By Hank Hanegraaff

Jehovah’s  Witnesses claim that the New World Translation (nwt) is the “work of competent scholars.” Conversely, they contend that other Bible translations are corrupted by religious traditions that are rooted in pagan- ism. In reality, the NWT is the work of a Bible Translation Committee with no working knowledge of biblical languages. Their bias is so blatant that Dr. Bruce Metzger, professor of the New Testament at Princeton, characterized the NWT as not only a “frightful mistranslation” but as “erroneous,” “pernicious,” and “reprehensible.”

First, the NWT mistranslates the Greek Scriptures in order to expunge the deity of Jesus Christ. Against all credible scholarship, Jesus is downgraded from God to “a” god in John 1 and demoted from the Creator of all things to a mere creature who created all other things in Colossians 1. According to the translation committee of the Watchtower Society, Jesus was created by God as the archangel Michael who, during his earthly sojourn, was merely human and who, after his crucifixion, was re-created an immaterial spirit creature.

Furthermore, the Translation Committee sought to conform the NWT to their religious traditions by replacing the cross of Christ with a torture stake. Matthew 10:38, for example, has been altered to read, “And whoever does not accept his torture stake and follow after me is not worthy of me.” In Watchtower lore, the cross is a pagan symbol adopted by an apostate Christianity when Satan took control of the early church. Jehovah’s Witnesses view wearing a cross as a blatant act of idolatry. Conversely, Christians wear crosses as a reminder of what was simultaneously the most brutal and beautiful act in redemptive history.

Finally, the Watchtower Society claims that the Christian Scriptures have “been tampered with” in order to eliminate the name Jehovah from the text. In reality, it is the Translation Committee of the NWT that can rightly be accused of tampering. In well over two hundred cases, the name Jehovah has been gratuitously inserted into the New Testament text. In passages such as Romans 10:13, this is done to obscure the unique deity of Christ. In other passages, it is done under the pretext that referring to God as Lord rather than Jehovah is patently pagan. Ironically, in the Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures, Watchtower translators themselves fall into this “pagan” practice by translating the Greek word kurios as Lord even in cases where it specifically refers to the Father.

For these and a host of other reasons, Greek scholars across the board denounce the NWT. Dr. Julius Mantey, author of A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament, called the NWT a “shocking mistranslation,” and Dr. William Barclay characterized the translators themselves as “intellectually dishonest.”

I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

Revelation 22:18–19 NKJV (See also Deuteronomy 4:2)

For further study, see David A. Reed, Answering Jehovah‘s Witnesses: Subject by Subject (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1996).

***Note the preceding text is adapted from The Complete Bible Answer Book: Collector’s Edition: Revised and Expanded (2024). To receive for your partnering gift please click here. ***