The Bibles of the Jehovah Witnesses, Then and Now.

A Look  major changes in the text of the Bibles of the Jehovah Witnesses over the years.

Editions of The Bible Printed and Distributed By Jehovah Witnesses 
JW_1930_1.jpg (168441 bytes) JW_ASV_1.jpg (60673 bytes) JW_1984_1.jpg (234266 bytes)
1940s JW Printing of the KJV  1940s JW Printing of the ASV 1984 JW Printing of the NWT
In the years before 1950 one of the Bible that was accepted, used,  promoted, and distributed by the Jehovah Witnesses (JW) was the King James Version (KJV). The printing arm of the Jehovah Witnesses (the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society) published many editions of this popular Protestant Bible.  In the years between 1944 and the late nineteen seventies one of the Bible that was accepted, used,  promoted, and distributed by the Jehovah Witnesses (JW) was the American Standard Version (ASV). The printing arm of the Jehovah Witnesses (the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society) published many editions of this  Protestant Bible.  In 1950 the Jehovah Witnesses (JW) released the own translation called the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (NWT), it printed by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.  The New World Translation of the "Christian Greek Scriptures", containing the twenty-seven books from Matthew through The Revelation, first appeared in 1950. In due order the volumes of the New World Translation of the "Hebrew-Aramaic" Scriptures appeared, the first volume in 1953, the second in 1955, the third in 1957, the fourth in 1958, and the fifth in 1960. The entire text of the NWT was published for the first time in one volume in 1961. It was revised in 1971 and 1984.

When the Jehovah’s Witnesses were Founded in 1872 by a man named Charles Taze Russell, the Protestant King James Version (KJV) was the most commonly used (Non-catholic) English Bible. It was the KJV that the Witnesses took as there own. In 1907 The witnesses contracted a out side firm (Holman) to print a special edition of the Authorized Bible (The KJV) specifically for them, it was called "A Bible Students Edition". It is this version that Russell’s Witnesses would use for the first 78 years of the sects existence. J. F. Rutherford (the second president of the Watchtower Bible and Tract  society) said this about the KJV: 

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As Late as 1973 we find Witnesses publications advertising their printings of the KJV and ASV for sale to their members. This scan is from the 1973 Watchtower book called: "God's Kingdom Of A Thousand Years

"Doubtless there has never been a more masterful and perfect English publication than the Authorized Version of the Bible." [King James Version] (Creation; 1927; p. 117)

From 1907 until the early 1940s the Watchtower society contacted out the work of printing the bible to out side firms, in 1942 the first KJV rolled of societies presses. The Watchtower estimated that between 1942 and 1963 the society printed and distributed 1,436,949 copies of the KJV. (1)

But this was not to last, the Jehovah’s Witnesses gradually found this version to be insufficient for defending and upholding their Anti-Christian beliefs and tenants, for example, the Witnesses deny many basic Christian Doctrines such as the Trinity, the Divinity of Christ, and the Immortality of the Human Soul, all of which are Clearly found in the KJV.

In 1901 a revision of the KJV called the American Standard Version (ASV) was published. The Jehovah's Witnesses had quickly took a liking to this new version, part of the reason for this was its extensive use of the word "Jehovah" and the fact this it eliminated many of the "Problem Verses" (found in the KJV) from the text, and placed them in the margin. In the mid 1940's the Witnesses began to print and distribute their of editions of the ASV. The Watchtower estimated that between 1944 and 1963 the society printed and distributed 884,944 copies of the ASV. (1)

Although the changes in the ASV were much applauded Jehovah’s Witnesses, its use still presented many doctrinal problems to the Cult. for example the Divinity of Christ, and the Immortality of the Human Soul, are Clearly found in the ASV.

The Jehovahs Witnesses (some times known as 'Russellites', after the founder, Charles Taze Russell) soon realized they needed to do was to create there own special translation of the scriptures which would be adapted to fit there beliefs. This Witnesses adaptation of the Bible was released under the title of the "New World Translation" (NWT), and was first printed as a six volume set in 1950. As of 1988, the Watchtower Society had printed 53,500,000 (2) copies of the NWT. 

What makes the NWT Interesting is that it was specifically fabricated to dishonestly twist the scriptures to fit the atypical doctrines of the Jehovahs Witnesses. The verses found in the KJV and ASV that contradicted the official beliefs of the Witnesses were carefully reworded [such as John 1:1], and in 47 cases completely eliminated altogether. This "New" Witnesses translation (NWT) varies in its wording from the "old" translation (KJV) in tens of thousands of places. This brings up several questions:

There are thousands of word variations (some in very important places) between these two translation, the question is, was the pre-1950 Watchtower printing of the Bible wrong or is the present edition wrong? If the pre-1950 Russellite Bibles were wrong, what guarantee do we have that the New translation is right?

ACTS_8-37.jpg (135156 bytes)There are 47 more verse (and partial verses) in the Older Russellite Bibles than there are in the current New World Translation, was the Pre-1950 Watchtower printing of the Bible falsely spawning thirty-five verses as inspired scripture, or does the existent Russellite Bible deny thirty-five verses of inspired scripture?

1_John_5-7.jpg (94536 bytes)If the Jehovahs Witnesses are the "True" religion of God, than why did the Watchtower for over seventy years print and propagate a faulty edition of the Bible that clearly advocated such "false" doctrines as the Trinity?

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If the translation of the current New World Translation was inspired by God than why do the translators list for the book of Mark have three different possible endings?


Why did it take God till 1961 to give "his people" (the Jehovahs Witnesses) a complete and "accurate" translation of the whole Bible?

If we are to accept that the changes made to the Russellite Bible by the translators of the New World Translation as accurate, than is it safe to say that for the first seventy-eight years of there existence the Jehovah’s Witnesses they based there faith and doctrines on a faulty Bible?


            1 "All Scripture is inspired of God and Beneficial" (C)1963, p. 323

  2 Information in frontispiece of 1988 printing of the New World Translation (1984 edition).

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