During my time in theology school, our lecturers always encouraged us to gain a holistic perspective of the faith, which meant reading different Bible versions.
I became interested in the Jehovah’s Witness bible when one of my classmates mentioned that is was inaccurate. While many deemed this translation controversial, I found it so fascinating that I made a presentation on it.
As part of my research, I spent weeks learning about the history of the Jehovah’s Witness Bible from actual members. My presentation went very well, and I prepared this article to provide more insight into the origin of this Bible to educate more people.
So, wrote Jehovah’s Witness bible?
Although the Jehovah’s Witness denomination does not find it appropriate to accredit specific authors for its Bible, Frederick W. Franz, Nathan Knorr, Albert Schroeder, George Gangas, and Milton Henschel from the New World Bible Translation Committee are believed to be its original translators.
Take a walk with me as I explore the historical background of the Jehovah’s Witness Bible when it was written, its translations, and the controversy behind this religious book.
What Is Jehovah’s Witness Bible Called?
The Jehovah’s Witness Bible is called the New World Translation (NWT). It was initially developed by the Watchtower Society under the New World Bible Translation Committee.
The Jehovah’s Witness church accepts this translation because it consistently sticks to the Hebrew interpretation of God’s name – Jehovah.
However, the New World Translation Bible is quite controversial since scholars from other Christian denominations believe the Watchtower Society heavily altered original Biblical texts to suit Jehovah’s Witnesses’ theology.
When Was Jehovah’s Witness Bible First Written?
Biblical theologians believe the Jehovah’s Witness Bible, or the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, was first written and published in 1961 by the Watchtower Society.
Since then, over 200 million copies have been distributed around the world. Although the identities of the NWT’s original translators are shrouded in mystery, historians suggest that in the early 1960s, Frederick W. Franz and four others (Nathan Knorr, Albert Schroeder, George Gangas, and Milton Henschel) interpreted the book from Koine Greek.
With Frederick being the primary translator, it is believed that he may not have been qualified for the job since, at the time, he had had less than 24 hours of formal classic Greek training from the University of Cincinnati.
How Many Translations of The Jehovah’s Witness Bible Are There?
It is approximated by the Jehovah’s Witness church that its Bible has been translated into over 115 languages, including sign language.
An important doctrine among Jehovah’s Witnesses is that they must be able to spread the Word to all. To facilitate their evangelism work, the Witnesses’ Bible is distributed without charge, meaning all should be able to read it in their mother tongue.
Aside from its physical copies, the New World Translation Bible is available online in about 50 languages.
Is Jehovah’s Witness Bible Accurate?
According to the followers of the Jehovah’s Witness faith, their Biblical translations are accurate and directly inspired by God.
Witnesses believe that the New Translation of the Holy Scriptures is the main way the Lord communicates to us and, therefore, wholeheartedly take their Bible as the gospel truth.
Alternatively, other Biblical interpreters and scholars think that the Jehovah’s Witness Bible is inherently heretic and is a poor, inaccurate translation of God’s Word.
They claim that the authors of this Bible version deviate from the original scripture in many ways. For example, in the New World Translation Bible, there is no mention of Jesus’ death on the cross.
Instead, it refers to the cross as a ‘torture stake’.
As a Christian, I have always been passionate about sharing God’s word with young people. This inspired me to pursue a Certificate in Christian Education, an Undergraduate degree in Religious Studies, and a Graduate degree in Theology. My knowledge in school and experience from dealing with the youth made me an expert at discussing Christian-related topics. I feel privileged working as the Coordinator of the Christian Youth Ministry at Christian Faith Guide. You can read more about me on the about us page.