As Witnesses embrace the new bible we ask, "will it stand the test of time?"
As Witnesses embrace the new bible we ask, “will it stand the test of time?”

Many Jehovah’s Witnesses are overwhelmed with excitement following the release of the revised New World Translation at the 129th Annual Meeting over the weekend.

A number have taken to social media to express their joy and appreciation at what is being viewed by many as a gift straight from Jehovah. Geoffrey Jackson, who announced the release of the new Bible, even suggested that Jehovah had manipulated weather conditions to better facilitate its printing.

The new Bible has been available online since Monday, giving us the chance to see how it compares with the original. We also now have opportunity to familiarize ourselves with the various features of the book and ponder the question: “Will it stand the test of time?”

Improvements

More research tools

The new revision to the New World Translation boasts a number of research tools that were absent from the original. These include a glossary of Bible terms and two lengthy appendices. I am particularly impressed with the timeline of kings of Judah and Israel (A6), the chart showing biblical weights and measures (B14) and the much clearer Hebrew Calendar (B15). It is also nice to see footnotes on each page to show alternative terms, which (like the appendices) were previously only to be found in the Reference Bible.

The introductions to each Bible book with summaries of each chapter are also helpful, provided these are not used to mislead people (as I will touch on later).

Improved readability

The most obvious improvement to the New World Translation is that it is now written in English that most people will find easier to understand. This can only be a bonus for those who want to be able to read their Bibles more easily. The original edition, released in the 1950s, used language of the era that could at times be confusing. But with this revision it is much simpler to grasp the meaning of certain scriptures.

The English language has changed since the New World Translation was released in the 1950s
The English language has changed since the New World Translation was released in the 1950s

For example, expressions like “there proceeded to be” and “there came to be” are mostly gone, but not in such a way that the meaning is lost. And rather than being spelled out in words, numbers like 144,000 are simply expressed in digits. Because so many unnecessary words have been chopped from the text, this has resulted in a reduced total wordcount from approximately 907,000 words to 786,000 – a 13% reduction!

Another reason for the reduced wordcount has been the omission of a small number of bible verses now deemed spurious, namely the long and short conclusions to Mark, and John 7:53-8:11. As expected, this has not met with universal praise. One JWsurvey reader, author Robert Crompton, had this to say…

“I find it interesting that they have removed the alternative endings of Mark and the story about showing mercy in John 7:53 – 8:11. Usual translation practice is to include these with a note pointing out that they only appear in later (but nevertheless still early) manuscripts. That is, there is some, albeit limited, justification for referenced inclusion of these passages. And this limited justification is vastly greater than their justification for including the divine name which doesn’t appear in any NT manuscripts, only in late translations and other non-NT manuscripts.”

I would tend to agree with Robert on this. The fact that these texts were not in all of the earliest manuscripts does not necessarily mean that they shouldn’t have been. A more scholarly way of dealing with the problem would be to include the text with a clear indication of any reservations as to authenticity – as the original New World Translation did. To do otherwise is to risk omitting verses from the Bible that were intended to be in the original, and are therefore just as deserving to be considered as “inspired” scripture.

For those interested in researching this further, here are some interesting links on the omitted verses…

Better rendering of 1 Timothy 6:4

I must point out one significant improvement that has been made to one verse in particular that has caused considerable problems for thinking Witnesses – especially over the past two years. I refer to 1 Timothy 6:3-4, which used to read as follows (bold is mine)…

“If any man teaches other doctrine and does not assent to the healthful words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, nor to the teaching that accords with godly devotion, he is puffed up [with pride], not understanding anything, but being mentally diseased over questionings and debates about words. From these things spring envy, strife, abusive speeches, wicked suspicions.” – 1 Tim 6:3,4 New World Translation

This same verse now reads…

“If any man teaches another doctrine and does not agree with the wholesome instruction, which is from our Lord Jesus Christ, nor with the teaching that is in harmony with godly devotion, he is puffed up with pride and does not understand anything. He is obsessed with arguments and debates about words. These things give rise to envy, strife, slander, wicked suspicions.” 1 Tim 6:3,4 Revised New World Translation

As you can see, the reference to apostates being “mentally diseased” has been removed and the verse translated more correctly to reflect the true intent of the writer. The footnote in the new Bible offers “an unhealthy fascination” as a further rendering, which is also notably different from how people today would consider the term “mentally diseased.”

Despite the obvious translation error in the original New World Translation, this did not stop Watchtower from recently using the term “mentally diseased” to berate those who disagree with organizational doctrine in the July 15, 2011 Watchtower. So loud was the uproar from the article that a journalist for the Independent wrote a piece on the “war of words” that the Society appeared to be waging against their dissenters. Seemingly unfazed by such exposure, the Governing Body had the phrase included recently in the outline for the “Human Apostates” talk at the 2013 District Convention.

The Independent newspaper reports on the July, 15 2011 Watchtower
The Independent’s article on the July, 15 2011 Watchtower (click to enlarge)

 

Though it is to be applauded that the erroneous and offensive “mentally diseased” expression has finally been extracted from the New World Translation, it can be argued that the damage has already been done. The term “mentally diseased” is now cemented in Witness jargon when it comes to describing any who disagree with the Governing Body.

It remains to be seen whether future writings on apostates will be softened following this change, but I am personally doubtful that there will be any significant toning-down of hateful rhetoric against former believers and free thinkers in the organization.

And can we expect a printed apology for the mischaracterization of so-called apostates based on a previous flawed bible translation? Again, I wouldn’t hold your breath.

And now the bad news…

Poor communication and limited availability

It would not be fair to repeat myself too much on the manner of the book’s release, but I feel a few things should be reiterated in this review. I have already commented on a previous article that there was absolutely no reason for the Governing Body to leave ordinary brothers in the dark as to why there was a shortage of Bibles. The fact that congregations were left guessing as their Bible stocks dwindled suggests strongly that the Governing Body was more interested in having their ticker-tape release than managing the expectations of the brothers.

There is frustration at the way some Witnesses were left out of the new Bible launch
There is frustration at the way some Witnesses were left out of the new Bible launch

I have also learned of a very uneven state of affairs in the way the new Bibles are being distributed in some congregations.

According to one report, Witnesses in England have been instructed to start using the new Bibles immediately, even though only a privileged few who attended the Annual Meeting event (mostly elders and their wives) have received their new Bibles. Until new Bibles are delivered for all, the rest of the congregation must make do with their old Bibles for some weeks.

This is causing frustration at the apparent elitist distinction as to who is more favored or “exemplary” in the congregation. Those not privileged to attend the Annual Meeting events and receive new Bibles are left feeling unworthy and overlooked. This problem could easily have been avoided by releasing the new Bibles simultaneously at the District Conventions once there were enough copies for all (as with any other release). But again, this would not have sufficiently satisfied the Governing Body’s apparent lust for acclaim and recognition.

“Governing body” inserted in chapter summary

Before seeing the new Bible for myself I was apprehensive over one matter in particular. I feared that Watchtower would attempt to spuriously insert the phrase “governing body” in the six instances in Acts chapters 15 and 16 where the phrase “apostles and older men” appears. These verses are often highlighted by Watchtower in an attempt to prove that there was a First Century “governing body” when there was no such thing.

You can imagine my relief when I saw that Watchtower had NOT stooped to such a low. The six instances of “the apostles and the older men” (5 in Acts 15, 1 in Acts 16) have been tweaked only slightly to read “the apostles and the elders.”

But my relief was short-lived.

Though the Bible verses themselves have been left un-touched, someone drew my attention to the fact that Watchtower has very cleverly inserted “governing body” in the chapter summary for Acts (pages 1459-1460) as follows…

new-bible-governing-body

As I said, there was no such thing as a “governing body” in the First Century. Yes, Jesus appointed his 12 apostles, but even Watchtower doesn’t like to compare the apostles directly with the Governing Body because they know how ridiculous this would sound. They therefore zero-in on a passage of scripture in Acts, chapters 15 and 16, and insist that “the apostles and the elders” served as a “governing body.”

There are two major problems with this, namely…

  1. You cannot take the circumcision issue of Acts 15 in isolation and use it to extrapolate the idea of the apostles AND elders meeting together from that point onward to decide each and every issue that arose in the Christian congregation thereafter. To do so would be to assume something that is not found in the text.
  2. Most crucially, by super-imposing the phrase “governing body” OVER the phrase “apostles and elders,” you are adding to the scriptures. You are effectively telling Jehovah, “You are incapable of explaining yourself because you didn’t describe the apostles and elders under a collective noun similar to ‘governing body’, so we will do that for you.”

By stamping the collective noun “governing body” over the term “apostles and elders,” whether in the bible text itself or in bible commentary, Watchtower is going against 1 Corinthians, which says…

“Now, brothers, these things I have applied to myself and Apollos for your good, that through us you may learn the rule: ‘Do not go beyond the things that are written,’ so that you may not be puffed up with pride, favoring one against the other.” – 1 Cor. 4:6 Revised New World Translation

Shackled to the 1914 teaching

I opened this article by asking whether this revised New World Translation will stand the test of time, and I will now give the main reason why I believe it won’t.

A foundation teaching of Jehovah’s Witnesses is the 1914 doctrine – the belief that Christ arrived in kingly power invisibly in 1914 and banished Satan to the earth for a “short period of time.” (Rev. 12:12) Well, that “short period of time” before Satan is abyssed and the Kingdom is established on the Earth is now 99 years and counting – certainly not a “short period of time” in any human context. And with each passing decade, it is becoming increasingly obvious that despite marking the beginning of World War I, 1914 held no significance in bible prophecy at all.

But with this new Bible, Watchtower is chaining itself to the 1914 teaching for decades to come – perhaps indefinitely. How so? Take a look at a detail from a page in Appendix B of the new Bible…

Taken from page 1767, revised New World Translation
Taken from page 1767, revised New World Translation

 

The above chart has clearly been produced by Watchtower with the firm belief that Armageddon is imminent. I can think of no other reason why Watchtower would marry itself to the idea of Armageddon and a cleansed Earth being only a “short time” from 1914. They must really be THAT deluded.

The trouble is, as previously stated, it is already obvious to many that 1914 was nothing more than a coincidence of history and a year with no prophetic meaning. As further decades tick by, the above chart will become more and more painful for Witnesses to open their Bibles and look at.

But that’s not the only time the 1914 teaching is referenced in this new Bible. I will now show a chart on page 1780 depicting Daniel’s immense image (to the right of the picture below). The new Bible shows the image with a caption at the bottom saying that the feet of iron mixed with molded clay began in 1914. Notice how similar Watchtower’s picture is to a detail from another chart (to the left), produced more than 170 years earlier.

Left - chart produced by Second Adventists predicting Christ's return in 1843; right - chart on page 1780 of the revised New World Translation
Left – detail from chart produced by Second Adventists predicting Christ’s return in 1843; right – chart on page 1780 of the revised New World Translation attributing 1914 as the start of the iron mixed with clay

 

The detail on the left is taken from a famous chart that was used by Second Adventist followers of William Miller to pronounce the year 1843 as heralding the second coming of Christ. When nothing happened in that year, Miller’s followers went back to the drawing board and decided that Christ was actually due on October 22, 1844.

That date went down in history as the “Great Disappointment,” because so many had sold their homes and property in expectation of a rapture that would never happen. It was likely this event that made Charles Taze Russell skeptical of Second Adventists, even though he eventually started to mimic the same fascination with date-setting after meeting Nelson H. Barbour.

It is easy to look back on the Adventist chart now, especially the part at the bottom (not shown above) where the date “1843” is inscribed in big bold letters, and smirk at how naive and misguided Miller’s followers were.

1914 is already distant history
1914 is already distant history

So just imagine how future generations of Witnesses will cringe with the same embarrassment when they dust off and open their old 2013 revised New World Translations and are reminded of the certainty with which 1914 was put forth as holding prophetic significance – and in a book that was printed sufficiently far from that date as to make it obvious that the prediction had already failed.

Of course there are bound to be Witnesses reading this who will be thinking: “Ah, you’re saying that now, but just you wait and see! Armageddon will arrive any moment and fully vindicate the 1914 teaching, and then you’ll be sorry!”

Well obviously you are welcome to think that way if it brings you comfort. But the simple fact is the 1914 teaching was already proved false some time ago when the generation that witnessed the events of that year fell asleep in death. With their passing, no longer could it be said by any reasonable stretch of the imagination that 1914 was a “short period of time” in the past. Instead, 1914 is now sliding ever deeper into the annals of history.

What fascinates me is that rather than recognizing their mistake, or acknowledging that they COULD be in error by keeping their options open, Watchtower is tying itself to the 1914 teaching for as long as this new Bible will be in use. And you can imagine it will be in use for many more decades. This is arguably the biggest problem with the new Bible, and one that will become increasingly obvious as the decades roll by. The sell-by date is simply too short.

 

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Further reading…

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119 thoughts on “The Revised New World Translation: Will it stand the test of time?

  • October 11, 2013 at 9:50 am
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    @Mike – yes, that’s much better.. appointed in 1919 when they still had Christmas trees, birthday parties and went off to War?

  • October 11, 2013 at 9:53 am
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    The original New World Translation is believed to be overwhelmingly the brainchild of one man, Freddie Franz. Irrespective of his presumed ascension in the early 1990s, I suspect he is rotating in his grave now that very many of the most defining traits of his translation have been dropped (such as the stubborn insistence that nephesh/psykhe should ALWAYS be translated “soul”, no matter how gratingly unidiomatic the result sounds in English).

  • October 11, 2013 at 10:16 am
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    In Genesis 27:4, Isaac used to be telling Esau: “Bring me some game and make me a tasty dish such as I am fond of and, ah, let me eat.”

    Don’t you clearly sense how Isaac’s mouth is already watering at the thought of the “tasty dish”, since he spontaneously exclaims “AH …!” before saying “let me eat”?

    Problem is, there is no such interjection in the Hebrew (we’okhela = and let me eat). I always wondered where Freddie Franz took the “ah!” from.

    Never mind, it is gone in 2013: “Make me the kind of tasty dish that I am fond of and bring it to me. Then I will eat.”

    Ah, the freshness of the revision!

  • October 11, 2013 at 10:18 am
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    Isaac used to be telling Esau in Genesis 27:4: “Bring me some game and make me a tasty dish such as I am fond of and, ah, let me eat.”

    Don’t you clearly sense how Isaac’s mouth is already watering at the thought of the “tasty dish”, since he spontaneously exclaims “AH …!” before saying “let me eat”?

    Problem is, there is no such interjection in the Hebrew (we’okhela = and let me eat). I always wondered where Freddie Franz took the “ah!” from.

    Never mind, it is gone in 2013: “Make me the kind of tasty dish that I am fond of and bring it to me. Then I will eat.”

    Ah, the freshness of the revision!

  • October 11, 2013 at 1:16 pm
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    Not a WT fan… But maybe in XVIII centrury Portuguese “Jehovah” was written as “Iáhve”…

  • October 11, 2013 at 2:58 pm
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    Svi mi koji komentarisemo na ovoj stranici imamo svoja uvjerenja , svoje stavove , svoje strahove , svoje sumnje , ali ipak ih mozemo izraziti . I to je potrebno covjeku jer je drustveno bice . A dali to dozvoljava drustvo kula strazara na svojoj stranici . Odgovor je ne . Jos jedan dokaz da nisu Bozija organizacija . Oni ne daju svojim clanovima da se izraze . Daju im kroz studijske clanke samo da izraze stavove drustva kula strazara kroz spremljene precizne i kratke komentare . Pa gdje je tu ljudski kreacionizam , i ljudska sloboda misljenja i izrazavanja ako vam je sve servirano . WTS mi lici na film Si Fi .

  • October 11, 2013 at 3:53 pm
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    Jos jedna istina za balkansko govorno podrucje . Zar treba cekati novi studijski clanak Americke sekte dabi prosirili svoje duhovne oci . Samo pogledajte cinjenicu da su gotovo svi clanovi Vodeceg Tijele JW Amerikanci . I da se vecinom Amerikanci i Englezi izjasnjavaju da imaju nebesku nadu . Barbara Andersen isto tako koz istrazivanja dokazuje da je JW Americka Religija a ona je Glavni urednik knjige Jehovini Svjedoci-Organizacija iza Imena . Zasto je spominjem , zato sto je se prva usprotivila odnosu WTS prema pedofilima , da pedofilima jer su na zapadu pod aferom kao i katolicka crkva . Na zalost mnogi ne smijete ni da pomislite da se to desava medju JW. Zasto , jer ne smijete ni da pomislite takvo nesto . Nauceni ste tome da vam je to ugradjeno kao sto Biblija kaze u Bubrege. A stvarno se desava i desilo se .

  • October 11, 2013 at 4:36 pm
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    Zivim u Bosnia . Radim u Sarajevu . Iz Sarajeva se zakuho Prvi svjetski rat svi vec znamo kako . Zajednica nas je desetljecima ucila da generacija1914 nece umrijeti a da ce kraj doci . I gdje je taj kraj . Dali je Isus govorio o generacijama ili generaciji molim vas istrazite sami . Zar je otpadnik osoba koja zeli razmisljati . Pavle je rekao za ljude iz svijeta da im savjest svjedoci o ispravnom i neispravnom molim vas pocnite tako razmisljati .

    • October 11, 2013 at 6:08 pm
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      @dino, yes you really do need to think on these things and let conscience and morality compass guide you. I know there are some JW’s who believe they can remain progressively thinking as “standard Christians” with focus on the Grace and Love of Jesus, but generally these thinkers are overridden by the mandate to “obey” the “anointed ones” and the “older men (elders)” and those men’s many twists and turns through Oz.

  • October 11, 2013 at 4:48 pm
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    Cedars I do know where you are coming from and I do understand your concern and position on this.

    However in the interest of truth you cannot just shrug away information just because you do not like the way they present certain things.

    As far as I know they do not claim to represent all the anointed ones, at least those who claim to be of the 144,000, as the Watchtower Society understands it, because they believe that we all can be “Gods sons” and that we all can be part of “God’s Kingdom”.
    It is really our choice.

    They are different to mainstream Christianity, including the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
    If you took the time to read their material you would see why.

    There is new information that will soon be visiting this world and I do not believe that any earthly agents will be able to stop it from coming forth.

    Also I do believe that at this moment the prophecy in Zechariah about the “Flying Scroll” is in full swing today and your site is part of it.

    Zechariah 5
    1 ¶ And I again lifted up my eyes and looked, and, behold, a flying scroll!
    2 And he said to me, What do you see? And I answered, I see a flying scroll; its length is twenty cubits, and its width ten cubits.
    3 And he said to me, This is the curse that goes forth over the face of the whole earth. For from now on everyone who steals shall be cut off according to it; and everyone who swears from now on shall be cut off according to it.
    4 And I will bring it forth, says Jehovah of Hosts. And it shall go into the house of the thief, and into the house of the one who swears falsely by My name. And it shall remain within his house and shall finish it, and its timber, and its stones.[LITV]

    Now going back to the anointed witness site, I necessarily do not agree with all they say and indeed I have even sent an email to say that I disagreed with one statement they had made.

    I am also cautious of the teachings of men, but who do you think God is going to use to teach us about the “Kingdom of God”, the real Kingdom that is?
    Not the counterfeit Kingdom of the Watchtower Society.

    Is he going to send Angels down to teach us the real truth?
    Is Jesus going to come back down to teach us?
    I think not.
    As was in the past, God used certain men who were classified as the prophets of God to enlighten and warn those who would call themselves his people.
    Today will be no different I believe.

    God will use certain individuals who are willing to do his will, just as Jesus committed himself all those years ago to the doing of his Father’s will.

    Anyway in the interest of peace and harmony I will bend to your wish and guideline and not present anymore “evangelical links” on this site.

    It is after all as you say your site to do what you will with whatever comment is made, even if it may be contributing to the truth.

    • October 11, 2013 at 11:23 pm
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      “However in the interest of truth you cannot just shrug away information just because you do not like the way they present certain things.”

      On the contrary, that’s precisely what I can do. If I don’t like the way information is presented of course I will “shrug” it away – and I do so IN the interest of truth, not against it. Especially where the benefit of my readers is concerned, many of whom are clawing their way out of a cult not knowing which way to turn.

      The two individuals who run anointedjw.org may not explicitly claim to represent the anointed globally, but I would argue that they make this suggestion through the website’s name itself. They know full well that if they were to call their website “twoanointedchristians.org” very few people would visit or take interest in their opinions. But call it “anointedjw.org” and instantly they attract a readership from a guaranteed pool of credulity made up of gullible Witnesses who are only too eager to hear what “the anointed” have to say.

      anointedjw.org are exploiting and trading on the fascination and reverence that most Witnesses have for the anointed, and using it as a soapbox from which to expound the views of two individuals as though these represent the consensus of many. When I last checked their “about us” page there was no mention of the fact that there are only two people running the site. Instead the implication is made that a much larger group of anointed is running it, which simply isn’t true.

      Then there are the grandious and sensationalist claims on their home page… “This call to the adventure of building up the spiritual brotherhood of Christ has spread to over 140 countries yielding significant and positive change in the lives of millions of individuals…” If I want to read that sort of gratuitous self-praise I will open a Watchtower.

      If anointedjw.org want to pull the wool over people’s eyes and milk the gullibility of Jehovah’s Witnesses by exploiting the reverence they have for the “anointed” this is their choice – but I consider it a sham, and I will have no part of it. I make no apologies.

      I hope that’s made things clear.

  • October 11, 2013 at 5:00 pm
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    Hakizimana Jean de Dieu, Yes I follow you on this.
    And he was not a prophet of God that is for certain but a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin who was very cautious as we all should be.
    However the reason I used this character in my comment was to show that one part of his statement,
    “And now I say to you, draw away from these men and permit them; because if this counsel is of men, or this work, it will be destroyed.
    39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to destroy it, and you be found even fighters against God.”
    This statement is still very valid for us all today.

  • October 11, 2013 at 6:17 pm
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    Well, I’m just quietly waiting for someone to stitch this together, but who really is the F&DS–tsk, tsk.. The GB. And, was there a GB in 1919? It was crystallized formally in 1970’s. So, as someone else noted, the concept of a “governing body” hadn’t been yanked out of the nether regions until 50+ years after 1919. And, we know it was forged as a governing tool and a scripture or verse here and there used to justify it to the masses. The problem then became who was the top, and/or bottom in the relationship between GB and FDS. Initially, the GB seemed to be a subset of FDS, but this year the change clearly equates FDS to GB.

    And, therefore, if there wasn’t a GB in 1919, there could not have been an FDS, logically. But, if your Watchtower says the sky is red, let’s go with that.

  • October 11, 2013 at 7:12 pm
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    JBob,
    Well so am I, perhaps not so quietly as you but I am patiently waiting for the Spirit to manifest the truth at least in part anyway and as I had mentioned and provided a link to a site that has been removed from my comments, I am hopeful that this could be a beginning for real truth to come forth and to manifest itself into a true brotherhood that is united by the truth of God’s Kingdom as Jesus taught and not by the enforced unity that is the hallmark of the Watchtower Society and it’s organization.

    But men being imperfect, could hinder the progress of the coming of God’s Kingdom, but not for long I do believe.

    I believe that the stone (earthly part of God’s Kingdom beginning with Jesus) that was cut out of “God’s universal Kingdom” is well on it’s way to smash the feet of that Image.
    Of course it is all very symbolic, a concept. A David versus Goliath situation where a small stone (truth of Kingdom message) could bring down a giant “image” (representing the control of this system of things through it’s religions, its governments, it’s commercial corporations and it’s other secular religions) all that king Nebuchadnezzar’s, image represented, the earthly one that he had built on the earth for all his administration to bow down to.

  • October 12, 2013 at 4:00 am
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    Future man, thanks for taking Cedar’s decision with good grace.

    I don’t see any evidence for a God or Gods at all. Nothing at all. Everything can be explained through natural processes, and until I see a flying scroll, or a massive angel in the sky, or some other unmistakable sign that there is a God, I will take all of the religious stuff with a ton of salt!

    I am more than happy to be proved wrong. I don’t go so far as to say there can’t be a God or Gods, but it’s pretty unlikely. If they do exist, then they came about through the process of evolution and are not separate from the universe.

    Here’s something to ponder. The worldwide flood. The bible says it covered the whole earth, but it never happened. There is no evidence for a world wide flood.

    If one pivotal event in the bible can be shown to be a myth, then how much more of it is?

    I applaud your sincere faith and I hope to read more interesting comments from you in the future.

    • October 12, 2013 at 1:53 pm
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      When I was a child I didn’t believe Noah’s flood either. I thought water could not cover mount Everest. But later in life I read Psalms 104:6-8. Earth’s mountains were not as tall, and the seabeds were not as deep, prior to Noah’s flood.

      Look at a globe. 70% is still covered with water; the floodwaters are right in front of our eyes. God pushed the seabeds deeper and the mountains higher, producing dry land. I don’t reject miracles because I haven’t seen any during my lifetime. I accept the written eyewitness testimony from the Bible.

      To me the idea that matter in the universe exists without cause is absurd. If there is no God, there should be no universe. Explain why there is “something” rather than “nothing.” Why does anything at all exist?

      Did God somehow bootstrap his existence out of nothingness? I don’t know. But I believe He created the material universe by converting his energy to matter, in the manner of E=mc2, as Einstein discovered. Any entity with that much energy gets my repsect and awe.

      Einstein also understood that time is a property of the universe. If God created the universe, he also created time as we perceive it. We can’t step outside the universe and unbind ourselves from time. But as the creator, God does not have that limitation. He can do what he wants with energy, matter, and time.

  • October 12, 2013 at 4:59 pm
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    Johnny B Goode, I would direct you to the excellent articles in Jw facts, which can be accessed via the links on this site, for a breakdown of why I state the things I do. There is a section devoted to the flood.

    Mountains move by millimetres and very slowly. I can assure you that Everest was much the same height it is now at the time of the flood.

    I won’t go into an exhaustive reply. Check out the link and you will be enlightened by good old fashioned common sense and dear old peer reviewed scientific fact. These are two companions that accompany my life post religion.

    Science isn’t perfect. We don’t know everything. But we know enough to convince me that a lot of what I read in the bible is myth, not fact. To present myths as facts is a slippery slope to confusion and superstition.

    It’s fine of you don’t come to the same conclusions as I do. That’s your right, hard won by a civil society, and I’ll defend your right to hold it.

    Have yourself a pleasant day.

    • October 12, 2013 at 7:01 pm
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      “I can assure you that Everest was much the same height it is now at the time of the flood”

      No you can’t. There’s a difference between science and pseudo science B.S.

  • October 13, 2013 at 4:10 am
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    Johnny B Goode, ah here we go. BS? Really? You can’t prove that and I will not respond to any more of your comments.

    You do not know anything about geology. You do not understand plate tectonics and you have revealed that you are not really interested in a debate.

    As I have said before, you have the right to believe what you will.

    I am sure that if you contacted a geology department at any university, they would confirm my statement.

    I’ve had it with you now. You have shown that you don’t really want to debate, so I shall just wish you well.

  • October 13, 2013 at 12:01 pm
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    John…
    Did you leave some pictures out following your reference to pg 1780 in RNWT, comparing 2nd Adventist views with early Wt claims??

    I admire the quality of your reporting and the refined way your site operates–mostly (I can only scroll up and down using the scroll wheel in mouse, in this article anyway).

    May your good reporting continue! — dudley

  • October 14, 2013 at 8:48 am
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    Great article and nice way of pointing out the short comings of their translations that seem ever so prevalent. When someone asks me what is the one true Religion i always respond ” The true religion is your own personal relationship with God” So how do we have that relationship? I’ts based on our reading of his word the Bible. So in the end we do well to choose one that is most accurate without being tampered with by a organization of men. And as you have considered that point in this article then it would definitely be on my list of a bible not to read.

  • October 14, 2013 at 3:14 pm
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    I’m not sure on that, but I can tell you that at least since 1950 the term has been Jeová.

    Also, what justification would there be for using an outdated rendering of the name? Is this Bible based on XVIII beliefs and practices? Does that mean Portuguese speaking JWs will have to change their 100 yr old already established (and WT promoted) pronunciation because of this revision/error?

    Cheers! Tchau =)

    • October 14, 2013 at 4:40 pm
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      @Fred the answer to your question–yes.

  • October 14, 2013 at 3:25 pm
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    That was in response to:
    L Smith’s comment October 11, 2013 at 1:16 pm

  • October 16, 2013 at 6:11 pm
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    Finally decided to download a copy of the PDF file version, and I must say I’m not impressed. While this translation mimics the style of the preceding NKJV and NIV study bibles by adding and inserting various “Christian” “topics of interest” in the front pages. Fluff, which the text purist will want to pull out and set aside. Additionally, the topic outline turns the baby formula and foundational books for learning to walk as a Christian into a one-sentence summary dehydrated delivery: “LETTERS (21 BOOKS):
    Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians,
    Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians
    Letters to various Christian congregations”.

    Romans is the foundation and fundamentals of understanding what it means to be Christian. Ephesians explains how and what it means to become “adopted” and claimed as a newborn “child of God”. Corinthians – which JW’s use ad nauseum in laying down morality codes – is also clumped together as “just some letters”.

    As many have noted, more weight is given to Acts of Apostles and the missionary activities especially because this contains the albatross of a verse used to explain the centralized ‘governing body’ administrative concept, although this verse only says, “the apostles and elders” convened in Judea, and in context the Council is actually used to counter a group of men coming from Judea and imposing a doctrine onto Gentile converts. Many such councils were convened in subsequent years to settle disputes of canon, doctrine and so forth. However, it is not clear that this was a “standing” body having constant administrative control, especially since missions were dispatched from Antioch and Damascus.

  • October 17, 2013 at 11:44 am
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    Hi folks!

    The 2013 bible has been made available for online reading (not just the PDF). The website has been updated.
    AFAIK the errors found have not been corrected.

    Cheers.

  • October 17, 2013 at 3:52 pm
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    Unbelievable that they still cling to their crazy calculations.
    In the map on page 1768 of this new ‘gem’ we are given a timeline that tells us the exact year of Adam’s creation – 4026 B.C.E. How embarrasing to have swallowed all this nonsense….. but you know, I was only 12 when I got baptized. These guys are shameless!

  • October 18, 2013 at 11:36 am
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    Grave or Sheol to the ancient Hebrews was a realm of the dead. It was a waiting place–no activity, etc, but a place of awaiting resurrection with the coming of Messiah. But, stickier yet, I urge you to examine the various contexts of the term nephesh (“soul”).

  • October 18, 2013 at 3:40 pm
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    What I am finding interesting is the picture from Appendix B. “About 1914” Satan was cast from heaven. Is there really no mention of Christ’s “invisible enthronement as King” in that year? If that’s the case, that’s truly astounding! Maybe 1914 will become the year when the “last days” began only. In the future could they say, Jesus didn’t begin ruling invisibly in that year, but “something” did happen? I don’t know…just a thought.

  • October 19, 2013 at 9:37 pm
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    I can’t post a link here, but there’s an interesting article on an another Adventist influence on Charles Russell’s mentor, George Storrs–Charles Fitch. This supplies the “why” for the obsession with “Babylon the Great” and so long for the Bible Students to become coalesced as an organized group.

  • October 21, 2013 at 1:14 pm
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    Just to add a couple of changes I noticed in the revised NWT.
    Firstly, wherever the number twelve is used to refer to the apostles as a group the words “the Twelve” are used. Acts 6:2 (which was used to justify the Governing Body’s position in the July WT) is one notable example.
    Secondly, the “entire multitude” that became silent in Acts 15:12 is now described as the “entire group”, presumably to prevent us from being misled into thinking that there were many people present at this meeting of the so-called first century governing body.

    The “Proclaimers” book chap. 31 p. 706 (How Chosen and Led by God) says:
    “The one true Christian congregation would have to be an organization that holds to the Bible as its foremost authority, not one that quotes scattered verses but rejects the rest when these do not conform to its contemporary theology.”

    So what would we conclude about an organization that not only rejects the evidence of the rest of the Bible in favour of a few verses in Acts 15 but also changes the translation of those words to conform to its contemporary theology? The same Greek word appears in 30 places and in the previous NWT was translated consistently as “multitude”. The revision uses “multitude” “crowd” and in two places, (Acts 15:12, 30) “group”. A translation should tell me what the words say, not what the translator decides they mean.

    • October 21, 2013 at 8:29 pm
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      the infallible, unflappable Molly Silver Sword

      Something that occurred to me over weekend is how the Watchtower decides to handle its gaff with translating Dog’s Word. For years, it has been their opinion that Yahuweh was able to preserve and protect, if not serve and protect, over the sacred scriptures, thus errors if any, were eliminated by the multiple witnesses retained over the centuries.

      If the Watchtower is not completely destroying its corrupted editions, how are we now to believe that previous flawed editions were not saved and handed down over the thousands of years as collectors items? How do we know that the preserved editions are not flawed copies? that manuscripts peppered with the incorrect Latin translate of Yahweh and Yeshua are not the flawed versions?

      Perhaps there will be a bonfire of the vanities as this flawed edition is eradicated, so that a thousand years in the future we will be sure that the Word of Dog is a pristine edition.

  • November 1, 2013 at 2:11 pm
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    they HAVE made changes. but why is it that we don’t hear about other denominations making changes? I guess all 40,000 of the denominations of Christianity were %100 sure they had got it right the 1st time, & therefore didn’t have to make any changes. sounds fishy. even scientist revised info & they are the some of the smartest people on the planet. I guess since school textbooks have been revised so much, we should just discredit everything in them AND future textbooks & take all our kids out of the schools…js

  • November 1, 2013 at 4:39 pm
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    @BL-quite a few more than 40,000 denominations of Christianity. More like 90,000+ including autonomous churches–non-denom’s. And, on the charge that any changes are overlooked, what changes do you feel have been overlooked?

    As to the scientific method, science doesn’t claim to have divine inspiration or a direct channel/link to Adonai. And, science depends on discovering facts and physical evidence then constructing a logical proposal based on evidence. Thus, science also doesn’t claim to have a divine revelation from an unchanging deity as spiritual denominations. Thus, if a divine revelation from a deity which allegedly can not contradict self and is consistent, immutable, in righteousness and judgement, we expect consistency and static doctrinal viewpoints while communal laws of organization and structure by men can change.

  • November 1, 2013 at 4:52 pm
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    Pseudo-Adventism? Although Bible Students and JW’s typically like to distance themselves from their 2nd Day roots, especially with little quirks they identify as differing, the basic doctrines are the same on hellfire, soul, trinity, redeeming death of Christ, and views of other denominations. However, how do you explain Russell’s eventual capitulation of projecting the end of the world himself in 1914 AD? This was based on re-examining the failed expectations of 1874, 1844 and the beginning of the last days (1799) given by Adventists, so he may have rolled his eyes as an atheist, but when he got religion, he fell right into step with the end-time projections and forecasters. The evidence is that he sold his for-profit business and leaped into the ministry for Adventist Herald of the Morning?

    “When I opened it I at once identified it with Adventism from the picture on its cover, and examined it with some curiosity to see what time they would next set for the burning of the world.”

    To me this sentence doesn’t wreak of cynicism and credulity, but rather someone who was an avid believer and interested in the “correction” of expectations, especially when you put it into context with Russell’s own projection of 1914 based on the Pyramid numerology [long since abandoned by JW’s, but still–/_\ and the headstone?] and heavy use of the Ages of the Church charts found populating various Adventist roots, shoots and cahoots.

  • November 6, 2013 at 11:57 pm
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    I listened as David Splane of the GB stated how inadequate the KJ is,yet it seemed to slip past him as he stated that the change made at Joh17:3 in the new “silver sword” now reads the same as the KJ that was done 400 yrs ago,I guess they need better translators lol

  • November 8, 2013 at 1:37 pm
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    At the moment a window shopper. Some great commentaries being posted. My interest is in the NWT of ’84 versus ’13 version while benchmarking the KJV.

  • December 15, 2013 at 9:42 pm
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    I want to make a comment on the video review of John 17:3

    John 17:3 in most Bibles says
    that they know thee Douay; Geneva; English Majority text; KJV; RSV;
    that they know you NJKV
    they should know thee ASV 1901
    to have knowledge of you, Bible in Basic English
    life means knowing you, Good news Bible

    None of these renderings fully describe what the writer was saying. The Old NWT is by far a more LITERAL and correct rendering of that “Taking in knowledge”. The Revised NWT rendering of “coming to know you” is not as literal but is more personal.

    The Greek verb (ginoskosin) used in this expression is built on the base word “ginosko “ which according to Strongs Greek Lexicon means “a prolonged form of a primary verb; to “know” (absol.), in a great variety of applications and with many impl. (as follow, with others not thus clearly expressed):—allow, be aware (of), feel, (have) know (-ledge), perceive, be resolved, can speak, be sure, understand” So the basic meaning is simply to know or perceive, and that is how most Bibles seem to render it as per the above examples. However that is not what this verb is to conveying to the audience. It is conveying an action in progress . The Greek verb used here (ginoskosin) is in the present tense, active voice; and subjective mood.

    The present tense basically is a statement of fact of something happening in the actual time and, being the active mood, means it is happening now (and may continue). The other Bibles DO NOT convey that information. Those renderings show a very passive idea of knowing God.

    Thayers Greek lexicon of the word says it “ is employed in the N. T. of the KNOWLEDGE of God and Christ, and of the things relating to them or proceeding from them” – (Capitals mine) So when Jesus was praying and use the word “ginoskosin” he is saying that life depends on his disciples having an active roll in gaining knowledge of God and of himself. The rendering “taking in knowledge” was acceptable rendering in 1950 although it sounds may sound wooden today. The ACTION of knowing God is shown by the word “taking in” in the old NWT and by the word “coming to”. That ACTION is what is missing in other translations

  • December 15, 2013 at 10:20 pm
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    I want to make a comment on 1 Timothy 6:4 Most people do not like the 1984 NWT rendering “but being mentally diseased over questionings and debates about words   but the truth is that was a literral rendering of what the Bible writer wrote. The Revised NWT wateres the expression down to with these words “ He is obsessed with arguments and debates about words

    Strongs Greek Lexicon says the word means “be sick, i.e. by implication of a diseased appetite..”

    Note Thayer’s meaning of that Greek word used here “
    to be sick; metaphorically, of any ailment of the mind .. to be taken with such an interest in a thing as amounts to a disease, to have a morbid fondness for, 1 Tim. 6:4 “

  • December 15, 2013 at 10:46 pm
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    I want to make a comment on the video review of John 17:3

    John 17:3 in most Bibles says
    that they know thee Douay; Geneva; English Majority text; KJV; RSV;
    that they know you NJKV
    they should know thee ASV 1901
    to have knowledge of you, Bible in Basic English
    life means knowing you, Good news Bible

    The Bible in Basic English at least gets the word knowledge correct

    None of these renderings fully describe what the writer was saying. The Old NWT is by far a more LITERAL and correct rendering of that “Taking in knowledge”. The Revised NWT rendering of “coming to know you” is not as literal, but is more personal.

    The Greek verb (ginoskosin) used in this expression is built on the base word “ginosko “ which according to Strongs means “a prolonged form of a primary verb; to “know” (absol.), in a great variety of applications and with many impl. (as follow, with others not thus clearly expressed):—allow, be aware (of), feel, (have) know (-ledge), perceive, be resolved, can speak, be sure, understand” So the basic meaning is simply to know or perceive, and that is how most Bibles seem to render it as per the above examples. However that is not what this verb is to conveying to the audience. It is conveying an action in progress . The Greek verb use here (ginoskosin) is in the present tense, active voice; and subjective mood.

    The present tense basically is a statement of fact of something happening in the actual time and, being the active mood, means it is happening now. The other Bibles DO NOT convey that information. Those renderings show a very passive idea of knowing God.

    Thayers Greek lexicon of the word says it “ is employed in the N. T. of the KNOWLEDGE of God and Christ, and of the things relating to them or proceeding from them” – (Capitals mine) It is not just saying know but, to have knowledge. So, when Jesus was praying and use the word “ginoskosin” he is saying that life depends on his disciples having an active roll in gaining knowledge of God and of himself. The rendering “taking in knowledge” was acceptable rendering in 1950 although it may sound wooden today. The ACTION of knowing God, is shown by the words “taking in” in the old NWT and by the words “coming to”. That ACTION is what is missing in other translations. They give the impression all one has to do is know.

    By the way as a JW I agree with you that the account in Acts 15 is not showing a a Governing Body. I agree on the need for any organisation to have some form of Governing Body to run day to day activities, but there is no Biblical precedent for a “religious” Governing body. I believe those men have given themselves to much power and they will be answerable to God for the problems they cause.

    However the basic doctrines of JWs and the need for a world wide preaching work that we do can not be faulted.

  • February 7, 2014 at 1:12 pm
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    “….even though only a privileged few who attended the Annual Meeting event (mostly elders and their wives) have received their new Bibles. ”

    You do realize that this is entirely inaccurate right? All baptized witnesses and their minor children (which is the overwhelming majority of JWs) were invited to attend.

    More twisting of facts to try to prove something that isn’t true.

    • February 7, 2014 at 1:57 pm
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      Not in the UK. In the UK the Annual Meeting was for a select few, as stated. Please read the text in question properly before you make accusations of lying.

  • March 5, 2014 at 9:19 pm
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    I was stunned to see in the new revised bible that in some scriptures they are not for sure the truth when defining in the reference(*,#) For example in Daniel 1:5 the bible verse says ” They were to be TRAINED*” Then you go down to the reference when you see the star* and it says “Or POSSIBLY, “nourished” So as you see they put what it maybe might mean as well, but they are not sure because they say POSSIBLY. This really shuts down the fact that God made clear do not add or take away from what he says yet they’re now okay with “”maybes”” in Gods holy word the bible. The governing body always belittles others for their lack of accuracy yet they now have maybes in Gods word the bible!!

  • March 11, 2014 at 2:14 pm
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    I appreciate the more readable format of this revision. However, I have observed that the appearance of literal-ness of the older revision is just that, an appearance.

    The NWT has some things that badly need revision, or else it should be regarded as being void of Scriptural authority. Anyone who wants to read the NWT should have another translation handy for comparison, or better yet, a Greek text or interlinear.

    I’m not talking about just whether it says “ass” or “donkey”.

    If you don’t believe me, fine. I’m just a man, as are the members of the governing body. But do believe scripture. Believe the original text.

    –Things which badly need revision (specifically in the Christian Greek scriptures):

    –“Jehovah” does not appear in the original text of the Christian Greek Scriptures, i.e, the New Testament. (Maybe, possibly, there might be a textual basis for “Jehovah” appearing in some of the Gospels. Maybe.)

    At Acts 1:24, the apostles did not say Jehovah. The original text says they prayed, “You, Lord, heart-knower of all…”

    At Acts 7:59-60, Stephen (my namesake) did not say Jehovah. He said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And, “Lord (Kurie), do not make this sin stand to them.”

    Colossians 3:13 tells us not that “Jehovah freely forgave”, but that “Christ (Christos) freely forgave”.

    At 2 Thessalonians 2:2, Paul tells us, not about the day of Jehovah, but about “the day of Christ (Christou)”.

    In all, there are over 200 times, in the Christian Greek Scriptures, where the NWT says “Jehovah”, without direct texual basis. That is, the original Greek text does not say it. You don’t have to be much of a scholar to catch this.

    Why does this matter? It matters hugely because this will give the reader an incorrect view of what the Bible actually says about the person and character of Jehovah, of God, and/or of Jesus.

    –“In connection with” Christ or “in union with” Christ should be revised to say “in Christ”. This occurs probably hundreds of times, and the original text says “en (ane)”, which means “in”.

    Why does this matter? Because the Bible, in its original text, tells the individual believer that he or she is “in” Jesus Christ. “In Christ”. Not “in connection” with Christ, as through one’s connection with an organization.

    Colossians 1:14 tells us, referring to Christ, “in whom we have our release”. “In (en) whom”, not “by means of whom”, as the NWT improperly renders it.

    Colossians 1:27 teaches us that the “sacred secret” (or “mysterion” – mystery) is “Christ in you”! (“Christos en umeon”). Not “Christ in union with you”.

    It is really not possible to find “accurate knowledge” if you use an inaccurate translation, excluding all others.

    –It appears to me that many passages have been altered to support a particular doctrine. They should be rendered according to the original Greek text, even if it is uncomfortable. Remember, we should be being changed by the Bible. Not the other way around.

    In Colossians 1:16-20, the NWT inserts “other” five times, improperly rendering the passage such that
    “all OTHER things were created”,
    “all OTHER things have been created through him and for him”,
    “he is before all OTHER things”,
    “all OTHER things were made to exist”,
    and “to reconcile all OTHER things”.

    There is no textual basis for this. It is simply an accommodation for a certain doctrine. This will lead the reader to believe something that the original Greek text does not say.

    There are other things beyond these. Saving ’em for another time. :-)

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