What's wrong with the New World Translation?

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Paidion
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What's wrong with the New World Translation?

Post by Paidion » Sat Oct 06, 2012 8:38 pm

I listened to Steve's broadcast recently (I think it was Thursday) where he stated that JWs in their translation added a lot to the Scriptures and subtracted a lot from them.

I hope Steve addresses this and tells us where they have added and where they have subtracted. I have a New World Translation and have checked out a fair amount of it (in the New Testament). I have not yet discovered additions and subtractions as such, that is in order to fit a particular theological systme. I have found a few additions for clarification. But virtually every translation with which I am familiar have added words for clarification, including the NKJV.

John 1:1 is faulty, or course. In the NWT it was rendered as "In the beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.". This translation would be correct if the Greek sentence were in natural order. For the word "theos" does not have an article. If John has meant to say that the Word was God the Father, then the article "ho" would have preceded "theos". Because there is no article preceding the second "theos", the NWT renders it as "a god". But but by placing "theos" BEFORE the verb, John indicates that he is saying that the Word was "God-stuff", that is divine essence. It's the same reversal construction as the sentence, "God is love." Love is the kind of thing that God is. Another one is "Your word is reality (or "truth"). This one is a reversal also. Reality (or "truth") is the kind of thing His word is. So in John 1:1 "God" (divine essence) is the kind of thing the Word is.

But the interesting thing is what we find in the Emphatic Diaglott, published by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society in Brookyn, the 1942 edition, which consists of the Greek text of the Vatican manuscript with an interlinear in the left hand column, and a translation in the right-hand column. Whereas, the interlinear places "a god" beneath the second "theos" in John 1:1, the translation in the right-hand column renders John 1:1 as follows: "In the Beginning was the LOGOS, and the LOGOS was with God, and the LOGOS was God." I was surprised that the Watch Tower Society sanctioned this translation. Under PLAN OF THE WORK, the editors state that the right column is "a NEW VERSION for general reading."

In any case, I am curious to discover all these additions and subtractions in the NWT which Steve mentioned, and would be grateful if he were to specify a few of these so that I could be informed.

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

Post by jriccitelli » Sun Oct 07, 2012 10:35 am

I do not know how many deliberate mistranslations and deceptive insertions it takes before a bible becomes a 'bad' bible, but I wouldn't continue eating at a restaurant that served dead rat. I am not going to spend time with the problems of the NWT, although Genesis 1, Zech 12:10, John 8:58, Colossians 1:16, Titus 2:13 are interesting enough NWT verses to check out;
In [the] beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth proved to be formless and waste and there was darkness upon the surface of [the] watery deep; and God's active force was moving to and fro over the surface of the waters. (Genesis 1:1-2 NWT)
'And I will pour out upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of favor and entreaties, and they will certainly look to the One whom they pierced through, and they will certainly wail over Him as in the wailing over an only [son]; and there will be a bitter lamentation over him as when there is bitter lamentation over the firstborn [son]' (Zech. 12:10)

The verses dealing with YWHW and the New Testament inclusions of Jehovah are too numerous to mention, so I would just say that I cannot think of another so common Bible that has gone this far in deliberately twisting itself to propagate a falsehood. (I do not consider 'The Message' a bible, it is just a mess)

I would check out these websites, I like TowerWatch ministries website;

http://www.towerwatch.com/Witnesses/New ... _bible.htm

http://www.contenderministries.org/jeho ... es/nwt.php

In my testimony I mention that I had only a NWT to read when I first became a believer, but it would be foolish to continue reading a version produced by a cult, and trust a cult to 'not' tamper with their bible version.
I also use my NWT, which is well outlined and marked up, to lead a JW to Christ because as I have said no matter how much man tries to mess with Gods scriptures the meaning and story are so interwoven through-out it is almost impossible to remove the truth without removing every single page of scripture.
Grace, salvation, and even the Deity of Christ is undeniable, even when reading the NWT.
I clipped out and pasted together a few dozen pages to use as tracts when witnessing to Witnesses, using only their own NWT scriptures (photocopied from their own bible) to show them salvation is by Grace, hell, heaven, false prophets, and a few other topics including some showing the deity of Christ contained in the NWT, by showing them the NWT speaks of Jesus as the Shepherd, the King, the Judge, the Rock etc. etc.

What I really was wondering about though Paidion is your use of the NCV bible that I mentioned on the 'Role of Hell in the Gospel' thread…

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

Post by Paidion » Sun Oct 07, 2012 5:49 pm

JR wrote:What I really was wondering about though Paidion is your use of the NCV bible that I mentioned on the 'Role of Hell in the Gospel' thread…
Not only have I never quoted from the NCV, but I never knew the NCV existed until 10 minutes ago when I read your post!
However, I then did an internet search and discovered that "NCV" stands for "New Century Version". Do you have problems with this translation? I looked up a couple of passages, and I couldn't see any problems.
It was stated that some of the same Greek scholars who worked on the NIV and the NASB also helped with the NCV translation.
I have quoted from the NASB several times, and so maybe you thought it was the NCV that was being quoted.
I do not know how many deliberate mistranslations and deceptive insertions it takes before a bible becomes a 'bad' bible, but I wouldn't continue eating at a restaurant that served dead rat.
In order to declare a bible a "bad bible", one would first have to exhibit the "deliberate mistranslations" and "deceptive insertions".
I am not going to spend time with the problems of the NWT...
All right. Since you are unwilling to spend time with these "problems", then you are unqualified to answer my questions in my original post. I want to know where to find these multitudinous additions which Steve says have been added to the NWT. And I also want to examine the passages which have missing parts. If anyone is willing to point them out, I ask you to restrict yourself to the New Testament, since I have studied Greek and know to a large extent what the writers actually wrote according to early manuscripts.
...although Genesis 1, Zech 12:10, John 8:58, Colossians 1:16, Titus 2:13 are interesting enough NWT verses to check out
I did check out the NT references above, and this is what I found:

John 8:58
I presume your problem with the NWT of this verse is that the phrase "εγω ειμι" (I am) was translated as "I have been"

Before Abraham came into existence, I have been.

This kind of rendering "εγω ειμι" is not peculiar to the NWT. The following translations do something similar:

Jesus said to them: verily, verily, I say to you, that before Abraham existed, I was. (Murdoch)
Then Jesus said to them, "I most solemnly say to you, I existed before Abraham was born."(Williams)


To say, "Before Abraham was, I am" just doesn't make grammatical sense.
Of course, for all I know, you might have been convinced by certain persons that whenever Christ uses the phrase "εγω ειμι", He is identifying Himself with Yahweh, the Ever Existing One. But Jesus frequently used the phrase where it clearly had no relation to being the Ever Existing One. Having said that, I yet affirm that Jesus shares the name "Yahweh" with His Father (Gen 19:24 Two Individuals are each called "Yahweh" in this one verse). Just as the Father and the Son share the name "Yahweh", They also share the same Spirit. (John 14:23)

Colossians 1:16
... by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon earth... NWT

What is your problem with this translation? Is it because it says "by means of him" instead of "by him"? The Greek phrase literally is "in him". Other passages say that everything was created through him. So I don't see any problem.
But perhaps your problem is the addition of the word "other". But notice the translators place in in brackets to indicate that it has been added as an explanatory word. Of course, the word isn't really needed, because clearly Christ would not have created Himself, and so it would HAVE to be "other things".

Titus 2:13
...while we wait for the happy hope and glorious manifestation of the great God and of [the] Savior of us, Christ Jesus...(John 17:3)

I assume your problem with this one is that it identifies the person of Christ as other than that of "the great God."
Well, Jesus Himself did this when He prayed, "... that they might know You, the only true God, AND Jesus Christ whom You have sent."

True, some translations do not separate the two. Here is one example:
...waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ... (ESV)
The Greek itself allows this translation.
Notwithstanding, the ASV, the AV (King James), Douay, and Rotherham render the phrase "our great God and our Savior Jesus Christ."
This rendering seems to suggest that "our great God" and "our Savior Jesus Christ" are two different Individuals. Also, it seems the Greek would also allow this translation.
So what is so terribly wrong with the NWT's rendering?
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Re: What's wrong with the New World Translation?

Post by steve7150 » Wed Oct 10, 2012 6:21 am

Colossians 1:16
... by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon earth... NWT

What is your problem with this translation? Is it because it says "by means of him" instead of "by him"? The Greek phrase literally is "in him". Other passages say that everything was created through him. So I don't see any problem.
But perhaps your problem is the addition of the word "other". But notice the translators place in in brackets to indicate that it has been added as an explanatory word. Of course, the word isn't really needed, because clearly Christ would not have created Himself, and so it would HAVE to be "other things".







I think in the original NWT (1952)? the word "other" was not in brackets and only after it was widely known that they added the word "other" were the brackets added in the next edition.

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

Post by steve » Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:02 am

I got here a bit late, and my primary examples have already been "taken" by others who have posted above.

However, when I say the NWT has changed many things in order to support doctrines that would not be supported by the original text, what I have in mind are, primarily, John 1:1; 8:58; Col.1:16; and every place where the word "Jehovah" appears (apart from the places where YHWH appears in an Old Testament text that is being cited. Even so, it is a misrepresentation of the Greek text). The use of "Jehovah" is particularly dishonest in Revelation 1:8 (compare with 1:17-18).

Every one of these cases, at least, represent a clear and deliberate mistranslation to serve a theological agenda. John 1:1 may be an exception, and may be simply a result of the ineptness of the translators, who, as I understand it, did not know Greek.

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

Post by Paidion » Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:06 pm

Hi Steve,

John 1:1 is clearly mistranslated in the NWT as I have stated from the beginning.

As for John 8:58, I mentioned two other translations which rendered the verse similarly. It seems to be an attempt to make it grammatically correct. I don't see that it makes any difference unless you are of the opinon that Jesus was saying more than the fact that He existed prior to Abraham — that is, declaring that He was "The Great I am", and I doubt that this was the case.

Further, I don't see that the NWT's addition of "other" (in brackets) in Col 1:16 changes its meaning in the slightest. Though I do think that addition is redundant for the reason I gave in my longer post.

It seems that the NWT translators replacing "the Lord" with "Jehovah" wherever they thought it referred to Yahweh (or "Jehovah") ought not to have been done.
Historically, since God commanded the Hebrews not to take His name in vain, and since His name is "Yahweh", the Hebrews decided that if they didn't use His name at all, then it would be impossible for them to take it in vain. Thus even the Septuagint translators, several hundred years before Christ, used the phrase "the Lord" in place of "Yahweh" throughout the Old Testament, as did the New Testament writers in their writings.

I agree that Rev 1:17,18 clearly refers to Jesus. Yet why could not Rev 1:8 refer to Yahweh? He says in verse 8 that He is the one “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Isn't that the very meaning of "Yahweh", "the one who was and is and is to come", that is, "the eternal One"? Doesn't "the Beginning and the End" apply equally well to the Father and to the Son? I saw Rev 1:8 as referring to the Father long before I knew anything about the NWT.

However, Steve, what I really wanted to is more than a few examples of verses which people think were mistranslated. I want to know what all those additions and subtractions are that you mentioned in your radio program. My understanding from the radio program was that sentences or even sections of the Bible are omitted in the NWT, and that other sentences and sections have been added.

Perhaps I misunderstood you.

There are other groups besides Jehovah's Witnesses which have their own Bible translations. One example is "The Recovery Version" the translation used by The Local Churches" who follow Watchman Nee's teachings and those of Witness Lee.
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Re: What's wrong with the New World Translation?

Post by steve » Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:04 pm

Hi Paidion,

I said nothing about large sections being added or omitted.

The examples I gave are very good examples of the attempt on the part of the Watchtower Society to obscure the identification of Christ with God—an identification which you do not make in your theology, which may account for your not finding fault with them.

To say that "all things were created through" Christ (Col.1:16) is a very different statement than that "all other things were created through Him" [i.e., all created things other than Himself]. One statement allows the JWs to make Christ a created being, while the actual text places Him prior to, and in a different category from, all created things.

"I have been" is no translation of ego eimi, in John 8:58. It is an effort to obscure a divine title. I don't think Jesus was calling Himself the "Great I AM" of Exodus 3:14 (though it would not have been inappropriate for Him to do so). The LXX does not use ego eimi in that place. In my opinion, Jesus was using ego eimi in the sense that Yahweh used it in places like Isaiah 43:13 and 46:4, where the present tense is independent from the tense of the sentence, and functions as a title. That is what the phrase does in John 8:58, and to try to "harmonize" the present tense with the past tense of the sentence misses that point. The Jews did not miss the point, which is why they took up stones to throw at Him. He was definitely claiming more than that He merely existed before Abraham.

With reference to the speaker in Revelation 1:8, consider the following:

1. The speaker in Revelation 1: 8 identifies Himself as: "the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End." (NWT inserts "says Jehovah.")

2. The speaker in Revelation 1:17-18 (clearly Christ) identifies Himself as "the First and the Last" (a title for Yahweh, in Isaiah 44:6)

3. "The Alpha and the Omega" (of verse 8) and "the First and the Last" (of verse 17) are equated as the same person, in verse 11: "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last." Similarly, all three titles are joined in one speaker, in Revelation 22:13, and identified as Jesus, in 22:16.

This is evidence that the Jehovah's Witnesses obviously wish to obscure by "creative" (dishonest) translation.

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

Post by Paidion » Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:55 pm

In my opinion, Jesus was using ego eimi in the sense that Yahweh used it in places like Isaiah 43:13 and 46:4, where the present tense is independent from the tense of the sentence, and functions as a title.
Yes, Steve, "ego eimi" occurs in 46:4 and in 43:10 in the Septuagint in which the speaker is declaring that He is Yahweh or God, in the present tense, at the time He is speaking. In 46:4, God declares that "to all who are taught by Me from infancy to old age "ego eimi". During any time in a person's life He is God. There is no problem in seeing "ego eimi" as the present tense in that statement. We could make a similar statement today which would make sense. A man might say to his 10-year-old-son, "From the time you were born until you are an adult, I am your father." This is a stetch of time in which the man is the boy's father. But he would never say, "Before your uncle died, I am your father" (for that was a single event in the past), but rather "Before your uncle died, I was your father." It's a matter of grammar.

It is true that the Son shared the name "Yahweh" with His Father (Gen. 19:24), but I don't think He was identifying Himself with the Father by saying "ego eimi" in John 8:58. I think the Jews took up stones to throw at Him, because by saying He existed before Abraham, He was claiming to be more than an ordinary man.

Though He was the Son of God, He never said He was, though He never denied it either. He did say MANY times that He was the son of man.
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Re: What's wrong with the New World Translation?

Post by TheEditor » Sat Oct 13, 2012 2:18 am

Greetings,

Having been raised a third-generation JW I will say that my problem with the NWT has more to do with its wooden literalness as opposed to its Christology. Having said that, there are numerous areas throought the NWT where the choice of words is consistant with maintaning the Witness paradigm with respects their organizational emphasis, ie. door to door evangalism. The word "confess" for instance in Romans has been changed to "making public declaration for salvation", this comports with the Wathtower's emphasis on preaching in order to be saved. There are numerous examples of this. With respects the trinity, the NWT translation committe (Fred Franz) chose every non-trinitarian (but by no means unique to them) way of rendering every verse that could be construed as supporting the trinty. I spent well too many hours debating the "merits"(?) of the NWT with trinitarians in my youth. Generally, it gets a bad rap for all of the wrong reasons. There are plenty of better reasons to not read it. Still, it compares with the RSV if I recall correctly, at least in reading style.

Regards, Brenden.
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Re: What's wrong with the New World Translation?

Post by Paidion » Sun Oct 14, 2012 7:17 pm

Thanks Brendon. I checked out the three verses in Romans which contain some form of the word "ὁμολογεω" (often translated as "confess"), and found that in two of these places, the NWT renders the word as "openly acknowledge". Actually, I think that is pretty much what "ὁμολογεω" means in the context. The Online Greek Lexicon (used in the Online Bible, which is a Bible program which can be downloaded) gives as one of the meanings of the word "to declare openly". This seems even stronger that the NWT rendering. However, the word literally means "to say the same thing" or "to agree" which seems to be the primary meaning.

In the other instance of the word in Romans

... that if you confess with your mouth the lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9 NKJV)

The NWT translates "ὁμολογεω" as "publically declare." That also seems to be a good rendering, since if you "confess with your mouth" or "declare openly with your mouth" it seems that you would be doing exactly that.
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