Accuracy of the Revised NWT

by dabster 60 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • dabster

    I was speaking with a JW yesterday. I'd previously mentioned the removal of the brackets around 'other' in Colossians 1 making the mistranslation complete. During our chat he said that the previous edition of the NWT was the more correct one, that the revised version was simply more readable and that it shouldn't be considered the best translation. He was saying in effect that the translators had sacrificed accuracy for readability.

    Have any of you heard this sort of thing or was this a bit of nimble side-stepping on this guy's part to avoid the inconvenient conclusion that there is a bit of trickery going on? The Foreword of the Revised NWT seems not to agree with him: ' Our goal has been to produce a translation that is not only faithful to the original texts but also clear and easy to read.'

    Thanks in advance!

  • leaving_quietly

    There are two things Bible translators, in general, have to weigh, but it all depends on who your target audience is. You can go for more accuracy or more functionality / readability. The RNWT falls in an area where other translations are... somewhat accurate vs. somewhat functional.

    This video is pretty interesting to see why this pastor chose the NIV 2011 for their church. He discusses translation challenges. It's fairly long, but I found it to be informative on the subject. He has an interesting comment on why NOT to choose translations created by specific denominations. He didn't mention any by name, that I can recall, but the viewer gets the gist.

  • Apognophos

    Actually I would argue that the statement by the Society that the translation should be both "faithful" and "clear and easy to read" says everything that needs to be said; no translation can be very accurate and also very clear. They're largely at opposite ends of the translation spectrum. It used to take many words to accurately convey a phrase in Hebrew/Greek in the old NWT, so obviously reducing the word by 10% is going to reduce the accuracy as well. I don't think that most JWs would admit that the new translation is less accurate, out of a feeling of defensiveness, but it's certainly true.

  • Crazyguy

    Rev. 5:10 in their bible compared to what the greek interliner says proves to me with out a doubt that the GB could care less about accuracy!!

  • St George of England
    St George of England

    The brackets were removed in the 'old' NWT from the 2006 printing.


  • Wonderment

    Crazyguy: "Rev. 5:10 in their bible compared to what the greek interliner says proves to me with out a doubt that the GB could care less about accuracy!!"

    Could you be more specific?

  • Apognophos

    I believe Crazyguy is referring to the statement about ruling "over" the earth. Some say that the text is supposed to read "on" the earth. I'm actually not sure that this is so clear-cut; I see a few other Bibles render it "over":

  • blondie

    So what has the WTS said about "readable" translations?

    *** w08 5/1 p. 21 How Can You Choose a Good Bible Translation? *** What About Free Translations?

    Translators who produce what are frequently referred to as paraphrase Bibles, or free translations, take liberties with the text as presented in the original languages. How so? They either insert their opinion of what the original text could mean or omit some of the information contained in the original text. Paraphrase translations may be appealing because they are easy to read. However, their very freeness at times obscures or changes the meaning of the original text.

    *** g71 4/8 p. 30 Watching the World *** Bible Neglected

    ◆ Although the Bible is the best seller, the reading of it is being neglected by the churches. On this point James D. Smart, a professor at New York’s Union Theological Seminary observed: “The Bible is in a very bad way in the church. . . . In a century during which biblical scholarship has made tremendous advances in America, with literature on the Bible expanding enormously and a number of the new highly readable translations becoming ‘best sellers,’ there has been an increasing frustration of preachers with the Scriptures as a basis for sermons, a steady decline in the educational use of the Bible in the church, and a mounting ignorance of the contents of the Bible among members of the church.”

  • Apognophos

    For what it's worth, "paraphrase translation" usually refers to Bibles like The Message and The Living Bible which are heavily rephrased from the original languages. But the Society has definitely moved a little in that direction by substituting "males" for "those who urinate against the wall" and "child" for "boy", etc.


    That guys full of BS or just plain ignorant. The RNWT is touted as being magnificent because the project was done with the direction of the FDS, Christ's brothers. Jws are told its THE BEST. Sadly anything that was changed into a more accurate rendering is based on "Christendom's" research which took place long before the mythical FDS got into the biz.

    So the FDS owes much to "false religion".


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