|By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon; ©2005|
|The scholarly Christian community has rendered its verdict on the New World Translation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses: such a translation must not be trusted to accurately convey God’s Word because of its unrelenting biases in translation. The first of several examples of mistranslation and bias are given in this article (NWT).|
Dr. Robert Countess’ published doctoral thesis, The Jehovah’s Witness New Testament: A Critical Analysis of the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed 1982), is perhaps the most thorough and devastating critique of the New World Translation [NWT]. His overall conclusions are that the NWT:
Professor Edmond Gruss, author of a standard historical and theological work, Apostles of Denial, writes:
Dr. Anthony Hoekema, author of The Four Major Cults points out that:
The late Dr. Walter Martin, author of Jehovah of the Watchtower, and a respected authority on cults, observes that of the anonymous seven-member translation committee at least five had no training in Greek:
Dr. Bruce Metzger, professor of New Testament Language and Literature at Princeton Theological Seminary and author of The Text of the New Testament states:
Dr. Julius Mantey was one of the leading Greek scholars in the world and co- author of The Dana-Mantey Greek Grammar and A Hellenistic Greek Reader. He declares:
In light of the above testimony, we must conclude that the scholarly Christian community has rendered its verdict on the NWT: such a translation must not be trusted to accurately convey God’s Word because of its unrelenting biases in translation. Nor can Jehovah’s Witnesses appeal to an alleged “trinitarian bias” on the part of these scholars for the issue is not personal theology but accuracy in translation. Even non-Christian scholars of New Testament Greek would agree that the NWT is not an accurate one, for rules of languages, grammar, and translation are true regardless of personal theological belief. We will now proceed to document several examples of mistranslation in the NWT, as confirmation of the above testimony and our thesis in general.
The Watchtower Society tells us that “Jehovah is against such clergy prophets whom he did not send forth from his intimate group and who ‘steal’ words from his Bible in order to make a wrong application of them…he will rid himself of this ‘burden’ by abandoning Christendom to calamity…. To such self-opinionated religionists, the Jeremiah class [Jehovah’s Witnesses] say: ‘You have changed the words of the living God…’” The Witnesses also declare, “God does not deal with persons who ignore his Word and go according to their own independent ideas.”
But who is it that really “steals” or “ignores” God’s words in order to bolster their own independent ideas?
In the following section we have utilized the Watchtower Society’s New World Translation and Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures (1969). It gives the Greek text, a word for word English translation below the Greek text, and has a column containing the New World Translation to the right.
In the following examples we have provided the New World Translation and the New American Standard translation so the reader may make a quick com- parison prior to a brief discussion. The NWT mistranslation is supplied in capital letters for emphasis.
[“Punishment” is translated “cutting off” to support their theology of annihilation of the wicked (or conditional immortality)].
“And these will depart into everlasting CUTTING-OFF but the righteous ones into everlasting life.” NWT
“And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” NAS
The Greek kolasin is translated “cutting-off” in order to escape the text’s teaching of eternal punishment. How do standard Greek lexicons define kolasin?
Over hundreds of years, words may evolve in meaning, hence kolasin at one time could be translated “cutting-off,” meaning the removal of that which is evil. It could also have the meaning of punishment for the purposes of correction.
However, that this was not its intended meaning in biblical times is evident from the two quotations by Greek scholars, Mantey and Trench, given below (Greek words are transliterated by this author):
(“Mistranslations” will be continued in Part 3)