Bad Translations of the Jehovah's Witness' Bible, the New World Translation (NWT).

by Matt Slick
12/06/08, updated 6/4/2019

 
Following are some of the many bad "translations" offered by the watchtower Bible Track Society's translation of the Bible known as the New World Translation (NWT).  Because the Jehovah's Witness organization denies the deity of both Jesus and the Holy Spirit, they have altered the text of God's word to reflect their presuppositions.

I have cited the NASB Bible, a very accurate translation and compared it with the NWT.  I also underlined the important changes so you can more easily see them. 

  1. Genesis 1:1-2 (NASB), "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters."
    1. NWT: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and desolate, and there was darkness upon the surface of the watery deep, and God’s active force was moving about over the surface of the waters.
    2. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society denies that the Holy Spirit is alive, the third person of the Trinity. Therefore, they have changed the correct translation of "...the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters," to say "...and God's active force was moving over the surface of the waters."
    3. The Holy Spirit is not God's active force. The Holy Spirit speaks.  An active force does not speak.
      1. Acts 8:29, "Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go up and join this chariot.”
      2. Acts 13:2, "While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
         
  2. Zechariah 12:10 (NASB), "And I [God] will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son."
    1. NWT: “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of favor and supplication, and they will look to the one whom they pierced, and they will wail over him as they would wail over an only son; and they will grieve bitterly over him as they would grieve over a firstborn son.
    2. The Jehovah's Witnesses change the word "me" to "the one" so that it says in their Bible, "...they will look upon the one whom they have pierced..." Since the Jehovah's Witnesses deny that Jesus is God in flesh, then Zech. 12:10 would present obvious problems, so they changed it.
       
  3. John 1:1 (NASB), "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
    1. NWT: "In the beginning was the Word,  and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god."
    2. The Watchtower mistranslate the verse as "a god."
    3. Again, because the Jehovah's Witnesses deny God in flesh for the Scriptures (John 1:1, 14; Col. 2:9), they must change the Bible to make it agree with their theology. The Jehovah's Witness version in the New World Translation says, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god."
    4. Notice that "a god" is there so-called translation. But this is problematic since it would imply polytheism. I asked Jehovah's Witnesses if they believe Jesus was a god.  When they say yes, then I bring up the error of their polytheism.
       
  4. John 14:10 (NASB), “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works."
    1. NWT: "Do you not believe that I am in union with the Father and the Father is in union with me? The things I say to you I do not speak of my own originality, but the Father who remains in union with me is doing his works."
    2. This is another obvious alteration in the New World translation. In their attempt to avoid the deity of Christ, they scour the Bible and alter any verses that would suggest that Jesus is divine.
       
  5. Colossians 1:15-17 (NASB), "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together."
    1. NWT: "He is the image of the invisible God,m the firstborn of all creation;  16 because by means of him all other things were created in the heavens and on the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, 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."
    2. The word "other" is inserted four times in the NWT. It is not in the original Greek, nor is it implied.
    3. This is a section where Jesus is described as being the creator of all things. Since the Jehovah's Witness organization believes that Jesus is created, they have inserted the word "other" to show that Jesus was before all "other" things that were created, implying that He is also created.
    4. There are two Greek words for "other": heteros, and allos. The first means another of a different kind, and the second means another of the same kind. Neither is used at all in this section of scripture. The Jehovah's Witness have changed the Bible to make it fit their aberrant theology.
       
  6. Hebrews 1:6 (NASB),  "And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, 'and let all the angels of God worship him.'”
    1. NWT:  "But when he again brings his Firstbornm into the inhabited earth, he says: 'And let all of God’s angels do obeisance to him.'”
    2. In this verse they translate the Greek word for worship, proskuneo, as "obeisance." Obeisance is a word that means to honor, show respect, even bow down before someone. Since Jesus, to them, is created, then he cannot be worshiped. They have also done this in other verses concerning Jesus, i.e., Matt. 2:2,11; 14:33; 28:9.
    3. See the articles https://carm.org/heb-16-let-angels-do-obeisance-him and https://carm.org/new-world-translation-and-proskuneo-worship
       
  7. Hebrews 1:8 (NASB), "But of the Son He says, 'Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of his kingdom.'"
    1. NWT: "But about the Son, he says: 'God is your throne forever and ever, and the scepter of your Kingdom is the scepter of uprightness.'"
    2. This is a verse where God the Father is calling Jesus God: "But about the Son he says, 'Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom.'" Since the Jehovah's Witnesses don't agree with that, they have changed the Bible, yet again, to agree with their theology. They have translated the verse as "...God is your throne..." The problem with the Jehovah's Witness translation is that this verse is a quote from Psalm 45:6 which, from the Hebrew, can only be translated as "...Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom." To justify their New Testament translation they actually changed the OT verse to agree with their theology, too!

       

Conclusion on the New World Transation

The NWT translation is a bad translation. It has changed the text to suit its own theological bias in many places.  It misrepresents the person and work of Christ as well as the personhood of the Holy Spirit. The New World translation should be avoided.

 

 

 

 
 

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.