Recent question on U.S. TV show Jeopardy
"What is the most accurate translation of the Holy Scriptures?"
No one got the correct answer, so Alex Trebek said "New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures,
printed by Watchtower Bible Tract Society!
Probably in no part due to book:
"TRUTH IN TRANSLATION: ACCURACY AND BIAS IN ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT"
Author: Jason David BeDuhn is the Associate Professor of Religious
Studies at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. He holds a B.A. in
Religious Studies from the University of Illinois, Urbana, an M.T.S. in New
Testament and Christian Origins form Harvard Divinity School, and a Ph.D.
in Comparative Study of Religions form Indiana University, Bloomington.
The Nine English Translations Compared in BeDuhn's book are:
- The King James Version (KJV)
- The Amplified Bible (AB)
- The Living Bible (LB)
- The New American Bible (NAB)
- The New American Standard Bible (NASB)
- The New International Version (NIV)
- The New World Translation (NW)
- The (New) Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
- Today's English Version (TEV)
Excerpts from his book:
Chapter Four: Examples of translation of the Greek word "proskuneo",
used 58 times in the New Testament. The word is translated various ways as
worship, do obeisance, fall down on one's knees, bow before. Scriptures
discussed include Matt. 18:26; Rev. 3:9; Mark 15:18,19; Matt 2:1, 2, 8,11;
Matt 14:33; Matt 28:9, "... in our exploration of this issue, we can see
how theological bias has been the determining context for the choices made
by all of the translations except the NAB and NW... translators seem to
feel the need to add to the New Testament support for the idea that Jesus
was recognized to be God." Regarding Matt. 28:16, 17, where all versions
except the NW use "worship" where the NW uses "did obeisance": "Here all
translations except the NW have recourse to "worship" -- a rendering which
makes no sense in this context... This contradiction seems to be missed by
all the translators except those who prepared the NW."
Chapter Five: A discussion of Philippians 2:5-11: "The NW
translators... have understood "harpagmos" accurately as grasping at
something one does not have, that is, a "seizure." The literary context
supports the NW translation (and refutes the KJV's "thought it not robbery
to be equal)..."
Chapter Seven: A discussion on Col. 1: 15-20: "It is a tricky passage
where every translation must add words." "The LB translator is guilty of
all the doctrinal importation discussed above with reference to the NIV,
NRSV, and TEV, and even surpasses them in this respect. So it is the NIV,
NRSV, TEV and LB -- the four Bibles that make no attempt to mark added
words - that actually add the most significant tendentious material. Yet
in many public forums on Bible translation, the practice of these four
translations is rarely if ever pointed to or criticized, while the NW is
attacked for adding the innocuous "other" in a way that clearly indicates
its character as an addition of the translators... But the NW is correct.
"Other" is implied in "all", and the NW simply makes what is implicit
explicit... It is ironic that the translation of Col. 1:15-20 that has
received the most criticism is the one where the "added words" are fully
justified by what is implied in the
Chapter Eight: A discussion on Titus 2:13; 2 Thess. 1:12; 2 Peter
1:1, 2: "... the position of those who insist "God" and "Savior" must refer
to the same being... is decidedly weakened."
Chapter Nine: A discussion of Hebrews 8:1: "so we must conclude that
the more probable translation is "God is your throne..., " the translation
found in the NW... It seems likely that it is only because most
translations were made by people who already believe that Jesus is God that
the less probable way of translating this verse has been preferred."
Chapter Ten: A discussion on John 8:58: "Both the LB and the NW offer
translations that coordinate the two verbs in John 8:58 according to proper
English syntax, and that accurately reflect the meaning of the Greek idiom.
The other translations fail to do this.." "There is absolutely nothing in
the original Greek of John 8:58 to suggest that Jesus is quoting the Old
Testament here, contrary to what the TEV tries to suggest by putting
quotations marks around "I am.""
"The majority of translations recognize these idiomatic uses of "I
am", and properly integrate the words into the context of the passages
where they appear. Yet when it comes to 8:58, they suddenly forget how to
translate." "All the translations except the LB and NW also ignore the
true relation between the verbs of the sentence and produce a sentence that
makes no sense in English. These changes in the meaning of the Greek and
in the normal procedure for translation point to a bias that has interfered
with the work of the translators." "No one listening to Jesus, and no one
reading John in his own time would have picked up on a divine
self-identification in the mere expression "I am," which, if you think
about, is just about the most common pronoun-verb combination in any
language." "The NW... understands the relation between the two verbs
correctly... The average Bible reader might never guess that there was
something wrong with the other translations, and might
even assume that the error was to be found in the... NW."
Chapter Eleven: A discussion of John 1:1: "Surprisingly, only one,
the NW, adheres to the literal meaning of the Greek, and translates "a
god." "Translators of the KJV, NRSV, NIV, NAB, NASB, AB, TEV and LB all
approached the text at John 1:1 already believing certain things about the
Word... and made sure that the translations came out in accordance with
their beliefs.. ... Ironically, some of these same scholars are quick to
charge the NW translation with "doctrinal bias" for translating the verse
literally, free of KJV influence, following the sense of the Greek. It may
very well be that the NW translators came to the task of translating John
1:1 with as much bias as the other translators did. It just so happens
that their bias corresponds in this case to a more accurate translation of
the Greek" "Some early Christians maintained their monotheism by believing
that the one God simply took on a human form and came to earth -- in
effect, God the Father was born and
crucified as Jesus. They are entitled to their belief, but it cannot be
derived legitimately from the Gospel according to John."
"John himself has not formulated a Trinity concept in his Gospel."
"All that we can ask is that a translation be an accurate starting point
for exposition and interpretation. Only the NW achieves that, as
provocative as it sounds to the modern reader. The other translations cut
off the exploration of the verse's meaning before it has even begun."
Chapter Twelve: A discussion of holy spirit: "In Chapter Twelve, no
translation emerged with a perfectly consistent and accurate handling of
the many uses and nuances of "spirit" and "holy spirit." The NW scored
highest in using correct impersonal forms of the relative and demonstrative
pronouns consistently with the neuter noun "holy spirit," and in adhering
to the indefinite expression "holy spirit" in those few instances when it
was used by the Biblical authors."
Summary: "... it can be said that the NW emerges as the most accurate
of the translations compared...the translators managed to produce works
relatively more accurate and less biased than the translations produced by
multi-denominational teams, as well as those produced by single
individuals." "Jehovah's Witnesses... really sought to re-invent
Christianity from scratch... building their system of belief and practice
from the raw material of the Bible without predetermining what was to be
found there. Some critics, of course, would say that the results of this
practice can be naive. But for Bible translation, at least, it has meant a
fresh approach to the text, with far less presumption than that found in
may of the Protestant translations."
"...Most of the differences are due to the greater accuracy of the NW
as a literal, conservative translation of the original expressions of the
Commenting on bias in translation: "To me, it expresses a lack of
courage, a fear that the Bible does not back up their "truth" enough. To
let the Bible have its say, regardless of how well or poorly that say
conforms to expectations or accepted forms of modern Christianity is an
exercise in courage or, to use another word for it, faith."
Correction: Subject: Fw: Bible Accuracy