Jehovah’s Witnesses’ bible is known as the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. They believe that it is equal to all other bibles. However, there are some scriptures omitted from their bible but are found in other bibles. This is something that is not known by many people, including Jehovah’s Witnesses themselves!
If this is true, then the verses found at You must not add to the word that I am commanding you, neither must you take away from it, so as to keep the commandments of Jehovah your God that I am commanding you.Deuteronomy 4:2 and and if anyone takes anything away from the words of the scroll of this prophecy, God will take his portion away from the trees of life and out of the holy city, things that are written about in this scroll.Revelation 22:19 need careful consideration by each member of Jehovah’s Witnesses.1
Let’s step down through various verses in the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures and compare them with verses in other bibles.
A Bible Version Comparison
Complete Verses Omitted
In the Appendix of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (2013), at A3 How the Bible Came to Us, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society makes the claim that most bibles have gaps in the verse numbering at Matthew 17:21; 18:11; 23:14; Mark 7:16; 9:44, 46; 11:26; 15:28; Luke 17:36; 23:17; John 5:4; Acts 8:37; 15:34; 24:7; 28:29; and Romans 16:24. But is that true? A comparison of various bibles should help us to ascertain if this is true.
After comparing eight bibles with the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (2013), evidence has been provided showing that:
- A total of 17 single verses are missing from the bible used by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
- Most bibles do not have gaps at the aforementioned verses.
Partial Verses Omitted
In the New World Translation, there are partial omissions made to some of their verses. The omissions are underlined in the comparative verses.
After comparing ten additional bibles with the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (2013), evidence has been provided showing that an additional ten verses are missing some text from the bible used by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
A New World Translation Comparison
There are interesting differences between the 2013 edition and the 1984 edition of the New World Translation. You are invited to compare both editions of the New World Translations for yourself. When a comparison is done of Mark 16:9-20 and John 8:1-11, one may be surprised to note that whole sections of text have been removed. In the 2013 edition, a footnote is provided justifying their omissions by referring their readers to A3. However, A3 does not include any reference to the omitted text.
Why has the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society removed over thirty verses from their bible? Is it because some of these scriptures conflict with their doctrine? A reading of John 8:1-11 is a powerful examination of a Christian’s duty to be forgiving, not to be condemning. However, Jehovah’s Witnesses are quick to condemn their fellow brethren for their sins, disfellowshipping them and thus mentally torturing them with their evil act of shunning. Compare Then Peter came and said to him: 'Lord, how many times is my brother to sin against me and I am to forgive him? Up to seven times?' Jesus said to him: 'I say to you, not up to seven times, but up to 77 times.Matthew 18:21, 22.
There is clear evidence that the above noted differences between the New World Translation and other bibles is because the same differences are contained within extant manuscripts. However, the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society‘s suggestion that the verses at John 8:1-11 and Mark 16:9-20 are “spurious” is open to debate. Consider the argument for the inclusion of the verses at John 8:1-11 here. Even though the text in Mark is accepted by most scholars to have been an addition, the justification for removing it is argued against by many scholars here.
The Final Word
There is a broad concurrence among textual scholars to reflect in the main text the readings supported by the most reliable manuscripts, and to print these disputed passages at the margins, or also in the main text but marked with some symbols (for instance, a bracket [ ]) to indicate that the passage is disputed. The latest edition of the New World Translation disregards this recommendation.
1 This article does not discuss Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society‘s allegation that these omitted verses from their bible are additions to manuscripts by copyists. Rather, the purpose of this article is to (1) inform the public of these omitted verses, (2) disprove the claim that most bibles omit these verses, and (3) highlight the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society‘s attempt to suppress the content of these verses considering that in time, just like their 1961 edition of the New World Translation, they will remove the 1984 edition of their bible from general use.