The New World Translation is touted as being the best and most accurate Bible translation by Jehovah’s Witnesses. They say they have translated it to convey the correct meaning. But when scrutinized it turns out that rather than allowing God to speak clearly, the New World Translation team has both added, removed and changed words to fit their own doctrines. This is condemned in scripture and is a serious sin:
You must not add to the word that I am commanding you, neither must you take away from it, so as to keep the commandments of Jehovah your God that I am commanding you.Deuteronomy 4:2 NWT
Every saying of God is refined. He is a shield to those taking refuge in him. Add nothing to his words, Or he will reprove you, And you will be proved a liar.Proverbs 30:5,6 NWT
“I am bearing witness to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone makes an addition to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this scroll; and if anyone takes anything away from the words of the scroll of this prophecy, God will take his portion away from the trees of life and out of the holy city, things that are written about in this scroll.”Revelation 22:18,19 NWT
This page covers a selection of scriptures. It shows the scriptures in the New World Translation, describes what kind of change was made, why it was likely made and provides picture proof of the passage in its original language or similar when available. For the New Testament, all Greek quotations come from the Kingdom Interlinear Translation released by the Watchtower and downloadable from jw.org so that you can easily check that I’d not making this up. Please look up everything in your own Bible or the JW app.
The foolish one says in his heart: “There is no Jehovah.” Their actions are corrupt, and their dealings are detestable; No one is doing good.Psalm 14:1 NWT
The New World Translation blatantly inserts “Jehovah” instead of “God” with no justification what so ever. There is not a single Hebrew or Greek text nor any other translation that has the Divine Name in this verse.
It is one thing to want to restore the Name. It is a whole other thing to lie and claim that it exists in places where it does not exist and won’t even make any sense. Why would someone not knowing the Divine Name use it when they say there is no God?
Here is a list of 16 translations along with both Hebrew and Greek base texts and all of them use the word “God” or equivalent, not the Holy Name.
Close friendship with Jehovah belongs to those who fear him, And he makes his covenant known to them.Psalm 25:14 NWT
The word translated “close friendship“ is the Hebrew סוד (sod) which means “secret” or “intimacy”. The Watchtower chooses the word “friendship” to support their teaching that you can only “be friends with God”. The Bible rather teaches that when you put faith in Jesus, you become anointed and adopted as a child of God. Being a child of someone is more intimate than being their friend, but the Watchtower wants to hide from you your status as a child of God and an anointed Christian when you have faith in Jesus. They want to relegate you to a lower second class citizen position by tricking you into thinking that “friendship” is the best you could hope for.
God himself will glorify him __ __, and he will glorify him immediately.John 13:32 NWT
The Greek and other translations say: “God will glorify him [Jesus] in himself”.
The NWT probably removes this because that Jesus is glorified in God strongly hints at the triune nature of God.
If you ask __ anything in my name, I will do it.John 14:14 (NWT)
The Greek text, the Vulgate and many English translations (NLT, CSB, NIV, ESV, NET, NASB, BBE) include the word “me” after “ask” and “anything”. Jesus is telling his followers that “if you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”
Jesus is straight out telling us that we should address him in prayer.
The Watchtower removes this because they have a faulty view of Jesus’ deity. The verse proves Jesus’ omniscience and omnipotence, that he can hear any prayer and do anything, attributes only God possesses. The truth revealed in this scripture is that Jesus is God and it is entirely appropriate to ask him things in prayer.
For the Father himself has affection for you, because you have had affection for me and have believed that I came as God’s representative. 28 I came as the Father’s representative and have come into the world. Now I am leaving the world and am going to the Father.”John 16:27,28
The Greek word translated here as as “representative” is ἐξῆλθον (exelthon).
This word has absolutely nothing to do with representation or representatives. Exelthon simply means “come out”. In the New World Translation it is consistently translated “come out” everywhere except in this passage: The disciples came out of the city, Paul came out of Macedonia, smoke and locusts came out of the pit. It is always the action of something coming out of one location into another.
So what Jesus is really saying is that he came out of the Father. This means that before he came to earth he was somehow in the Father. This matches perfectly with the Trinity doctrine which teaches that the Father and Son share the same substance.
Although Jesus did represent God on earth, this word does not mean “representative”. It is a blatant change or at best a very far-fetched and fanciful biased word choice. The Watchtower chose this unwarranted translation to support their own Arian teachings which denigrate Jesus.
Pay attention to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the holy spirit has appointed you overseers, to shepherd the congregation of God, which he purchased with the blood of his own Son.Acts 20:28
If you look at this scripture in the original Greek, there is not even a trace of a hint of an indication that the word “Son” would be found anywhere here:
The Greek word ἰδίου (idíou) means “self”. So this last part is properly translated as: “Shepherd the congregation of God, which He purchased through the blood of himself” (or “through his own blood”).
So God is said to have bought us with his own blood. But what does that mean? Whose blood was spilled to buy us from the world? Of course it is Jesus’ blood who bought us. Hence the only exegetical conclusion of this scripture is that Jesus is God.
This is of course unacceptable to Arians such as Jehovah’s witnesses, so the Watchtower just goes ahead and inserts words which completely change the meaning of this passage to match up with their own teachings.
Therefore, those in union with Christ Jesus __ have no condemnation.Romans 8:1 NWT
The Greek and other translation has the word “now” in the text: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.”
This is probably removed to hide the fact that salvation by faith in Jesus is an instant thing, and not something that is postponed until after Armageddon, the millennial reign and the final test. The moment you put faith in Jesus you are instantly saved for all eternity.
Christians can enjoy their salvation in Christ immediately, but the Watchtower wants to hide this in order to coerce the Witnesses to keep striving after a carrot they may never reach.
5 To them the forefathers belong, and from them the Christ descended according to the flesh. God, who is over all, be praised forever. Amen.Romans 9:5 NWT (2013)
The Greek wording in this verse goes:
So in this passage it is clear that it is talking about only one person, Christ, who is described as being above all things, and being God, blessed forever. This clearly and straightforwardly calls Christ “God”. But the Watchtower changes the text in three important ways here:
1) They put a full stop in the middle of this sentence and divides it into two different sentences. They do this because they deny the deity of Christ and this scripture clearly affirms the deity of Christ, so they must allow their own doctrine to contradict the Bible. This makes the second sentence introduce another person to make an awkward and mal-placed appearance where he doesn’t belong. The natural flow of the Greek is interrupted by a change of topic and an out-of-context exhortation to praise God. This is emphasized by #2:
2) They switch the order of the words and put “who is over all” after “God”, when it is supposed to be after Christ. It is a description of Christ. (“God” is also a description of Christ here, see #1)
They do this because keeping it in its proper place would mean that Jesus is “over all”, proving his divinity, and they can’t have that, so they must change the Bible.
3) They add “be” before blessed. This turns the meaning from a description into a exhortation. The Greek is describing Christ as being “God who is blessed”. The NWT instead turns this into a separate command to praise God.
Had it just been a case of punctuation then it could be debatable, but they have done at least three different changes in order to twist this scripture to make it say what they want: to deny Christ.
1 Corinthians 7:31
and those making use of the world as those not using it to the full; for the scene of this world is changing.1 Corinthians 7:31 NWT
Almost all other translation translates the last part as something along the lines of “the fashion of this works is passing away” or “the works as we know it is ending”. The difference is that it is not changing, but disappearing. We should not put our faith in the world because it will disappear, it us transient. It doesn’t focus on that things change from one fashion to another, but rather that all of it is futile.
Why does the Watchtower change this? Probably because their version gives the sense that things are constantly changing, and we must therefore adapt to these changes. This gives them an excuse for changing their “Truth” on average every 14 weeks. If the world is changing, you should expect “The Truth” to change, right?
2 Corinthians 5:20
Therefore, we are ambassadors substituting for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us. As substitutes for Christ, we beg: “Become reconciled to God.”2 Corinthians 5:20
The Watchtower adds the word “substituting” in this verse. If you are an ambassador, you’re an ambassador for someone. You might represent them. But you never substitute them. The word is not there in Greek or any other translations.
The Watchtower has added this word here to bolster their claim that they are God’s representative on earth, even to the point that they blasphemously claim that they are substitutes for Jesus Christ. As if Jesus is not present, so they have all his authority. They have in a sense thrown Jesus off his throne and sat down there themselves. This is a case of extreme narcissism, hubris and blasphemy.
For it says: “When he ascended on high he carried away captives; he gave gifts in men.”Ephesians 4:8 NWT
The original Greek and all other translations says that Jesus gave gifts to men, not in men.
The text refers to the gifts of the Holy Spirit that Jesus gives to people to help them do his will.
The Watchtower changes this words to inculcate an unquestioning obedience to their hierarchy of authority, insinuating that the leaders are “gifts from God”. They thus inappropriately glorify men, bordering on idolatry.
Now what does the expression “he ascended” mean but that he also descended into the lower regions, that is, the earth?Ephesians 4:9 NWT
The Greek of the end of this verse reads “he stepped down into the lower parts of the earth”. Most translations render it similarly.
Ever since the first century, Christians have interpreted this as Jesus going down into Hades after he died. Early creeds read like the Apostles’ creed mention this:
… I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He … was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father…Excerpt from the Apostles’ creed
The idea Jehovah’s Witnesses have that at death humans cease to exist is a false teaching not found anywhere in the Bible. It is actually the atheist position. All throughout the Bible when humans die, their soul goes into Sheol/Hades, and so did the soul of Jesus for 3 days and nights.
The Watchtower changes “of the” into “that is”, putting equality between “lower parts” and “earth”, when the original text is saying that the “lower parts” is a prepositional descriptor used in the idiomatic phrase “lower parts of the earth”, meaning Hades.
Having Paul explaining what he means by the “lower regions” by adding the clarifying statement “that is”, makes no sense. If his readers already knew that “lower regions referred to the Earth, then they would not need an explanation. And if they didn’t know what “lower regions” meant, then why didn’t Paul just say “the earth”?
The truth is that the Ephesians, living in a Hellenistic culture, would immediately understand that “the lower regions” refers to Hades.
The Watchtower probably changes this in order to deceive people into thinking that human souls do not go to Hades upon death. They must protect their doctrine of annihilation at death.
Colossians 1:15-17, 20
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16 because by means of him all other things were created in the heavens and on the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All other things have been created through him and for him. 17 Also, he is before all other things, and by means of him all other things were made to exist, […] 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all other things by making peace through the blood he shed on the torture stake, whether the things on the earth or the things in the heavens.Colossians 1:15-17, 20 NWT
The NWT adds the word “other” five times in this passage. No Greek manuscript and no other translation has this word. The word “other” radically changes the meaning here. Without “other” it says “all things were created by [Jesus]”, meaning that Jesus himself is not a creation but the eternal creator himself. By inserting the “other”, it insinuates that Jesus could himself be included in the classification of created things. It is inserted to support the Jehovah’s Witness teaching that Jesus is a created being, which is based on the third century heresy called Arianism.
21 Indeed, you who were once alienated and enemies because your minds were on the works that were wicked,22 he has now reconciled by means of that one’s fleshly body through his death, in order to present you holy and unblemished and open to no accusation before him—Colossians 1:21,22 NWT
Yet another example of the abuse of prepositions, especially the “in” preposition. It seems more often than not the Greek “εν” meaning “in” is replaced with other prepositions to render the meaning totally different. Usually “in” becomes “in union with“ or “by means of” which are totally different things.
In this passage the correct translation would be “now has he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death”, because just like Noah was in the ark for salvation, so we are in a spiritual sense positionally in Christ’s body. The whole idea of Jesus resurrection depends on him actually bodily raised from the dead.The Jews had no concept of a “spiritual” resurrection but that’s a later Gnostic teaching. If Jesus was not raised bodily then our faith is in vain. We need to be in his body, so if his body is “dissolved” into atoms as the Watchtower teaches, how are going to be in it or partake of it?
The Watchtower changes in to by means of and thus make his body more akin to a tool or instrument which can be used and discarded. So they probably make this change to protect their doctrine that Jesus body was dissolved and that he was raised as a ghost. Even though Jesus himself contradicts their teachings in Luke 24:39 saying: “See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; touch me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones just as you see that I have.”
because it is in him that all the fullness of the divine quality dwells bodilyColossians 2:9 NWT
The Greek word rendered “divine quality” is θεότητος which actually means “divinity”, that is the divine nature or the thing that makes God God. It could well be rendered divine quality, it is technically correct. But this gives a watered down sense of its gravity. Like it is like any other quality is that perhaps other beings than God could have. In actually it is the quality that defines if a being is God or not.
But even with the Watchtower trying to water it down, it is still an undeniable proof for the Trinity doctrine. What it is saying in , undeniable terms is that Jesus is fully, 100% unequivocally divine. All the fullness of the quality which means someone is God dwells in Jesus. Or in other words: Jesus is fully God.
1 Timothy 2:3,4
This is fine and acceptable in the sight of our Savior, God, whose will is that all sorts of people should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth.1 Timothy 2:3,4 NWT
For whatever reason the Watchtower adds the words “sorts of“ in this verse. The originals says that God wants all people to be saved. His wish is for everyone to be saved. By adding “sorts of”, the Watchtower makes it sound like God is content with just saving people of each kind.
Like a butterfly collector who capture one or two of each kind of butterfly to pin onto a bird with a neat label underneath, just as a sampling of what exists in the wild, once God has completed his little hobby project and have samples of each sort of humans – each shade of skin, one of each sex, fat, thin, rich, poor, tall, short, young, old – he will be satisfied. It’s as if God only is interested in checking off the various possible categories of humans rather than having any real concern for humanity.
It is a bizarre view and it must have to do with the dismal results of the Watchtower preaching campaign which only attracts one person in a thousand. (The true biblical Christian gospel attracts about 1 in 3, which is a much better result and what you’d expect from the true God.)
If the Watchtower has the truth then God wishing that all people be saved would be an unattainable pipe dream. But maybe he can at least get a few samples for his collection?
This unauthorized change of the Bible text severely alters your understanding of salvation and your perception of other people. This is the most prominent scripture but the same deceptive translation also occur in:
- John 1:7
- John 12:32
- Romans 5:18
- 1 Corinthians 9:23
- 1 Timothy 2:1
- 1 Timothy 4:10
- Titus 2:11
- 1 Peter 2:17
and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as kings over the earth.”Revelation 5:10 NWT
Change / Biased translation
The text translates the Greek word ἐπὶ (epi) as “over” when it is a preposition that means “upon”. From the surface of something and upward. This diagram from the first page of the printed edition of the Kingdom Interlinear explains it:
The word is translated as “upon” or “on” in other parts of the Bible, for example in Matthew 6:10, which translates the same phrase, “on [the] earth”, as in Revelation 5:10.
Let your Kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also on earth.Matthew 6:10
The reason for this is to hide the fact that the kings of God’s Kingdom will physically rule on earth, and not from heaven as the Watchtower teaches. They will be here, people can see them, meet them, touch them. They will not be an anonymous council veiled in invisibility in heaven.