The Watchtower's Translation of Colossians 1
Ready to give yourself a little test with your Scripture knowledge and observation skills? Read these verses from Colossians 1:16-17 and see if you can spot a word that's been added. Ready? Go!
- 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. (Colossians 1:16-17 New World Translation, 2013)
Okay, how about now?
- 16 because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter 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. (Colossians1:16-17 New World Translation, 1984)
Did you guess "other"? You are right! If you guessed this word before reading the 1984 version of the New World Translation (NWT), then you have some good Bible knowledge. Keep it up! Most people would miss such a small change. But wait! Is it really small? Think again!
Why were certain words bracketed in earlier editions of the NWT? The Forward in their 1984 NWT reads:
- Single brackets [ ] enclose words inserted to complete the sense in the English text.
Words that are bracketed [ ] in the NWT are words not found in the original text. They are words that have been inserted. Why does the Watchtower's 2013 version of the NWT not include these brackets? I believe the test I gave at the top of this page is very revealing. When you first read those verses, did you think you were reading the actual words of God? Many would. The removal of the brackets gives the appearance that everything you read belongs there.
The identification of inserted words is a proper thing to do. There are reputable translations, such as the King James Version and the New American Standard Bible, that rightly does this. It allows the reader to have knowledge of words that had been added to the texts. That is an honest way of translating the Words of God.
The Watchtower claims that the inserted words in their 1984 NWT were "to complete the sense in the English text." Was this the case in Colossians 1? No!
The word 'other' had been inserted four different times in Colossians 1. You won't find any reputable translations inserting this word into these texts. Why? The insertion of such a word is unwarranted. It does not "complete the sense in the English text." The passages makes sense without this word being inserted. So why insert this word?
Would a pure reading of these passages contradict the Watchtower's doctrine that Jesus was a created being, or does Colossians 1 actually confirm their teachings?
Jehovah's Witnesses deny that Jesus is Almighty God and teach He was the first creation of Jehovah God.
There are only two categories of existence...
- The Eternal Creator God
- Or creation
The Bible teaches there is only one Eternal Creator God. Everything else in existence is created. Jesus is either Creator God, or He is one of God's creations.
The Watchtower teaches that Jesus was created first and was the instrument in which God created everything else. If this is the case, then Jesus is one of the things created, and this should be clearly seen in Scripture. If on the other hand, Jesus was not created, then He is self existent, created everything, and is God.
Take a look at how Colossians 1:16-17 reads in the New American Standard Bible:
- "For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together." (Colossians 1:16-17 NASB)
Jesus is before all things and created all things. He therefore did not spring into existence and is not in the category of creation. To be before all things means He is self existent and the Creator of everything. Colossians 1 is therefore declaring Jesus' divinity.
Could the Watchtower's Writing Committee failed to have notice that this word 'other' in their NWT actually alters the true meaning of the text? Perhaps we can trust them to remove it once they are made aware of it. After all, they would want their readers to have an accurate understanding of God's Word, right?
Absolutely not! For the Watchtower to point to the insertion of the word 'other' as merely to allow the text to read easier, is a lie. The Watchtower is well aware of this contradiction between their doctrine and Colossians 1, as many have come forward with this issue for years. The Watchtower had altered these passages deliberately to make them fit their doctrinal position. With full knowledge of this, they refuse to translate these verses accurately. What's worse, is that now they print and distribute an updated translation that confuses their readers into believing every word they read belongs in God's Word.
The deception doesn't stop there. They'll go to great lengths to draw their readers into believing the New World Translation is a trustworthy and reliable translation.
In their Forward of the 1984 edition of the NWT, it reads:
- "The translators of this work.... feel toward Him a special responsibility to transmit his thoughts and declarations as accurately as possible."
In their book, God’s Kingdom Rules!, they assure their revisions are accurate:
- "The year 1950 saw the release of the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures.... To ensure that it is as accurate and readable as possible, the New World Translation has been revised several times, most recently in 2013."
In the 2013 edition of the NWT, the Watchtower says good translators:
- "Use good judgement" and "conforms to the rules of grammar"
- Do not "distort the meaning of the text."
- Their "endeavor all through has been to give as literal a translation as possible," so that
"the reader can have full confidence that its inspired message has been transmitted faithfully." They claim... “the New World Bible Translation Committee has endeavored to strike a balance between using words and phrasing that mirror the original and, at the same time, avoiding wording that reads awkwardly or hides the intended thought.”
Did the Watchtower "use good judgment"? Did they "accurately convey the original message that was inspired by God"? Did they endeavour all through "to give as literal a translation as possible"? Were they careful to “avoid wording that hides the intended thought and mirrors the original”?
Not at all! What you saw in Colossians 1 was just one example. Contrary to their claims, Watchtower endeavoured to hide their distortion of God’s Holy Word in order to manipulate people's minds into believing their false doctrine that Jesus was a created being. The removal of those brackets was a sinister way for them to give the reader the impression that what they are reading is what God's Word is declaring. Don’t be fooled!
The New World Translation cannot be trusted. It is a deceptive and deviant translation.
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