One of the JWs foundational doctrines is their belief in the inerrancy of the Bible. There are several methods they use to try and support this position including their claim that the Bible, as it exists today, is the exact same Bible that has been around for thousands of years. They teach that “God’s Word” has been perfectly preserved. But is this claim true?
Well, let’s start with the basics. The New World Translation is what's known as a Protestant Bible (having 66 books). This type of Bible was first put together in 1825 by the British and Foreign Bible Society. Prior to that, the Bible had an alternate number of books depending upon which version you read.
For example, the oldest manuscripts we have of the Old Testament come from the Dead Sea Scrolls (dated between 50 and 200 BC). It includes Bible Books that are not found in the NWT such as Sirach, Tobit, and the Book of Enoch. And the Dead Sea Scrolls also include extensions to Esther and Daniel that are no longer present today (including the account of Bell and the Dragon.)
If these books and extensions aren’t part of God’s word, why were they included as part of the Bible earlier? And why did it take until 1825 for them to be taken out by the British and Foreign Bible Society? More importantly, why were Enoch’s prophecies removed from the Bible when Jude clearly thought they were part of Biblical canon?
Yes, the seventh one in line from Adam, Enoch, prophesied also regarding them, when he said: “Look! Jehovah came with his holy myriads to execute judgment against all.”
- Jude 1:14 (quoting the prophecy in Enoch 1:9)
So who is wrong? The NWT? Or Jude?
But it’s not just the Old Testament that has canon related issues. For example, the Bible books Hebrews, James, 1 & 2 Peter, 2 & 3 John, Jude, and Revelation were not added to the Bible until AFTER 419 AD. Conversely, books that used to be part of the New Testament but were later removed include Shepherd of Hermes, Epistle of Barnabas, 1 & 2 Clement, Epistle to the Laodiceans, and the Apocalypse of Peter.
All of this begs the question: If the Bible wasn’t accurate back then - why would anyone assume it’s accurate now?
There are also other problems. Like entire books that were referenced have gone missing - like the Book of Jasher (see Joshua 10:13 and 2 Samuel 1:18). There are also supposed prophecies that are “fulfilled” but for which there exists no original prophecy (Matthew 2:23, 27:9, no where in the Bible does it say Jesus would be called a Nazarene).
So the next time someone tells you the Bible is “God’s Word” ask them, which Bible? Which books? And how do THEY know?
If God inspired the Bible as his inerrant word, why did he not keep it as his inerrant word?