hope and prayer that such people will, under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, think about what they have seen and about the cost of following an organization that uses deception to twist God’s Word. 

Jesus Christ is the Son of God and hence He is God by nature, John 5:18.  Our salvation depends on this fact, Rev. 17:14, John 3:16, Rev. 1:8 and 22, Titus 2:13, etc. 

Feel free to contact us as we are happy to talk with you and to answer questions you might have.  Salvation is found in no one else [than Jesus Christ crucified], for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."  (Acts 4:10-12)

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To download or purchase a copy of The Kingdom Interlinear Translation, or instructions on how to obtain the JW Library app, which contains the KIT, click here.

Written by Greta Olsoe

www.soundwitness.org

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