The New World Translation of the Holy Scripture occupies a unique place among the versions of the Bible available today. This translation was published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society for the Jehovah’s Witnesses. It was produced entirely by Jehovah’s Witnesses, specifically for Jehovah’s Witnesses, making them the first to produce their own entire Bible. A carefully study of this translation is revealing because it serves as an outstanding example of the potential of a translation to mislead, the extent to which the doctrinal errors of translators may be inserted into the text of their work, and the degree to which some will go in an attempt to force the Word of God to conform to their heresies. No other English translation of the Bible exists which reflects to such an extreme degree the doctrinal bias that characterizes this translation.
An unusual feature of this translation is the fact that the names and qualifications of the translators are not supplied with the Bible. They refuse to make this information known under the guise that they are respecting the wishes of the translators to remain anonymous so that all glory might be given to God rather than men. We believe the real reason for concealing the names of the translators is their lack of credentials. If this is not true let them step up and provide the credentials of their translators. We will not hold our breath! There can be no other genuine reason for keeping them anonymous.
We will not be able to note all of the errors of this translation in this short article. However, reference will be made to enough errors to prove this translation to be very inaccurate.
First, one of the major distinguishing insertions is the term Jehovah into the text of the New Testament 237 times despite the fact that Greek has Kurios (Lord) in each instance. While there may be grounds for including “Jehovah” in the text of the Old Testament, there is absolutely no legitimate basis on which to justify its use in the New Testament. They are forced to admit that not a single extant manuscript of the New Testament contains the tetragrammaton (YHWH Jehovah). Then why would they make such an insertion? It was to justify their name, Jehovah’s Witnesses. This is a flagrant corruption of the text.
In an effort to manipulate John 1:1, against Greek usage for the article, the New World Translation reads, “The Word was a god,” and the footnote reads, “‘A god’ in contrast with ‘the God.’” Their translation advocates polytheism. There is no other way to understand this rendering. Since Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse to accept Jesus as a member of the Godhead, they take the absurd position that Jehovah is the Almighty God, while Jesus is merely a mighty god. (Let God Be True, pp. 32-33). Basically, in their view there is a big God and a little god, and the big God created the little god—“the only begotten god,” as John 1:18 of the New World Translation reads. This contradicts their own version of Isaiah 43:10, where Jehovah says that “before me there was no God formed, and after me there continued to be none,” and Isaiah 44:6: “This is what Jehovah has said…. ‘I am the first and I am the last, and besides me there is no God’” (this language is applied in Revelation 1:17 to Jesus, showing He is God; cf. Deut. 32:39). Therefore, Jehovah’s Witnesses have produced a Bible which teaches a pagan concept of Deity. There description of Christ as “a god” and “the only begotten god” is grossly erroneous and blasphemous. The Word is God as all of Scripture plainly teaches (Isa. 9:6; John 1:1; 8:58; 20:28; Rev. 1:8; 2:8).
Another flagrant case of interpolation in the New World Translation is found in Colossians 1:16-17 where they inserted the word “other” four times without any justification from the Greek text whatsoever. Their translation reads as follows:
“Because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All [other] things have been created through him and for him. Also, he is before all [other] things and by means of him all [other] things were made to exist.”
The reason they inserted the word “other” is because they believed that Jesus was created before all other things. Therefore, their Bible cannot be allowed to say absolutely that he created “all things,” for that would imply the ridiculous and impossible, namely, that he created Himself. Their translation demotes Christ from Creator to created.
While rejecting the concept of the Godhead, Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the Deity of both Christ and the Holy Spirit. In their view, the Holy Spirit “is not a person, but God’s active force,” (You Can Live Forever, p. 40). Therefore, their translators refuse to capitalize the words, Holy Spirit and use “holy spirit” (cf. Matt. 1:18 and Titus 3:5). This use of “holy spirit” is misleading and grossly inaccurate. Consider Matt. 28:19 in their translation. It reads “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit.” The very idea that one is to be baptized into the name of the Father, the Son, and an impersonal active force, is absolutely absurd. It is to be noted that the three terms are each preceded by the article and therefore the capitalization of “Father” and “Son” but not “Holy Spirit” in their translation is inconsistent. Furthermore, if the “holy spirit” is merely an invisible, impersonal force, then why do their translators use “he” and “him,” in various passages. How could this impersonal force be said to “hear,” “speak” (John 16:13) and even possess a distinct will (I Cor. 12:11). Again they are guilty of corrupting the Scriptures in support of their religious view.
While many other examples could be cited consider just one more. Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that Jesus did not establish His kingdom and begin to reign over it until 1914. Therefore, Hebrews 12:28 was adjusted to speak of the kingdom in the future tense rather than the present tense of that time. The writer of Hebrews wrote: “Wherefore, receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken,” but in the New World Translation it is rendered, “Wherefore, seeing we are to receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken.” Beloved, the many blatant perversions of the New World Translation are undeniable and inexcusable. This translation is an example of how not to translate the Bible.