The New World Translation of the Bible

Just out of interest, I started reading the preface of the New World Translation (NWT) of the Bible (1984). l have a copy of the digital version. The piece that caught my eye was the following statement:

 The translators of this work, who fear and love the Divine Author of the Holy Scriptures, feel toward Him a special responsibility to transmit his thoughts and declarations as accurately as possible. They also feel a responsibility toward the searching readers who depend upon a translation of the inspired Word of the Most High God for their everlasting salvation.

Now, I remembered an interesting passage in The New Testament and thought to test this statement against the translation produced. The passage comes from the first chapter of Colossians, which reads as follows:

 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16 because by means of him all other things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All other things have been created through him and for him. 17 Also, he is before all other things and by means of him all other things were made to exist

 You might notice that the word ‘other’ has been emphasised. I did that. The translators made no effort to single out ‘other’ for special attention.

 Now, there are two different Greek words that are commonly translated as ‘other’. One is ‘allos’, and the other is ‘heteros’. The first Greek word means ‘another of the same type’, while the second implies ‘another of a different type’. The question is, which Greek word was in the original text that Paul wrote down? Did our Lord Jesus create all other things that were ‘like’ him, or ‘different from’ him?

 Well, I opened my Greek New Testament to check. Guess what I found —


 Paul never put the word ‘other’ in the places where it appears above in the NWT verion of Colossians chapter 1.  The words in bold italics above were inserted by the translators in spite of the fact that neither ‘allos’ nor ‘heteros’ appears in this portion of the Greek text. They did it repeatedly in this chapter. Whatever this type of translating might be, ‘accurate’ it is not.

 Let me confess that l already knew about the JW practice of inserting ‘other’ in this passage. In an earlier edition, the word ‘other’ had been more honestly placed in square brackets to indicate that it was NOT in the original Greek. I had even asked a friend of mine who is associated with the Kingdom Hall, ‘Why did the translators do this?’ He told me that without the word ‘other’, the passage wouldn’t make sense.

 You see, without the word ‘other’ we would have an uncreated Lord Jesus Christ who Himself is eternal God. The ‘sense’ that the word ‘other’ is deliberately intended to give is the JW teaching. We are to understand by ‘other’ that the Christ is a created god, who, at some point in the past, did not exist. The translators and editors seem to have over-ridden their professed respect for the Author of the Bible and have perverted the scriptures to support their own theory about the Christ.

 Let us be clear. The passage in Colossians tells us the Christ was before ALL things, that He created ALL things that are created. This is what the Spirit of God moved Paul to write. We need to receive it.


2 thoughts on “The New World Translation of the Bible

  1. That was a very good spot. I have to confess I didn’t originally see the gaping error as I read down trough it until you pointed it out. Then again maybe I didn’t give myself enough time to think about it. I’m vaguely aware about some of the JW teachings, since they are the only people who will cheerfully and respectfully talk about God with you in public haha. You said something similar about the Mormons. I completely understand what you mean.

    Next time I run into them, I’ll ask them (politely) about this verse and what it mean for them.

    • I agree that we must speak politely and respectfully to those with whom we disagree. It’s what i try to do, but sadly i don’t always manage it. Yet, i have to say that some of my best bible conversations have been with people i disagree with. All the best.

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