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What's wrong with the New World Translation?

Re: What's wrong with the New World Translation?

Postby jriccitelli » Sat Nov 03, 2012 1:17 am

Paidion wrote; 'Most Greek words have one basic meaning, and none other should be used unless absolutely necessary'

So, you are saying; most Greek words have one basic meaning, and no other 'English' word should be used?
Either way, this does not make sense.
Is there one Greek word for every English word?
What we were talking about is 'translations'. Which English words (Spanish, French, Chinese, whatever) best describe (or translate) the intended speech (meaning) is what we are after. There is no 'sure' word for word way to translate one language into another, if they are different words, because they are basically - 'different' words.
Also, most 'meanings' can have many basic words.
I can say; I am happy, I am well pleased, I am delighted, I am elated, I am cheerful, I have joy, and still mean basically the same thing.
Also most words have many synonyms (and so also do Greek words).
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Re: What's wrong with the New World Translation?

Postby Paidion » Sat Nov 03, 2012 11:44 pm

Perhaps I should have said "many" Greek words have one basic meaning rather than "most".
But the point is that people inject meanings into some Greek words — meanings which are not there but which still appear to "fit" the context.

One example is the little conjuction "και". The meaning is "and" or "also". But some claim the word also means "even" and it is so rendered in many translations. This rendering suits some theologies. Yet there is not a single instance of which I am aware that the word must be translated as "even". In each and every case which I have examined, the translation of "and" or "also" is quite suitable.

Sometimes, it is translated as "then" or "when", or is simply omitted altogether, with the intent of making better English.

One time I noticed that a Modalist friend had the following verse (part of Jesus' prayer to His Father) displayed on a wall in his house:

This is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (John 17:3 )

I asked him how he (who believed Jesus was God, and that God was a single individual) could display that verse and believe it when it affirms that the Father is the only true God, and that Jesus is something other.
He responded that the word "και" sometimes means "even". Thus (he said) this verse actually affirms that the Father, the only true God, is Jesus.
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Re: What's wrong with the New World Translation?

Postby jriccitelli » Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:17 am

'And they went with haste and found Mary as well as Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger.17 When they saw it, they made known the saying that had been spoken to them concerning this young child' (Luke 2:16-17 NWT)

On using the word 'it' for the baby Jesus in the NWT; Paidion wrote; 'So does the King James Version, the ESV, RVS, ASV, and Websters translations. The NKJV inserts "him" at this place. Phillips inserts "this sight." Do you condemn all of these translations as well?

You can't use the fault (or non fault) of another translation to justify the NWT.
I 'did' notice that some other translations use 'it' here, but that makes the case even worse for the NWT (Did they simply plagiarize at this point? Or just find it more acceptable to go along with the KJV?).
The point is that the word 'was added'. The verse would have been sensible and understandable using only 'seen' or 'saw'.
'It' is never a good word to use when writing, as 'it' is easily misunderstood if the subject is not 'really well' defined.
And, as happened here, using 'it' makes it worse, because it allows for the disrespectful interpretation of Jesus as 'the it' (where leaving this as 'seeing / the scene', or sign would have sufficed)
I would say the Phillips Translation is the best here.
(I might also note the Madonna translation on Luke 2:17; 'I saw 'the sign' and 'it' opened up my eyes')

It is interesting that some translations (NIV, NLT, GWT) do jump to the conclusion that what the Shepherds saw was simply a baby, but what the shepherds saw was the 'sign', the sign they were told they would 'see' as told them by the Angels; "A baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger" (See Luke 2:12, 'lying in a manger' is actually the 'sign' part)
The NASB, ISV, ABPE, DRB, YLT all stick to 'when they had seen this', 'when they saw this', 'when they had seen', And 'seeing', and 'having seen', (in order respectfully)
( http://bible.cc/luke/2-17.htm ).

Notice that these versions (NASB, ISV, ABPE, DRB, YLT) did not have to include the word 'it', and yet remain readable and accurate. This makes these translations the better translations of this verse.
And note all 7 of the online Greek texts ( http://biblos.com/luke/2-17.htm ) use only 'denotes - de' (having seen, moreover), with no other words.

Paidion wrote;' Do you condemn all of these translations as well?'
I did not condemn anything, the question was 'What's wrong with the NWT'. You are the one jumping to the conclusion that I was condemning something (speaking of getting emotional!). I am proving that 'the NWT' is not well translated.
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Re: What's wrong with the New World Translation?

Postby jriccitelli » Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:33 am

Continuing on the baby 'it', Luke chapter 2:27-28 NWT;

I wrote; 'What is the deal with translating 'Auto' into 'it', concerning the 'little boy' Jesus in Luke 2:28, I know auto can be translated 'it', but why here?'

'Under the power of the spirit he now came into the temple; and as the parents brought the young child Jesus in to do for it according to the customary practice of the law, 28 he himself received it into his arms and blessed God and said'
(Luke 2:27-28 NWT)

Paidion wrote; 'It would be appropriate to translate it as "it" if we didn't know the sex of the child. But we do, and so it ought to be translated as "him". Possible the NWT translators thought "αυτο" ought to be translated as "it" because it is neuter'

Right, we do know the gender (and who it was), and so, no formal, respectful or sensible translating into modern English would refer to a baby as an 'it''. Seems every other version other than the NWT translates 'auto' as him or child. These are what I call 'good' translations. (Check online at; http://bible.cc/luke/2-27.htm )
Same for Luke 2:33, auto is translated 'his', or Jesus, not it.
As for Luke 1:59; of twenty different versions I checked; only 1, the Darby, translated auto as 'it' (This is a wild guess, but I suspect John Darby may not have married or had children, although I do admire Darby.).

I wrote; 'In verse 2:27 the NWT translates Autous into 'it', when it should be them (them, they)'

Paidion wrote; 'No it doesn't. The NWT translates "αυτου", the last word in the sentence as "it" (though it would be better translated as "him" as all other translations do). The word "αυτους" refers to the parents and it is used as the object of an infinitive "to do". The NWT translates the phrase (which contains "αυτους") as "in order to do". The ESV translates it as "that they might do". The King James and the NKJV render it simply as "to do"'

I think we both got slightly thrown off by the NWT's reorganized order of words translated in Luke 2:27. I don’t know where the word 'autous' went (since it really is not in the NWT's text after all).
I see now that the NWT followed the KJV's lead and moved autou to where autous was, and left autous out completely since the parents are only referenced once,

[As a side note, in the Greek, I am pretty darn sure 'autous' in verse 2:27 refers to the 'thing' they were to do, and does not refer to the parents. The 'thing' is the 'custom of the law' (Most English translators may not have been familiar enough with Jewish ceremony to know that circumcision also can include blessings, making customs plural).
Autous can refer to inanimate things such as laws (see also Matt. 7:24)]

So then, the NWT leaves out autous, moves autou, and translates autou as 'it'.
Every other translation correctly translates autou here then as 'him', although only Youngs Translation (YLT) puts this in the order similar to the Greek;

'And he came in the Spirit to the temple, and in the parents bringing in the child Jesus, for their doing according to the custom of the law regarding him (Luke 2:27 YLT)

And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law… (Luke 2:27 NASB)

And - he came- in - the - spirit - into- the - temple - and - in - the/time -when brought in - the - parents - the - child - Jesus - the/thing - they might do - them - according - to - what had become customary - by the - law - for - him - …
(order from the Greek)
( http://interlinearbible.org/luke/2-27.htm )

'Under the power of the spirit he now came into the temple; and as the parents brought the young child Jesus in to do for it according to the customary practice of the law'
(Luke 2:27 NWT)

The NWT also translates 'auto' as 'it' in the next verse;
'he (autos) himself received it (auto) into his arms and blessed God and said' (Luke 2:28 NWT)
All 17 of the other translations translate the word auto here as 'him' (and the Living translates auto here as 'the child') http://bible.cc/luke/2-28.htm

And what is the point in saying 'he himself received…' there is no call from the Greek to add another personal pronoun, and there is certainly no reason from English to say it thus...
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Re: What's wrong with the New World Translation?

Postby jriccitelli » Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:49 am

What is with the NWT adding the words 'Under the power' to first part of verse 2:27, all the other translations follow the Greek here almost verbatim( http://bible.cc/luke/2-27.htm ); and all the Greek translations here are identical;
And - he came - in - the - spirit - into - the - temple (2:27, Greek)
( http://biblos.com/luke/2-27.htm )
'And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law' (2:27 KJV)

The word 'dynamei' (usually translated power) does not appear anywhere near this verse in the NWT. The word does appear in a verse that is very similar; Luke 4:14 and here dynamei is translated correctly as 'power' in the NWT.
http://bible.cc/luke/4-14.htm

So what's the deal with this 'wonderful' translation? Are they trying to be accurate or just willy-nilly?
Remember I picked this verse (Luke 2:27) at random by just flipping open the NWT, now just looking at Luke 4:14;

'Now Jesus returned in the power of the spirit into Galilee. And good talk concerning him spread out through all the surrounding country' (Luke 4:14 NWT)

Take a look at the translation of the word 'pheme' in 4:14 usually translated as report, news or even fame, but 'good talk'!
This sounds like someone who is just learning English. We excuse people who are just learning, but the NWT was 'supposedly' translated by scholars.
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Re: What's wrong with the New World Translation?

Postby Paidion » Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:11 pm

So, JR, you find it necessary to take an extreme stance? Either the NWT is a very poor deceptive translation or else it is a "wonderful" translation?
Has anyone in this forum described it as a "wonderful" translation? Is there no middle ground? Is it possible for you to consider that the New Testament of the NWT is an "adequate" translation with a number of translation errors, or some cases though not erroneous, a poor choice of words chosen to fit JW doctrine? Do you know of any translation that does not do the same, at least to some extent? There may be a few, but I am not aware of any.

You can name virtually any translation you choose, and it can be shown to have additions and errors of the type you are pointing out in your posts.

You object to the NWT's rendering "Under the power of the spirit, he now came into the temple" instead of "He came by the spirit into the temple". You are correct in saying that the NWT translators added the word "power". Now let's consider what other translations have added to this same passage:

"He had been led by the spirit to go into the temple" (Philips, and similarly Weymouth)

...and inspired by the spirit he came into the temple. (RSV)

So under the Spirit’s guidance he went into the temple. (Williams)

Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts (NIV)

So why aren't you objecting to all the additions these translations have made to the verse? There is no "led" in the Greek. Nor "inspired" nor "guidance" nor "moved" nor "courts".
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Re: What's wrong with the New World Translation?

Postby Singalphile » Sun Jul 26, 2015 10:22 pm

What's the difference between adding one's preferred interpretation into the text itself, as the NWT apparently does, versus just preaching one's own interpretation/words as "gospel truth" from the pulpit, a book, or an online forum? I see little difference, if any.

You almost have to admire the JWs. They've got the right interpretation (so they think), so they just put it in there. Makes sense to me.
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Re: What's wrong with the New World Translation?

Postby TheEditor » Sun Jul 26, 2015 11:04 pm

Hi Singal,

Well, that's one way to look at it. :) The NWT was recently updated. Unfortunately, whereas it has become easier to read, it has lost some characteristics that made it helpful. One that comes to mind was the rendering of the words YOU and YOUR in ALL CAPS where the original word was a plural. This helped the reader to understand that the speaker was addressing more than one person. They have now done away with that. They did do one thing I thought was helpful; though accurate, the NWT used the expression "And Jehovah proceeded to say..." quite a bit. They have dropped the term in favor of the more reader friendly "Jehovah said." I have mixed feelings about literal versus dynamic equivalent renderings. I understand that being literal and allowing one to do their own research as to the shades of meaning that the original contains has it's merit; on the other hand, if a dynamic equivalent accurately conveys the meaning, why put up a barrier to understanding the message? I think paraphrase versions take that too far however. Although, I don't mind reading a good paraphrase now and again.

Regards, Brenden.
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