July 10, 2015
II Timothy 3:16, 17
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
I read through the Bible once every six months. It is a discipline I have been practicing for years. It keeps the Word of God fresh for me, as I read through various versions, translations and paraphrases. About every four or five times I go back and read through the King James – the version I cut my spiritual eye-teeth on in Seminary. I just finished my 96th reading of the Bible, and many Christians may be surprised at the version I read – The New World Translation by the Jehovah’s Witness organization! Why would I select that one? I didn’t – God did! My wife and I reside in a small village, and about half a dozen Jehovah’s Witnesses also live here. As an outreach to our neighborhood, we began a weekly Bible study in our home, inviting all our neighbors to participate. Last December, as I was nearing completion of my 95th reading, I asked God, “What version do you want me to read next?” His answer surprised me! “The New World Translation,” was impressed upon my mind. I said, “God, are you sure?” But it made sense. If I was going to minister to Jehovah’s Witnesses, I should become familiar with what they are reading!
The New World Translation of The Holy Scriptures, as it is officially titled, was not an easy read! The translators have tried to put into literal English what was originally written in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic. But they are so literal, at times the English translation is rather tortured! But it is pretty much a correct translation – 99% Correct! But the 1% where they are not correct puts those who read and believe this version in grave danger!
The most egregious errors have to do with the Trinity – One God in three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
• Jehovah’s Witnesses deny that Jesus Christ is God the Son! One of the most evident errors in the New World Translation concerns John 1:1 and 14. The New King James translates it this way (as well as the fifteen other translations I checked do also):
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word
was God….And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us….
But here is the same passage from the New World Translation:
In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word
was a god….So the Word became flesh and resided among us….
The literal translation from the Greek in John 1:1 is: “In beginning was the Word, and the Word was with the God, and God was the Word.” There is no indefinite article in the Greek. So if it was missing in “God was the Word,” then God could be translated with a small g – god. But there is a definite article here in the Greek. And so, it must be translated as the God or the Word. By the way, it is that Word which became a human being according to John 1:14 – Jesus Christ!
Why is it so dangerous not to recognize Jesus as God? He Himself told the Pharisees in John 8:24 (International Standard Version): “That is why I told you that you will die in your sins, for unless you believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.” This is the correct translation of this scripture. I AM refers back to Exodus 3 when God commissioned Moses to lead the Jews out of slavery in Egypt.
Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and
say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me,
‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?” And God said to Moses, “I
AM WHO I AM….Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent
me to you.’ …This is My name forever…” (Exodus 3:13-15).
Unless you believe that Jesus Christ is very God – Jehovah God of the Old Testament – you will die in your sins!
• Jehovah’s Witnesses deny that the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity. They claim that He is just the active impersonal force of Jehovah. For instance, it says in Luke 4:1:
And Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from Jordan and was
led by the Spirit into the wilderness….
The New World Translation gives this rendering:
Now Jesus, full of holy spirit, turned away from the Jordan, and he was led
by the spirit in the wilderness.
In Acts 5:1 through 11 is the account of Ananias and Sapphira, husband and wife members of the early Jerusalem church. Hard times had come upon the believers, and “…all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them…[to be] distributed to each as anyone had need.” (Acts 4:34, 35). This couple sold land and turned in only part of the proceeds, keeping part of the money for themselves and lying about the amount received. The sin was not in keeping some money but in the lying! Peter challenged them: “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit…? You have not lied to men but to God.” (Acts 5:4).
It is the Holy Spirit that is active in the world to bring people to Jesus Christ. And Jesus said in Mark 3:29, “…he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation….” Denying the Holy Spirit’s person-hood and deity is surely blaspheming against Him!
These are just two examples – a very small portion of the the whole of scripture – that the New World Translation gets wrong! They may be 99% Correct with their version of the Bible, but 1% off is way off – eternally off! Remember what II Timothy 3:16 and 17 says:
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine,
for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, That the man
of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for all good works.
God inspired all scripture, and we are not to change any of it – not even 1%!