If you think you’ve never met a Jehovah’s Witness, think again. Has anyone ever come to your door and given you a free copy of a small magazine called “The Watchtower?” I remember Jehovah’s Witnesses coming to my house when I was a boy. My father talked with them for a short time, then they left. I’ve learned that JWs do not want to talk with someone who believes the Bible. They are looking for people with little knowledge about Scripture.
When you ask a Jehovah’s Witness why they believe what they do, they’ll often say it’s “what the Bible teaches”. Ask them to show you a copy of their Bible. They will be carrying The New World Translation – the official Jehovah’s Witness Bible. The NWT was translated by five Jehovah’s Witness leaders during the middle of the 20th century. Only one of them had any background in Bible languages and that was just a couple of years of Greek. None of the other members of the “translation” group had any training in Hebrew or Greek. What they did was twist the Word of God to fit Jehovah’s Witness beliefs.
One of the biggest differences between Christianity and Jehovah’s Witness is beliefs about Jesus Christ. That’s one of the major reasons Christians call JW a cult. Christianity teaches that Jesus Christ is the Eternal Son of God, Co-Equal with God. Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that Jesus is a created being and not co-equal with God. The NWT translators changed the wording of many Bible verses in order to support their distorted beliefs about Jesus.
For example, the NWT changed John 1:1 from “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” to “In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” Anyone who can read Koine Greek knows that the literal translation is, “In [the] beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word.” The Apostle John clearly wrote that the logos (Word) and theos (God) were the same person. Jesus is God, not “a god.”
The New World Translation also changed the clear teaching of Scripture about Christ indwelling the believer. One example is the translation of Galatians 1:16. The Christian Bible reads, “to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles.” The New World Translation reads, “to reveal his Son in connection with me, that I might declare the good news about him to the nations.” The literal translation from the Greek is, “to reveal the Son of him in me.”
Another example is Romans 8:10. The Christian Bible reads, “And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” The NWT reads, “But if Christ is in union with YOU, the body indeed is dead on account of sin, but the spirit is life on account of righteousness.” The literal translation in the Greek is, “But if Christ [is] in you, the on one hand body [is] dead because of sin, the on the other spirit [is] life because of righteousness.” You’ll find similar differences with John 15:4-5, John 17:26, Colossians 1:27, and 2 Corinthians 13:5.
A big part of witnessing to Jehovah’s Witnesses is dealing with the fact that the New World Translation is inaccurate. That’s not an easy task because of how they’ve been taught and trained. That’s also why they often walk away from talking with Christians who are prepared to defend the Faith.
If you find a discussion about translations not to be helpful at the time, you might table that for a few minutes and ask this question. “Who is Jesus Christ?” Their answer, if they’re honest about what they believe, will be, “Michael the archangel.” Your next question could be, “show me where the Bible says Michael is Jesus.” They won’t be able to do that because it’s not in the Bible – not even in their NWT.
The New World Translation mentions Michael five times – as “one of the foremost princes” (Daniel 10:13), “the prince of people” (Daniel 10:21), “the great prince who is standing in behalf of the sons of people” (Daniel 12:1), the archangel who “had a difference with the devil and was disputing about Moses body” (June 9), and when “Michael and his angels battled with the dragon” (Revelation 12:7). No doubt that Michael is a great and powerful angel, but not identical with Jesus Christ.
In the next part of our study, we’ll look at a unique way of witnessing to Jehovah’s Witnesses.
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
Building Confidence Through Evidence
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”