Christian Apologetics Society

Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God."
- Matthew 22:29

Isaiah 55:11
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it
Gen 1:3
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light
Matthew 26:26
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body."
Malachi 1:11
My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to my name, because my name will be great among the nations," says the LORD Almighty.
John 20:23
If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.
James 5:16
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
James 2:14
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
Luke 20:38
For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him.
Rev 21:27
Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.
1 Cor 3:15
If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
Psalm 51:5
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.
John 3:5
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Titus 3:5
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
1 Timothy 3:15
but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
Acts 22:16
And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

Experiences with the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures

In preparation for our upcoming visit with one or more Jehovah Witnesses this next week, I spent some time this morning doing research. I discovered that the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, the only JW authorized version of the Bible is available online. While lacking a keyword search feature, there is a nice interface that allows one to select the book, chapter, and verse to aid browsing. I set about verifying several favorite passages that I find useful in evangelical and apologetic moments.

Isaiah 55:11 - The NWT says essentially the same thing as most versions of Isaiah.

Malachi 1:11 - Again, the NWT is essentially the same, except "smoke" is used instead of "incense". This is a good finding as this prophecy of Jehovah through Malachi should prove troublesome when our JWs claim that their church is the true church. I'd like to hear their explanation regarding the daily offerings of smoke and a pure offering in all nations. To date, few Christian denominations match the prophecy of Malachi.

Matthew 16:18-19 - "Rock-mass" instead of just "rock". Jesus' quote from Isaiah 22:22 is unchanged. Ok. How do the JWs interpret Jesus re-establishing the Davidic office of Eliakim and giving Peter the keys of Jesus' authority?

Matthew 24:23-28 - Oddly, this reads fairly normally which is a surprise as JWs teach or taught about an invisible second coming of Jesus in 1914. I'll be curious to hear their explanation in light of this prophecy of a very visible second coming of Jesus.

Matthew 26:26 - "TAKE, eat. This means my body." Ah, quite of bit of difference between "is" and "means", especially when the underlying Greek verb is a form of "to be" (is). In fact, the verb here is used throughout the Bread of Life discourse above and always translated "is". Looking forward to discussing this passage.

Matthew 26:28 - "...for this means my ‘blood of the covenant,’..." Same error. "Means" instead of "is".

Luke 1:28 - Well... "Good day, highly favored one, Jehovah is with you." sounds a bit Aussie. At least it wasn't deleted. Te use of "highly favored one" should allow for discussion of the underlying Greek word and Jerome's "gratia plena" in the Vulgate.

Luke 1:42-43 - Luke 1:42 is unchanged and I was glad to find "the mother of my Lord" in Luke 1:43. JWs reject the ancient doctrine of Theotokos (mother of God) due to rejecting the divinity of Jesus. If we can prove the divinity of Jesus, Luke 1:43 should help with proving the doctrine of the Theotokos.

Luke 1:48 - "...all generations will pronounce me happy;" "Happy" instead of "blessed". Even the most rabid anti-Catholics and their Bibles translate the underlying Greek as "blessed". I'll be curious to hear why the JWs and the NWT went with "happy" considering Jerome used beatum (blessed) at this point.

John 6:35ff - The Bread of Life discourse is a fairly true translation. I suppose that since JWs reject the divinity of Jesus, this passage was not seen as against JW doctrine. I discovered minutes later that this will be an important section when discussing the Lord's Supper as the underlying Greek is also found in this section as well.

Acts 20:7 - "... On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to have a meal." Normally, this verse describes the Apostles meeting weekly on Sunday for the "breaking of the bread" or Lord's Supper, as opposed to the JWs annual memorial. The underlying Greek clearly includes a verb meaning "to break" and the noun for "bread". I understand that the JWs have a Greek-English Interlinear, so I would be interested to see what they have for the underlying Greek here. Unfortunately, their interlinear is not online.

1 Timothy 3:15 - "... a pillar and support of the truth." The Greek article tho is translated as "a" and not "the". Again why?

James 5:16 - "Therefore openly confess YOUR sins to one another..." No where in my reading the JW literature did I come across a doctrine on confession. Would like to hear an explanation of this verse and how this instruction is kept.

Revelation 12:1 - Curious as to who JWs think this woman is. As a follow-up, I also like to hear abut the crown she is wearing.

I actually looked up several more passages, but you get the idea by now. The NWT has numerous significant errors in translation which change meanings of several passages entirely. I'll have some questions for our missionaries in regards to who translated what, by what authority, and with what credentials or academic background. You might also do a little cross checking yourself using the NWT against your favorite translation. Please share your findings an comments.

Source: New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures

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Blogger tom sheepandgoats said...

IMO, the NWT does not have errors in translation. It has passages that do not conform to mainstream translations.

But mainstream translations must fall into place on certain verses, otherwise they will be rejected as "denomination" Bibles, which means relegation to the shelves of academia & far fewer sales. That's not to say that the mainstream Bibles necessarily have it wrong on this or that verse, only that there are often honest scholarly differences in the translation of an ancient language, and one often chooses the "safe" alternative of rendering a verse in a way its readers will be more comfortable with.

Might the NWT translators have been influenced by their own beliefs in translating? Yes, I suppose that's fair to say, but no more so than any translator.

There are, as you know, hundreds of different English translations. For pure accuracy, the best ones are often obscure works by academians with no religious slant who just relish the challenge of translating. Check some of these and you will find the NWT is not so "out there" as you seem to think at present.

I trust, when you spring your verses on them, that you will give them time to research. Few persons can be expected to know these things off the top of their head.

5:41 PM  
Blogger Aunt Chrissy said...

Hi, Timothy - I'm reading about your JW encounters with interest! There are 3 sweet elderly ladies who stand in front of my local 7-11 every morning, rain or shine, cold or hot, handing out copies of "Awake" to every bum that walks by, whether they want it or not. You may not agree with their doctrine but it's hard not to admire their perseverance. Will look forward to your next entry.

10:17 AM  
Blogger Jenny said...

Wow, the contrast between some of the translated passages is incredible... I can't wait to hear the reasoning your JW friends are able to offer. Great blog... I'll be back!

7:31 AM  

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