New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures

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The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (NWT) is a translation of the Bible published and used by Jehovah's Witnesses.

It is an original translation of the related Aramaic, Hebrew, and Greek texts. The Watch Tower Society has not released the names or qualifications of the individual translators, though they have indicated that some of the translators had not been formally educated or trained in translation (The Watchtower, December 15, 1974, p. 768).

Notable features of this translation are:

  • The name Jehovah is used 6,973 in the Old Testament, where the ancient texts actually had the name of God written. Most other translations have inserted the titles "LORD" or "GOD" in place of the name.
  • The name Jehovah has been inserted 237 times in the New Testament. Since none of the ancient Greek texts use the name, the insertions seem to be made arbitrarily, to support Jehovah's Witness dogma.
  • Jesus is said to have been executed on a stake instead of a cross. This is due to the mistranslation of the Greek word Stauros. In Ancient Greek it meant "stake", but in Koine Greek, used at the time of writing, it meant "cross".
  • In John 1:1, The Word is said to be "a god" rather than "God", a scripture which would otherwise lend support to the doctrine of the Trinity, held by the Catholic Church and most mainstream Protestant traditions.

There has been much criticism of the New World Translation by scholars and translators. They cite a handful of mistranslations in the Old Testament, but it is largely their translation of the New Testament in a way that supports Jehovah's Witnesses doctrine that draws criticism. Regarding their use of the name Jehovah in the New Testament, Dr. Jason BeDuhn concludes that they "violate accuracy in favor of denominationally preferred expressions for God." And about the translation as a whole, Dr. William Barclay notes, "the deliberate distortion of truth by this sect is seen in the New Testament translation. ... It is abundantly clear that a sect which can translate the New Testament like that is intellectually dishonest."

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