Jehovah`s Witness/NWT


Hello Mr Hepburn.

I am writing to you after reading many of the post here on this site that have raised a lot of question. I must say that in general I have found much of what has been happening here very amusing especially the rantings of Rando. I wonder why he is allowed to be here. He is rude to the extreme and he does little to help us understand the teachings of you people.  Now I have chosen  because you do a lot of research that other people of your group do not do.  You are also more polite than most here.  After reading many of the comments on this site  I have a number of questions I want to ask you but I will do one at a time.

The first one is a three part question.   

Why did the Watchtower produce their own Bible?

Why was it updated last year?

What are the credentials of the translators.

Thank you for your time

Hello  Benjamin

Thank you for those questions.

I will start with the last part first.

The identities of the original translators has never been formally given, therefore their  credentials can not be verified.  There has been speculation as to who the translators were.  The main source of that speculation comes from a man who entered the Watchtower Societies (WTS) “head office” approximately 15 years after the NWT New Testament was produced.  In the early 1970s he became a member of the  Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses.  In about 1980 he left the organisation and was excommunicated.    He has written a couple of books on his about his time as a member of the Governing Body and about the teachings he disagreed with.

In one of his books he list several names of men that he believed were on the translating committee.  It is usually that list that people refer to as to who those men were.  So in reality we just do not know.  

Now as far as I am concerned the credentials of the translators is not important.  It is the end result that matters.  The end result is that the NWT is an exceptionally good translation.  That brings me to the first  part of your question

Why did the Watchtower produce their own Bible?

Up until 1942 the WTS was unable to print Bibles on their own printers.  There were buying Bibles for printers at wholesale prices and distributing to congregations at cost.  Where they could not do this, our members had to purchase Bibles form retail outlets. In 1942 the WTS started producing the KJV on their own presses and then the 1901 American Standard Version (ASV).

The KJV was written in a form of English that the majority of people in the English speaking world no longer used.   The ASV was slightly better in its language but had the advantage of including the divine name where it is written in the ancient manuscripts  name nearly 7000 times throughout the Old testament, where as, the KJV used in only 4 times.  Our firm belief id that the Name of God is vitally important and should be used with reverence to honour our creator.  The NWT has the divine name over two hundred times in the NT

The WTS wanted to produce a Bible that used more up to date English language and that also had reverence for the divine name by restoring it to the NT as well (That is a controversial point with all other modern Bible translators who disagree with having the divine name in the NT - but that is another story)

They also wanted to produce an affordable Bible for people.  In 1960 when the complete Bible was produced it was sold for a contribution of $1.   When tax laws changed in various countries, we now give away all Bibles and all other literature that is produced.

Due to the very nature of translating from original  language (source) to another (target) there will always be differences in the words used in the target language.  The gramma of the source languages is very very different to our English language.  Sentences are constructed very differently.  Words have to be added to the target  and at times subtracted for source languages in order to make sense in the target language.  Also just like in English a word that is spelt the same can have different meanings depending on context, and sometimes these difference can be very slight so translators must make a decision on how to do that.

Now the problem that arises in doing that is the theology of the translators. Their  theoretical biases
can have (and does) an effect on the end result of what is produced.

Now ALL Bibles have some sort of theological bias, that includes the NWT. The question is how much and to what detriment for the reader?

Professor Jason Debuhn a trained Bible scholar and lecture in Biblical Greek, is also an historian of religion and culture.  He holds a B.A. in Religious studies from the  University of Ilinois, Urbana, an M.T.S. in New Testament and Christian Origins from Harvard Divinity School, and a Ph.D. in the Comparative Study of Religions from Indiana University, Bloomington. Among the various books he has written, is one he  published in  2003 that looked at 8 widely used English versions of the  Bible. It  is entitled  “Truth in Translation: Accuracy and Bias in English Translations of the New Testament. ”  These are  compares 8 well known and distributed English Bibles  1) King James Version (KJV), 2) New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), 3) New International Version (NIV), 4) New American Bible (NAB), 5) New American Standard Bible (NASB), 6) Amplified Bible (AB), 7) Living Bible (LB), 8) Today's English Version (TEV),]  8) New World Translation (NWT)

Of those Bibles overall he concludes that the NWT  “is a remarkably good translation”  and as  having the least bias.  However, he does spend time criticising the use of Jehovah in the NWT

The results of the work speaks for the good job done by the translators. The bias in the way words are rendered in the NWT is very small compared the the major Bibles.  The bias is on the way some words that have several options are translated.

Why was it updated last year?

This is also linked to the previous question as to why the need for a different translation.  When the King James was first translated, more information has become available as to the use and meaning of the ancient languages.  Scholars are still studying those languages.  The revised NWT takes advantage of this increased understandings and findings from scholars, and, in changes in some common language use of words.

I hope that has answered your question and I look forward to more questions.

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Brenton Hepburn


I AM one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and I am always learning. I am NOT an expert in the full sense of the word but I can answer questions on the reliability of the NWT - the so called mind control problems-so called prophecies - how being a JW affects the individual and relatives and general practices and history of Jehovah’s Witnesses. >>WARNING<< Please be aware that there are people here who ARE NOT practicing JWs. By all means ask these ones questions. Depending on the question you will get an honest answer, but, generally the answer you get, will mislead you as to what we believe, often because, they do not give ALL the relevant details. These ones will, have an agenda against JWs., and will at times give answers that are not correct in regard to JW teachings and practices. If you are after a answer from one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, please read some of the answers that the various experts have published before choosing someone. If you want to ask one of the NON JWs a question, that is fine, BUT if you want a balancing view after asking one of the NON JWs, ask a JW the same question. PLEASE ALSO NOTE: There(have been)and are, some "experts" here who are NOT always the most courteous and polite, at times are actually quite rude, that applies to both JW's and non JW's and their answers may offend, especially when they get personal and attack the character of the person and not the message. Unfortunately some here that have done that. So it IS IMPORTANT to chose an "expert" that YOU feel will best suit YOU by reading some of their past answers . . . . .


I have been a publisher since 1964. When I first went on the internet I found a lot of negative information dealing with Jehovah’s Witnesses covering prophecy, mind control and what many said was a very bad translation of the Bible known as the NWT. It shook my faith. After may hours researching these topics I could see why some felt that way, but, I was also able to explain why there were these misleading views. I can now set matters straight for anyone that has negative information about Jehovah’s Witness to show them that such information is at best misleading and at worst dangerous lies.

I have been a student of the Bible for many years, am trying to teach myself Biblical Greek. Was a public tax accountant for many years untill SEP 2009 when I gave it up due to health problems.

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