JW.ORG – FAQ – Have Jehovah’s Witnesses Changed The Bible To Fit Their Beliefs?

JW.ORG – FAQ

The next topic I will comment on is in regard to whether or not the Jehovah’s Witnesses have translated their bible to purposely fit what they already believe.  Below are screen shots taken directly from their website showing their answer to this question.  Below that is my deconstruction of their deceit.  Let’s see what the evidence shows:

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This is an excellent topic with which to gauge the intentional deceit of the JW website.  Not only do they deny the accusation….they take it a step further by claiming to have done the opposite…..to have epitomized humility by allowing the scriptures to actually amend their beliefs.

Let’s start by discussing their New World Translation bible.  It was originally released in 1950…..but the question is…..who helped with that translation and what were their qualifications?  You can search from now until eternity in JW publications but you will never find a listing of names.  Jehovah’s Witness leadership insists that the translators were supremely qualified……they just…..didn’t want names released so as to maintain humility.  While that seems as face value to be a noble gesture, it is nothing more than a diversionary tactic.  Normally when you have qualified individuals working on a project…you tend to want to push those qualifications to the forefront…..if for no other reason than to quell detractors and naysayers. This attempt at feigning humility is nothing more than a clever ruse to get the reader to stop focusing on the fact that they refuse to say who translated their bible and what their qualifications were.

The fact of the matter is established by Raymond Franz……former Governing Body member (highest leadership).  He names the individuals involved in the original translation in his book about his experiences as a Jehovah’s Witness, Crises of Conscience.  They are Fred Franz, Nathan Knorr, Milton Henschel, Albert Schroeder, George Gangas, and Karl Klein.  Of all the men listed, only Franz had the slightest bit of training in biblical languages and linguistics.  None of the other men had any training whatsoever!  Simply put, the New World Translation was put together by uneducated and untrained men.  THIS is why they refuse to talk about who was involved.  They had an agenda.  Make the bible match their already existing beliefs as closely as they could.

They claim that in the past they used whatever bible was available and formed their beliefs accordingly.  This couldn’t be further from the truth as I will show.  They bring out that they believe that the God it not a trinity and then they show seeming support for this conclusion via a couple of scriptures.  What they fail to bring out is that the NIV translates Hebrews 1:6 as “And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says,“Let all God’s angels worship him.”  Why is this important?  Because their bible replaces the word “worship” with “obeisance”.  Obeisance means to respect but not to worship.  Not so strangely, the actual Greek word used (proskuneo) literally means “worship”.  So why didn’t the Jehovah’s Witnesses translate it properly as “worship”?  Because doing so clearly hints at the deity of Christ.  They don’t think Christ should be worshipped as part of a “trinity” therefore they translated this word in their bible to match what they already believed.  Take a look at Matthew 2:2 and 11, Matthew 14:33 and Matthew 28:9.  They’ve done the same here.  Even better is what they’ve done at Colossians 1:15-17.  I’ll take just verse 16 for the sake of brevity.  THEIR bible translates this verse as ” because by means of him all other things were created in the heavens and on the earth, the things visible and the things invisible.”  Only, if you read the original Greek text…..the word “other” isn’t there!  The Jehovah’s Witnesses inserted it to make their bible match their already entrenched belief that God and Christ are separate and that Christ created all OTHER things (except for himself).  They actually inserted a word that wasn’t in the original Greek text!  It is bad enough that they purposely translate text to match already held beliefs.  It is worse that they actually insert their owns words that they WISH had been there! 

Next they quote a couple of scriptures that seemingly support their stance on hellfire. They believe that hell does not exist and is merely another word for “grave”.  But what they fail to bring up is the plethora of bible verses that seem to speak opposite of the point they are trying to make.  Take for instance, Luke 16:24 which says “So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.”.  Or 2nd Peter 2:4 which says “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell,[a] putting them in chains of darkness[b] to be held for judgment”.  Jehovah’s Witnesses like to say that these verses are figurative.  They will say “well, Luke 16:24 is figurative because…..how can a drop of water really cool a person if they were residing in the flames of hell?”  Except, they don’t seem to understand that PART of a story can be figurative, while the main jist remains literal.  Their assumption that because part of the story of the rich man and Lazarus was figurative, thus the entire story must also be figurative is akin to saying that because the story of George Washington and his father’s cherry tree was likely nothing more than folklore, so too is his entire biography.  It is a leap of logic that must be made in order to maintain belief in their pre-determined doctrine.  The same is true of 2nd Peter 2:4.  They translate hell in this scripture as “tartarus”….which means prison.  Their explanation?  These angels are in “spiritual bondage” instead of hell.  Their reasoning?  Nothing.  Except that they have to be able to explain it away to maintain their cherished doctrine.  And this is exactly why their bible reads differently than the rest.  Because it has to in order to maintain belief in pre-determined doctrine.

Finally, they go on to quote Daniel 2:44 as support for their belief that God’s Kingdom is not a condition of the heart, but rather, a real place.  But the fact that Daniel says “in the days of THOSE KINGS” shows this scripture to be figurative.  The JWs believe that we are living in the time of the end and that any second now God is going to bring about armageddon.  After armageddon, this “kingdom” will be realized.  There are relatively few ruling monarchies left in this world.  They have disappeared in favor of democratically elected presidents and prime ministers.  The fact that this scripture refers to “kings” alone shows that this scripture is figurative and not literal.  The days of “kings” ended hundreds of years ago.

Next they ask the question, “Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Depend on the New World Translation to Support Their Beliefs?”  They say no and that they use many translations in their witnessing work.  This is comical because…..as a former JW myself…..I used to engage in this proselytizing work.  I had the opportunity to go door knocking with dozens of different church elders and even a few traveling overseers.  In all my years, I can count 3 people that actually attempted to use a different bible.  These ones were more than happy to use the King James version which renders the name of God as “Jehovah” in the book of Psalms.  But when the person they were talking with would direct them to use that very King James bible and locate another scripture such as any of the ones I’ve alread mentioned above that DON’T agree with JW teachings (ex. Hebrews 1:6, Matthew 28:9, Luke 16:24 etc), suddenly this JW would no longer want to use THAT bible and would want to revert back to his trusted New World Translation.  Funny how that works, isn’t it?

I’ll give one more example of an area where the JWs have used an eisegesis (forcing scripture to match pre-determined beliefs) approach to bible translation.  Let’s look at ascripture in the New International Version of the bible:

Matthew 5:18 – “For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. ” – NIV

Now let’s look at this same scripture in the New World Translation.

Matthew 5:18 – “Truly I say to you that sooner would heaven and earth pass away than for one smallest letter or one stroke of a letter to pass away from the Law until all things take place. – NWT

The difference here is “until” vs “sooner would”.  The Greek word that was originally used was “heos”.  Its definition is “until”, not “sooner would”.  So why wouldn’t the JWs just use the correct definition?  Why not use the word “until”?  Because doing so doesn’t agree with their doctrine.  Using the word “until” would agree with scientists who have proven that our earth as we know it will someday (billions of years from now) cease to exist.  It will be swallowed up when our sun explodes as all stars eventually do.  On the other hand, they teach that the earth will remain forever and that they too will live forever upon it.  Thus using the correct word “until” is not an option for them.  To maintain belief in a cherished doctrine, they had to force the bible to fit a pre-determined conclusion.

Do these examples sound like they are truly a humble, truth seeking organization, or one with a pre-determined agenda?

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