New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures

by Quendi 64 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • clarity

    Quendi, love your postings and information but....

    would it be possible to enlarge the font a bit? Guess my eyes are getting older right along with the rest of me .....darn!

    Don't know if you have a particular kind of 'machine' where this can't be done ....... so ignore this if that's the case.

    clarity (me, trying to read small print) lol

  • prophecor

    What gives when I see the flood of references to scriptures that come from so many varied sources? The front of the NWT reference Bible highlights numerous Biblical translations, too many to list. from the Codex Alexandria Greek 5th Century, Codex Siniaticus Greek 4th Century. Biblica Hebraica Stuttgartensia, Did they take what they wanted from these sources only to formulate a version of Scripture that pushes their personal agenda?

    In studying side by side, some of thier refernce points do mirror much the same as your more trusted and traditional versions of scripture, for instance The NASB, New Living Translation and others. I am more than a bit miffed, however, when I see the NWT refer to Jesus as a child, as an impersonal "it", and not using nouns such as him, or his. They de-humanise him. Relegate him down to an it or a thing. Matthew 2:11,13,14,20,21.

    It's long been my belief that a NWT Bible is only going to push a Jehovah's Witness agenda. That being said, If you choose to stay outside the mainstream with the equipment you use to teach, don't expect many to trust your sources. Use the same Scriptures everyone else does. Don't come to the game with your own playbook of rules. Stop bringing your own dice to the craps table.

  • Terry

    Take your favorite scriptures from the NWT and compare them to other translations HERE:

    Bible - Passage Lookup - New International Version, ©2011 ...

    Home · Passage Lookup · Keyword Search · Topical Index · Available Versions ... There is a dropdown menu. Use it to locate the SAME PASSAGE using YOUNG'S LITERAL TRANSLATION. Draw your own conclusions. Note: Any of us could, using a combination of other translations, come up with our OWN PROPRIETARY TRANSLATION. It would be a sham as far as the word "translation" is used in academic circles. Take the KING JAMES for example. It is NOT a "translation". It is a "version".

  • Terry

    "In support of a preferred religious view, an inconsistency and unreasonableness have been insinuated into the teachings of the inspired writings." (NWT of the Christian Greek Scriptures,1950,p.6)

    "We offer no paraphrase of the Scriptures. Our endeavor all through has been to give as literal a translation as possible, where the modern English idiom allows and where a literal rendition does not for any clumsiness hide the thought. That way we can best meet the desire of those who are scrupulous for getting, as nearly as possible, word for word, the exact statement of the original. We realize that sometimes the use of so small a thing as the definite or indefinite article or the omission of such may alter the correct sense of the original passage." (NWT of the Christian Greek Scriptures,1950,p.9)

    Oh? Really?

    With the above words clearly in mind, let's take just one example from scripture and see how honest this translation committee was.

    Proverbs 7:4 and 9:4 in the NWT refer to "wisdom" as "sister" and "she" respectively. Proverbs 1:20 has a footnote that identifies "wisdom" in the original Hebrew text as speaking in a feminine voice which should be translated "herself".

    Read the NWT's rendering: Proverbs 8 NWT
    1 Does not wisdom keep calling out, and discernment keep giving forth its voice?
    Is this rendered feminine? No.
    The Watchtower Society teaches that JESUS is the one being spoken of here.
    again, notice:
    2 On top of the heights, by the way, at the crossing of the roadways it has stationed itself. ...
    (The gender is neutral and not feminine in the NWT rendering.)
    22 "Jehovah himself produced me as the beginning of his way, the earliest of his achievements of long ago. 23 From time indefinite I was installed, from the start, from times earlier than the earth. 24 When there were no watery deeps I was brought forth as with labor pains, when there were no springs heavily charged with water. 25 Before the mountains themselves had been settled down, ahead of the hills, I was brought forth as with labor pains, 26 when as yet he had not made the earth and the open spaces and the first part of the dust masses of the productive land. 27 When he prepared the heavens I was there; when he decreed a circle upon the face of the watery deep, 28 when he made firm the cloud masses above, when he caused the fountains of the watery deep to be strong, 29 when he set for the sea his decree that the waters themselves should not pass beyond his order, when he decreed the foundations of the earth, 30 then I came to be beside him as a master worker, and I came to be the one he was specially fond of day by day, I being glad before him all the time, 31 being glad at the productive land of his earth, and the things I was fond of were with the sons of men.
    Watchtower theology claim's that Jesus is a created being and not God. For example, in their booklet "Should You Believe In The Trinity", they put forth their case as such.
    Quoting Watchtower booklet:
    Notice how closely those references to the origin of Jesus correlate with expressions uttered by the figurative "Wisdom" in the Bible book of Proverbs: "Yahweh created me, first-fruits of his fashioning, before the oldest of his works. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills, I came to birth; before he had made the earth, the countryside, and the first elements of the world." (Proverbs 8:12, 22, 25, 26, NJB) While the term "Wisdom" is used to personify the one whom God created, most scholars agree that it is actually a figure of speech for Jesus as a spirit creature prior to his human existence.
    As "Wisdom" in his prehuman existence, Jesus goes on to say that he was "by his [God's] side, a master craftsman." (Proverbs 8:30, JB) In harmony with this role as master craftsman, Colossians 1:16 says of Jesus that "through him God created everything in heaven and on earth."-Today's English Version (TEV).
    So it was by means of this master worker, his junior partner, as it were, that Almighty God created all other things. (Should You Believe In The Trinity, 1989, p.14, emphasis added)
    Watchtowern publications admit, "wisdom" in the original Hebrew text of Proverbs 8 is described using the feminine gender. Accurate translation demands that this be rendered as "she" and not as "it".
    Quoting the 1974 publication:
    Our thinking about this here reminds us of what is said in the eighth chapter of the book of Proverbs, where divine wisdom is pictured as a person who talks about himself. Of course, in the original Hebrew text of Proverbs, the word "wisdom" (hhakh-mah`) is in the feminine and speaks of itself as a female person. Of course, divine wisdom does not have any separate existence apart from God. Wisdom always existed in Him and so was not created. (God's "Eternal Purpose" Now Triumphing For Man's Good; 1974; p.28, emphasis added)
    Later, in 1992 the Watchtower further admitted:
    Though personified as a "helper," the holy spirit is not a person, for a Greek neuter pronoun (rendered "it") is applied to the spirit. Hebrew feminine pronouns are similarly applied to wisdom personified. (Proverbs 1:20-33; 8:1-36). (The Watchtower; 9/15/1992; p.16, emphasis added)
    Had they changed their minds? No!
    The 1984 version of the NWT, which was produced 10 years after the "Eternal Purpose" book quoted above, continues to present "wisdom" in Proverbs 8 as "it", knowingly contradicting facts already acknowledged in print by the Watchtower!

    Compare all that side-stepping and double-shuffling to the Mission Statement in the NWT itself:

    "In support of a preferred religious view, an inconsistency and unreasonableness have been insinuated into the teachings of the inspired writings." (NWT of the Christian Greek Scriptures,1950,p.6)
    "We offer no paraphrase of the Scriptures. Our endeavor all through has been to give as literal a translation as possible, where the modern English idiom allows and where a literal rendition does not for any clumsiness hide the thought. That way we can best meet the desire of those who are scrupulous for getting, as nearly as possible, word for word, the exact statement of the original. We realize that sometimes the use of so small a thing as the definite or indefinite article or the omission of such may alter the correct sense of the original passage." (NWT of the Christian Greek Scriptures,1950,p.9)

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    I've tried several times to learn Koine Greek. It is challenging. I wanted to take courses at Union Theological Seminary but I needed Greek. Koine Greek precluded me from majoring in New Testament Studies. I've tried several times over the years but it is not a pressing concern.

    Reference books are not great at providing connotations and subtle meanings. Two years study can give some graps but it is a joke to be adept at complex Bible translation, particularly for an inerrant Bible provided by Jehovah himself. Univ. of Cincinnati - give me a break. I'm not saying it is a bad school but it is not Harvard, Princeton, Unity, Oxford or Cambridge or a host of recognized seminaries with academic clout.

    I have a law degree but have not practiced lately b/c of disability. Certainly, I know many things a person never trained knows but I would not pit my competency against theirs. I have enough problems with English, my mother tongue, so I understand nuance and subtle shadings of meaniing. Once I saw a literal translation of the Bible, word for word, without embellishment online. It was almost unintelligble.

    I have an excellent knowledge of Restaurant French. When I see French subtitles or hear people speaking, I translate literally word for word. Rarely, do the subtitles or translator match my product. Another example is my brother was a Maoist following Albania. He had perfectly written English translations for propoaganda. The problem was that the English was so sterile and perfect, it was obvious the source was foreign.

    I perfectly understand challenging yourself with translation. To hold such work as inerrant and from God is a joke. The more people do know, the more they realize their incompetence in many areas. Why could not the Witnesses have hired proficient Koine Greek scholars as translators? I believe the answer is that the NWT was not translated as the Bible and then doctrine accorded with it. Rather, the whims of a man who barely knew any Greek produced doctrine, then came the Bible to show that doctrine was valid. We all know how much the WTBTS actually loves the Bible or even Jesus, the very minor figure.

  • Juan Viejo2
    Juan Viejo2

    "Jehovah" is the English version of the Greek version of the Hebrew version of the YHVH with added vowels (not used by ancient Hebrew). Jesus was not called Jesus in the first century. He would have been known as Yeheshua or some variation. Jesus is the Greek version of his name.

    I have never found a single verse that proves that Jesus ever commanded his followers to refer to Almighty God by His personal name, but always as "Father."

    This whole argument over whether Jehovah is the correct name for Almighty God is bogus. It was simply formed by taking the Greek version of the Tetragrammaton and adding the vowels from Elohim and Adonai to make the name pronounceable.

    The wide use of the title Lord can be traced back to the middle-ages and the propaganda that kings were appointed by divine intervention and that powerful landowners (lords) had achieved their success due to God's grace. So where Adonai and Elohim appeared in the original text, the words were replaced with the common dark ages generics of Lord, God, and Father.


  • TD
    I like the New World Translation. I think its restoration of the Divine Name to the text (even in the New Testament) is a great strength, and its contemporary language is refreshing.

    It's funny how different our perceptions can be. I like the NWT too, but would say those are two of its downfalls. Inserting the Divine name in the NT would be okay in a free or paraphrased translation, but is a big "no-no" in a literal translation because deciding exactly who is being referenced by the title, "Lord" in ambiguous usages comes down to the translator's own personal theology when the whole point of a literal translation is to let the reader decide for themself.

    Even scholars who have defended the NWT as unbiased in other areas have soundly criticized it for this. BeDuhn for example points out that the translators of the NWT did not even consistenly follow their own stated rules vis a vis the 78 verses in question.

    Modern English is also nice, but the goal for a Bible translator is an international flavor of English as palatable to Aussies, Brits, Canadians and other English speakers as it is to Americans. Regionalized variations of American English don't change the meaning of scripture, but they can destroy the literary beauty:

    "You anoint my head with oil" NIV


    "With oil you have greased my head" NWT

    Strictly a matter of perception, but for many English speakers, "Grease" carries a negative connotation of something dirty.

  • Quendi

    I want to thank everyone for their remarks. It is good to have a discussion on this important topic. I will address a few comments from others that particularly impressed me.

    saltyoldlady - I am glad that you are enjoying this thread and I enjoyed your contribution to it. Comparing different Bible translations side-by-side is one way novices like us can get some feel for the challenges translating work actually entails.

    86theWT - I strongly suspect that what you said is how the New World Translation was produced. A friend of mine served in Bethel back in the 1970s. She mentioned a visit to Fred Franz's office and remarked that the walls were covered with many book-lined shelves. Some of those books were works on biblical languages. So he probably was the "chief" translator with the others filling in where they could. I agree with those who say they should have consulted outside experts. Better still, they should have enrolled in schools and/or colleges where they could have learned the biblical languages directly.

    Terry - With all due respect, my friend, I think you have made a serious error with your example of translating the replacement pronouns for wisdom in the book of Proverbs. Let me illustrate what I mean. The Latin word for wisdom is sapientia, and that is in the feminine gender. When a pronoun is used in its place, the expression would read: "Sapientiam amas? Ea estne pretiosa?" This means, "Do you love wisdom? Isn't it precious?" The pronoun is also feminine because the antecedent noun is of that gender. So the pronoun must match the antecedent noun in gender and number. A literal translation of the second sentence would be "Isn't she precious?" But that would make absolutely no sense to an English speaker and reader. Why not? Because wisdom is neuter in English, and so any pronoun referring to it would also be neuter. Doing otherwise only confuses the reader thus defeating the purpose of translating in the first place.

    Languages such as Hebrew, Greek, and Latin had many inanimate nouns that were endowed with a gender. That is far less common in English. The job of the translator is to speak to his readers, and so rendering passages literally is not always advisable. Whatever other faults the NWT has, you have chosen a very poor example to make your point. Having worked at translating an ancient language into a modern living one, I know some of the pitfalls that await. Your example is one of them, and savvy translators would have followed the same lead as the NWT in this case. This is not a situation where some hidden religious or theological agenda is being pushed.

    Band on the Run - I appreciate your efforts to learn koine Greek and I hope you will eventually find success. I especially liked your comment about the limited value of reference books in learning another language, particularly an ancient one. Nothing is better than receiving direct instruction in this matter.

    Juan Viejo2 - You are completely wrong to say that "Jehovah" is an English word. It's first appearance in Christian literature was a Latin work entitled Pugio Fidei (Dagger of the Faith) that was written back in the twelfth century. The "Jehovah" version of the Divine Name is used in other languages besides English, French, Italian, and Spanish being just a few. While the vowels from the Hebrew words Elohim and Adonai may very well have been appropriated to concoct the form "Jehovah", to say this was something conjured up only in English is a serious error. You need to do much better research than you have.

    TD - Thanks for your remarks. I think that there are good reasons for incorporating the Divine Name in the New Testament although I will add that perhaps the NWT took a few liberties in doing so. The New Testament writers quoted from or made reference to the Greek Septuagint (LXX) version of the Old Testament whenever they needed to. Papyrus fragments of the LXX have been found that did indeed include the Divine Name written in the ancient Hebrew characters. Jerome, translator of the Latin Vulgate, knew about this and referred to it in his writings. So, since the Divine Name did appear in some LXX manuscripts, passages in the New Testament which either quote those same passages or make reference to them could properly incorporate the Divine Name in my view. And, as I said above, the NWT is not the first Bible to insert the Divine Name into its New Testament translation.

    Does this mean that I agree with every occurrence of the Divine Name in the NWT New Testament? No, I do not. Those who say that the NWT Committee was pursuing its own agenda do have a strong case. I also understand the arguments of those who say that no form of the Divine Name appears in the best ancient New Testament manuscripts that we have and therefore it should not appear in any subsequent translations.

    I am perfectly comfortable reading Bible translations and versions that do not have the Divine Name in either the Old or New Testaments. But I think that we have to realize that translation is not an exact science, and also that all translations reflect the religious inclinations of the translator(s). If we keep this in mind, then we can enjoy fruitful Bible reading and study because we will consult with as many different translators as possible.

    Clarity - I will enlarge the fonts in my posts from now on. Thank you for bringing the problem smaller typefaces have caused you. I'm sure you aren't the only one who likes larger print.

    My friends, let's keep on talking. I am really enjoying this discussion.


  • Mad Sweeney
    Mad Sweeney

    I didn't think there was ANY QUESTION that the NWT is not a translation at all but rather a version. How can people who don't know the languages translate it at all? They can't. They took a bunch of interlinears, their own established theology, and a roomful of typewriters and cranked out a Watchtower version of the Bible.

    Calling it a translation and keeping the names secret for some sort of fake humility's sake is disingenuous to the point of being diabolical. Worse, they claim it is a "literal translation" which even if it was a translation of SOME sort, it is demonstrably NOT.

    I would like to touch on the "wisdom" as an "it" versus a "she" for a moment because I think you missed an important part of Terry's point, Quendi. A translator could refer to wisdom as an it and be perfectly fine in doing so, as you say. The problem is, Fred Franz decided to refer to it as a female in SOME places and as an IT that would later be identified with Jesus in OTHER places. You cannot DO something like that as a translator making a "literal translation" claiming not to be interjecting your OWN theology into the process.

  • kurtbethel

    I do not consider the NWT worthy of being called a translation. Translators are required to produce a translation, and the NWT has no evidence of any translators being involved in its production. It is rendered material. The renderers, whomever they might be, had a certain style in how they worked. They evidently thought that it would be better to use several words and syllables when one would do the job. This makes the reading unwieldy at times. Grace=1 syllable. Undeserved kindness=5 syllables.


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