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Become a JW Due to Accuracy of NWT?
By Gary F. Zeolla
In the following e-mail exchange, the e-mailer's comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My comments are in red.
How does the New World Translation Of The Holy Scriptures rate in accuracy to the New King James Bible?
The NWT is the "Bible" of Jehovah's Witnesses. I put Bible in quotes as the NWT is purposely mistranslated to support JW doctrine. And it is a very poor translation in general. Several years ago I went through the first four chapters of Ephesians in the NWT marking all of the mistakes. I found so many that the pages looked like a checkerboard!
There is simply no comparison between the NWT and the NKJV. The NKJV is a very reliable Bible version. I have been meaning to write an article on the NWT but simply haven't had the time. But there is plenty of info on my site as to why I think the NKJV is reliable. And if you compare the NWT with what I say about the NKJV, I think you'll see there's a very big difference between the two
First, let me apologize about not giving your question the detailed and documented treatment that it deserved. But I just didn't have the time, and frankly I still don't. However, I have already written quite a bit on JWs and Bible versions that is detailed and carefully documented.
Before making a decision in regards to JWs, please see the articles listed on the following page of my site. On it I discuss in detail and with full documentation various JW doctrines and practices: Jehovah’s Witnesses.
As for Bible versions, to better understand the issues involved, see the articles in the following section of my site: Bible Versions Controversy.
I took to heart what you had said about the NWT and as Acts gives the council to search the things we are told, I set out to do just that.
I did much reading and research on the NWT and the King James. Many Biblical experts have given the KJ Bible some poor marks on accuracy.<
Complaints about the KJV usually fall into three categories:
1. Greek text type: the KJV is based on the Textus Receptus (TR) while most modern-day versions are based on the Critical Text. Of these two, I prefer the TR. But I believe the Majority Text is better than either. But note, the MT is much closer to the TR than to the CT.
The NWT is based on Wescott and Hort's text, a very old form of the CT. Even CT advocates would not recommend this text today.
See the articles listed under "Greek Text-types" on the above "Versions" section of my site for more on this subject.
2. Archaic language. This is the main reason I do not use the KJV as my primary Bible.
3. Verses which are not translated as accurate as they could be. I discuss many such verses on my site, especially in comparisons of the KJV and NKJV. But note, generally speaking it's not that the KJV is "wrong" just that it's not as accurate as it could be.
> On there other hand I found honest Biblical experts who are not Jehovah's giving high marks to the NWT.<
If you're referring to quotes from scholars in JW literature, the JWs are very "good" at taking such quotes out of context. I document such cases on the JW pages on my site. Otherwise, I have never seen any true scholar give anything but criticism to the NWT.
> These were men who did not go through the NWT and mark what they thought were errors in relation to what they erroneously though or believed. <
If I had the time, I would explain in detail why I "marked" each mistake that I did. Again, see the articles where I evaluate specific verses in different versions on my versions pages and you'll see the type of evaluations I am referring to.
In addition, I do discuss in-depth several verses from the NWT on the above JW pages. Granted, an in-depth treatment of less controversial verses would be helpful as well. But again, it takes a lot of time to do such evaluations.
> You caused me to really look hard at what the NWT and the JWs have to say. Now I am not saying that I am going in that direction in worship, but I have much respect for the JWs because they back up everything with cold hard evidence and truth.<
See my pages for documented demonstration of how their "cold hard evidence and truth" and falls apart when looked at in depth, especially when one actually looks at the sources they quote from, that is, if one can find them. The WT almost never fully documents where their quotes come from, so it can be difficult to track them down. But when I quote from WT literature, or from any source for that matter, I always provide full documentation so one can check my sources to be sure I am not taking things out of context.
> If you are a minister, you should be ashamed of yourself for speaking what is not truth and not backing it up. I know God does not like that at all. You have a responsibility to teach the truth or you will reap the second death as a minister.<
Again, please see the above articles on JWs and Bible versions for how I do fully document my concerns with WT teachings and practices.
> Now I know why a Jehovah's Witness said that no other religion would ever agree to publicly debate the truths of the Bible.<
I have personally seen several such debates. Moreover, many Hebrew and Greek scholars have challenged the JWs to defend their translation, but they have been silent in responding. So I don't know where you get the idea that it's the JWs who make challenges, and Christian scholars have not responded.
> I really think they know more about the Bible than any other religion.<
They know how to confuse people who don't know a lot about the Bible. But when they knock on the door of someone like myself they don't get very far. They now have my door "blacklisted" and no longer knock on it because they know I won't fall for what they have to say. And there are plenty of other Christians who have talked to JWs, and who JWs now avoid.
> I was born a Catholic but I don't think Catholics worship in Spirit and Truth. You have helped me to accept JWs and if I continue to find they are teaching the Truth over all others, I have no other choice.
I sincerely feel horrible if my off-the cuff remarks led you into the JWs. I'm not sure what you have been reading, but it's obviously has not been the myriad of books and Web sites devoted to exposing the many problems with the WT. After checking out the articles on my site, then please see the many other sites which also discuss JWs listed on the following page of mine. I am sure on some of these you'll find the detailed discussion of the NWT which I wish I had the time to provide: Jehovah’s Witnesses Ministries.
There are also plenty of books written on the subject, some again which discuss the NWT in depth. You'll see a list of some such books on my site, and I'm sure many more on some of the sites listed on the above page.
But you don't have to take anyone's word on the NWT. You could pick up a copy of the WT's own Kingdom Interlinear. Simply compare the interlinear reading with the NWT. You'll see how much their own interlinear differs from their own translation. See for instance Phil 2:6 where the NWT has 22 words in it while the interlinear only has 16. None of the NWT's added words are marked as being added. And some of the translated words are changed considerably from the interlinear, and even some of the Interlinear's words are mistranslated. Check any standard lexicon and you'll see what I mean.
And finally, you can check out the book mentioned in my "signature" below. It will aid you in doing in-depth topical studies of the Bible on your own. Among much other material, it has three chapters on the Trinity, including one which specifically evaluates JW arguments on the doctrine, along with a chapter on various other teachings of JWs.
Gary F. Zeolla
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Scripture Workbook: For Personal Bible Study and Teaching the Bible
Paperback and eBook By Gary F. Zeolla
Note: Since the above discussion, I did get around to writing a detailed review of the NWT. See the eBooklet The New World Translation: A Reliable Bible Version?
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