The Annual Meeting and the NWT Edition 2013

– posted by meleti
Well, the annual meeting is behind us. Many of the brothers and sisters are very excited with the new Bible. It is a beautiful piece of printing, no doubt. We have not had much time to review it, but what we have seen so far seems positive for the most part. It is a practical Bible for the door-to-door witnessing work with its 20 themes in the introduction. Of course, you may want us to steer clear of topic #7. “What does the Bible foretell about our day?”
I’ve heard from several sources—sources largely supportive of Jehovah’s Witnesses—that the meeting came across more like a corporate product launch than a spiritual gathering. Two brothers noted independently that Jesus was only mentioned twice in the course of the entire meeting and even those references were merely incidental.
The purpose of this post is to set up a discussion thread so that we can share viewpoints from the forum community with reference to the NWT Edition 2013. I have received several emails already from different contributors, and would like to share them with the readership.
Before doing that, let me point out something curious in Appendix B1 “The Message of the Bible”.  The subheading reads:

Jehovah God has the right to rule. His method of ruling is best.
His purpose for the earth and for mankind will be fulfilled.

It then goes on listing key dates when this message was revealed. Arguably, in our theology, the most important date in the development of the theme of God’s right to rule would have to be 1914 as the date in which the messianic kingdom was set up in heaven and God’s rulership through his newly enthroned son Jesus Christ put an end to the unchallenged rule of the appointed times of the Gentiles. This occurred in October of 1914 according to what we have been taught for close to a century.  Yet in this appendix timeline, no mention at all is made of this core belief of Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Under the heading, “About 1914 CE”, we are merely told that Jesus cast Satan out of heaven. Please note that this occurs “about” the year of 1914; i.e., on or about 1914 Satan was cast down.  (Apparently, nothing else worthy of note happened at that time.)  The omission of one of the core tenets of our belief is strange, bizarre even—and most definitely foreboding.  One cannot help but wonder if we are being set up for a big, devastating change.
From a friend south of the border (way south of the border) we have this:

Here are some quick observations:

Acts 15:12  “At that the entire group became silent, and they began to listen to Barnabas and Paul relate the many signs and wonders that God had done through them among the nations.”

Most bibles seem to say something like 'the entire assembly' or 'everyone'.  But I find it interesting that they would leave a woodenly literal rendering of Php. 2:6 but see the need to change this.  They are obviously trying to strengthen their position.

Acts 15:24  “…some went out from among us and caused you trouble with what they have said, trying to subvert you, although we did not give them any instructions”

A little damage control, 2000 years later...

At least "asinine zebra" (Job 11.12) is now "wild donkey", and "Horses seized with sexual heat, having [strong] testicles" is now "They are like eager, lustful horses".

I just read random portions of Isaiah and then compared them with the new NWT.  I have to say, it is much improved with respect to readability.
Apollos had this to say about the insertion of Jehovah into the Christian Scriptures.

It was interesting at the meeting that they felt the need to create a straw man over the issue of the divine name in the NT.

Brother Sanderson said that critics of our insertion of the divine name in the Greek Scriptures argue that Jesus’ disciples would have followed the Jewish superstitions of the time. He made it sound as though this was the core argument of scholars, which of course is simply not the case. The scholars disagree with the insertion primarily on the basis that there is no manuscript evidence that it should be inserted.

Then brother Jackson said that we were justified in inserting it on the basis that quotes from the Hebrew Scriptures according to the LXX would have included it. He failed to mention that this accounts for less than half the insertions, and gave no further argument for all the other places in which it has been done.

The last subheading under appendix A5 and the following two pages are more confusing and unsubstantiated than anything that was previously argued. In this version they haven't gone for the J References which were often used as smoke and mirrors (esp. at elders and pioneer schools).  But where is the weight behind saying that the divine name is used in all these other languages in the Greek Scriptures (many of them obscure languages) if you are not going to give the references as to what the translations are? It's completely meaningless as far as I can see, and even weaker than the misrepresentation of the J references. For all this section says it could be one crazy translation that has been officially published and had a run of a few copies in each of these languages. They only vaguely identify three of these versions - the Rotuman Bible (1999),  the Batak (1989) and a Hawaiian version (unnamed) of 1816.  For all we know the rest could be people who have taken it upon themselves to translate the NWT into these other languages. It just doesn't say. If there were any real weight to these versions, I think they would not hesitate to make them explicit.

I would have to agree with the above.  Another friend adds (also quoting from the appendix):

"Without a doubt, there is a clear basis for restoring the divine name, Jehovah, in the Christian Greek Scriptures. That is exactly what the translators of the New World Translation have done.

They have a deep respect for the divine name and a healthy fear of removing anything that appeared in the original text.—Revelation 22:18, 19."

Considering that the basis for 'restoring' the DN in any place other than quotes from the OT is not clear, they apparently lack a 'healthy fear of adding anything that didn't appear in the original text'.

I would have to concur.
In the old NWT reference Bible Appendix 1D, they refer to a theory put forward by George Howard of the University of Georgia about the reason why he feels that the divine name should appear in the NT.  Then they add: “We concur with the above, with this exception: We do not consider this view a “theory,” rather, a presentation of the facts of history as to the transmission of Bible manuscripts.”
This sounds remarkably like the logic that evolutionists use when they refuse to refer to evolution as “a theory”, but as historical fact.
Here are the facts—not supposition nor conjecture, but facts. There are over 5,300 manuscripts or fragments of manuscripts of the Christian Scriptures.  In none of them—not a single one—does the divine name in the form of the tetragrammaton appear.  Our old NWT justified the 237 insertions we have made of the divine name into holy Scripture using what it called J references.  A minority of these, 78 to be precise, are places where the Christian writer references the Hebrew Scriptures. However, they usually do so with a phraseological rendering, rather than a word-for-word quote, so they could have easily put “God” where the original used “Jehovah”.  Be that as it may, the great majority of the J references are not references to the Hebrew Scriptures.  So why then did they insert the divine name in these places?  Because someone, usually a translator producing a version for the Jews, used the divine name.  These versions are only a couple of hundred years old and in some cases, only a few decades old.  Moreover, in every case, they are translations, not original manuscript copies.  Again, no original manuscript contains the divine name.
This raises a question never addressed in our Bible appendices: If Jehovah was capable (and of course he would be, he’s almighty God) of preserving the almost 7,000 references to his divine name in the even older Hebrew manuscripts, why didn’t he do so in at least some of the thousands of manuscripts of the Greek Scriptures.  Could it be it wasn’t there in the first place?  But why wouldn’t it be there?  There are some interesting possible answers to that question, but let’s not get off topic.  We’ll leave that to another time; another post.  The fact is, if the Author chose not to preserve His name, then either he didn’t want it preserved or it wasn’t there in the first place and given that “all Scripture is inspired of God”, he had his reasons.  Who are we to mess with that?  Are we acting like Uzzah?  The warning of Rev. 22:18, 19 is dire.

Missed Opportunities

I’m saddened that the translators haven’t taken this golden opportunity to improve certain passages.  For instance, Matthew 5:3 reads: “Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need…”  The Greek word refers to a person who is destitute; a beggar.  A beggar is one who is not only aware of his abject poverty, but is calling out for help.  A smoker is often conscious of the need to quit, but is not willing to make the effort to do so. Many today are conscious that they lack spirituality, but again make no effort to correct the situation. Simply put, these people are not begging. It would’ve been advantageous if the translating committee had taken this opportunity to restore the emotional content implicit in Jesus words.
Philippians 2:6 is another example. Jason David BeDuhn[i], though praising the accuracy the NWT gives in its the rendering of this verse admits it is  “hyper-literal” and “too convoluted and awkward”.  He suggests, “gave no thought to a seizure of equality,” or “did not consider seizing equality,” or “did not consider grabbing at being equal.” If our goal is improved readability through simplification of the language used, why stick with our former rendering?

NWT 101

The original NWT was largely the product of one man’s efforts, Fred Franz.  Intended as a study Bible, it was supposed to be a literal translation.  It was often very stilted and awkwardly phrased.  Parts of it were virtually incomprehensible.  (When going through the Hebrew prophets in our weekly assigned reading for the TMS, my wife and I would have the NWT in one hand and a couple of other versions in the other, just to refer to when we had no idea what the NWT was saying.)
Now this new edition is presented as a Bible for the field service.  That’s great.  We need something simple to reach people these days.  However, it is not an additional Bible but a replacement.  They explained that in their effort to simplify, they’ve removed over 100,000 words.  However, words are the building blocks of language, and one wonders how much has been lost.
We’ll have to wait and see if this new Bible truly aids our comprehension and helps us to a deeper understanding of Scripture, or if it will merely support the milk-like diet which I’m sad to say has been our weekly fare for many years now.

The Square Brackets Are Gone

In the previous edition, we used square brackets to indicate words that had been added to “clarify the meaning”.  An example of this is 1 Cor. 15:6 which reads in part in the new edition, “…some have fallen asleep in death.” The previous edition read: “…some have fallen asleep [in death]”.  The Greek doesn’t include the “in death”.  The idea of death as merely a state of slumber was something new to the Jewish mind. Jesus introduced the concept repeatedly, most notably in the account of the resurrection of Lazarus. His disciples did not get the point at the time. (John 11:11, 12)  However, after witnessing the various miracles of the resurrection culminating in that of their Lord Jesus, they did get the point. So much so that it became part of the Christian vernacular to refer to death as sleep. I fear that by adding in these words to the holy text, we are not clarifying the meaning at all, but confusing it.
Clear and simple is not always better.  Sometimes we need to challenge, to initially confuse.  Jesus did that.  The disciples were confused by his words initially.  We want people to ask, why it says “fell asleep”. Understanding that death is no longer the enemy and that we should fear it no more than we fear a night’s sleep is a key truth. It would have been better if the first version had not even added the words, “[in death]”, but it is even worse in the new version to make it appear that what is being translated is an accurate rendering of the original Greek. This powerful expression of holy Scripture has been turned into a mere cliché.
We would like to think our Bible contains no bias, but that would be like thinking we humans contain no sin. Ephesians 4:8 used to be rendered “he gave gifts [in] men”.  Now it is simply rendered, “he gave gifts in men.”  At least before we admitted that we were adding the “in”.  Now we make it look like it was there in the original Greek.  The fact is every other translation one can find (There may be exceptions, but I haven’t found them yet.) renders this as “he gave gifts to men”, or some facsimile.  They do this because that’s what the original Greek says. Rendering it as we do supports the idea of an authoritative hierarchy.  We are to view the elders, circuit overseers, district overseers, branch committee members, all the way up to and including the Governing Body as gifts of men which God has given us. However, it is clear from the context as well as the syntax that Paul is referring to spiritual gifts which are given to men. The emphasis is therefore on the gift from God and not on the man.
This new Bible makes it harder for us to pick out these errors.
That is what we have discovered so far. It has only been a day or two that we’ve had this in our hands.  I you don’t have a copy, you can download it from the site. There are also excellent apps for Windows, iOS, and Android.
We look forward to receiving comments from the readership to further our understanding of the impact this new translation will have on our study and preaching work.

[i] Truth in Translation Accuracy and Bias in English Translations of the New Testament – Jason David BeDuhn, p. 61 , par. 1

Archived Comments

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  • Comment by anderestimme on 2013-10-07 23:13:54

    In all fairness, the chart in appendix B1 seems to be an outline of the interaction between the two offsprings (previously seeds) mentioned prophetically in Gen. 3.15. That seems to be why reference is made only to the casting down to the earth of Satan. That also explains the "about 1914" heading. If I'm right, this is nothing new.

    • Reply by apollos0fAlexandria on 2013-10-08 00:59:17

      I have considerable respect for your point of view, but I would appreciate it if you would expand on your "in all fairness.." comment.
      The title of the appendix is "The Message of the Bible". Since I was a child it was impressed upon me that "the theme (message) of the Bible" is God's kingdom. The message as stated in the appendix is God's rulership. So regardless of interactions of any sort, surely any date that we assert as being the beginning of that permanent rulership of God's kingdom would be by far the most important date that could be placed upon the timeline. And every JW knows beyond question that it is 1914 C.E. do they not? It seems extraordinary that in this context the beginning of the messianic rule would be omitted from the timeline. I am still open to the possibility that my perspective is skewed, but if that is so I would appreciate it if someone would clearly point out to me what I am missing.

      • Reply by anderestimme on 2013-10-08 02:01:00

        I think that the title misrepresents what the chart is showing. It's almost like someone in the art department was given the assignment to do a series on the "offspring", and then someone else slapped the "Message of the Bible" title on it. The message of the Bible is intimately related to the prophecy at Gen. 3.15 of the two 'offspring', but there is obviously much more to it than that. I wouldn't necessarily expect the kingdom to figure in a chart on the offspring - though it certainly could - but I would definitely expect to see it on a chart of the "message of the Bible".

        • Reply by apollos0fAlexandria on 2013-10-08 07:57:59

          We surely have to acknowledge by now that none of this stuff is done without the deployment of a fine tooth comb. Personally I can't see this being just a mismatch of semantics between departments.
          Either way let's recognize that the last picture in the series is that of Christ ruling. And the caption is "Future". I believe that Christ rules now (since his ascension to heaven), and will rule the whole earth after his second coming. But there is a disconnect in the timeline between the pictures and our current JW doctrine which places this expanded rulership as 1914. That 'Future' picture of Christ on his throne should clearly be associated with the 1914 slot in order to be in keeping with our "present truth".
          By presenting it the way they have they are leaving open an exit strategy. Whether some "new light" has already been determined, or whether it is simply a matter of leaving the possibility open, I have no clue of course. But I would wager my last mina that it is one or the other.

          • Reply by smolderingwick1 on 2013-10-08 17:00:21

            Ah yes, for which the writing department has given its power to the art department so that our "truth" might be more artfully contrived!

          • Reply by anderestimme on 2013-10-09 12:30:41

            Good points, all. At the very least they may be trying to leave enough wiggle room to explain why WW1 began before October of 1914. But I wouldn't be surprised if they have other plans as well. Perhaps a Rutherford Maneuver is in the wings.

  • Comment by smolderingwick1 on 2013-10-08 00:58:09

    I also have the book by Jason David BeDuhn <-- (notice the spelling).
    Accuracy and Bias in English Translations
    of the New Testament
    THE USE OF "JEHOVAH" IN THE NW (pages 169 to 176)
    While Mr. BeDuhn gives a much needed critical yet favourable comparison of the NWT against seven other Bibles, I thought it good for us all to be apprised of the following criticisms, not just with respect to how many times Jehovah’s name is ‘restored’ to the New Testament but how this has been somewhat inconsistent. I hereby quote the following for your perusal:
    I am referring to the use of “Jehovah” in the NW New Testament. “Jehovah” (or “Yahweh” or some other reconstruction of the divine name consisting of the four consonants YHWH) is the personal name of God used more than six thousand times in the original Hebrew of the Old Testament. But the name never appears in any Greek manuscript of any book of the New Testament. So, to introduce the name “Jehovah” into the New Testament, as the NW does two-hundred-thirty-seven times, is not accurate translation by the most basic principle of accuracy: adherence to the original Greek text.
    Since one-hundred-sixty-seven of the occurrences of “Jehovah” in the NW New Testament are based solely upon these “J texts,” and the “J texts” offer evidence only about other translations, not about the original Greek New Testament, the use of “Jehovah” is not sufficiently justified in these verses. The editors of the NW can still retain the notes indicating that other translations introduce “Jehovah” here (as an indication of the biblical author’s likely reference), while using “Lord” in the text itself, in accordance with the reading of all known Greek manuscripts. But that leaves seventy occurrences of “Jehovah,” supported by the third basis given by the NW editors, to be considered.
    Then there are three more verses where, by the principles applied by the NW editors, “Jehovah” should be used, and yet is not: 2 Thessalonians 1:9; 1 Peter 2:3; and I Peter 3:15. These three passages present a serious problem for the NW translators and their principle of using “Jehovah” based on Old Testament passages with YHWH. The fact that they do not, and apparently cannot, have “Jehovah” in these three passages underscores the problem with the whole idea of using “Jehovah” in the New Testament.
    Take 2 Thessalonians 1:9, for example. Here Paul quotes Isaiah 2:21, which includes YHWH in the Hebrew version and “Lord” in the Septuagint. There is no reason for the NW not to have “Jehovah” here according to its own principles. But in the context of 2 Thessalonians I, Jesus is the primary subject. “Lord” in verse 9 could be taken as a reference to Jesus (not necessarily so, but it is usually read that way). This may be an instance of a New Testament author reapplying an Old Testament passage about YHWH to Jesus because the word “Lord” is ambiguous in its reference. In such a circumstance, the NW editors shy away from using “Jehovah.”
    Likewise, in 1 Peter 2:3 and 3:15, the NW translators have deviated from the principles by which they would normally use “Jehovah,” and they have done so quite obviously because of bias. s In both passages, by taking advantage of the ambiguity of the Greek kztrios (“Lord”), Peter reapplies to Jesus an Old Testament statement that was originally about YHWH.
    The inconsistency of the NW translators in not using “Jehovah” in 2 Thessalonians 1:9, I Peter 2:3, and 1 Peter 3:15 shows that interpretation rather than a principle of translation is involved in deciding where to use “Jehovah.” If the NW translators stick consistently to using “Jehovah” whenever an Old Testament passage containing God’s personal name is quoted in the New Testament, that is a translation principle of a sort (whether one agrees with it or not). But if in such cases they sometimes use “Jehovah” and sometimes revert to “Lord,” then they are interpreting the reference of the biblical author. Once we recognize that interpretation is involved, and see three examples where this interpretation has led the translators not to use “Jehovah,” we must wonder if they have been correct to use it in all seventy of those other occurrences. Couldn’t there be other passages among them where, as apparently in 2 Thessalonians 1:9, I Peter 2:3, and 1 Peter 3:15, the reference of the verse has been redirected to Jesus? By moving beyond translation of the Greek to an interpretation, the translator ventures from the bedrock of the text to the shifting sands of opinion—and that’s a risky move to make.
    For that very reason, interpretation is best left to commentaries on the Bible, or to notes in a Bible translation. It is certainly right and proper for a note to inform the reader that the original Hebrew of the verse being quoted has YHWH; and the Jehovah’s Witnesses are perfectly entitled to believe what they do about the importance of God’s name among Jesus and his disciples. But “restoring” that name in the New Testament itself is unnecessary for either purpose. For the NW to gain wider acceptance and prove its worth over its competitors, its translators will have to rethink the handling of these verses, and they may find that that rethinking needs to extend to the use of “Jehovah” in the New Testament at all.

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2013-10-08 07:59:24

      Thank you for taking the time to share this reference with us. I have the book but had forgotten the valid point he makes about the inconsistency of our translation rule.

      • Reply by GodsWordisTruth on 2013-10-23 16:56:53

        I am curious…. Based on what you have written regarding the inconsistencies of the GB translation of Jehovah's name, do you intend on using this Bible at all? I find it hard to truly get the message of God if in fact the translators were more interested in interpretation than translation.

        • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2013-10-23 22:04:08

          A very good question. Truth be told, there is no Bible translation out there today which I find 100% satisfying to read or study with. However, I do have to give high marks to the brothers who programmed the JW.ORG app which I used on my tablet. If you are reading the Christian scriptures in the new Bible on that app, you'll notice a small button like a slider switch in the upper right corner of the screen. Use that to open a right panel. There will be three icons, and the rightmost is a number 1 with three horizontal lines beside it. Touch that and then touch any verse number and the right panel will fill with the Reference Bible, Interlinear, Byington, ASV and KJV, so it is easy so see if one should read Lord or God when Jehovah's name appears in the text. I find that helpful when trying to get the flavor of the original.

          • Reply by GodsWordisTruth on 2013-10-24 09:26:49

            Great idea! I am going to start using the app today .. thanks!

          • Reply by smolderingwick1 on 2013-10-24 12:17:29

            I am currently focused on the Ancient Hebrew Research center which has produced an entire Bible called the Mechanical Translation, rendering each word in it most ancient Hebrew form.
            It considers the more recent findings surrounding the preservation of the original Hebrew language discovered since the Dead Sea Scrolls. The author makes remarkable sense by delving more deeply into the meanings of the original concrete Hebrew language and culture that cannot be grasped by our abstract, Greco-Roman cultured minds.
            There is a Youtube video called "This Is My Name" that I believe all brothers should watch. This and others from the AHR center fill in many gaps in our understanding and I suggest that we would all do ourselves a favour by watching them. The important thing is to realize that the Bible text cannot be fully grasped because Hebrew thinking is far more concrete than our abstract minds. Once we know Hebrew language and culture, we know how we humans were meant to think and how we were originally communicated with, The Biblical message is so much richer once we understand the simplicity of how concrete the message was originally conveyed to us....before it was infected by the abstract Greek and Roman language and culture.

            • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2013-10-24 13:16:33

              Thank you, SmolderingWick1. That is an excellent set of videos. I've included the links for those who wish to view them. I now understand "I am that I am" as never before.
              The videos are in two parts:
              Part 1
              Part 2

            • Reply by GodsWordisTruth on 2013-10-25 09:17:58

              I throughly enjoyed these videos! I loved the depth of his explanation of rendering of that Hebrew word.

        • Reply by smolderingwick1 on 2013-10-23 22:55:34

          Hello GodsWordisTruth,
          Yes it is true that interpretation has been the mainstay of JW translation. So is every other translation, since BeDuhn was particularly focused on the bias of ALL translations. While most translations swing to the bias of the "Jesus-is-God" theology, the WT overcompensates to the Jesus-is-merely-an-angel theology. Which is why our focus here should be that which examines translation WITHOUT bias, a challenge since all translations are biased to the religion publishing them.

          • Reply by GodsWordisTruth on 2013-10-24 09:57:41

            I totally agree. Human imperfection and theology affects translation. I'm currenly enjoying the 1890 Darby translation.....I dislike having to flip to bibles during my bible reading but I have done so for year. I believe that Jehovah has the power to preserve his word. "Big scriptures" such as John 1:1 which could drastically change a person's view about God and who is troubling..

            • Reply by GodsWordisTruth on 2013-10-24 09:58:35

              sorry for the typos smh

        • Reply by GodsWordisTruth on 2013-10-25 09:52:47

          I have been studying the appendixes in the newly released bible. The inconsistency of rendering Jehovah’s name wherever they feel like it is annoying and alarming. Why is their focus so one-sided ? Why not “restore” or put Jesus’ name in the Old Testament or even the New Testament where they feel like Jesus is being clearly referenced in the scriptures? Or put Jesus’ name in the scriptures that Paul used to prove to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah ….. It’s a slippery slope. This Bible in no way deserves to be mainstream. It’s no wonder people that we meet in the ministry object to us having “our own bible”. On a side note, I have thoroughly enjoyed the articles on this site… While I may not agree with some of the information presented … I enjoy a safe “site” where there is not bitter or disgruntled JWs rambling (without presenting well reasoned arguments or facts) about their gripes with the organization. Rather there is healthy discussion about the teachings and the Bible. Although we are encouraged by the GB to follow their lead ( blindly I might add) there is nothing wrong with training and exercising OUR perceptive powers to be able to distinguish both right and wrong. Thanks Meleti!

          • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2013-10-25 10:01:34

            You are most welcome, and I quite agree with you on our policy of inserting Jehovah's name wherever the fancy takes us. In fact, I'm releasing a new post later today on the reasoning in the new Bible's A5 appendix.
            I look forward to your comments.

  • Comment by Harrison Webster on 2013-10-08 03:48:24

    Thank you for this early appraisal of the Annual Meeting, and the new NWT. Just a small aside first, I am a well known pedant, and noticed a typo in your opening words, you wrote tenents, I am sure you were meaning to type "Tenets."
    I find it not only strange, but somewhat sinister, that they are openly distancing themselves from their former enthusiasm for 1914.
    I do realise that as close on 100 years have passed they will of necessity have to explain the lack of any visible evidence for the Kingdom rule, but it seems as though as in all recent changes, they wish to slip this one in subtly and slowly, with no explanation. Perhaps they hope it will fade from memory.
    I am increasingly saddened that the religion I was born in to in the early 1950's is now gone. In those days we could make a robust defence of our beliefs, or so it seemed to me as a callow youth, We believed we stood for Truth.
    Any changes in teaching were explained at length in the Watchtower and elsewhere.
    Today it seems that the whole religion is moving toward being a more mainstream belief system, driven not by truth, but by the need to keep the Organization functioning financially.
    I felt a great emptiness after what was hyped as being an "Historic" Annual Meeting came to a close, there seemed to be nothing much of a spiritual nature to take home with me.
    I will not be in a position to attend another A. Meeting, nor shall I attend again a Kingdom Hall, so I do appreciate your keeping us up to date with what is happening
    I shall be interested to read of others reactions to the Meeting and to the new Bible.
    Thank you again for your refreshingly honest views.

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2013-10-08 08:06:27

      As one pedant to another, I thank you, Harrison. I've made that correction. It slipped by me despite a triple proofread. Your perception is, I fear, most accurate. 1914 is such a core doctrine to our religious identity that they have to be very careful how they deal with it. It is becoming increasingly untenable, so it appears they are laying the seeds for a change now. It could be many years before the end result is achieved. Rutherford quietly abandoned 1874 and reassigned the presence to 1914 in a Golden Age article (notice, not the Watchtower) in 1929. The Warwick project is slated for completion in 2017. The money will have to keep coming in. However, a truly spiritual consideration would not be concerned with that, but with reestablishing truth.

      • Reply by anderestimme on 2013-10-09 12:45:07

        Not to be out-pedantified, you also have NTW in a few places instead of NWT.

        • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2013-10-09 13:31:03

          That's my mild dyslexia kicking in.

    • Reply by apollos0fAlexandria on 2013-10-08 08:25:13

      Do I understand you correctly that you were at the annual meeting but have decided to cut your ties to the congregation as of now? If so I am really sorry to hear that.
      I also felt that this event was not a spiritual one, but rather more akin to a corporate product launch. But I found myself a little caught up in the hype and know that one side of me was rationalizing that perhaps it was necessary for this meeting to have had this particular focus. And then the other side of my brain swings back and says yes, but this is being heralded as an historic event by all JW's so what excuse is there really to not have used it to demonstrate how the "faithful slave" really draws us to to his Master - Jesus Christ?
      The truth of the matter can clearly be demonstrated by the fruit of the lips of the faithful. Where were the minds of the audience focused? The common thread of everyone talking about this is so overwhelmingly obvious. "What a privilege it was to see and hear those of the GB who are taking the lead."
      Harrison - I don't know you, and I'm not making any assumptions, but whatever path you are taking please do not allow this to dent your personal spirituality and relationship with God.
      Your brother,

  • Comment by Chris on 2013-10-08 04:20:07

    Just a thought
    Maybe the reason YHWH is not included in the NT has nothing to do with Jewish superstition but rather the fact that Jehovah WANTS the emphasis to be on Christ.
    Jehovah is not insecure, he is not threatened by Jesus role but rather trusts him implicitly to fulfill the role that He Himself has appointed him to - as Head of the Christian Congregation and King of God's Kingdom
    In some ways by constantly focusing on Jehovah and themselves they have effectively cut Jesus out of his glorious position.
    They are like a group of employees who think too much of themselves by trying to deal directly with the Owner of a company, when that same owner has put his son in charge and told everyone in the company to contact Him by means of His son and to listen to His son's instruction.
    This is an attitude the GB & WTS manifests consistently.

    • Reply by apollos0fAlexandria on 2013-10-08 08:05:37

      I agree Chris. We demonstrate a double standard in translation and logic when we claim that God's Word is accurate and has been miraculously preserved by him in order to avoid the usual problems that would beset historical documents handed down through such a long period. And then we say that He was somehow incapable of preserving his name in the NT, so we have to do the job for him.
      No. The scriptures clearly contain a shift in order to focus on Christ. This shift does nothing to detract from the Father. It enhances and glorifies Yahweh if we accept it as it has been handed down to us.

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2013-10-08 08:07:57

      Well said, both of you.

    • Reply by smolderingwick1 on 2013-10-08 10:34:30

      Interesting. In my profession I deal with family companies and this brought me into exactly that, i.e., a son being inducted into authority over a family company in which the president, director and general manager eventually had to be fired along with their support staff when it was determined they were conniving against the son.

      • Reply by Chris on 2013-10-09 23:28:19

        That's classic :)

  • Comment by miken on 2013-10-08 06:29:19

    "The Square Brackets Are Gone" This is not a new feature of this NWT 2013 revision as square brackets were removed in the 2006 printing.

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2013-10-08 08:09:59

      You're right. That slipped my notice because my old reference Bible still has them and they still show up in the WTLib which I use almost exclusively.

      • Reply by crazyguy on 2013-10-08 11:43:13

        I am going to start reading a section of the bible to my children once a week for family worship. I personally have been using a Holman Christian bible, also a bible app on my phone and referenceing the Greek interlinear. After looking at the new jw bible I went out and bought a new king James bible that I will be reading to my children. I have found that every religion produces for themselves a bible that pushes their dogma, the jw are nothing special in this area for they are doing the same.

      • Reply by Andronicus on 2013-10-08 13:13:01

        I was disappointed that the "new light" Brother Pierce mentioned we would be getting during the course of the program never materialized.

  • Comment by tjhavens08 on 2013-10-08 12:26:42

    "I’ve heard from several sources—sources largely supportive of Jehovah’s Witnesses—that the meeting came across more like a corporate product launch than a spiritual gathering."
    Religion = Big Business
    Being raised a JW and still having family practice the religion this new translation of the bible is just another reason for me to never go back to the congregation. Is it really necessary to "dumb down" the scriptures even more? How many times have the bibles been translated with MEN feeling like this word or this sentence, "sounds better for the times".

    • Reply by anderestimme on 2013-10-09 12:19:17

      Religion quite often is little more than "big business", but I've never heard of WT reps living in the kind of obscene opulence that characterizes the clergy of other churches of Christendom. They certainly do manage an awful lot of money, and big, empire-like organizations have a way of becoming their own reason to exist. Is that what you meant?
      I'm not sure what you're saying about translation. Do mean that Bible translation should be done by women, or by non-humans? Of all the possible reasons to 'never go back', this seems like an odd one.

      • Reply by tjhavens08 on 2013-10-09 13:58:51

        When I said men I meant humans, like we aren't perfect so why are messing with something that is supposed to be the divine word of god. There are hundreds of reasons why I will never go back. It doesn't feel right in my bones and over the years I have just learned to listen to my intuition. This is just another reason not to go back.

  • Comment by emilyjeff on 2013-10-08 13:59:02

    I’d just like to make a few comments on my take of the AGM. My first reaction was that it seemed to be more of a performance, a way to present the GB as “nice guys.” As a JW friend commented afterward “I liked seeing the personalities of the Governing Body, they do have a sense of humor.” It appeared to be more of a vehicle for presenting the members of the GB than for the presentation of a new revised Bible. I don’t know if anyone else picked up on the inappropriate way in which Shul, which means synagogue, was referred to when one of the GB was joking about pronouncing the word “schedule” in the British or Australian way. To me that was an anti-Semitic remark and unworthy of one of the so called FDS. As I’ve mentioned, I come from New York and have had many Jewish friends so I am very aware of how demeaning that reference would be to them. I was also offended, as a woman, by the cavalier way women were referred to by saying the new Bible is “sister proof.” I feel these slights to Jewish people and women were used to ingratiate the GB to the crowd which responded with laughter. You would think that the introduction of a new, revised Bible would be a more spiritual event. Instead it was presented in such a way that the GB overshadowed the Bible. It was a dog and pony show.
    These things may seem minor but to me they reveal the mindset of those who are leaders of the JW organization. Not a very spiritual group of men. You would not find Jesus making fun of anyone. It makes me wonder how they speak of the rank and file members when no one is there to hear them.
    As far as being impressed by this new improved version of the NWT I’m underwhelmed by what I have seen so far. I’m afraid it is no better than I expected. I will continue to use Bible Hub to compare various translations when I do my research.

    • Reply by Andronicus on 2013-10-08 15:25:34

      Nicely stated, emilyjeff. The corporate-like presentation by the members of the board of directors did not endear me to thse brothers at all. Funny how this meeting followed on the heels of the last article in the July 15th Watchtower.

    • Reply by Dorcas on 2013-10-08 17:56:50

      I couldn't agree with you more. We seem to be on the same page. I love your expression, "dog and pony show." 'tis true, 'tis true. Anti-semitic and misogynistic remarks least to my ears....have no place in the Christian congregation.

    • Reply by Jude on 2013-10-09 10:16:53

      I just wish to make one correction or observation with regard to your statement about the joking use of 'shul'. The Governing Body member was not referring to 'shul' which means synagogue. He was jokingly mispronouncing 'school'. His implied joke was that since they pronounce the sch in schedule as sh, then they should also pronounce the sch in school as sh, thus shool and not school. He was saying shool, not shul.

      • Reply by anderestimme on 2013-10-09 12:33:22

        I also heard one GB member use the word "kiss", which is a bad word in some Native American languages. The guy is practically Custer reincarnated.

        • Reply by apollos0fAlexandria on 2013-10-13 08:38:10


  • Comment by mdnwa on 2013-10-09 01:47:17

    My friend told me that the release of the bible and the annual meeting was historic... I keep thinking something must be wrong with my train of thought because I didn't find anything "historic" about either the meeting or release.

  • Comment by Harrison Webster on 2013-10-09 03:58:00

    I find it fascinating, and heart-warming that a good number of you good people are seeing and feeling what I am. I feel that in recent time scales have fallen from my eyes and I can really see the Organization for what it has become at the top level.
    This in no way changes the great love I feel for my Brothers and Sisters, so many that I do not know personally, but the hundreds that I do know are lovely, and loving, people who simply wish to serve Jehovah as best they can, and wish their fellow man would come to a knowledge of Him.
    An example of this love is the thoughts expressed to me by Apollos, for which I thank him, and I wish to reassure him that in no way is it my intention to cease what I see as living a life which praises a loving God..
    But as I said before, I am a lover of Truth, and I now see that the Organization is simply not based upon truth, and no openness is evident in their dealings, they seem intent on slyly changing all they have taught in the past in such a way that many will not notice the changes.
    That which is changed cannot have been "The Truth", and yet they will not honestly acknowledge that they have been misleading us.
    Though I shall continue to try to strengthen my faith, I feel I now have to examine, in a clinical, and forensic way ,what about my beliefs is really truth.
    I need to look at what I believe without my upbringing colouring my conclusions, or explanations of Scripture.
    I do not wish to be serving an Organization that consists of obfuscations,half-truths and deceit. The God of Truth is who I wish to serve, and it is my feeling that He will show me my path.
    I thank you all here again, and wish you all well in your spiritual journey,and may our great God lead you too to find Truth.

    • Reply by Observer17 on 2013-10-09 09:39:49

      Beautifully worded, Harrison!
      My exact sentiments!
      I guess I've been feeling this way, for a long, long time too, as are many others. But, I just needed to hear someone else, say it.
      Here's a positive thought though: Ever think this is precisely what's expressed by the inspired prophet, at Isaiah 49:4? Seems to me, to be saying the same thing.
      Anyway, if you ever want to talk privately, I'm at:

    • Reply by Observer17 on 2013-10-11 12:22:24

      To "Harrison" or any one who wishes to respond:
      Harrison, you mentioned above:
      "...But as I said before, I am a lover of Truth, and I now see that the Organization is simply not based upon truth, and no openness is evident in their dealings, they seem intent on slyly changing all they have taught in the past in such a way that many will not notice the changes.
      That which is changed cannot have been “The Truth”, and yet they will not honestly acknowledge that they have been misleading us.
      Though I shall continue to try to strengthen my faith, I feel I now have to examine, in a clinical, and forensic way ,what about my beliefs is really truth.
      I need to look at what I believe without my upbringing colouring my conclusions, or explanations of Scripture.
      I do not wish to be serving an Organization that consists of obfuscations,half-truths and deceit. The God of Truth is who I wish to serve, and it is my feeling that He will show me my path."
      Agreed. I can see exactly where you are coming from.
      I was wondering:
      According to the Bible, Jehovah provided much needed INSPIRED LEADERSHIP in the first century and in ancient times (like in the days of Moses), and yet are we to believe He refuses to see the need of providing it for His loyal servants, in our day and time??? Does this make sense to see things this way, as Jehovah's Witnesses world wide teach? Does this seem consistent on God's part, to all here? (See John 16:13, 14)
      ...Just wondering.

  • Comment by Mike on 2013-10-09 11:02:21

    My overall impression of the meeting was that they were "selling" us something - and it wasn't just the new bible. In this regard, I believe the use of comedy by the members of the GB was as deliberate a strategy as was the mass invitation of congregations worldwide, to the meeting.
    Coming right on the heels of new light stating that they alone comprise the faithful and discreet slave, it seems obvious that they were intent showing themselves to all as very human and easy going brothers - a way of trying to set the minds of the brothers at ease about their sudden exclusive exaltation as being sole members of the FDS. it's as if they were saying:
    "Oh don't think too much about our recent change in status. We're not being arrogant or high and mighty. We're just normal, easy going brothers like the rest of you. Look we even have a sense of humor, see? And we can even take criticism too. Here I'll prove it, listen as I humbly read this letter from a sister lambasting us for not having any bibles available for a while"
    They were going out of their way to sell themselves as easy going brothers who don't think too much of themselves, as a way of counteracting the impression of many that they have made a "power grab" by the new teaching that they alone comprise the faithful and discreet slave.
    The presentation of the new JW Library app made me very uncomfortable. It seemed very materialistic, very 'go for the latest technology of the world' driven. How does that square with the admonition to "not be loving the things in the world."? I couldn't help but imagine many young people in low income homes using the new JW Library app as an argument to pressure their parents into buying them one of the new smart phones or I-pads. They seem to be working against their own counsel a few years ago where they discouraged getting too caught up with technology. But even more disturbing is that that presentation left me wondering if it doubled as a product placement advertisment for Windows 8, Android, I-phone, etc. It made me honestly wonder if they had an advertising contract with those firms. I wonder what Jesus made of it.
    Having said all of that, I like the format of the new bible, especially the cover. They did well in retranslating John 17:3. "Coming to know" or "knowing" is definitely a more accurate rendering of the Greek than "taking in knowledge". Unfortunately they didn't correct other problem verses like 2 Peter 2:11 which continues to have the spurious addition "not doing so out of respect for" which as been shortened in the new edition to "out of respect for". No other English translation that I've seen explicitly attributes motive to the angels' action - nor does the Greek text.

  • Comment by emilyjeff on 2013-10-09 11:14:35

    Jude, perhaps you are unfamiliar with the word Shul which in Yiddish can also mean school. The Governing Body member who made that remark should have been more careful when making jokes that could misinterpreted as anti-Semitic. In one of the congregations I belonged to in NY I was present when a definitely anti Semitic joke was made at the expense of a brother who happened to be a converted Jewish JW member of the congregation. This remark was made by an elder in front of the whole congregation. Whatever that GB member had in mind when making that reference in this day of political correctness he should been more careful.

    • Reply by smolderingwick1 on 2013-10-09 12:31:20

      Having a very good Jewish friend I am well aware that only Jews are allowed to make fun of Yiddish and only to fellow Jews. Fortunately he regards me as a Yiddish wannabe.

  • Comment by miken on 2014-02-12 16:42:31

    Square Brackets and "Union With"
    In 1950 the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society published its translation of the Christian Greek scriptures and subsequently in 1961 the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures incorporating both the Hebrew/Aramaic and Greek texts. Critics of the 1950 edition pointed out that there was no indication in that edition of words not in the original Greek texts that had been inserted. The Society responded in 1961 by adding square brackets around the majority but by no means all words inserted (ie 2Cor 5:17,19) in their translation not in either the original Hebrew/Aramaic and Greek texts. However no comment was made to that effect in the forward of the 1961 edition. The forward to the 1961 edition opens with the words
    "It is a very responsible thing to translate the Holy Scriptures from their original languages, Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, into modern speech". Further on the forward continues " The translators who have a fear and love of the divine Author of the Holy Scriptures feel especially a responsibility toward Him to transmit his thoughts and declarations as accurately as possible".
    By the liberal insertion of words not in the original texts, and to a lesser extent omission of words that are in the texts, the translation committee (Fred Franz, Nathan Knorr, George Gangas and Albert Schroeder, see Ray Franz Crisis of Conscience page 56, footnote), it appears did not have enough fear and love of the divine Author of the Holy Scriptures and responsibility toward Him to transmit his thoughts and declarations as accurately as possible. They ignored the biblical counsel at Deut 4:2, 12:32; Prov 30:6 and Rev 22:18, 19 not to add to or take away from God's word.
    The brackets first appear to be mentioned in the "By Way of Explanation" on page 6 of the Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures published in 1969. To Quote " BRACKETS: in the English readings (interlinear's and main) brackets occur. These denote that the word or words enclosed have been inserted by the translator to make some application that is shown by the Greek word or to show something that is understood along with the Greek word because of its grammatical form". This was repeated in the 1985 interlinear edition and in the introduction of the 1984 New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures With References, Introduction page 7, "BRACKETS: Single brackets [ ] enclose words inserted to complete the sense of the English text. Double brackets [[ ]] suggest interpolations (insertions of foreign material) in the original text. -See Luke 23:19, 34". These brackets were never used to surround the name Jehovah inserted into their Christian Greek scriptures despite the tetragrammaton not being found in any of the existing Greek manuscripts and fragments of the New Testament. The square brackets were eventually quietly eliminated in the 2006 printing of the New World Translation and remain missing in the 2013 revised edition. This now means those using the revised version including those having bible studies with Jehovah's Witnesses have no indication of where words have either been added or omitted. For instance the addition of the word "other" at Col 1:16,17,20 goes beyond making "some application that is shown by the Greek word or to show something that is understood along with the Greek word because of its grammatical form". There is no justification on the basis of the Greek text to insert "other" except to support a theological bias that Jesus was created and not the uncreated creator of all things.
    In connection with Jesus Christ the translation committee in their Christian Greek scriptures have inserted "union with" after the original Greek "in" eighty six times. Why would this make a difference? Surely all Christians would want to be "in union" with and "united" with Christ (Rom 6:5). There is a very significant difference between being "in union with" someone and being "in" someone. Jehovah's Witnesses would readily agree they are in union with their fellow witnesses in terms of their theological beliefs, morality, organizational direction and general lifestyle. They would not claim to be "in" or "indwell" each other the way demons inhabited people in Christ's day (Matt 12:22). If John thought the words of Jesus recorded at John 15:4-8 and 17:21-23, 26 meant "union with" then he would have used the Greek word for union "Sun" (Strong 4862) instead of the word "En" (Strong 1722). Thayers Greek-English Lexicon of the NT defines "En" with reference to a person as "in the person, nature, soul, thought of anyone". Romans 7:17,20 well illustrates the use of "in" (En) with regard to the indwelling of sin in a person.
    That Christ and his spirit should be "in" Christians is shown by the scriptures at Rom 8:9b,10 and 2 Cor 13:3,5. Further insight into the need of Christ being "in" a Christian is shown at Eph 3:17, to quote "to have the Christ dwell through [your] faith in your hearts with love, that you may be rooted and established on the foundation". Verse 19 adds "and to know (Greek Ginosko, Strong 1097) the love of the Christ". In Eph 3:17 the Greek word for "dwell" is "Katoikeo" (Strong 2730). In its literal sense it signifies "to settle down in a dwelling, to dwell fixedly in a place". With regard to Christ it refers to the "indwelling" of Christ in the hearts of believers ("may make a home in your hearts"). This dwelling of both the Father and Christ within Christians is referred to by Jesus recorded at John 14:23 "if anyone loves me, he will observe my word, and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him and make our abode with him". The Greek word for "abode" is "Mone" (Strong 3438) also signifying "dwelling place, a staying, ie residence"). Of "Mone" Thayer comments "to make an (ones) abode of God and Christ by their power and spirit exerting a most blessed influence on the souls of believers".
    The vast majority of Jehovah's Witnesses do not experience being "in" Christ, through being "born again" (John 3:3, 5, 7), and experience the indwelling of his spirit through a personal relationship with him. Even those who claim to be "spirit anointed" lack a personal relationship with Christ because they have been instructed not to communicate with him directly. Being "in" Christ and Christ "in" us means far more than being in "union with" him. This is just one example of a significant number of scriptures where the unjustified insertion into the English translation of the original texts by the New World translation committee distorts the original meaning.

    • Reply by smolderingwick1 on 2014-02-12 20:34:55

      Thanks for bringing that out miken. The square brackets have always bothered me, even as people I witness to notice we've "interpreted," not "translated" the text within. To remove the brackets entirely makes it all the more obvious AND important to reference the Interlinear, Byington, ASV and KJV.
      Makes me wonder why they didn't just remove the offending word between the brackets and stop making it such an obvious target for our accusers of translating bias.

  • Comment by miken on 2014-02-13 11:17:40

    What It Means to be "In Christ"
    Whether by design or simply through ignorance, the Watchtower Society has systematically programmed the vast majority of Jehovah's Witnesses to resist and reject the essence of Jesus' message to his followers- how to live the awesome privilege and joy of being in a close relationship with him.
    When the "other sheep," most Jehovah's Witnesses who hope to live on a paradise earth, read the New Testament, they believe that Jesus is seldom speaking directly to them. Not only will they never be "in union with Christ" because that is reserved for only the 144,000 who will rule in heaven, Jesus is not even their mediator. In addition, the New World Translation of the Bible has surreptitiously substituted "Jehovah" for many occurrences of the word "Lord" in the New Testament, so that Jehovah becomes everything, and Jesus is relegated to the position of Jehovah's subservient Son. Jesus said as recorded at John 5:23 that all should "honour the Son just as (Greek Kathos-exactly) they honour the Father. He that does not honour the Son does not honour the Father who sent him". Can Jehovah's Witnesses honestly say they honour Christ JUST AS (exactly) as they honour the Father?
    If Jehovah's Witnesses were to read the New Testament without the Watchtower interpretation influencing them they would soon realize that the "other sheep" of John 10:16 are the Gentiles, not a separate earthly class. That means that all of them have the one hope (Ephesians 4:4) of living in a new heaven and a new earth with Christ as king. Now, suddenly, Jesus is speaking directly to them when he describes the close relationship he longs to have with them. He says he wants to dwell within them, become so much a part of them that he supplies their every need. The illustration he used to explain this is found at John 15:4,5
    "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me: I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing".

    • Reply by Dieter G. on 2014-12-31 19:49:20

      I'm just an old exJW man after 50 years in the that association, involved believer, practicer and all.
      The biggest problem about having this wonderful relationship with Jesus must be the cognitive failure of Christianity incl. Bible Students, Jehovah's Witnesses and other fringe dwellers alike, to come to terms with the reality that Jesus is still and forevermore dead.
      Jesus, being the sacrifice to save the lives of others, dying in their stead as a Passover lamb and Atonement offering, could not possibly have taken his life back without those saved losing theirs. He died in their place, My Goodness!
      The religious elite miss, for pride of place, two vital ingredients of Scripture:
      1. The OT foundation for the NT, where Jesus, the Apostles and all other NT correspondents based their entire fabric of arguments, reasoning and evidence solely on the OT in the context of the current affairs in their world . . . and
      2. Audience relevance as defined in the use of plural personal pronouns certainly in the OT by Prophet, but primarily in the NT by Apostle and others.
      In the OT type there were three individual characters whereas in the NT fulfillment, the self-appointed leaders of Christianity of the early Centuries decided that there were only two! In the type: Abraham's only-begotten son Isaac was offered, while a saving sheep substituted, so that in actual fact Isaac DIED IN THE SHEEP.
      Did the sheep come back, have a resurrection, perhaps currently residing in a far flung meadow, requiring Isaac to have forfeited his? Israel would NEVER have seen the light of day. But wait, there's more, but not here at this time.
      May start a topic if management allows.

      • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2014-12-31 21:48:06

        The way you have worded your comment seems to be a denial of the resurrection of Jesus. This is clearly contrary to what is declared in Scripture. 1 Cor. 15:13-15
        Are we reading you correctly?

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