Friday, 2 May 2008

The New World Mistranslation

The Watchtower Society claim that the New Testament Scriptures were tampered with and the name of Jehovah was taken out. The following quotation can be used to show this is false.

“The Bible comes from... God... it was a simple thing for him to make certain that the integrity of what was written was preserved down to our day. Of this a leading authority on Bible manuscripts, Sir Frederic Kenyon, in 1940, said: ‘The last foundation of any doubt that the Scriptures have come down to us substantially as they were written has now been removed.’ ... a God-inspired, permanent written record is much less likely to contain errors.” - What is the Purpose of Life, WB&TS, 1993, p.15.

In this light, I wonder if the Society will add the following to their list of ‘J’ references [references regarding Jewish translations of the NT in their Kingdom Interlinear Translation.]

“In several places this approach brings into bold relief a key theological issue
separating Messianic from traditional Judaism, namely, whether the concept of Adonai can include Yeshua the Messiah and/or the Holy Spirit. Philippians 2:10-11 informs us that the day is coming when ‘every knee will bow... and every tongue acknowledge that Yeshua the Messiah is Adonai.’ Since this passage quotes Isaiah 45:23, where it is explicit that every knee will bow to Adonai, kurios is here translated ‘Adonai.’” - Jewish New Testament, David H.Stren.

We read concerning their translation of John 1:1:

“What is it that these translators are seeing in the Greek text that moves some of them to refrain from saying ‘the Word was God?’ The definite article (the) appears before the first occurrence of theos (God) but not before the second... So the text is not saying that the Word (Jesus) was the same as the God with whom he was, but, rather, that the Word was godlike, divine, a god.” - Reasoning from the Scriptures, p.212.

We then read concerning John 20:28:

“There is no objection to referring to Jesus as ‘God,’ if this is what Thomas had in mind... All of this is in harmony with Jesus’ being described as ‘a god,’ or ‘divine,’ at John 1:1.” - Ibid, p.213.

No one can know what Thomas had in mind but what is clear is the statement is not in harmony with John 1:1. Here in John 20:28 the Greek reads ho theos - the God. According to their own explanation of John 1:1 this means Jesus is God!

In similar fashion, we should note the following two contradictory statements.

“Clearly, therefore, the Scriptures do not support the idea of the ‘divinity of Christ.’” - The Watchtower, 15 January 1992, p.23.

“Because in him (Christ) dwells the fullness of the divinity.” - Colossians 2:9, Kingdom Interlinear Translation, 1985, literal English.


“How is a modern translator to know or determine when to render the Greek words
kyrios and theos into the divine name in his version? By determining where the
inspired Christian writers have quoted from the Hebrew Scriptures. Then he must refer back to the original to locate whether the divine name appears there. This way he can determine the identity to give to kyrios and theos…” - Kingdom Interlinear Translation, WB&TS, 1969, p.18.

Page 885 of the same publication contains Philippians 2:11 and we find that kyrios is translated Lord. However, applying the above rule of translation we discover that Philippians 2:11 is a direct quotation from Isaiah 45:23 [it was even cross-referenced in the original 1950 edition of the New World Translation]. According to their own rule of translation Philippians 2:11 should read in the NWT:
“and every tongue should openly acknowledge that Jesus is Christ is Jehovah to the glory of God the Father.”


“Isaiah 1:24 - ‘the [true] Lord’ This is the translation of the Hebrew expression ha-A-don, this being the title A-don (“Lord; Master”) preceded by the Hebrew definite article ha. Although there are many lords or masters, this prefixing of the definite article before the title a-don limits the application of the title to Jehovah God.”
Taking this rule and applying it, according to the information supplied in the 1985 Kingdom Interlinear, Romans 10:9 should be translated in the NWT as:

“For if you publicly declare that ‘word in your mouth,’ that Jesus is Jehovah, and..."
The reason for this is that the footnote tells us that the Greek word kyrios is ha-A-don in several Hebrew translations.


“Consequently, religious traditions, hoary with age, have been taken for granted and gone unchallenged and uninvestigated. These have been interwoven into the translations to color the thought. In support of a preferred religious view, an inconstancy and unreasonableness have been insinuated into the teachings of the inspired writings . . . To each major word we have assigned one meaning and have held that meaning as far as the context permitted. This, we know, has imposed a restriction upon our diction, but it makes for good cross-reference work and for a more reliable comparison of related texts or verses.” - The New World Translation, WB&TS, 1951, pp.6 & 9.

Using the Kingdom Interlinear Translation however we see:

In 1 Peter 1:17 we find that we can call upon the Father but the same Greek word in Acts 7:59 has Stephen making an appeal to Jesus.

Is there anything in the context that demands that this major word is translated in two different ways? No! It is simply a “preferred religious view.” The very thing they have accused others of doing and have indeed condemned as changing the meaning of the inspired writings.

A further example of this can be found in comparing the same Greek word in Revelation 7:11 where older persons worship God and Matthew 2:11 where the magi do obeisance to Jesus.

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