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Jehovah`s Witness/col: 1:16, 17 and the word 'other '


QUESTION: Hello again Brenton. As I mentioned before I work with two baptized jws and with one in particular I am able to ask very specific questions about scripture.

One topic was about the word 'other' as it appears in colossians chapter one in the NWT. I read about this and asked him why they added words to the bible. He said it was only meant to clarify that Jesus was created,since he didn't create himself. I at first read that the NWT used brackets for the 'other' , but saw my coworkers bible and was surprised to see that there was no brackets to let the readers know the this word is not in the original Greek. I asked him why several times before he finally answered that it was so obvious that they didn't need to use brackets. Whaaaaatttt??. Is this a typical answer  I should expect from jws.

One day  my coworker was showing me a verse in his bible and I noticed it had brackets. I also noticed the addition of that word didn't change the meaning of that verse at all. I asked why that word in the NWT had brackets? He said be a use it was not in the original Greek. Hmmmm.i asked him to show me col. Chapter one again and explain why no brackets were  used? He stamered quite a bit,then showed me his reference bible that had brackets for the word 'other'. Why is that I said. Are the translators trying to mislead the readers?

He has yet to answer this contraction. I'd like to hear your explanation.

Thanks.  Kevin.

ANSWER: Hello Kevin,

Thank you for this question.

The older NWT used [ ] around words added to complete the sense in English.  Personally I feel the new edition of the NWT should not have removed the [ ].   

I do not know what Bible version you use but many people have at least the KJV in their homes. The KJV uses a different technique to show added words. This is one feature of the KJV that I like.  It uses italics .   I want to demonstrates that with a four verses from John 1:6-9  I will present the Greek text but  use the  English alphabet, as well as the direct translation into English.  Then I will give you the KJV rendering showing the words that the KJV puts in italics


6 Egeneto = there-was;  anthrōpos = man; apestalmenos = having-been-sent;  para = from; Theou = God; onoma = name; auto = him; Iōannēs= John:

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

7 houtos = he; ēlthen = came; eis = as; martyrian = witness; hina = that; martyrēsē = he-might- testify; peri= concerning; tou = the; phōtos =light; hina = that;pantes = all; pisteusōsin = might-belive; di’= through; autou =him
7  The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.

8 ouk = not; ēn = was; ekeinos = he; to = the; phōs = light, all’ = but, hina = that, martyrēsē = he-might-witness, peri = concerning; tou = the; phōtos = light

8  He was not that Light, but was sent  to bear witness of that Light.

9   Ēn = was; to = the; phōs = light, to = the; alēthinon = true; ho = that; phōtizei = enlightens; panta = every; anthrōpon = man; erchomenon = coming; eis = into; ton = the; Kosmon = world  

9  That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

The words in each verse that the KJV shows  in italics  thus are added, are

6 was
7 men
8 was sent
9 that

As you can see from the above, the Greek grammar is very different to English, so make make sense in English, at times, words are added.  When you read the KJV look carefully for the words in Italics.  These are ALL added words by the translators in order to make the Bible more readable to our English ears.  The added words clarify the meaning for us, heps is tpo make sense of the text.

As a side note here did you notice that the KJV added the indefinite article "a" in verses 6 and 7. This too is done to complete the sense in English. The Greek has no indefinite article "a" but many times this word has to be added.

The same goes with the word other in Colossians 1.  The addition of this word does not change the mangling of the chapter by clarifies the relationship between Jesus, God and creation.

Now I am going to take an educated quess here and I am going to assume that you are wondering how the addition of the word other in Collossians 1 clarifies the text and not changes the meaning?

So in anticipation of you asking a follow up question on that, may I please ask you a question first?

Again I am going to assume that you believe in the traditional view of the trinity, and, that is, that Jesus and the Father are two separate and distinct individuals.  Am I correct? IF that is you view, then the  main part of the answer to your question on how the word [other] clarifies the meaning of the chapter,  is found in verse 16.  

PS.  May I please request that you not follow up just yet.  I have been trying to answer another persons question on a subject that that I have never studied very much on before to do with a Christadelphian belief that the devil does not exist.  I would really like to get that finished.

Thank you

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QUESTION: Hello Brenton.
Let me clarify my question,it's not so much about how the word 'other' changes the meaning of the said verses,but about the removal of the brackets in the NWT and how they remain in the jw reference bible. It might seem to some people  that this was a deliberate attempt to mislead people about God's word. My jw coworker states that they don't use brackets at all in the NWT, but I seem to recall that they do. Is this

Thank you in advance. Kevin.

Hi Kevin

Yes the older NWT used [ ] around added  words to show that they were not in the older manuscripts and that at times these words were used to complete the sense in English.  The new 2013 NWT has removed them.  I do not recall anything being said as to why, nor have I found, as yet,  an explanation as to why this has been done.  Personally, I feel the use of [ ]  in the older NWT was a very useful feature, and that the new edition of the NWT  would be a better Bible by retaining that feature.  

Another feature that the new NWT has also stopped using was the word "YOU" in all capitals when it is a reference to more that one person.

The only thing I do seem to remember being said was, that the NWT was designed for ease of reading, and we were encouraged, or, it was recommended, that we still use the 1984 Reference Bible for study.  

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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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