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The New World Translation

The New World Translation of the Bible is perhaps the most biased of the denominational versions. Published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, it is used solely by the Jehovah's Witnesses.

The entire work was originally published in 6 volumes, from 1950 to 1960. While the first volumes contained marginal references and footnotes, the revised one-volume edition, published in 1961, contained neither. A second revision was released in 1970, and a third revision, with footnotes, was produced in 1971. It was again revised in 1984.

In 1969 the New World Bible Translation Committee published The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures, which presented under the Greek text, a word-for-word translation into English.

Not only does the word "Jehovah" recur in the New World Translation of the OT, as it did in the ASV, but it is introduced 237 times into the text of the NT and 72 times in the footnotes. Most scholars unaffiliated with the Jehovah's Witnesses find no basis for the translation of the Greek original by the word "Jehovah", an artificially created form resulting from the consonants of the name of God transliterated YHWH and the Hebrew vowels of the word for Lord (Adonai). This resulted from the fact that Jews refrained from speaking the name of God, substituting in its place the word Adonai. Most English Bibles follow the Jewish practice of translating JHWH as Lord, except when YHWH is preceded by the word Adonai, in which case it is translated God.

New World Translation, Leather Bound




The NWT translators arbitrarily decided when to use the word "Jehovah" and when to use "Lord". While they sometimes use "Lord" in reference to Jesus, at other times they translate it as "Jehovah" even when the reference to Jesus was clear.

Especially objectionable to those who are not Jehovah's Witnesses is the NWT translation of John 1:1 as "In (the) beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god." This follows the Jehovah's Witnesses doctrine as, to them, Christ was a created being. He is to them, not God, but a god.

Theological bias can be seen throughout the New World Translation text. As the Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe in the deity of the Holy Spirit, these words are never capitalized. As they do not believe that Christ died on a cross, their translation makes reference to a torture stake rather than to a cross.

The Witnesses do not refer to the first division of the Bible as the Old Testament or the second as the New Testament, so their translation designates these parts as the Hebrew-Aramaic Scriptures and the Christian Greek Scriptures, making a distinction in language with an implication that the OT is not Christian.

The translators of the New World Translation used a good Greek text as a basis for translation, and did a relatively good job of it except in those areas in which the actual text disagrees with Jehovah's Witness doctrine.

    In [the] beginning God created the heavens and the earth. -- Genesis 1:1

    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 1:2



Overview of Bible Study