I wanted to do a short post on verses in the New world translation of the Bible that obscures the idea of Jesus divinity and deity, a key teaching of the Trinity doctrine. This should not be read as an endorsement by me of the official doctrine, only to show that the version of the Bible that Jehovah’s Witnesses have translated and published themselves show their complete bias towards that doctrine. JWs anti-trinitarian belief started long before they produced the NWT in the 1950s, however, as I will show here by comparing their translation of verses with other more accredited versions, they used their anti-trinitarian bias as a guide as they translated. Someone once told me that ALL translation is interpretation, meaning the meaning can be translated different ways depending on your preconceived theology. It is my belief that JWs intentionally translated certain verses to support their theology. I will use the NIV Bible as a comparison. While not my favorite translation, it is one of the most widely used today and is a good example of how other translations also view these verses.
“because it is in him (Jesus) that all the fullness of the divine quality dwells bodily.” – NWT
“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” – NIV
“because by means of him (Jesus) 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. Also, he is before all other things, and by means of him all other things were made to exist.” – NWT
“For in him all things were created:things in the heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things and in him all things hold together.” – NIV
***NOTE*** Besides the obvious words added in the NWT, at least the previous versions of it had the extra word ‘other’ bracketed [ ] to show that they were an addition to the text. The 2013 Revised version of the NWT gives the reader no indication that any words were added.
“Keep this mental attitude in you that was also in Christ Jesus, who, although he was existing in God’s form, gave no consideration to to a seizure, namely that he should be equal to God. No, but he emptied himself and took a slave’s form and became human. More than that, when he came as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, yes death on a torture stake.” – NWT
“IN your relationship with on another, have this same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by talking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearances as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death- even death on a cross!” – NIV
***Note*** Christ’s humility is the point in these verses. NWT says Christ was humble because he didn’t try to be God. NIV (and most other translations) say that Christ was humble because while he WAS God, he still lowered himself to a man’s form. Which is more humble though, a janitor who decides that he isn’t going to break into the CEO’s office and run the company himself, or the CEO who decides to put on some overalls and clean the floors of his company as a janitor?
“To them the forefathers belong, and from them the Christ descended according to the flesh. God, who is over all, be praised forever. Amen.” – NWT
“Theirs is the patriarchs, and from them is traced the ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.” – NIV
“But when he again brings his Firstborn in the inhabited earth, he says, ‘And let all of God’s angels do obeisance to him’. Also, he says about the angels: ‘He makes his angels spirits and his ministers a flame of fire.’ But about the Son, he says: ‘God is your throne forever and ever, and the scepter of your Kingdom is the scepter of uprightness.” – NWT
“And again, when God brings his firstborn in the world, he says, ‘Let all of God’s angels worship him.’ In speaking of the angels he says, ‘He makes his angels spirits and his servants flames of fire.’ But about the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.” – NIV
“while we wait for the happy hope and glorious manifestation of the great God and of our Saviour, Jesus Christ,” – NWT
“ while we wait for the blessed hope-the appearing of the glory of the great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” – NIV
2 Peter 1:1
“Simon Peter, a slave and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have acquired a faith as precious as ours through the righteousness of our God and the Savior Jesus Christ.” – NWT
“Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as Christ.” – NIV
“Pay attention to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the holy spirit has appointed you overseers, to shepherd the congregation of God, which he purchased with the blood of his own Son.” – NWT
“Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God,, which he bought with his own blood.” – NIV
John 1:1, 18
“In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was a god…..No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten god who is at the fathers side is the one who has explained him.” -NWT
“In the beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…..No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.” – NIV
“In answer Thomas said to him: ‘My Lord and my God!” – NWT
“Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!” – NIV
****NOTE**** I know this verse is the same in both translation, but in light of the previous verses used here, I think it is obvious to everyone what Thomas meant.