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Jehovah's Witnesses and

The New Testament Translation of R. F. Weymouth

The Watchtower and Bible Tract Society usually quotes scripture from their own translation titled the New World Translation (N.W.T.). They have also quoted from numerous other translations in the attempt to support their various unique interpretations of doctrine.

One good example of their use of many different translations is found in their book titled "Aid To Bible Understanding" which was published in 1971. On page 7 in the Forward there are a list of abbreviations for the more commonly quoted translations used throughout the book. This list has no less than forty-two entries. One of these is "The New Testament in Modern Speech (1902)" by Richard Francis Weymouth.

It is interesting to examine a copy of this translation and compare what its rendering is compared to the Watchtower's view of several important doctrinal points. Here are five for your consideration. [The bold italics have been added for emphasis.]

Truth Today, or Truly Today?


"I tell you in solemn truth," replied Jesus, that this very day you shall be with me in Paradise." Luke 23:43

In this instance Weymouth's translation confirms, supports and makes the orthodox position that Jesus was telling the penitent thief that on the very day of their crucifixion they would be together in paradise. The Watchtower inserts a comma after the word "today" in their translation (which doesn't exist in the Greek manuscript) in order to deny the plain fact of what Jesus said. Examination of many other translations and/or a Greek Interlinear will show that Weymouth's translation is correct.

A Materialized Body?


"... in the midst of their conversation and discussion, Jesus Himself came and joined them, though they were prevented from recognizing Him." Luke 24:15

Again here Weymouth has indicated what most other translations are saying

about the reason why the two men did not recognize Jesus right away. It was not as the Watchtower suggests that Jesus materialized a fake body different in appearance than what He had before the crucifixion.

Nature of God


"Although from the beginning He had the nature of God He did not reckon His equality with God a treasure to be tightly grasped. Nay, He stripped Himself of His glory, and took on Him the nature of a bondservant by becoming a man like other men." Philippians 2:6

In this verse we find two contradictions to Watchtower teachings, namely the Deity of Jesus and His possession of equality with God. The "nature of God" (which is unchangeable) compared to the "nature of a bondservant" clearly shows the Divine nature of Jesus before "stripping Himself of His glory" and his humanity which he took on while on earth.

The Watchtower would have people believe that Jesus existed as an angel, Michael to be specific, a created being prior to coming to earth. In addition, they try to say that Paul is claiming that Jesus never claimed to be equal with God. On the contrary this passage shows that Jesus in His complete obedience was willing to give up the equality He already had with His Father rather than tightly holding on to it in a selfish manner. Clearly this passage does not have Jesus being reluctant or unwilling to grasp after equality with the Father as the Watchtower asserts.

I and the Father are one. John 10:30


The Watchtower's position is that Jesus was claiming that He and the Father were one in purpose. Weymouth adds a most interesting footnote that appeals to the precise nature of the Greek language used to record the words of Jesus in this passage. The footnote says

"6. Are one] It is important to observe that "eonei" (Greek characters may not print out correctly) here is neuter, not masculine as in the similar expression in Gal. 3: 28. Our Lord here affirms that He and His Father, being two Persons (masculine), have and are one nature (neuter).

Who Judges?


"The Father indeed does not judge anyone, but He has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son; even as they honor the Father. "The man who withholds honor from the Son withholds honor from the Father who sent Him." John 5:22-23

One of the plainest topics the Watchtower has stated about coming judgment is contained in an article titled "The True Lord Comes For Judgment (WT July 1, 1989). The WT position is that Jehovah is the true Lord (not Jesus) and that Jehovah is coming as judge. Is this position in harmony with what the text says? According to Jesus Himself, the Father judges no one and Jesus will be judge of everyone.

Same Honor To Jesus?


One of my choicest questions in discussion with several Jehovah's Witnesses is this.

"Do you give the same honor to Jesus as you render to Jehovah?"

Almost without exception the answer is a definite "no". When John 5:22-23 is pointed out to them, a few of them will say that they give both equal honor, but that they only give worship to Jehovah. The implication is that "honour" is only a type of respect while worship is supposedly different. Considering how Israel "honoured" Jehovah by observing the feasts, offering daily sacrifices, observing the weekly and monthly Sabbaths, etc., it is untenable to suggest as the WT does, that these acts can be separated into honor and distinctly different worship in some way.

The question then that every Jehovah's Witness needs to ask themselves considering these passages is this. "Do you honor the Son even as (or the same as) you honor the Father or do you withhold honor from both Jesus and the Father by withholding honor from Jesus?" To withhold the same honor given to the Father from Jesus by His own words means you are not honoring the Father (Jehovah) at all. It doesn't matter how many meetings you attend or how many hours of service you put in, to deny rightful honor to Jesus, the same honor as to the Father, you deny honor to both of Them.

Why not make a bold, difficult, and perhaps even painful decision to put your full trust in Jesus alone as your Savior? It is a decision you will never regret as Jesus Himself says

"...and him who comes to me I will never on any account drive away." John 6:37

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